Having completed (yay!) my first project, I am starting out on my second. Simple felt leaves (using felt made by me) with embroidered veins/patterns, to hang on the seasonal tree.
I was watching a fantastic programme on BBC4 last week, which was part of the Fabric of Britain series, where there have also been programmes about the history of knitting and the history of wallpaper. This week, the focus was the wonder of English medieval embroidery ( the link is to iplayer) or 'opus anglicanum' (English work), which was renowned throughout Europe as being the best. The programme showed some beautiful and precious examples of this embroidery, usually used in bishop's robes or other church vestments, and using gold and silver, pearls and jewels too. (It is being repeated tonight at 8.00pm on BBC4 and is well worth a look.)
The programme was fascinating and visited churches and museums in Italy as well as The Royal School of Embroidery where the two stitches which these embroiderers used most - split stitch and underside couching - were demonstrated. I am excited to be using a stitch which has such a long history.
The end of opus anglicanum came after the Black Death in 1348, where so many people died. The embroiderers from Europe took over with their stitching designs and they were taken up in England too. I enjoyed all of this short series and recommend the programmes (if you are able to access them).
(Photos of embroidery from V and A website)