Looking Over Shoulders 5


Hello again everyone

I’ve been busy with my iPad over the last couple of weeks taking pics as I look over people’s shoulders at the Monday morning and evening meetings.

To the members of the Guild thanks so much for sharing your work and being so patient with me as I whisk away your work to take a pic.

This post comes with its own warning – it’s a mega post just in case you need to get a cup of coffee or tea…….

Here goes……

Irene Burton is incredibly fast at finishing work – look what she’s done in the last couple of weeks:

Granny Square

Granny Square crocheted by Irene Burton

Blue Crochet Bag by Irene Burton

Ballroom Dancers x-stitched by Irene Burton

I love the sparkly bits on the dancer’s dress – they add something special. What do you think?

We had two special visitors on Monday

Margaret Kilby from Ottawa is working on this lovely field of red poppies:

Red Poppy in Progress x-stitched by Margaret Kilby

and Dee Glenn from the USA on this elegant quilt:

Quilt in Progress by Dee Glenn

While we’re talking about quilts here’s where Dorothy Rudland is up to with her butterfly quilt:

Butterfly Quilt in Progress by Dorothy Rudland

Detail of Butterfly Quilt in Progress by Dorothy Rudling

and Lee Scott  is finishing the crazy quilt block she started on her recent stitching cruise around New Zealand:

Crazy Quilt Block by Lee Scott

You’ve seen this crazy quilt block that Fran Novitski has been working on in previous posts so here it is finished and very cleverly turned into a folder cover:

Crazy Quilt Folder by Fran Novitski

Julie Knight who is just the most creative person across a range of media was showing us the pieces she’d entered into the Canberra Show last month. Just look at this awesome baby doll – don’t you just want to pick her up and give her a big cuddle?

Baby Doll by Julie Knight

Her other pieces were this baby’s outfit

Baby Dress by Julie Knight

and this silk ribbon embroidery

Ribbon Embroidery in frame by Julie Knight

Shona Phillips has also been adding some ribbon embroidery to this retro design:

Lady with Roses Silk Flowers in Progress by Shona Phillips

while Pat Bootland is stitching away on a new piece inspired by a Sydney Long painting in the National Gallery of Australia.

Woman Piper by Pat Bootland

Floriana Basilisco finished this embroidery for a cushion

Surface Embroidery in progress by Floriana Basilisco

This piece is a bit deceptive because the painted green background suggests you’re looking at appliqué when in fact it’s surface stitching.

Floriana’s now started on this filet inspired by similar pieces she saw on her last trip back to Italy

Filet in Progress by Floriana Basilisco

Near her Catharina Koopman was working on this cross stitch

Sogno in Progress x-stitched by Catharina Koopman

Gail Haidon was working away at this stunning piece of wool embroidery that you’ve seen in an earlier post

Wool Embroidery by Gail Haidon

and Lesley Fusinato has started another block of her super cute French mouse Monet quilt

Monet Mouse Quilt Block by Lesley Fusinato

Jan Senti has finished her too cute bear stitched with mingled threads to give a ‘tweed’ effect

Teddy Bear x-stitched by Jan Senti

and now she’s onto Sashiko

Sashiko in Progress by Jan Senti

On Monday night Sarah Kimmorley was painstakingly counting threads for the tassels on a baby blanket

Preparing Tassels by Sarah Kimmorley

While Jenny Balderson was adding the finishing touches to her Stitch of the Month book cover

Stitch of the Month Sampler in Progress by Jenny Balderson

Now if you love Hardanger and drawn thread work here’s some eye candy for you that various members are working on

Lesley Jemeson

Hardanger in Progress by Lesley Jemesen

Germaine Esther

Hardanger in Progress by Germaine Esther

Nan Horne’s Ukrainian work

Ukrainian Embroidery in Progress by Nan Horne

Here’s a corner of a large Hardanger tablecloth that Brenda Phillips is making as a raffle prize for a special birthday of the Yass Country Women’s Association – we all want to win it!

Hardanger Tablecloth Corner by Brenda Phillips

Mmm I have to apologise to the owner of this Hardanger piece in progress as I can’t read my scrawled notes – so if you recognise it please let me know and I’ll add your name

Blue and Cream Hardanger by

For something completely different check out the progress that Sharon Boggon has made on her contemporary piece

Contemporary Embroidery in Progress by Sharon Boggon

and Agnes Sciberras on her very evocative seascape

Contemporary Seascape by Agnes Scibberas

Margaret Roberts is almost finished her Australian landscape and is looking for feedback and ideas on whether she should put something at the foot of the tree – so your comments would be very welcome…

Landscape in Progress by Jenny

For the history buffs among you here’s the Millennium Sampler being worked on by Jan Prowse

The Milennium Sampler in Progress by Jan Prowse

Detail of Milennium Sampler by

while Patricia has started this panel of the Bayeux Tapestry and was showing me her Bayeux Stitch

Edward the Confessor Panel from Bayeux Tapestry by

Detail 2 of Bayeux Tapestry Panel in Progress by

If you’re a fan of Diana Lampe’s designs then you’re in luck because two members are working away on very similar pieces. In the morning group Janice Brennan was finishing this design

Diana Lampe Embroidery in Progress by Janice Brennan

and in the evening group Rosie Collis is just about finished this

Diana Lampe Embroidery in Progress by Rosie Collis

There’s also lots of cross stitch going on

Ruth Jackson

Geometric Square x-stitched by Ruth Jackson

Delma Burgdorf

Coffee Cups x-stitched by Delma Burgdorf

Barbara Bailey 

Cottage in progress x-stitched by Barbara Bailey

Anne Small 

X-stitch in progress by Anne Small

and Samantha Benda

Bouquet of Flowers x-stitched by Samantha Benda

Threadpainting always generates a lot of interest at our annual exhibition and on the Members Gallery so here’s a lovely violet by Ros Stanford

Violet Threadpainting by Rosa Stanford

There’s the same kind of delicacy but a very different technique in these Stumpwork elements that Margaret Cooper is working on

Stumpwork in Progress by Margaret Cooper

Evelyn Foster is working on this winsome Trish Burr miniature

Trish Burr Miniature in rogress by Evelyn Foster

While Mary Doherty is almost finished a block for our Sunbonnet Sue quilt

Sunbonnet Sue Quilt Block by Mary Donohue

For a pop of colour have a look at these pieces by Jan Hure

by Jan Hure

Polly Templeton 

Canvaswork in Progress by Polly Templeton

and Diana Churchill

Surface Embroidery in Progress by Diana Churchill

Surface Embroidery in Progress 2 by Diana Churchill

We’re going to end on a Christmassy note with this stocking being stitched by Carol Van Gelder

Xmas Stocking in Progress by

and Glenda Hudson’s fun button Christmas Tree from the Creative Group workshop

Button Xmas Tree by Glenda Hudson



Gail and her Bayeux Tapestry Panel

Hi again

This is the story of how one of our members Gail Haidon came to stitch a panel of the Bayeux Tapestry. In this post I’m just the WordPress scribe so here’s how it happened in Gail’s own words:

” I am married to a wargamer who has an abiding love of history and particularly military history.  This has led to a large and constantly expanding library of history books together with board games and hundreds if not thousands of small model figures.

William and Odo


We have long cultivated a “live and let live” attitude to one another’s interests.  After all I have UFO’s (Unfinished Objects), and he has UFA’s (Unfinished Armies)!  Neither of us ever confesses just how many we have.

Many years ago, Ian obtained a copy of a book The Bayeux Tapestry: the complete tapestry in colour with introduction description and commentary by David M Wilson.


What was I thinking??

In an inexplicably weak moment I offered to embroider a replica of any part of the Tapestry he wanted thinking that I would have it ready for his 40th birthday.

Time wore on; I was going to have to (1) copy or trace a part of the Tapestry from the book, (2) decide whether to enlarge (the book shows the panels less than full scale), (3) source the linen, (4) select and source the correct weight and colour of the wool, (5) develop a legend of what stitches to use, with how and where to use them, and (6) get on with it!

I thought about it a bit but nothing happened.

Visiting Bayeux

Some time later we travelled overseas for almost three months and particularly in the UK, France and Belgium saw many battlefields and military museums such as:

Bosworth Field – site of the last significant battle of the Wars of the Roses

Culloden Moor – site of the final confrontation of the 1745 Jacobite Rising

Hastings/Battle – 1066 Battle of Hastings, Abbey and Battlefield site

The Somme, with the beautiful and sad countryside of the battlefields of the Western Front of World War 1, and where my great-uncle lies somewhere in an unknown grave

Bayeux – site of the Musée de la Tapisserie de Bayeux


And many many others!

However, prior to that “big overseas trip” and knowing that a certain person was planning to see certain things I put my foot down and demanded that if I was going to be “dragged around half the battlefields of Europe” I was at least going to get to see the Bayeux Tapestry!

Bayeux Tapestry

Bayeux is an extremely pretty town in Normandy (northwestern France), and the tapestry (actually an embroidery) is beautifully displayed in its own museum.  There is a darkened, curved corridor with the Tapestry displayed at eye level in a way that people can get a really close look.


It was amusing to see the number of people with faces squashed up against the glass, closely examining the stitching – surely some of them must have been embroiderers!  I felt sorry for the cleaners – there must be constant cleaning of finger, and nose(!) prints.  It can clearly be seen where areas of damage have been repaired and where different stitchers must have worked with looser and tighter stitching in different sections.

The Tapestry now is about 70 metres long with about fifty scenes embroidered on linen with coloured woollen yarns.  It is believed that it was commissioned by Bishop Odo (who was Bishop of Bayeux, and William the Conqueror’s half brother) for the Bayeux Cathedral, and probably made in a monastery in the south of England, not Bayeux, in the 1070’s.

In its almost 1,000 years of history it has miraculously survived having been rescued from being cut up for military wagon covers during the French Revolution and being confiscated for propaganda purposes prior to Napoleon’s planned invasion of Britain.  The Bayeux Council later displayed it damaging it in the process.  It is believed that at least two panels of the tapestry are missing at the end – up to another 6.4 metres. This missing area would probably have included William’s coronation and reign.

So how did I come to do my panel?  Well of course the last stop on leaving the museum is to go through the shop!  And lo and behold there were 1:1 scale kits with pre-printed linen, and coloured wools ready to go.

Bayeux Tapestry embroidery

Bayeux Tapestry Scene stitched by Gail Haidon

Stitching my Panel

So eventually it was back to Australia where I enthusiastically began.  I remember timing the first section I completed and estimating that there were about 240 hours of work to finish the entire kit.

Green bird on Bayeux panel stitched by Gail Haidon

Spear Thrower Detail from Bayeux Panel stitched by Gail Haidon

So time went by and as most embroiderers will know it grew in fits and starts spending periods in the cupboard with the other UFO’s.

Dog and Goat on Bayeux Panel stitched by Gail Haidon

Bird 2 from Bayeux Panel stitched by Gail Haidon

The pre-printed outlines must have been transferred from a photograph that included some creases so I had to embroider over some lines that do not exist on the original.  I eventually used a quilting frame rather than embroidery hoop to more conveniently hold the fabric.  Ian’s book was invaluable in showing the exact stitching as sometimes the instructions in the kit left a bit to be desired.

Two Birds of Prey on Bayeux Panel stitched by Gail Haidon

Cat on Bayeux Panel stitched by Gail Haidon

Bayeux Stitch

I learned a new stitch, “Bayeux stitch”, a laid and couched stitch which is an Anglo-Saxon variation of an ancient technique known as laidwork.  Although this is great for securely covering large areas I have sworn that I will never embroider another horse’s backside as long as I live!

Here’s what the stitch looks like:

Griffon on Bayeux Tapestry stitched by Gail Haidon

Griffon 2 on Bayeux Panel stitched by Gail Haidon

Dog 2 from Bayeux Panel stitched by Gail Haidon

Horse from Bayeux Tapestry

Bayeux Tapestry Horse stitched by Gail Haidon

The UK Embroiderers’ Guild has a useful guide to Bayeux Stitch which you can find here

Ian’s 40th birthday came and went and if he occasionally felt like complaining I would offer to teach him how to embroider!  I started to joke that if he was lucky he might receive it for his 90th birthday!  He actually received it in time for his 50th so I think it “only” took about 12 years from start to finish.

Two Horses on Bayeux Panel stitched by Gail Haidon

Military History of this Panel

And the reasons for selecting this particular panel?  Ian tells me that it documents a change in military tactics for cavalry in the early medieval period – from using spears overarm to underarm.  The cavalry using their spears overarm are Bretons:

Overarm Spears in Bayeux Panel stitched by Gail Haidon

and those underarm are Normans:

Cavalrymen leading Charge in Bayeux Panel stitched by Gail Haidon

The Norman infantryman leading the panel is unique and very special because he’s the only archer on the entire Bayeux Tapestry wearing chain mail. For this reason it’s believed that he may actually be a crossbowman.

Archer from Bayeux Panel stitched by Gail Haidon

Crossbows were very new technology at the time and those designing the Tapestry might not have known what they looked like. Although he’s not depicted with a crossbow scholars have noted that his arrow quiver is shown being carried on his hip as a crossbowman would have done.

The other archer is also shown with a bow but he’s carrying his arrows on his back – the standard protocol of the time:

Archer 2 on Bayeux Panel stitched by Gail Haidon

So there you are a famous historical embroidery complete with mysteries and differences of opinion about it and a number of replicas around the world.  Surely an excuse for another trip or two?


Textiles in the Gold of the Incas Exhibition at National Gallery of Australia

On Saturday I went to see this exhibition and an unexpected delight were the stunning textiles. Some weaving and embroidery on show is around 2000 years old but retains its rich colouring. The extraordinary state of preservation of the textiles is due to the very arid desert conditions and the funerary rituals which saw mummies buried in deep shafts.

Here’s an example from the NGA website – the mantle with flying figures from the Paracas culture (700BC – 200 AD):


You can see more examples and information here

For those of you interested in textiles, fashion and military history there’s going to be an interesting talk at the NGA on 22 March at 2.0 p.m. in the Fairfax Theatre. It’s called Fashion & War :Textiles & Clothing after the Incas & the Spanish Conquest of Peru and the speaker will be Dr Denise Rall from Southern Cross University. Denise is also a member of the Lismore & District group of the NSW Embroiderers’ Guild. You can read more about Denise here. Her book FASHION AND WAR in popular culture will be on sale from the gallery bookshop.