Bartram is de-horned

A couple of weeks ago at Embroidery Group I got on with Bartram the Bayeux Ram’s horn. This is quite a tricky part, because it involves long straight stitches somehow going round a very curved horn. I’d drawn some guidelines on the transfer to have by me when stitching, as well as the photograph of the designer’s stitched model, but when I got home I wasn’t happy with it. Because there will be long couching stitches over these yellow stitches, they need to be at an angle to the ones that will overlay them, and I just wasn’t changing the angle quickly enough.

Bartram's horn doesn't curve enough

In Tanya Bentham’s model the stitches from the forehead into the first part of the horn don’t change direction, so mine could stay as well. But there was no saving the rest of it – the curved part of the horn would have to go. So out came the scissors once more, and a few snips and tugs later I had a clean playing field again. (By the way, as you can see from the pictures I decided to keep his bright red chest after all; I rather like the startling effect of it.)

Bartram gets de-horned A fresh start

When I photographed the re-stitched version and compared it to the old one, I realised it wasn’t nearly so different as I thought it was while stitching, but there is a slight improvement in the angle. It will have to do as I’m not unpicking it again!

The new horn

Before moving on to couching and outlining the horn, it was time to couch his fleece. This is done in woolly white (ivory in my case, brighter white for my friend), and the couching stitches are long – they cover the full length of his body. Normally when doing Bayeux stitch I would work all the long couching stitches first and then go back and do all the tiny couching stitches that hold down the long couching stitches. Here, however, I felt they would be rather too vulnerable to being pulled and moved, so I decided to couch each long stitch down before moving to the next one. That might also make it easier to keep the long lines parallel to each other.

Couching down the long stitches as I go Trying to get the lines parallel

That was tricky enough with them being much longer than anything I’d tried before, but then there is the spacing of the small couching stitches. I try to keep them equidistant, and brick them from one line to the next. On my Jacobean certificate piece I actually measured the distance between each pair of stitches, but I felt that would be overkill on what is meant to be just a fun piece, so I eyeballed it. There was a certain amount of unpicking and restitching even so… Still, looking at the back I think I got them fairly equally spaced! (It also shows how little thread is at the back of the work when using Bayeux stitch.)

Judging the distance between stitches from the back

Mind you, judging by this ram (if it is a ram – I think so, judging by his curly horn) on the Bayeux Tapestry, perhaps I’m being a leetle but too fussy about the spacing of the lines and the placement of my couching stitches…

An uneven ram

Meanwhile Sheep-Mad Friend has also been powering ahead, ably supported by her new table clamp (all right, I talked her into one of those smiley). Bartram the Bright is coming on beautifully, and at our next stitchy get-together we hope to give him his horizontal stripes!

The bright version of Bartram

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