Our panel for the Great Tapestry of Scotland is now well and truly started. Jessie had completed the heavy outlines in double chain stitch and I now had the privilege and anxiety of getting the main body up and running. My initial section is the roof, walls, chimneys and windows of the jute mills. We are to work each section for a week at a time. Marilyn now has the panel and she will be starting on the lengths of jute running down the right hand side. Jessie will then follow with the ream of paper on the left hand side, while Margaret will fill in the costume of the jute worker. She had started on this, but on advice from Dorie we agreed to change the colours for her apron and skirt. So it fell to me to get started on the main body of the panel. Here is what I have completed so far.
This gives a good idea of the upper part of our panel and how it has jute mills for a background. You can see one of the outer lines stitched by Jessie on the right hand side. Below are a couple of photos showing more detailed views of the top roof and walls.
I stitched the outlines first, in a stem stitch using a very dark thread. Nearly all jute mills in Dundee were roofed in slates, so that is what I attempted to depict. I first stitched long horizontal stitches in a medium grey colour, I suppose a satin stitch (not very familiar with embroidery stitches), from one side of the roof to the other as close as I could make them. Then using the same dark thread as for the outlines I overstitched the work with some Paris stitches. These I spaced out as I felt that too many dark lines would overpower the roof. Finally I inserted some horizontal stitches using a dark blue into the grey lines. Slates were as much blue as grey so I wanted to add a bit of blue. Not sure if it is really noticeable.
The walls and ends of Jute mills were predominantly built with stone. Mostly with a grey coloured stone, though some were built with lovely rose coloured sandstone. The Verdant Works, now a museum was built in sandstone. For this part of the panel I have used four colours. The predominant colour is a grey, a little lighter than the one for the roof. To represent stone blocks I used a very simple vertical stitch in varying lengths. Every so often I would add in a block in another colour – green or orange or rose. Partly to break up the monotony of masses of grey, but also because the stone blocks used for Jute mills were of different colours. I have left unstitched a small gap between each row of stone blocks. This is where the cement or filling would be. This was usually in a light colour, so I hope I can get away with leaving it unstitched. We shall see.
I enjoyed stitching this part of the panel. I bought myself a very sharp needle which helped with the linen fabric. As you can see I used a hoop frame, supplied by Margaret I think. But I did not like using this frame. It only covers a small section of the panel and in this case there was a large amount of fabric hanging down from the frame. This was heavy and even when wrapped by an elastic band, still very awkward to hold and manoeuvre. Will try to get a large enough rectangular frame by the time my turn comes round again.