Sunday, 30 October 2011

And all of the flowers on the right

Sorry for not having written in ages, but while I may not have been blogging, I have been sewing, and have applied all of the flowers to the right of the panel.

I started with the pearlworts:

Then a couple of wood avens:

Two ferns (and a stray wood aven - I forgot to take a photo of the ferns before I'd stitched it on:

A couple more wood avens and their leaves:

And finally, the last ever fern:

So that's all the appliqué done - another major milestone to cross off the list.  I can start the goldwork next, and start edging all the flowers.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

The rest of the flowers on the left

I'm pressing ahead as fast as I can here, to try and get everything finished.  As such, I've got quite a lot more done, and have now added all the flowers on the left of the panel.

So, since last time, I've added a couple of ferns:

A cluster of wood avens:

Some leaves to go with them:

And one last fern on this side:

It really is starting to feel like the end is in sight now - it's getting quite exciting!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Flowers centre and left

I've been busy.  I've made a good start with getting the flowers applied to the background, starting with the cowslip in the centre:

I find it a big help to get the centre flower in first - it makes it much easier to judge the placement when I can work outwards from it.

So, using the cowslip as a baseline, as it were, I added the first few wood avens:

And then some pearlworts:

It's already coming on, isn't it!  A couple of ferns next.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Setting up the final panel

The last lap, panel-wise.  The final thing to do is to get all the embroidered flowers onto the background fabric, then do the goldwork.

So, to get things underway,  I marked out the design with a reference grid:

Mounted the background fabric onto my big frame, and marked out a corresponding grid on it with tacking stitches:

Ready to go!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

The final, FINAL sheet of flowers

Well, the big day is finally here: I have finished stitching all of the flowers for the Banner.  This is momentous enough to be documented in detail, I think, so here goes.

The last sheet of flowers to do is the cowslip that'll go in the centre of the top panel:

I outlined the cups at the base of the individual flowers in buttonhole stitch in Madeira stranded cotton 1409, and added detail in split stitch, using three strands of 1410:

I then filled in the rest of the cups in split stitch, using two strands of 1409:

I then outlined the flowers themselves, using Madeira 0105:

To give a sense of the 'inside' of the flower, I filled in the central section of each one in a slightly darker shade, 0106:

I then added shading, using one strand of 0106 and one of 0105:

And filled in the rest of the flowers with 0105:

I then filled in the little gaps that are too small and fiddly to cut out in red, Madeira 0510 (you can't tell when they're on the velvet background, honest!):

Then the same process for the leaves - the outlines, in Madeira 1410:

The leaf veins, in three strands of 1412:

And then filling in the rest, using a combination of 1411 and 1410, to give a shaded effect:

And that's it!  No more flowers.  Wow.  I still have to add them to the background fabric and do all the goldwork, of course, but all the same, this is a major milestone.  Not long to go now!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Wood avens leaves

The last ever wood avens leaves.  I like saying that!

I forgot to take a photo before I started, but I hadn't got too far before I remembered:

With the outline done:

The central leaf veins:

The darkest filling-in colour in the centre:

Shading into the lighter colour:

And finally, the lighter colour, filling in all the rest:

Amazingly, there's just ONE MORE sheet of flowers to go!  It'll be quite a momentous day when that's finished.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Brocolitia and Vindolanda

Well, it's October, so of course it was the hottest day of the year here.  It's been very warm for the last few days; I'd taken a few days off work to work on the Banner, but it was far too nice to stay indoor stitching all the time, so I played hooky for a day and went for a trip to see some of the Roman remains in Northumberland.

I wasn't up for hiking and so didn't do Hadrian's Wall as such, but instead went to Brocolitia and Vindolanda.

Brocolitita, or Carrawburgh, was somewhere I'd wanted to see for ages.  It's quite isolated, and is a beautiful and magical place, disturbed only by migrating geese and RAF fighter jets flying overhead.  It's been heavily excavated, so much of what was there has been taken away to museums, but there's still the remains of the Temple of Mithras:

That's quite late Roman; much older is a shrine to a Celtic goddess, Coventina's Well.  Nothing of that now remains, but I went in search of it anyway, over a path of stone slabs over a stream:

Following the stream along, I came to a series of pools, covered in beautiful yellow flowers, and I feel sure that was the site of the spring:

The flowers didn't seem to grow anywhere else, but on my way back I saw one plant, growing by the side of the stream, next to the path:

I wish I knew what it was - can anyone identify it?

After the (mostly) peace and quiet of Brocolitia, I went to the more touristy Vindolanda.  In its heyday, this was quite a large fort with a village, or vicus, outside its gates, but is now in quite a rural setting.  Excavations have been going on for years, with some spectacular finds, including the internationally-important Vindolanda tablets - hand-written documents and letters from around the time of the building of Hadrian's Wall, in 122AD.

The most famous of these is an invitation from the camp commander's wife to another woman on site, inviting her to a birthday party - the oldest surviving handwriting by a woman anywhere - but there are hundreds of others, listing troop numbers, shoppings lists, complaints about the state of the roads, requests for recommendations for an inn to stay at - all the everyday things relating to the life of the fort.  They give a window into the lives of ordinary people in a way few archaeological finds can.

Most of the tablets are in the British Museum now, though there are a few at the very good museum at Vindolanda itself, along with a great deal else, but they don't allow photography inside it, I'm afraid.  There's still a lot to see outside too, though, such as a recreated temple, house and workshop set in a very nice garden:

There's also a recreation of how an original tower on the Wall would have looked, seen here with some of the  excavated real thing in the foreground:

From the top of the tower, you get a good view of the whole site:

While at the edge of the fort, you can see the rolling Northumbrian hills in the distance:

It was a lovely day out, and I can recommend a trip to these or the other local Roman sites to anyone visiting the North of England, though try and get weather as nice as I had!