•September 26, 2017 • 6 Comments

is for vulgar.

Those of you who know me will find this to be perfectly in character.

I re-used the gurner from my first luttrell fantasy (I’m fitting a lot of old favourites into this) but gave him a different coloured jumper – him mam knits them for him.

I also worked the medieval image of the pilgrim vagina into the surround of the V, plus a willy.


stitchalong dragon part 2

•September 21, 2017 • 2 Comments

I’m posting this a day early because I have a bit of a hectic day on Friday.

We are doing trellis couching this instalment. Trellis is used on small amounts on early embroidery, and also sometimes in Jacobean crewelwork. It’s never a major stitch but it’s used to add texture and interest.

You start off exactly the same way as for regular laid and couched work, just colour the dragon in.

Scaly creatures tend not to have scaly paws, they’re more fleshlike, so I’ve started off by doing selective areas of ordinary couching around her paws.

Normally I advise doing one row of couching at a time because you get a neater result, but you have to throw that out the window when it comes to trellis, so it’s worth being very careful at this stage.

Because this is for texture, use a good contrasting thread – in my case yellow. Instead of laying it at right angles, this time go for 45 degrees. (You can gradually vary the angle on the tail or neck to show the curve, but try to be subtle) It’s best to start in a large area and work your way out to the fiddly bits.

The idea is to lay a criss-cross pattern of bars over the whole area. Pay very close attention to spacing and angle – I tend to hold the thread and swing it until I find the right place to put the next stitch. You might also find it helpful to at least start by doing a few in each direction until you get the hang of it.

Spacing is also important, don’t let the diamonds get too big – remember that the space between the points is far wider than regular couching.

Cover the whole body. You can make the spacing slightly smaller on the neck and tail, but don’t go overboard as you need to leave room for the next step.

You can see that there really shouldn’t be much going on at the back at this stage.

At this point you have two options. You can couch the whole body in one colour (the more medieval option) or you can play with it as I’ve done.

Whatever colour option you chose all you’re doing is stitching down the intersection of each cross, being careful not to pull them out of line. I tend to go for a single stitch, but you can use a small corss if you prefer. I find a cross stitch a bit lumpy – it’s worth doing a little experimental panel on some waste canvas to see which you prefer before you jump in to the dragon.

If you go for the multi-coloured option I can’t really give you an exact plan, as every grid of stitches will be different. You need to visualise where the final gold lines of the dragon’s body will be.

As you can see I started with the highlighting white points.

Then some deep red lowlights in the shadowed parts of the body. I will admit I wasn’t sure about the red at this stage, and used it sparingly, but in the end I think it looked great.

The Green is hard to see, but I used a little for the not so lowlights

then fill the rest with yellow.





•September 20, 2017 • 5 Comments

I couldn’t think of anything. So U is for unknown

It was going to be “Um, I can’t think of anything for U” but then Gareth insisted on unknown with a Luttrell weirdo, so here he is.

I did the faces bayeux style/not properly finished, because at this point I was worried about making the submission deadline for the competition.


•September 19, 2017 • 3 Comments

is for tremulous.

I actaully started planning this project shortly after the initial workshop (by planning I mean that I scrawled a few notes on a bit of manky cardboard – but for me that’s an impressive amount of prep) but I was really struggling with T. Then at the last Ashmolean class Chris suggested the tremulous hand of worcester.(That’s a famously wobbly scribe)

Which was a truly brilliant suggestion, with one snag.

I can’t spell Worcester without the aid of spellcheck, and we all know about my propensity for scribal errors, don’t we?

So Instead I bring you the tremulous hand with Worcestershire sauce.

close enough?

July, the female labours

•September 18, 2017 • 8 Comments

In the men’s labours June, July, and August are all harvesting and threshing images, which emphasises the central role of agriculture in medeival life, but to be honest it got a bit boring. So in the female version I’ve pared it down to one image, and Mrs july is helping with the harvest, although she could just have easily have been gleaning – worrever, she is making the point that often men and women worked side by side in medeival agriculture.

There was a lot of playing in this image. The wheat is pretty standard, but I had another go at the circular treatment of ground I noticed so much at the V and A exhibition, but this time using two more contrasting colours. My hope was to depict the stubble post harvest, but kids have been asking me for months if I’m sewing a pizza, and then pointing out that the tree looks like a mushroom on top…

Actaully I think that’s brilliant. I told Gareth about it whilst he was wet stretching it for me, and after he’d stopped laughing he told me all about how he once co-wrote a paper becasue he’d genetically engineered a plant to extract explosive toxins from agricultural land in warzones. He said he just tweaked the plant, the other guy did all the research.

I’m pretty pleased with the tree, actaully, it’s like the little medeival lollipop tree of M C Escher.

July’s cats are Newt and Tadpole. In reality they never met. Newt broke my heart by getting some sort of leukaemia/lymphoma and dying when he was only two (I spent months nursing him), Tadpole came along straight after and was named in his honour. Then Tadpole broke my heart again, I came home one day and he was all dead and contorted on the floor at only 18 months old. The vet was so concerned he did a post mortem, concluding that it was a sudden, massive heart attack. They two  very sweet little greykins (well, actaully, they were both enormous cats) so I thought it would be nice if they could chase mice in the sun together, because I think they would have got along famously.

I will get back to the ABC tomorrow

ABC news

•September 15, 2017 • 33 Comments

Just got an Email, the Abc scroll has made the shortlist in the Bodleian competition


•September 14, 2017 • 12 Comments

is for sheep. Especially since my scroll is meant to be for the education of young sheeps.

I used fluffy silk couched down on top of gilded leather. It’s an example of medeival techinque and materials used in a not particularly medeival way, but I wanted him to look like the golden sheep of Greek legend – no reason we can’t have the odd classical reference in a medeival project. He was meant to be couched in celtic spirals, but that didn’t quite work out, the fluffy silk was too fluffy.

I did get quite annoyed with myself though, because I got halfway through and realised I’d sewn him on upside down. I was tempted to make him an antipodean sheep, since even with a glovers needle leather isn’t that easy to sew, but I grumpily picked him off and started again.

He looks very pleased with his golden self, doesn’t he?