The Art of Tapestry – Helen Wyld

The Art of Tapestry – Helen Wyld

In preparation for my trip to England, Scotland and France to see tapestries, I bought this book.

It is a beautiful book with many coloured photographs.

Here’s the blurb …

Woven with dazzling images from history, mythology and the natural world, and breath-taking in their craftsmanship, tapestries were among the most valuable and high-status works of art available in Europe from the medieval period to the end of the eighteenth century. Over 600 historic examples hang in National Trust properties in England and Wales – the largest collection in the UK.

This beautifully illustrated study by tapestry expert Helen Wyld, in association with the National Trust, offers new insights into these works, from the complex themes embedded in their imagery, to long-forgotten practices of sacred significance and ritual use. The range of historical, mythological and pastoral themes that recur across the centuries is explored, while the importance of the ‘revival’ of tapestry from the late nineteenth century is considered in detail for the first time. Although focussed on the National Trust’s collection, this book offers a fresh perspective on the history of tapestry across Europe.

Both the tapestry specialist and the keen art-history enthusiast can find a wealth of information here about woven wall hangings and furnishings, including methods of production, purchase and distribution, evolving techniques and technologies, the changing trends of subject matter across time, and how tapestries have been collected, used and displayed in British country houses across the centuries.

This is an amazing achievement by Helen Wyld. Academic, comprehensive but easy to read.

It has four chapters:

  • Art and Industry
  • Ritual and Presence
  • The Woven Image
  • Tapestry and History

And there is a section at the start on the different techniques. At the end there is a comprehensive section on notes and a bibliography.

The illustrations are fabulous (there are even some double paged images).

This one is ‘Fart in your face’!

The things on the walls are tapestries made to look like silk, a frame and a tapestry.

If you are at all interested in historic tapestries, then you will love this book.

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Bayeux Tapestry

I have started work on my Bayeux tapestry kit – I am just doing the stem stitch around the main mast. I have cobbled together two Q-snaps, but it seems to be working (there is a nice sound when you pull the thread through the fabric).

My stitching class re-starts this friday, so I am not sure how much progress I am going to make, but I am very keen to give the Bayeux stitch a go.

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Stitching Progress

I think I have finished my slow stitch project.

I am just letting it sit for a bit, to see if I want to add anything else.

Yesterday, I went to a course at Calico and Ivy. It was given by Pauline Franklyn. It was stitching flowers, using 4ply sock yarn and lovely fabrics (combining all of my loves).

This is Pauline’s version

I really enjoyed the class and now I have lots of plans and ideas. To add to my many projects already on the go, or packed as kits in my stitching box.

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Filed under Applique, Embroidery, Fabric Stash, Yarn Stash

Holiday Craft Purchases

I went on a trip to Edinburgh, London, Bayeux and Paris. I wanted to see tapestries, and I saw so many. Starting with the reproductions at Stirling Castle, then all of the tapestries at Palace of Holyrood House (this place is wall-papered in tapestries), the tapestries at the V & A (plus I saw the Syon Cope), Hampton Court Palace, the Bayeux tapestry (not a tapestry but an embroidery) – this one had the best audio guide, The Lady and the Unicorn tapestries at the Cluny Musée (there were other tapestries here as well) and the tapestries at the Louvre. We saw a lot of tapestries.

In between seeing tapestries and visiting book stores, I bought some craft supplies (as souvenirs).

In Paris I went to Ultramod (the oldest haberdashery in Paris) and bought trim. I then went to Le Bonheur des Dames and bought the chicken cross stitch (this store is down a very cool passage – well worth a visit).

In Edinburgh I went to Kathy`s Knits and bought sock yarn – Abercairn Yarns (the top skein in the above image).

In London, I went to Liberty (embroidery scissors and fabric – I plan to embroider on the fabric), and to Loop where I got that second skein of yarn (it’s a La Bien Aimée, so it’s like a London/Paris souvenir).

And finally in Bayeux I bought an embroidery kit – I am going to attempt to make one of the boats.

While travelling (planes and trains) I worked on a sock

It’s just a plain sock (I didn’t want anything too complicated), the yarn is from Fiber Lily (I think it’s called Apple Blossom Fairy).

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Finished Pair of Socks

Finished socks!

I knitted these in one long tube, from cuff to cuff, cut the tube in half, added toes and after-thought heels. From this book …

I thought I would give a new method a try, but it’s not my favourite method. I think I will revert back to one at a time with a heel flap and gusset.

I used Heart & Soul yarn from Sirdar in shade 0050 and my usual knit pro zings (2.25mm)

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Slow Stitching

Progress on my slow stitching project

I am really enjoying this process. Trying out different stitches and techniques. I have never used beads or sequins before. I still have some bugle beads to try. Each new stitch becomes my favourite – although chain stitch, french knots and back stitch are probably my top three stitch choices.

I am mostly using perle cotton (size 8 and 5), and some silk left over from my coaster project.

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Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home Progree

Progress is slow but steady. I have almost made it across the top border.

More project details here.

I am enjoying the 40 count fabric and the Au ver à Soie 100/3 silks.

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New Stitching Class Project

This term in my stitching class I am working on a slow stitch project.

I took a photo of some leaves in Kings Park and had it printed onto cotton by Spoonflower.

I have some linen fabric to which I am going to attach things. I have some beads, an organza flower, fabric I tea dyed, colour catchers that I dyed with green tea.

At this stage I am going to stick with straight stitches and beads, but it might evolve.

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Second Coaster Finish

Finished Coaster

I finished my second coaster. I, unintentionally, went a bit ‘off-piste’ with this one. It’s a good thing the Sprats Head 2 (in the corners) are quite forgiving.

The design and threads are from Beautiful Stitches.

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Scout Shawl


I have been working on my Scout Shawl, I think I have started it about 7 times, but I am on my way now.

I’m about halfway through section 1. And I am catching the second colour every third stitch.

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