William Marshall – first Turret

I had three colours for the stone – a grey, a cream, and a pale rose. The idea is to echo the colour variation you often see in stone when you start looking, but also, at least some medieval masonry made ornamental use of colour variations. Again, remember that I am looking for a faintly mythological feeling to this, not a historically accurate one, so I don’t mind that I’m tweaking my representation of the Chateau de Tancarville until William’s kinsman wouldn’t recognise his own home. He might, after all, rather like what I’ve done!

I put some thought into whether I would use all three colours in the walls, and if so how, but in the end I decided that since the “sky” will be underside couched in gold, it would be better to put the rose or the grey on the topmost course. Grey felt a bit too lowering, like a stormy sky, and William had quite enough squalls to face in his life, so I chose the rose, and used it also for the mortar.

The narrow course at the base seemed to need a different treatment, still in the the same vein. I used six strands instead of the four I’m using elsewhere, and made a little narrow chequerboard, without any suggestion of mortar.

And here it is, the first turret of the gatehouse complete. I was a little anxious lest the sameness of everlasting split stitch prove exasperating or otherwise offputting, but as it turns out, that’s not the case. I’m finding the different effects of stitch length and direction endlessly intriguing, and while I don’t expect to spend the rest of my stitching days entirely on split stitch, I’m certainly expecting to enjoy William.


  1. Sue Jones says:

    Yes, that’s rather fine, and I can see that it must have been fun watching the stonework taking shape as it grew. The colour variations give it plenty of shape without being so strong that they will distract from Bill and his horse.

  2. I love the effect you get when you change the stitch direction. There certainly is structure in those stones.

  3. That split stitch is so effective isn’t it? The little shadows on each stitch add another element of texture and it behaves itself so much better going round and round. Looking very fine and stonelike. The pale rose at the top will set off the goldwork nicely, and look like sun warmed stone, which is very appropriate I rather think. Those silks are a bit scrumptious once stitched. Do they behave themselves in the needle or do you need to have the hands of a fairy to stitch without it turning into Gonk hair?

  4. Lin says:

    Your turret looks splendid – I had to zoom in your stitching too. xx

  5. Jillayne says:

    I like your colour choices very much and I also like that you are aiming for mythological rather than historical accuracy. I think it will be as effective in the end and allow the imagination to take part when viewing this. And it’s a beautiful combination!

  6. I like the colours you have chosen and the stitching is great. I never did get the hang of split stitch.