Putting the scroll together

•October 17, 2017 • 8 Comments

Before I’d done a stitch on this project, I did the finials for the scroll. They are ABC in silver with amethysts, plus a rock crystal twiddly bit I had lying around that sort of reminded me of a cross between a unicorn horn and one of those pointy things medeival types used for reading.

It’s not as extravagant as it seems because all three pieces of silver came from my scrap drawer(hence they’re three different thicknesses of metal) and the amethysts are part of a bulk lot, nearly a kilo, of native cut stones I bought for ten quid nearly twenty years ago and which I’ve barely made a dent in despite plastering amethysts over any bit of silver that sat still long enough.

When I do the saint and sinners Luttrell fantasy I want to make silver finials for the hanging pole, so these were a good practice run.

I’m quite pleased with the finials, but mostly I’m pleased because I sawed the wood to make the rods all by myself. I don’t do woodwork, I have a cringing level of horror for the texture of unpolished wood that verges on the autistic, (my stepbrothers used to torture my by rubbing teatowels on damp wooden spoons whislt I ran away screaming. I’m sure they fully realised how cruel they were being, but they were teenage boys so they didn’t care) so I really impressed myself.

I interlined the scroll with a layer of white linen to prevent the backing showing through. The backing itself is a sort of crazy patchwork of assorted leftover bits of medeival brocade, which again reflects my fascination with re-use of medeival textiles, whilst also satifying my extreme miserliness with cloth, and I think it gives a nicely decadent feel. I was especially satisfied by being about to use those two big triangular panels on the right hand side.

Excuse the small kitten shaped lump underneath it, once he’s asleep he deosn’t move for anything.

I measured it very carefully, then I made it approximately an inch too short to wrap around the rod and had to faff about sewing an extra bit on. Obviously I was doing all of this on the day of the submission deadline with hours to spare…

It’s edged with a red silk cord and I’ll dig out Gareth’s good photos he did for me with he shiny new digital SLR for the next post



•October 11, 2017 • 10 Comments

is for zodiac man.

Daniel explained that whenever they have any kind of exhibit at the Bodleian, even if it happens to be on volcanoes, they always manage to include a zodiac man. I think it’s like thier office version of “where’s Wally”. I liked it because I has so much fun with my own zodiac hanging, which was in turn based on a byzantine ms.

I did him on parchment because he was a bit small and fiddly. I could have sewn this small with silk on ramie, but the wool is a bit to big a weave for small stiches.

Daniel also showed us a ms where the zodiac man had a tiny silk curtain to protect his modesty (no idea why this is necessary when he has a scorpion over his willy) so mine has a curtain too.

stitchalong part 3

•October 6, 2017 • 6 Comments

Convent stitch.

This is a variation of laid and couched work, inasmuch as it’s the couched part without the laid. It’s pretty simple.

work with a double thread. Do one long stitch along the length of the area to be covered, as with laid and couched work.

Then bring your double thread out at the top of the stitch you’ve just laid down.

Then couch the bar down – just like couching the top bar in laid and couched work, but at a sloping angle rather than a point.

The just spiral your way down the bar until you get to the bottom.

And repeat. Make sure the bars are nestled snugly against one another so there are no gaps.

You will notice that I haven’t filled the entire space as I normally would with laid and couched work, but rather have stopped at the edge of the box. Because the stitch is quite directional I want to use it to indicate the ribbon curving round the box.

The back, btw, is just a series of tiny points, there isn’t much thread at the back, it all goes on the surface.

So fill in the first part of the ribbon, then work the second section on a slope as though the ribbon is curling around the edge of the box. To ensure a nice smooth flow bring the needle out through the existing stitch.

So you finish with a nice, subtle bend to the ribbon.

Now, you need to work the rest of the pale blue ribbon in convent stitch, but you’ll have to refer to the finished photo because I accidentally smashed my mobile phone with a roman sword this afternoon, and that was one picture I haven’t been able to recover.

Don’t worry, I’ve managed to download the rest of the progress pics onto my laptop, it’s just that one that’s gone missing.



•October 5, 2017 • 8 Comments

is for thorn, because as we all know “ye olde” is actually “the old” because the rune thorn was retained for many centuries in the english alphabet to represent the “th” sound unique to our mother tongue, leading to confusion with the similar looking letter y once thorn was phased out.

plus, may I repeat my previous iteration about those last few letters being tricky?

Personally I’m mostly just amused by the fact that thorn spelled with thorn looks like porn – which is also quite relevant to medeival manuscripts.

I promise snail being ridden by jousting bunny is the final snail.


•October 4, 2017 • 7 Comments

Is for Xenophon ( I’ve been rubbish keep forgetting to post, sorry)

Another classical reference because seriously, there just aren’t that many X words, and even fewer vaguely related to books of any sort.

I chose to reference his work on horsemanship because I’m sure I read somewhere that was his most well known work during the medeival period. It makes sense when you think of the central position of the horse in the life of medeival nobility.

Plus, I always found the anabasis hard work, so…

class pictures

•September 29, 2017 • 4 Comments

I haven’t taken pics from the opus class yet,(I’ve been pretty hopeless all round this year, I’ve either forgotten to take pictures at all, or I’ve forgotten to post them, it’s nothing personal) as they’re only 2/3 the way through, but here are pics from the three day Anglo Saxon embroidery course at the ashmolean. IN no particular order. Some are veg dyed wool, some veg dyed silk, and one deveres silk.

The soft veg dyed silks of the tree are lovely, and that strange little horselike beast is looking adorable(I’m glad he got chosen, I have a soft spot for that design, he just looks so pleased with life)

the Alfies are in various stages of completion, but everyone had a go at each technique. It was fascinating to see how the different colourways worked, and although it’s not strictly authentic to put gold thread with wool it does look interesting (I’m thinking of working some gold thread into the Luttrell fantasy with bishops in. bishops love a bit of bling). Hopefully I’ll see some finished Alfies soon, because I want to see how their doleful little faces work out- they are showing great potential for comical expressions so far, which are quite faithful to the face of the original jewel Alfie.

And the two finished roundels are a bit spiffy, aren’t they? I regret not having lollipops on hand  for finishing, but there were macarons


•September 28, 2017 • 9 Comments

is for words and writing

Niether of which are particularly image friendly, and I did feel I was repeating myself a bit with the quill motif, but we all know how tricksy those last few letters of the alphabet can be.