The Stitches

Bayeux Stitch

Before photo

Bayeux Stitch is the stitch used as a filler for large areas (eg horses) in the Bayeux Tapestry. It is very economical with wool, which would have been important for the nuns who stitched it, and it fills spaces fairly quickly.

There are two parts to the stitch - the initial covering of the area, and then the couching. I’m going to work this small area of the saddle.

Starting to fill in the section

Begin at one edge, in the middle of the space you have to cover. Bring your needle up as closely as possible to the outline of the section, and take it down again at the opposite edge. Keep it straight - this will help you keep all your following stitches straight too.

To make the second stitch, bring your needle back up as closely as you can to the end of the first stitch. This is not satin stitch - you will not have long stitches on the back of your work. Keep working your way along the section you are covering, bringing your needle back up as close as possible to your last stitch, and taking it back down as close as possible on the opposite edge of the section.

The back with very little visible thread

If you do this correctly, you will barely be able to see your stitches on the reverse of the work.

Continuin to cover the area

When you have covered the first half of the section, fasten off your wool and begin again in the middle, to complete the second half.

Filled-in area

Once the entire section has been completed, fasten off your wool again. You might have noticed that the long stitches you have made are prone to catching on things (look again at the previous photo - there is an actual gap between the stitches and the fabric beneath them). To prevent this, we need to use couching.

Starting to stitch back across the section

Now we will be working at right angles to our previous stitching. Start at the middle of an edge, as before, and take one long stitch right the way across the section.

Tiny stitches keeping them in place

Now bring your needle back up, and make tiny stitches back across this long stitch, until you get back to where you started. These tiny stitches hold everything firmly in place.

Try to make sure that these little rows of stitches are not in the same place on every line. Your piece will look much better if each row is offset from the next, to form a brick pattern.

After photo

And here it is complete.

Border Lettering Tutorial

Recording of the tutorial Shirley Smith gave to the rest of the group, guiding them through the process of adding the lettering to the borders of the panels using the prick and pounce method.