Reykjahlid Antependium

I finally got the canvas for the Reykjahlid Antependium project onto my embroidery frame!


For those of you who haven’t seen this bit on lj, here is the story so far…

I spent huge chunks of spring half term dyeing wool. It’s a two ply weaving wool that was the closest I could find in weight to appleton’s crewel (my preferred commercial thread)

Now, if I remember this rightly, the colours are, from left- exhaust bath madder, first bath madder, cochineal, a compound overdyed blackish colour from weld+walnut+madder+indigo, walnut, marigold+onion, weld, marigold+onion+indigo, weld+indigo, indigo – however not all of these are for use on the antependium. They look a little dull in this pic, I think.

Next, I pinned my linen to the kitchen floor (table was too small) and marked it out with a permanent fabric marker. I had thought this was an afternoon job, but it turned out to take three days – three days I spent stepping over the canvas and trying no to spill things on it whilst my knees complained that forty year old knees oughtn’t to have to put up with this sort of thing and wasn’t this against union rules?

I did much umming and aahing, then some ahhing and umming, then went back to umming and aahing, over whether or not to put it on the frame at this stage. I know that  the “accepted” way of doing things is to work split stitch on a frame, you see, but it gets on my nerves. Instead I decided to do the split stitched silk faces without a frame, then frame the work for the wool.

So I got cracking, thinking, “It’s only thirty some faces, I’ll have it done in no time…” Obviously I had learned nothing from drafting this thing – firstly I’d forgotten how fiddly split stitched faces are, secondly I’ve been away from home a fair bit, and thirdly I ended up putting the whole thing on hold for several weeks to get the Kirkleatham costumes finished.

But now they’re done. Apologies, but I think I lost a few of the pics…

I’m actually slightly conflicted about the faces. Part of me wants them to be finer – I find them a little pixilated, but on the other hand they are quite coarse in the original so these are fairly accurate replicas. They are also tiny, some of them are easily smaller than my thumb, so making then finer would mean splitting the floss down as fine as it will go, and I don’t think that would sit too well with the wool.
The silk, by the way, is floss from the Mulberry Dyer.
Then, last saturday, as my birthday present to myself (well, that and some extremely expensive chocolate) I got all the faces done and put the canvas on the frame.
Scuse the mess on my living room floor – I’m severely domestically challenged, I have a note from the doctor about it, serious medical condition, it is.
As you can see, Gareth had to extend the frame to fit this piece, so I’m quite motivated to finish it. I live in a 200 year old fisherman’s cottage with 6 foot 6 ceilings, so this is very much dominating the place at the moment.
I was allowed 40 minutes off from being birthday girl to play with my new toy
I’ve since finished the entire bottom scroll of this red vine, but I forgot to take a picture. What I’m really looking forward to is doing the roundels – I want to see how the silk and the wool interact with one another.
Luckily Branston is two on Monday, so he’s being much less mental and letting me work because he mostly does this
And I’m off to an event this afternoon, to play with my other new project


~ by opusanglicanum on June 17, 2011.

16 Responses to “Reykjahlid Antependium”

  1. I think the faces have a very authentic look. Good job. I look forward to seeing how you progress.

  2. Wow very lovely

  3. Very nice work and lovely

  4. You do beautiful work. I wish I had the patience to try it!

    • actually, one of the reasons I wanted to do this was cos I find laid and couched wrok goes quite quickly, so although its big (about 90cm square) it shouldn’t take too long

  5. I am so impressed, this is great.

  6. This looks beautiful! I’m not a historical expert or anything, but it looks very authentic to me. That must take so, so long to complete… I look forward to seeing the finished piece!

  7. Wow – it’s just so BIG!
    Doing 30 faces, one after the other musta driven you kinda nuts! 15…16…17….*grin*

    I’m excited to watch this project developed. And you said one of my favourite words (since I used to do Calligraphy and Illumination) – “acanthus”. I adore acanthus.

    If you have any probs in the shades to stitch them, and how the shading changes as they twist around themselves, I’m happy to provide scans of examples from my Illumination books for you 🙂

    And you’re my age!

    • it was the hands that were really fiddly – I’ve got a blown up pic of the original and they have fingers on most of the hands.

      thanks for the offer I’ll let you know if I need it

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