Reykjahlid antependium update
So, I’ve been working on the Antependium, or at least I have on the rare evenings I’ve sent at home.
I’ve tried to match my veg dyed colours to the original as far as possible – madder red is fairly easy to discern, as are yellows, but that very very dark colour in the original could be black or blue. I dyed both a dark blue and a compound almost black (it would have been black, I swear it would, if my indigo bath had held out for a few more dips, but alas it was not to be), and have been using both, basically as and where I find them to fit the design best, which is all I can do given the limited information at my disposal.
I am quite happy with the way the colours are working together though.
I was a bit unsure about the colours at this stage, but…
I had started out by using the same thread for couching the laid work, but found it too thick. I am aware that the originals often used a thinner thread for the couching, but when I was doing the dyeing I hadn’t had any thinner to hand, and since I was loathe to used a commercially dyed thread against my own natural dyeing, I ended up by unplying some of the thread to do the couching with. This worked surprisingly well – it didn’t break as one might have expected it too, and the thinner thread flowed better through the laid work, snagging far less.
If you look closely here you might be able to see that the red is couched with the thick thread, whereas the yellow and blue are couched with thinner, and thus look far closer in effect to the original.
The thing that really surprised me was the couching thread used as outline. My previous experience of laid and couched work has been in the style of Bayeux, which uses split and stem stitch as an outline, but if you look closely at the Icelandic pieces you can clearly see that many of the outlines are couched (often it’s really obvious where the couched and couching threads have faded to different colours). My lazy brain had looked at this and thought, “gosh, that looks nice and quick to do!” But it turns out that couching an outline can be quite faffy and slow – or maybe I just need to get my hand in and by the time I finish I’ll get faster, who knows?
I’m about to roll the frame on, but before I do I will tack some scrap fabric over the embroidered area to protect it. Not, as you might think, from rubbing on the back of itself, but from rubbing on me. My main embroidery time is in the evening after dinner, I’m a messy eater and like to work by leaning the frame against my ribs – I don’t want any bolognese etc that might have accidentally found its way onto my shirt getting ingrained into the embroidery. I’ve done this before and it works very well, especially on big pieces like this where there are long gaps between rolling it on.
Am now quite excited about doing the first of the roundels (which will really be number seven in the story arc), as I’ll get to play with more new colours (green!) but first there will be a bit more border and some of the spandrels