Progress continues with my first Beowulf ‘vignette’ depicting the funeral boat of Scyld Scefing. In the end I’ve stuck to a fairly robust medieval color palette to help create that manuscript look. The work is stitched with laid and couched work, stem stitches, back stitches and gold work. Accompanying text in Old English comes directly from the poem.
A knotty linguistic problem to do with additional runes not yet appearing has just been solved with the help of some extremely talented and learned acquaintances in a rune writing/reading group on Facebook. Those runes will shortly be added, along with more ‘ice’ beading, ship rivet beading or stitching (not made up my mind yet) and a lot more gold. The goldwork has barely commenced at the time of these photographs.
Hopefully I should be done in a week and moving on to Hrothgar in Heorot.
I was inspired to create this picture by the Codex Manesse manuscript (319r). My version is somewhat slimmed down from the original, with the removal of the heraldic identifiers and two of the fish, leaving the remainder more symmetrical.
I used DMC cottons: mouliné and perlé, with additional detail in gold thread and beading. The stitches are a modern version of opus anglicanum, comprising of laid and couched threads and split stem stitch. One maiden’s flowered headdress is constructed from French knots. Faces, hands and the central woman’s veil are stitched in mouliné so that the finished texture appears finer and smoother than that of the clothing and, of course, the boat and paddles!
The border is machine appliquéd felt. I chose to machine this because I had managed to give myself tendinitis in a thumb and two fingers when I was sewing the later stages of the main embroidery section. Painful lessons learned and I have since adapted my technique to avoid this in future.