I do have an excuse though - every spare minute is currently spent stitching a panel of The Great Tapestry of Scotland, and I've not spent anything like as much time on the computer as I usually do (which is no bad thing!).
To find out more about the tapestry you'd be best to follow the link to scotlandstapestry.com as there's lots of info on the official website. It tells the story of Scotland in 163 hand stitched panels - everything from the formation of the land 300 million years ago, through standing stones, the Black Death, many battles and monarchs, the Forth Bridge, ship building on the Clyde, right up to Dolly the Sheep and the Scottish Parliament (and much, much more).
It's a very exciting project to be involved with. I love the thought that people will be visiting the tapestry for hundreds, maybe thousands of years. At 160m + it'll be more than twice as long as the Bayeux Tapestry!
My panel is no.155, The Steamie, depicting a woman doing her washing. Tony Roper's hilarious play 'The Steamie' set in a 1950's Glasgow steamie (public wash house) is a hugely popular draw for theatres all over Scotland and will ensure that this slice of social history is never forgotten!
At 1 metre x 50cms I'm very happy to be sharing the work with a local lady, Gail, who I'd never met before. Seemingly we were the only people in this area who volunteered to help with the stitching, so we were paired up.
Ready to go - the panel stretched nice and taut on a frame and wool in various colours.
Now where to start...
The first stitch!
The outlines are to be a prominent feature of the entire tapestry.
Starting on the dress. I've worked this in split stitch using two shades of purple together in the needle.
Gail and I have agreed to swap over every couple of weeks, and although I missed having Jessie around for a fortnight, it was lovely to see her back again carrying a beautifully stitched basket!
I've now completed her sleeve and given it a textured appearance so that her clothes aren't too flat looking. I've also started work on her apron. Our guidance notes suggested that her apron may be soaking wet so I'm using two shades of wool, blended where they meet each other, to give this impression.
Hopefully I'll be able to get a bit more of the apron done before handing her over to Gail again.