Saturday survey

•February 28, 2015 • 8 Comments

I need a bit of a second opinion. I need to make john a semi circular cloak for when he’s being king. I have this silkimage

Which is perhaps a tiny bit Victorian gothic revival, but it’s in my stash so it will have to do. It will break down nicely into a ten inch wide border to go all the way around the cloak. But…

What do we think of that camel/ toffee coloured hainsworths wool to go with? In the flesh it’s more like a dark mustard)

It’s lovely quality and I was thinking it would tone with the gold in the silk, but am worried it’s all…not right


*edit* having laid the silk out flat am now also prepared too consider just making a silk cloak…hmmmm…

Slow slow progress

•February 23, 2015 • 14 Comments

In between naps, many naps, I’ve done some sewing.


There are many more panels in there than I would normally go with. This is because I’d usually allow more than three metres of broadcloth for a full length early medieval tunic dress, but this piece was a remnant of a little less than three metres, so I had to cut creatively to get the best use. In the words of the tailor of Gloucester there’s not enough left for tippets for mice


It’s an absolutely gorgeous wool, beautifully finished ( I had to invisibly mend a tiny tear near the hem) but not the easiest thing to sew as it’s rather tough and resists the needle somewhat.

Speaking of which, can I just reiterate how much I love flat fell seams? Every time I bake I conclude that eggs are magic, and every time I construct a wool garment I fall in love all over again with flat fell seams.


I was going to continue the upper stripe around the shoulder, but I’d leave it till last because it will use up the short lengths of silk from the skirt, but now I’m looking at the photo and thinking it looks nice as it is. I might have to ponder, maybe try it on and look in the mirror. I’m planning four stripes around the skirt and I’ve started basting the first into place.


The oddest things come in handy when you’re sewing – I’m using the piece of plywood I keep for wet stretching embroidery to prevent myself from basting two layers of skirt together. I’m doing one stripe at a time because I find ironing the edges of the silk strips so boring.


•February 18, 2015 • 12 Comments

I couldn’t resist starting to play on Monday

I’m really pleased with the way the pattern breaks down into a border, and the couched blue silk looks good. I’ve done the appliqué on the sleeves and will do the upper body, but leave the bands on the skirts until the whole thing is assembled.

I’m thinking that around the neck I’ll couch gold thread instead of the blue silk.

I’m allowed a couple of sofa days post-op, so I might get a fair bit done between naps. They took out the bad tooth and I have to admit I was relieved when I woke up and they said they’d also taken out my upper wisdom teeth because one of them had been chewing the inside of my face.

Apparently throwing up after dental surgery is a thing, that was yucky. I thought I’d finished but then we had the worst taxi drive home. Not only was there still traffic in central leeds at eight, but the driver was awful, he only knew accelerate and brake, so it was lurch, lurch lurch all the way- so I threw up again when I got in. Even Gareth looked a bit green, he’s used to my driving. ( Carl, who fixes my van, had a rant about the boy racers whose brakes he changes at every service, and said he wished he had more female customers, because ” you never actually use your brakes, do you?)

Gareth is meant to be checking I’m responsive every ten minutes, which he is failing at because I haven’t seen him for an hour. He’s also meant to keep me away from the cooker and the kettle, which he’s also failing at because he didn’t even notice when I woke up starving at midnight and made myself a baby bear bowl of porridge.

Nurse branston supervised though. He says giving out cat treats is good therapy for poorly monkeys

I am allowed a treat

•February 16, 2015 • 14 Comments

But I was greedy and got two treats because I couldn’t make my mind up. I am allowed because,

– I’m cheering myself up because I’m spending the day in hospital tomorrow having a general anaesthetic to get my bad tooth removed (medicinal post op veg soup is freshly made and stowed in the fridge)

– I’m fortunate enough to be English so the lovely nhs is doing the op for free and I don’t need to remortgage my house to pay for it. They were even nice enough to schedule it for a week when I’m not working

– mr Cameron raised the personal tax allowance to a much more reasonable level, so that paying my tax bill last month wasn’t crippling, I’m many hundreds of pounds better off than usual despite not having a brilliant year.

– the pound is really strong against the euro right now.( this came from sartor in Czechoslovakia)

So I cheered myself up with….


This is a replica of a c12th Sicilian fabric, and it’s only a small piece which a bought specifically to slice up into decorative bands on a wool dress. For nearly fifteen years I’ve been craving a late twelfth/ early thirteenth century close sleeved frock with broad horizontal stripes. To be honest it’s a bit naughty, given the connotations of stripes and the fact that the style appears to be largely masculine, but I’m feeling a bit soddit, so.

I had originally thought to use it with some rather luscious camel coloured hainsworths wool I picked up for peanuts a few weeks ago, but


As you can see it just doesn’t look right. The gold of the beasts ( and I really can’t decide if I want brown beasts on gold or gold beasts on brown) is much more rich and orangey than it appears on my monitor – I thought it was a pale gold when I ordered it.


So now I’m looking at it with the other bit of peanut cheap hainsworths I got. The green is a smaller piece, but it will make a dress if I cut with care. I think I’ll cut the green this afternoon so that I can have some nice plain seams to sew if I feel groggy for the next few days. I’ll leave the silk until I’m ready to apply it, because although I’ll hand sew it to the frock I think I’ll overlock the cut edges of each strip.

Unless I can think of something better to do with them ann rippin might be getting a large parcel of silk strips because there isn’t enough gap between the beasts to avoid waste – I will get one application strip for each two rows of beasts.

My other treat was this


Which is large enough for a frock, the pattern is thirteenth century. The description said blue, but it looked very purple, and thankfully it is quite purple.

Other people look lovely in blue. I look like a badly warmed up zombie in blue. In purple I’m magnificent.

Again, I can’t decide which way up I like this, but I’m leaning towards gold birdies.


I was wondering if it went with the embroidered collar, which I’m almost finished. I did buy some sage green wool for the collar to go with, but I’m beginning to think the wool is more suited to a cloak as it’s quite bulky, so I was wondering about using the collar with this. I’m beginning to think that particular bit of embroidery really doesn’t go with anything though.

I am itching to get my scissors into that green wool now. Yup, green and gold, that works for me!

Best in show and a couple of birthday shirts

•February 13, 2015 • 27 Comments

Last year Gareth wore his veggie shirt for the great Yorkshire show, and several people tried to buy it from his back. We joked that I ought to make a special Yorkshire show shirt, so…

It was Gareth’s choice to have sheep buttons at the cuff and little piggies down the front

He’s getting it for a valentines present tomorrow.

It’s a bit bright, but I’m thinking maybe my dad needs something similar because not only does he adore tractors and piggies, but he goes to a lot more agricultural shows than Gareth does, so he’d get to wear it a lot. Of course my dad would be perfectly safe wearing a shirt like this, because since he’s already blind he’d be in no danger of searing out his own retinas with an accidental glance in the mirror…

It was Gareth’s birthday Wednesday, so he’s already had two new shirts this week. One with maps, stamps and tickets in a heavy warm cotton


Which he looked really nice in. And I couldn’t resist making an impossible blue rose shirt, if only so he can wear it for the Harrogate flower show…


I ran short of the black rose buttons, though, but we are both happy with the random pewter watering can at the collar


I really enjoyed Gareth’s birthday day out, we had birthday cake for breakfast, then got the train to york for a pub lunch. Gareth then insisted we walk out to the new john lewis, which was slightly disappointing because it didn’t really have a proper sewing section. It did have a hotel chocolate cafe, where the man looked at me a bit odd cos I asked for rum in my hot chocolate ( the leeds branch offers it and it’s yum) then we walked back and went to see Shaun the sheep ( movie of the century) before more pub grub and the train home.

I was very good and only spent thirty two pounds in duttons ( got some fab ones that look like truck tyres for my dad) but then the birthday boy somehow managed to blow £25 of my money on shirt fabric for my dad.

I might have had a bit much cider in the pub though, cos I dropped poor branstons dinner on him when I got home. He’s only just stopped looking at me like, ” omg, run away! It’s that bloody woman who throws food at me!”


•February 12, 2015 • 6 Comments

I’m actually taking the first part of the year off from writing and teaching, but this was done last year, so…

This gets confusing, because it’s supposed to be available today at the interweave store

Except it doesn’t appear to be there yet, possibly because of the time difference. Any it’s meant to be on newstands from the 3rd, but I’m not sure when it’s available in Europe


•February 10, 2015 • 6 Comments

I’m having to lay this aside for two weeks, so I was a bit desperate to finish blocking the colours by bedtime last night because there was something quite depressing about the though of coming back after two weeks and having to finish the last bit of yellow before getting on with the outlines.



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