A skeleton from my closet.

And it isn’t even halloween!

Long, long ago, when the world was young and people went about their daily business riding dinosaurs, before t’internet were even invented.

In other words, when I was in sixth form (thats seventeen or so, for those of you either not from round these parts or too young to remember what proper school was like), I first got into medieval re enactment. Except really, it was barely re enactment at all in the proper sense of the words, it was all nylon tunics and aluminium swords – we hadn’t even learnt to spell authenticity cos no one had heard of it back then. Being the smart arsed little snot I was (and some would argue still am) I think I was the only one in my group who even treid to use wool (and by wool a mean woolly looking mixed fibres) and I did my best to use something vaguely medieval looking for my embroidery.

 AS you can see, I had heard of goldwork, and translated this into SHINY!!!! SHINY!!!SHINY!!! I think it’s all satin and back stitches.

Obviously “vaguely medieval” meant celtic, I think all these patterns were taken from a book of celtic knotwork I stole from the art department at school.

My stepdad says that I should be fair to myself and point out that no one, not even my mum, ever taught me sewing, let alone embroidery, so he thinks I did pretty well.


 Anyway, a few years later, after the momentous discovery of authenticity, I found myself with a small mountain of pretty, but useless, frocks. Mum kept a couple (I am kicking myself not not getting pics of them too when I was over there this morning) and the rest I ripped the embroidery off and clagged them onto a green wool tunic for my stepdad, Peter, figuring that since they do the odd village fete, etc, where some kind of half hearted attempt at costume is required, he could make use of it. Someone might as well.

Mum was telling me that they took a day out to the Yorvik viking festival not so long ago, and it was much admired by some Regia Anglorum types in the pub, at which I was slightly bemused, as I’d have thought pointing and laughing would have been a more appropriate response.

Feel free to point at laugh at will, btw, thats why I’m posting them. I made some proper shite 25 years ago, I really did!

And now, if you will excuse me, I need to go and have a word with my idiot cat and try and persuade him that cats don’t growl at postmen. He’s been doing that a lot lately. If I wanted someone to growl at the postman, I would get a dog.


~ by opusanglicanum on May 2, 2012.

27 Responses to “A skeleton from my closet.”

  1. I agree with your stepdad, they look great for a first attempt (to be entirely honest it looks far better than anything I’ve ever done)

  2. I agree. Your stitches are impressive for a first attempt. Or even for a 10th attempt.

    I have realized recently that my cat, Pedro, is a dog. It explains alot. The other cat is definitely a cat. That must be why they fight like cats and dogs! Pedro follows me around like a dog but doesn’t bark, nor does he growl at the postman – yet.

    • I really had expected pointing and laughing – everyone is being very supportive!

      I simply realise that branston is an idiot. He’s not stupid, in fact he’s quite smart for a cat, its just that he’s an idiot in the way that all males, even the clever ones, are idiots. He has one thing in common with pedro, though, since gareth is always laughing at the way he follows me around – he even comes to the loo with me. although I think that may well be cos before miss pickle died she left a note somewhere that said” dear cat who succeeds me, don’t let the monkey use the loo unsupervised as I fear she may be stupid enough to fall in and drown”

      • Pedro comes with me to the bathroom too. I live alone, so rarely close the door. Also, sometimes people get locked in there because of a faulty latch, so when I do close the door I don’t latch it. Pedro always opens it. He cannot understand why the door would ever be closed. He also comes when he’s called – another doggy trait.

      • branston will batter the bathroom door down if I close it cos I have guessts. and he practically throws himself at me when i get home from work. pedro isn’t another maine coon, is he? I’ve never had one before but they sound like quite a doggy breed(always had moggies, but gareth was a genetic engineer and didn’t approve, he bought me branny. I just insisted a needed a grey one). I do have trouble coping with the clinginess at times, and hes proper bossy – he has a similar sense of entitlement to that of a teenaged chav

  3. I would never be embarrassed of that lovely embroidery!

    • I remember working with that gold stuff though, its called twilleys goldfingering and you’re meant to crochet with it (I think – it was before I realised gold was meant to be couched) and it was absolute hell on earth to sew with as it shreds all the time

    • btw, have you been having any problems using the reader funtion on wordpress. I haven’t been able to read other peoples blogs for two days – I’ve re-booted my computer and everythign

      • I don’t know about this WordPress reader. I am either subscribed by email or Rss. Are you subscribed to my blog? It’s a WordPress one. Check and see if it’s working. If it’s just blogs, I doubt it’s your computer.

      • yes, I’m subscribed to yours. I can read indivdual wordpress blogs by clicking on direct links, but normally I use the reader function in the top left corner of the screen, it shows you all the recently updated stuff, but it just wont load, hasn’t for almost a day now

      • Weird. I didn’t know about the WP reader. I’ll have to investigate it. Hope it gets working for you soon. Withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable.

      • I’m going through, hell, hell I tell you! I’ve got the shakes and everything

  4. I totally understand your point of view, I think we are always most critical of our own work (I certainly am). But I do agree with your Stepdad too, they are amazing considering they were your first attempts and you were self taught. Don’t think I could do that now! Useful to keep to compare current work with. You can see how far you have come and pat yourself on the back for that and be proud of your early endeavours. The majority of people would know nothing about whether they are authentic or not.

    Regarding the reader, I have been having problems for a couple of days with it on my iPad but it worked perfectly earlier on the mac!! Have been reading of other people having problems too. WordPress recommend clearing cookies and cache, which I have just done and it has just worked on the iPad too. Yay!! Have been feeling very cut off from blogging world. WordPress also recommend using either Firefox or Chrome as browsers for optimum performance.

    • I just put a post on the forum – I read the firefox thing and did that but still no joy. am on a pc at the moment, but I also had the same problem last weekend on gareth’s mac. I think it must be a system problem. its like havong an arm cut off, isn’t it?

      I am always my own worst critic, everyone is being very kind about the old relics(and by that I mean the embroidery, not my stepdad)

  5. Well, they may not be Authentic, but they are Pretty and they are Fun. Also, they are a billion times better than my first things – moreso, considering you were younger then (and with less help and knowledge) than I am now.

    But anyway, surely them being fun is the most important bit, right?

  6. you are looking at your old embroideries from a much shorter distance than the rest of us (and I don’t mean literally 🙂 I see in them huge amount of work and very impressive technique.

  7. I’m honestly impressed…. I think satin stitches are evil and avoid them at all costs… This is beautiful even if it’s not authentic.. And now the evil jealousy monster rears its ugly head, I’d love to be able to embroider like that.


    • satin stitch is pretty awkward. I never use it any more, now I think of it. you can tidy up the edges by covering them with stem stitch or something though

  8. Isn’t it fun looking back at first attempts? I do think we are ridiculously hard on ourselves sometimes. I was ill a LOT as a child, and in an effort to keep me from dying of boredom during one onslaught, my mom bought a pre-printed sampler that I loved doing – my first attempt at embroidery! It’s framed and hangs in my daughters’ bedroom. Looking at it the other day I of course saw every flaw, but I also thought, WOW! And I did that when I was 10!!

    • its interesting, certainly. I just laugh at how inauthenitc I was in medeival terms, but I suppose most people just look at it simply as embroidery, which is a differnt point of view

  9. I’m with your stepdad, too. I’ve just found some of my early stuff, too, and oh, boy, oh boy. Maybe we’ve just become hypercritical as we’ve got older?

  10. Don’t we all have something in the closet that sort of makes us go “I can’t believe I really wore that!”? The stuff I started with was more like folklore clothes that I had gathered together, and my first hood ever was made from vaguely wooly-looking plastic fabric.

    Keep on laughing about how the embroidery is not medieval – but don’t discount the work you put into it, or the value of accurate stitching. It’s still a craftspiece!

    • under my bed I have a gold lame spacesuit based on the one worn by magenta at the end of rocky horror, but I didn’t fancy modelling that on the net.

      Actually, I can beleive I wore that!

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