Saturday, 25 January 2014

Druid banner - rays of light update

I'm making good progress with the goldwork 'rays', though they aren't quite finished yet.  I've done all the ones on the lower half, though.  Here are the ones in the central section:

And all work so far:

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Druid banner - rays of light

With the background spirals completed, I can start to overlay other design elements, starting with rays of light.

These are straight lines radiating outwards from the centre of the spiral circle.  They're worked in imitation Japanese gold no 8 from Golden Threads, couched with Gutermann Sulky machine embroidery thread no. 8007.

As before, I transferred the design to the front using small running stitches, which this time show up in the photo (just):

I'm couching over these lines with four lengths of the gold thread, in two lots of two.  Here are the first batch:

And some more:

All work so far:

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

St Cuthbert's Banner on BBC2's 'Sacred Wonders of Britain'

St Cuthbert's Banner had a brief appearance on a BBC2 history programme last night, Sacred Wonders of Britain.

The presenter, Neil Oliver, was talking about St Cuthbert and how in the Middle Ages the Banner was carried into battle against the Scots, and there it was!  Admittedly it only appears for seconds, but never mind, it's always good to see it.

It's a very interesting programme even without the Banner, and viewers in the UK can watch it for a few more days on the BBC iPlayer.  Everyone else can watch a BBC News item on the Banner's dedication in 2012 - including an interview with me!

Monday, 13 January 2014

Druid banner - central green section

The single largest section in a single coloured thread is the lower central area, in green.  This has taken a while to do, but here it is!

First a bit of it, showing the transition in the design from the blue to the green thread:

And the rest:

All of the green and some of the blue:

Despite all the work that's gone into all that, it's actually just the background!  Next, I'm going to start on the major parts of the overall design.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Druid banner - ends, ends, ends

The spiral design is being worked by couching a metallic passing thread, i.e. laying the thread on the surface of the fabric and over-stitching it with a second thread.  This begs the obvious question: what do you do with the ends?

And for this, there are a lot of ends:

That's just a very small part of the total design, but you can see how many ends of threads there are.  I don't want them looking messy and getting in the way, so they need to be finished off somehow.  For both neatness and security, I do this by taking them though to the back of the fabric.

To get the ends through to the back, I use a large needle with a loop of sewing thread in it.  The end to be taken through, or plunged, goes through the loop:

The needle is pulled through so that the loop pulls the end to the fabric surface, leaving a bit of a loop of 'end':

Then with a good firm tug, it's gone!

Once all the ends are through to the back, though, there's still work to do:

Each set of ends is oversewn down, along the line of the couched thread on the surface:

And then trimmed:

I usually stitch down about 1.5 cm (a bit over half an inch) of the ends, to be sure that they won't unravel and make an unwanted appearance back on the top, and I use cotton sewing thread instead of the rayon I'm using for the couching as it's stronger.

All the ends, neatly finished off:

And nice neat spirals on the surface:

Friday, 3 January 2014

Druid banner - side spirals in green

Happy New Year, everyone!

With the top half of the spiral background completed, it's time to start on the bottom half.  The top half was blue for the sky, and this is going to be green for the earth.  I'm using a Benton & Johnson metallic passing thread again, this time in Elphin Green, couched with Gutermann Sulky machine embroidery thread no. 1051:

As you can see, the green is variegated again, same as the Marine Blue, and so should also give a nice effect.

As before, I transferred the design to the front using small running stitches over the transfer on the back, but also as before they're next to impossible to see on the photos, so you'll just have to take my word for it!

Here's the right side:

You can see the transition between the two colours quite nicely, though the background fabric still doesn't look right in the photo.

The left side:

And all work so far:

It's coming on!