You probably haven’t heard of change ringing unless you read Dorothy Sayers, live in England, or go near a church which has a peal of bells and rings it this way.
If you do then you may have heard the bells ringing in what sounds like a patterned sequence — that’s change ringing. If you read Dorothy Sayers, one of the Peter Whimsy novels, The Nine Tailors has change ringing as its central theme.
In college, I had a friend who was a change ringer in Washington, DC at the National Cathedral, which has a wonderful peal of bells. It’s great to hear them.
In change ringing the bells, four to twelve, are rung in a particular sequence. Each time the bells are rung they are rung in a different sequence. This site https://www.cs.ubc.ca/~kvdoel/bells/bells.html has a little applet which allows you to set up some bells and then choose one of 13 peals. It plays the bells for you and writes out the sequence as each is rung. It’s totally cool. The National American Guild of Change Ringers has an outstanding site that gives some background information.
Now you know what Change Ringing is, but how do you adapt it to needlepoint?
I was intrigued by an article I read awhile ago, which used Change Ringing to knit socks. The colored inset is a peal sequence.
So why not do this in needlepoint? It would work best as a border, since the sequence will always be narrow. I picked an seven bell peal for the sample.
Begin by choosing your stitch. If you want it to be seven stitches wide, use Continental, 14, use Mosaic, bigger use Scotch, Rice, or any other square stitch. The model above uses Mosaic.
Next pick your thread colors. You will need seven colors and you should write down which color is assigned to each number.
For simplicity I used six shades of Silk & Ivory. I loved the look on the socks of the red running through the cool color background, so I picked, Red Hot for one number and cooler colors for the others.
To make my sequence I used the peal from near the beginning of The Nine Tailors, which I’m rereading. As peals go, it’s pretty simple.
I wrote the sequence out on graph paper, so I wouldn’t get lost. The sequence is:
Red was used for 3 and the other colors are shades of violet and blue violet. Notice there is no one and that 2 is always in the first position.
I think this makes for pretty cool needlepoint. You’ll see the results in the Twinchy Gallery at the end of the month.