madder plant

Working method
 Recording the events of September 1066
raven sketch

Find out about the battle of Fulford



The battle of Fulford website


Panel 1 - Scarborough


  Panel 2 - Rampage through Holderness


  Panel 3 - Preparing for battle


Panel 4 -Confrontation


Panel 5 - Outflanking at the ford  


Panel 6 - King Harald enters York

Visiting Fulford

Map York

The working method

This was the plan:

bulletThe work will progress from left to right, so please finish those near the left edge first.
bulletChoose a figure and make it your own. Start with something small and simple before tackling a larger figure.
bulletWhen making your choice, think about how much time you will have as it needs to be finished before the linen can be moved in the frame.
bulletIf you decide to share a figure with another embroiderer, make sure you have agreed who does what and the colours you plan to use.
bulletYou can work from both sides. Working upside-down takes a little practice but please give it a go.
bulletMaintain the same colours throughout for each important character. If necessary select the threads you will need and put them in a bag reserved for your character, as it might not be possible to reproduce the colours exactly in the next batch of dyes.
bulletIt is best to start in the middle of the linen and work towards the edges because this prevents rubbing-damage to the work already done. You might find it convenient to lay a cloth over parts that are likely to be abraded.
bulletThe choice of clothing you wear to cover your arms when working is worth considering. Rough fabrics will abrade the wool and bare arms risk dirtying the fabric and the wool. Please remember that the blue dye has a slight tendency to rub so might affect your clothing.
bulletIt might be also worth covering a previously worked area if you cannot avoid rubbing it when working a new area.
bulletAim for a flat finished surface without the ply of the wool being visible from normal working distance (30cm).

It didn't work out quite like this and we will be updating the working methods followed in due course.


For the first half of the project, panels were worked on a frame. 

  1. The original frame was free standing and long enough for one panel - The drawback was that it was not portable or easy to put away. In theory, the frame would keep the fabric in tension so lines would be straight. But it was hard to reach to the centre when the fabric was mounted on a frame.

More about why we abandoned the 'big frame solution'.

  1. We started with a big frame.
  2. Later we spread it on a table.
  3. Small embroidery frames were used later.

The advantage of the frame was that it held the cloth in the correct tension. We were told it was difficult to keep the lines straight if the cloth is stretched. But it turned out to be much easier to work with the loose cloth and just follow the line that was marked on the cloth.

During the winter months when the museum were often closed, sections could be taken home and small embroidery frames used for individual figures.

And when the time came to join the panels together, the need was for a large hall and a long table.

The team prepare for work in the merchant Adventurers Hall in York. You can see a stick in the middle as the two sections have not been joined and there is an embroidery frame in place (lower centre) ready for work.


There is more about the craft of spinning.  The Stitches  The threads  Working tips and instructions

Read about the battle that inspired the tapestry

Panel 1 from the coloured design

The author of the content is Charles Jones -

Supported with lottery funding from:


launched May 2012

last updated Dec 2012

Panel 6 from the original sketch

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