I am so delighted to write this post and share these photos with you.
In posts on my blog you have all followed the progress of our Great Tapestry of Scotland panel since our group was formed and we began working on it just over a year ago.
Well now all the panels are finished and have been hung together in the Scottish Parliament.
All the stitcher's involved (over 1000!) were invited to the opening on Monday (in staged groups!). I took this photo above when we came back from tea and the exhibition was still deserted. This is just a small part of the 160 panels. The whole thing was really overwhelming and quite moving and I am so proud to have been a part of it.
I have taken a lot of photos here, but this is still just scratching the surface. This is the first panel a sort of 'title page'.
And straight away we are at my group's panel, number 5. You can read more about the evolution of this panel here and here and here.
It was wonderful to see it hanging beside the others with people viewing and admiring it.
One of the best things about the opening on Monday was meeting some of the other stitchers and finding out which panel they had worked on and hearing their stories. I now have so much more background information on the other panels then I did before.
I'm now going to start honing in on some particular highlights, though I am sure when I go back again I will find even more that I like just as much.
The shell in the corner and those incredible 3D warriors really stood out for me on this Macbeth panel.
One of the few panels that had been stitched by a man (in partnership with a woman) this was just so beautiful worked, especially the horse.
I loved the way the chainmail had been stitched on the Bannockburn panel, and was lucky enough to meet the lady who stitched it, Caroline, at the reception.
I met a group of lovely ladies who had stitched the panel for the battle of Philiphaugh. I used to live at Philiphaugh (which is just outside Selkirk) very close to the site of the battle and the Covenanter's Monument which is in the top right hand corner. Another lovely thing about these panels is finding bits of them that have personal relevance to your life.
I just couldn't get over the woven stitching in this panel below, it is incredible! I really don't know how the stitcher managed this, it is so perfectly done.
We had only been able to use very natural, earthy tones for our 8500BC panel so it was wonderful to see all the rich colours in the others.
And it is not just the stitching that makes these panels such works of art but the wonderful, creative design by Andrew Crummy. Look how he has tackled this 'chaotic' battle scene! The design style is so beautiful and distinctive and helps the story flow through the different panels.
You had to keep your eyes open for all the stunning little details, like this wine glass - look at that highlight!
More examples of Andrew's fantastic design coupled with the stitchers' incredible talent (I am running out of superlatives here!).
I started this post with a close-up of this as it is one of many highlights.
Another panel which has personal relevance as I can see the Forth Bridge from the top of our field. Again Andrew's design is so imaginative.
Some of the panels were very moving...
Another little gem, just a tiny part of this panel, which really appealed to me.
The peacock one below is probably going to be lot of people's favourite, just stunning.
As is this Paisley one, which I think of as it's sister piece. It was the first panel that Andrew designed.
There's still more to come - are you still with me?!
Glasgow School of Art
Fair Isle Knitting - this is so amazing and one that really needs to be viewed up close to appreciate the detail.
I've exhausted myself exclaiming over all this awesomeness, so let's just look at a few panels in silence...
This next one was completely stitched by 2 men. Only 6 men in total took part so this is a very special panel. I spoke to one of the men who told me he had taken the panel all over Europe on business trips to work on it! It is as exquistely stitched as any of the women's efforts so there is really no reason men shouldn't be doing this too!
Another particular favourite of mine, the stitching on this actually has me lost for words, and again, must be seen up close to really be appreciated.
Each stitcher or group of stitchers had the 2 bottom corners of the panel left empty for them to stitch their own personal 'tag'. These 2 ladies, who I think must have been sisters, used a photo of themselves as little girls - just so lovely!
We are becoming more up to date here. I wasn't sure how these modern panels would work but they are all incredible and I actually love this last bit the best!
Another favourite, this Dolly the sheep panel is so amazing, the stitching on the sheep is so uniform! Again words fail me...
A totally beautiful panel about the Scottish Parliament reconvening worked by head stitcher Dorie Wilkie as a sampler of all (or most of) the stitches used in the whole tapestry.
Well I don't know about you but I am worn out now after seeing all that beauty, and that was just the photos, the real thing is 100 times better. So go see the exhibiton! It's on display at the Scottish Parliament till 21st September and it's FREE!
The BBC has a wonderful video on their website all about the tapestry - well worth a look.
One last photo of our group of talented stitchers (minus Eliz who couldn't make it) in front of our panel.