parlstickare: yellow griffin on a red field, embroidered in couched work (Griffin (Thamesreach bunting))
parlstickare ([personal profile] parlstickare) wrote2015-02-01 04:10 pm

The saga of my Thamesreach bunting contribution

The SCA shire I'm playing in, Thamesreach (i.e. London) has a long set of bunting with the members' arms on interspersed with the Thamesreach arms. It looks really neat and is also a way to remember people who moved elsewhere. Most are either painted or sewn/appliqued.

I wasn't quite sure how to do mine, since my arms are complicated, with a background in vair (small pieces of white and blue). First I thought I could paint them, but seeing another member's painting going a bit pearshaped when the paint ran outside the borders made me re-think that idea. My second option was appliqué but when I had done the first quarter I looked at it and wasn't satisfied. The colours looked flat and the appliqué had scruffy edges despite careful stitching.

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The appliqué follows the post-medieval way to depict vair, with a pattern made of rectangles and triangles. The medieval version is a rounded shape, but the tiny edges at the bases are impossible to do with appliqué.

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Even using the later version, it was a very fiddly process, with small stitches. You had to be careful so it wouldn't unravel, particularly at the points. I had first tried putting anti-ravel liquid on the edges, but that would make it impossible for the holes from the needle to close up afterwards.

So I went back to my trusted needlework. Klosterstitch or split stitch would be more accurate time-wise, but since couched work ("bayeux-stitch") is immensly more economic with the amount of thread needed, I chose that instead. One panel of vair took me about half an hour to do (keep in mind that the fabric is ordinary cotton so there is a high threadcount compared to normal embroidery linen), but the result looks so much better that I don't mind the extra time. All you need is a couple of evenings with something mindless on the tv or a couple of podcasts and you can get a lot done.

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Heraldic beasts comes in two versions: the ones with a different colour of their claws, teeth, tongue and genitals (where applicable) and the ones that are entirely single-colour. Adding a new colour felt like overkill when I designed my arms - particularly since vair as a background increases the total number of colours to four. Single colour can make the animal very plain, so I added some lines to indicate the three-dimensionality of the animal.

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And what a difference it made!

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Ta dah!

Now all I have to do is another one for the other side of the bunting...

ETA: colour references for DMC cotton: blue: 147, white: 2, red: 321, yellow: 726.


[personal profile] fairytale78 2015-02-01 05:16 pm (UTC)(link)
Very neat stitching Lena! And thank you for sharing your search for a good way of stitching your arms. Good luck with the second one.

Re: Stitching

[personal profile] fairytale78 2015-02-03 08:56 am (UTC)(link)
I know, I feel the same about most of my work. However, it is just that you have spent too many hours with your nose on your work. Others don't see the 'flaws' you see. And that's a good thing :)!
luscious_purple: "avoid heralds" (avoid heralds)

[personal profile] luscious_purple 2015-02-01 06:00 pm (UTC)(link)
Beautiful needlework! Thank you for sharing your photos!