Lutrell progress

•August 29, 2015 • 4 Comments

I drove through a lot of Yorkshire yesterday, and it mostly smelled of poo. Gareth helpfully suggested it was the smell from leeds festival.

finally got the Lutrell fantasy ready for the next turn



Paris update

•August 26, 2015 • 12 Comments

Ok, so the weekend didn’t quite go as planned, and work admin stuff has been getting in the way of my sewing time these last couple of days, so slow progress has been made( I was hoping to have done the gold by now) but at least progress has been made.


The sleeves were done with some mill remnant silk, which is a little coarser but a lot closer in texture to medieval silk- I wish I could get more like it.

her hair was originally going to be a much more golden, brassy looking yellow. But then the brassy yellow was upstairs and I was too lazy to go and get it so she ended up being golden retriever blond instead. The tasteful golden retriever blond is another remnant bit, and I didn’t realise how much thicker it was until I’d done a few stitches. My first thought was to pull them out and start again with a thinner bit, but when I looked at it I really liked it. So I did a few more stitches and really really liked the textural contrast, so it stayed.

Another stitchalong poll

•August 21, 2015 • 11 Comments

I am going to spend the weekend finishing paris


And then I’ll get on prepping the stitchalong ( I’ve been putting it off because the fabric for the kits was out of stock, but it should be arriving any day now, fingers crossed)

the vote was overwhelmingly in favour of another bag, but I was thinking I’d offer  a larger version of the kit for those who wanted to make cushions. But as for subject, the vote was Lutrell psalter, but should it be…

in other news, I have been trying to get to grips with one of the hazards of the summer hols. You see, every week I treat myself to a little toddle out to leeds market for lUnch at cafe moor. Unfortunately cafe moor is dangerously close to several very cheap fabric stalls, which has resulted in a large pile of fabric.

so I made a little list of what shirts I intended to make from said fabric, and for whom. This list shall henceforth be known as THE SHIRT LIST OF DOOM.



Actually, i thought of another I have to add to that…

anyway, I’ve been trying to get to grips with it. I made Gareth a beach hut shirt with rock trim


Its quite a stiff canvas but he really liked the print, so I’m hoping it softens a bit with wear.

i also wanted to make him another black and white shirt, but I had lots of small pieces that weren’t really big enough. Then I decided to frankenstien all little bits into one big bit


I was cutting this out whilst Gareth was out this morning, and I began to think that maybe this was a step too far, even for Gareth. Then he came home and saw what I was doing, and loved it. Apparently this is the shirt of his dreams, the shirt he’s always wanted, he’s been waiting his whole life for this very shirt.

yes, he’s wierd. Maybe he took it heart when I said I could  never dump him now because I’d never be able to find another man with such truly appalling taste in shirts, who knows?

in his defense I do seem to be exclusively attracted to wierdoes.


He hasn’t seen it yet because he’s gone out drinking with Wayne. He invited me along but I would have bored silly whilst they talked about nepenthes. Besides which I went out for cocktails with Marta last night.

i was thinking that this would be easier to cut out than his usual mutt shirts, which take a lot of thinking to get the patterns evenly distributed. However this turned to have it’s own problems, and required careful positioning of the pattern to ensure that each piece had at least one join in it. I’m specially pleased with the diamond arm that I cut on the bias.

the beach huts are getting put away for Christmas, but he was so excited I said he could have this one for our day out in Scarborough tomorrow. He says it looks perfect for sitting in a pub watching the rain.




This and that

•August 20, 2015 • 14 Comments

Got a delivery from sartor yesterday


The gorgeous big blue griffins were intended to make cushions for the two crowns, but his majesty has decided his purple silk tunic isn’t long enough, so now they’re destined for the bottom of his tunic and I have to order more silk for the cushions.

it will be the same silk again, because it’s the only one I like. And also because having ones monarch coordinate with ones soft furnishings is all the medieval rage…

the purple eagles are for a new throne canopy, as john and I have both been long unhappy with the old one, and when I saw this I knew it was perfect.

i will have to trim the purple though, since it’s a bit too wide, so maybe the oFfcuts can line the enamelled casket which came back from the gilders( via a huge delay on the m1, ggrrrrr….) this morning


My workshop time next week will be spent making hinges and mounting it up.

workshop time this week didn’t involve finishing anything as such, but I did find my gold reserve…


There might even be two whole grammes there.

i can see you’re all overawed by my obvious wealth.

but, in between working on larger projects, I used the gold reserve to get a head start on a few Christmas presents.


I haven’t decided who will get what yet, and they won’t get pins until they’re assayed, but I think they’re cute. The sheep is my favourite.

ow. I am bleeding. Just got run over by a startled cat.ow.

Medieval paris

•August 14, 2015 • 13 Comments


This is actually a project I’ve wanted to do for a while. The almoner purses I’ve done are pretty much the “it” bags of thec14th, so I wanted to make a medieval it girl.

the base image is from codex manesse, and I’ve added the iPhone, handbag, and chihuahua.

im still not entirely sure about the pink, because. pink is just soooo not my colour.

I was hoping to have her sleeves and the little dogs body done as well, since I’m doing this alongside my students on the ashmolean course, but what with Evesham all I’ve had was two days this week ( also I’m still not sure if I want her sleeves to be green, blue, or white). I really think this is pretty decent progress for two days. We are focusing on faces tomorrow so I’ve started that, although I probably won’t get much done during class as helping everyone else has to be my main priority. I do intend to consult the class on whether paris here should be rocking a bit of a retro eighties vibe with a splash of blue eye shadow though.

The iPhone, circlet, handbag and dog collar will be gold and pearl, so they’ll be left for the final class.

A very old project

•August 12, 2015 • 12 Comments

There will be sewing Friday, I promise, but it being summer I’m trying to have a couple of solid days each week playing with metal. This week it was only an afternoon because I have sewing to do for Friday.

Last week I found a box under the bench that I’d completely forgotten about. Inside was this.


Pretty grotty looking, innit?

id forgotten all about it. This was my second ever enameling project. Champleve On copper, inspired by, but not directly copied from the valence casket. Yes, running before I can walk is a thing that I do.

anyway, I decided to see if it was worth cleaning up and rehabilitating.


Its actually not as awful as I remembered. Yes, some of the enamel is pitted and a bit burned, but…

I can’t really do anything about pitted enamel, as I no longer have access to a big kiln. This was before I learned about grinding and re firing, it being my second attempt my teacher ( a jewellery teacher, not really an enamel teacher) taught me to just try and fill the copper rather than overfilling and then grinding back – champleve is not really a technique in the modern jewellery repertoire, so she taught me the basics and I’ve learnt a lot by trial and error since.

the two end pieces are random medieval tile patterns


And the top and sides are taken from the same zodiac I’m currently embroidering.



I think I will never quite be happy with the enamel, but on the other hand it seems a waste to let it just rot in a box, and let’s face it even if it’s not perfect no one has a better version to show me up. Therefore I’ve decided to get it gilded, and Gareth is making a little wooden box to mount it upon. I’ve dug out the hinges and fittings and just need to fiddle a bit before everything gets gilded. I’m going to leave the copper as it is, even though it’s a little scratched, because taking those scratches out will mean loosing a lot of detail.

ill update after it’s gold.

i also decided to tidy my gem stash in new containers after loosing those expensive peridots the other week. Still haven’t found them. I erred on the side of caution and bought one more box than I thought I’d need.

Obviously need more boxes, but these are far easier to see what I’ve got


rubies and garnets


Amethysts and citrines


Mother of pearl, blue topaz, banded agates and corals


Iolites and tourmalines

need more boxes, ( this is my version of everybody else’s bead stash. Don’t fib – we all know you have a bead stash. Organising it is part of the fun)

in other news, Gareth reckons my cat is training for a new career in the circus



•August 10, 2015 • 13 Comments

I didn’t get any pictures of little princesses wearing the crown as I don’t like having a camera in costume. Instead I bring you pics taken before and after the official opening times.

carnac, the kings page, decided to commit treason by trying on the royal regalia whilst his majesty was getting dressed. As I was taking this his dad was hissing ” he’s behind you!”


The authentically faked ermine on johns crown cap worked well. It’s the white squirrel bellies that were left over from trimming my silk velvet gown with little bits of black fur inserted at intervals. I’ve read this was sometimes done in period when real ermine was in short supply or just too expensive.


Johns next project is new shoes, he wants a pair with gold leaf, I will nag him until he does it. I was interested in how this tunic hung around the neck because when I made it I was in two minds whether to make the neck as a plain round or a slight vee. In the end I went for round, but as soon as we put a hefty brooch on it it became the vee shape I’ve seen in portraits. This makes me wonder if the vee existed at all- especially since this brooch is only silver gilt, whereas a solid gold one would be far heavier.


John liked the cloak, but we’ve agreed to invest in enough plates of squirrel to make two cloaks because he really should have a fur lining, and so should I. We are going to do one cloak at a time because of the expense though, so his will be first.


Slightly blurry shot shot with two of the lads from bifrost guard, who were our guards for the weekend. John has some better ones so I’ll try and post one later. We kept trying to marry them off all weekend but nobody wanted them.

I had fun compering the fashion show, so thanks to the musician for his fanfares, and conquest, bifrost guard, dawn of chivalry, king Edwards living history company and the other ladies whose group name I’ve forgotten for being my sexy models.

several people remarked that the tent looks like a palace, to which my first response was “good, that’s what it should look like” and second, ” I’m not finished yet, it needs more bling”.

there were several little princes who tried on the princess crown. More than one person suggested I also make a prince crown, and I’ll admit my internal monologue was thinking ” ffs, how many crowns does one woman need to make in her life, I’m already up to six or seven!”


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