First, a reply from Ruth Briffett. She and a group of ladies work at repairing and making ecclesiastical linens in Toronto.
I have removed the brown stain from blue pens used on church linens by dipping a Q-tip in hydrogen peroxide and dabbing it gently on the stain. The stain usually disappears fairly quickly and a quick rinse will wash out any remaining peroxide.
Another comment is from Heather Grief.
As a fan of the Bayeux Tapestry, I have been considering the possibility that the embroiderers did not transfer the design by marking the linen cloth, before stitching – no sign of any lines have been found.
It is possible to use tacking stitches to mark the main points (corners of buildings etc) and fill in the rest by hand. In the Middle Ages, the design would have been drawn on parchment (prepared animal skins) – tougher than modern paper – and a needle could be pushed through to mark the relevant spots.
I suggest this as a means of avoiding the use of marking substances in modern work – you simply remove the tacking stitches as you do the embroidery, filling in the gaps by eye.
Heather, Thank you for your reply. I have never given any thought to how the design was placed on the Bayeux Tapestry linen. There are no visible lines you say. Umh!! Curious and curiouser. I cannot think that all that intricate design was stitched freehand.
Prick and pounce is the historical method of transferring a design onto fabric. When a student at RSN, we rubbed powdered charcoal through the prickings on the paper pattern to make a temporary line on the fabric. Having blown away any excess charcoal, we painted the lines using blue or black watercolour paint. We used ultra fine sable brushes to make a very fine line. It was easy to cover those fine lines with stitching. Marking pens make such thick lines in comparison.
Maybe they had some disappearing watercolour paint they were able to use on the Bayeux Tapestry.
Let us ask the readers what they think.
In the past, since RSN, I have marked the design lines (reversing the design) on the backing fabric. Then, I have basted the lines through to the front. It works but is not very accurate.