Tara Tuesdays – Part 15

Last week neither Tara or I were around so we didn’t get a chance to update the blog, but she’s back with a vengeance and never fails to surprise me… medieval knitting anyone?!

Medieval Knitting

This week I wanted to write a little bit about medieval knitting. I may have already mentioned that I am a re-enactor and that I do shows in this country and abroad in France, Belgium and Holland. The period my group and I re-enact is the Wars of the Roses which is 15th century. I have been known to fight during battles but these days I prefer to chill out and relax around the camp rather than getting bashed up! I am not really into the history side of re-enactment (more the social side if I’m honest).

Recently I met a lovely lady at an event who I have watched working from afar. We made friends and I found out what she is currently making. The lady in question is Margje. She is a Dutch re-enactor and I have seen her knitting before but just didn’t have the courage to talk to her which is most unlike me, I normally just introduce myself and get stuck right in…. Anyway, I took the time to speak to Margje and asked her what she is making as it looks ever so complicated and really is rather fascinating. This is a picture of Margje in medieval kit knitting:

You can see from the picture that she is using teeny tiny double pointed needles, she later told me that they are brass and that she made them herself! Here is a close up of what she is making, she said when it is complete it will be a small purse:

She has taken the pattern from the cushions of Las Huelglas which is detailed in the book “A HISTORY OF HAND KNITTING” by RICHARD RUTT which amazingly, I have a copy of at home so was able to refer to it for this blog entry!

Some background information for you: “The monastery of St Mary of Las Huelglas, near Burgos in northern Spain, still houses a community of Cistercian nuns. It was founded by King Alfonso VI of Leon and Castille and his wife Eleanor of Aragon in 1187 as a royal monastery for nuns of high birth, and the abbey church was designated as the royal mausoleum of Castille.

The contents of the tombs were conserved in 1944-5 and published by Manuel Gomez-Moreno y Martinez in El Panteon Real (Madrid 1946). Much important medieval textile material was discovered, including cushions that are knitted.

The first cushion came from the tomb of Fernando de la Cerda, heir of Alfonso X of Castile. Prince Fernando died in 1275, and the cushion doubtless dates from that time. It is knitted in close stockinet, at a tension of about 80 stitches to 10 centimetres and is 36cm (14 ¼ square)”.

Margje has adapted the original pattern and is working in stocking stitch and knitting with (I think) 4 needles. I said that she must be ever so patient as I am a keen knitter myself but don’t know if I would be able to do this! It looks so fiddly but I am sure you will agree the result is beautiful! She is using embroidery threads as they are quite fine but she said that it would have originally been made out of silk. I have also attached some pictures of tension squares that Margje made to achieve the correct tension for the purse. We both said that normally we don’t bother with this although I know it is important. Margje said that she had to try several size needles to get it absolutely right, just look how small the stitches are?!

She has promised me an update the next time we meet so I am hoping that she has knitted a few more rows by then! Watch this space for future updates!

Oh and this is me in my shiny armour, looking good me thinks!!!!


Tara Tuesdays – Part 14

Royal Visit, Summer Fayre and my first commission….

A week or so ago, we were graced with a Royal Visit in my village as part of the Jubilee Celebrations! The Earl and Countess of Wessex came along to see the Village Charity Rotherfield St Martin; you can find out more about the Charity here.  There are also some fabulous pictures (better than mine) of the day itself. I am currently the Minute Secretary for my sins and knew about the secret visit in advance which was very exciting! Unfortunately the afternoon was invite only so I only got to see Edward & Co when they were leaving the RSM Offices and heading down to the Village Hall. I did have my camera however so got a couple of shots to share with you.

It was a rather exciting week as we also had our Village Summer Fayre which RSM had organised along with my local pub and this was held on the Millenium Green which is a view I am fortunate enough to have from my lounge. The Fayre had taken months of planning by the organisers and we were all concerned with what the weather was going to be like seeing as it has been so dreadful of late. My sewing girlfriends and I had a stall and we had previously chipped in to buy a gazebo for future fairs which was £50 well spent! Mary and I (with the help of her daughter Poppy) set up our stall which I have to admit looked pretty good! Normally we cram far too much stuff on but as we had 2 tables put together the whole space was much bigger for us to display our handmade items. Mary’s husband Mike made our crates and our beautiful sign and he sold something before we had even set our stuff up!!!! Apart from a big shower when we were setting up, the weather was quite nice and we all sold a few things too which was an added bonus. You may remember my cushions that I made and talked about on a previous blog entry? Well they all went which I was delighted with! We had a really good day and I think RSM raised over £2,000 which is fantastic! Pics below!

Now onto my first commission. This story is totally true but really random. A week or so ago a lady knocked on my door with an old manky curtain. I was still in my dressing gown and didn’t know her from Adam. My friend at the Florist had sent her over to see me as she wanted me to make her some door stops from this curtain. We briefly discussed her requirements and I took her details and said I would call her once they were ready. The curtain is a salmon pink colour and I think silk and it had thick brocade down the side and at the bottom. I had to wash it but then I couldn’t get it dry so I decided to take the whole thing apart (pic below). As you can see, I managed to save most of the curtain and ended up with the lining, the interlining, the main fabric, the brocade, the hooks that it was hung up with and the metal buttons used to weight the curtain. My friend ‘Mags 2 Jags’ has a template for door stops which I borrowed and I whipped these 4 beauties up today. What do you think? I was actually really rather pleased with how they had turned out. I underestimated how much rice I would need to fill them with so had to use lentils as well! Hopefully the lady will like them and who knows, this could be the start of bigger things to come!

Woman’s Weekly Magazine Mention – May 2012

I’ve recently received this scan of an article from Woman’s Weekly, a May edition.  If you look really hard you’ll spot a mention of Emma’s Fabric Studio.  A clue… buttons!  Personally I don’t think you’ve lived until your name is printed in Woman’s Weekly, something else ticked off the bucket list!  A lovely article too, thanks to them for mentioning my buttons in their ‘Making’ section.

Bags, Beads & Brooches Magazine Feature – June 2012

The lovely Helen at Just Georgie contributed to June’s issue of Bags, Beads and Brooches magazine. In fact she created two of the projects on the front page (a bracelet and the pink and green bag)! The bag was made using the ‘Karine’ fabric bundle and it looks fabulous taking pride of place on the front page. I want to say a big thank you to Helen for choosing fabric from Emma’s Fabric Studio and for making it look so great in this project!  She is a a dab hand with any craft she turns her hand to – not one but two projects on the front page! Within ten minutes of publishing this on Facebook, two people had gone and bought the magazine online. I’m hoping they will be brave and will show Helen their versions of the bag which will no doubt will be whipped up in super speedy time and look just as lovely as the original.

Please visit Helen’s Facebook page to say hello.

Tara Tuesdays – Part Thirteen

Note from Emma – sorry for putting Tara Tuesdays on a Wednesday for the second time!  Here’s the end of the Grand Tour…

So I guess you are all pretty bored by now with having to hear me going on and on and on, keep on rocking baby on and on and on, doobedoo (about my holiday!) Writing this now seems like I never went away as it is early July and I came back from this trip in May! Anyway, we had a great time in Padstow if you recall from last week and as I had sent Em too many pics for last week’s entry, below are just 2 of my fav Padstow one’s for you. After Padstow we went to Tintagel as we were determined to make full use of our English Heritage membership which I may have mentioned before? Of all the EH places we visited during our trip, for me this was by far the best. I think the fact that we had a beautiful day (although very windy) made it; it would of course been completely different if it had been raining! The sea looked like the Mediterranean (hard to believe it was Cornwall!) and the colours were just amazing as were the views, take a look for yourself!

Our final stop before home was Teffont Evias and we stayed at Howard’s House Hotel which is in the Good Hotel Guide and had been recommended to us by my Mum-in-law (she has very expensive tastes!) The hotel was great but I was really disappointed with the bathroom in our room. It had one of those shower curtains that stick to you which I was not impressed with. That aside we had a great meal there and breakfast was also delish. I slept really well which was good to prepare me for the home run back to East Sussex. We stopped off via Stone Henge (you just have to don’t you) and although you couldn’t get near to the stones themselves, I was quite pleased because there were so many tourists, you would have just had loads of shots with people in which just don’t do it for me!

We finally got home after collecting the cat who strangely didn’t want to come out of the cattery! What a nice feeling getting home was! When you’ve been away for a while you forget what your house looks like so it was great to be back. Hubby made me photograph all of my purchases which you will see from the pic below I was not amused by!

I can honestly say that this was by far my best holiday ever! Although we were exhausted from the driving and travelling, it was well worth it! The car was a legend and got us everywhere safely and I would not hesitate to do another trip like this. Our country is so beautiful; I feel I haven’t even scratched the surface of it!

Tara Tuesdays – Part Twelve

I know I am woefully behind with blog posts, I have so much to say but so little time to construct my posts! There are new fabric ranges I have to tell you about, businesses I want to feature and people I want to tell you all about. However, thank goodness for Tara keeping the ship sailing over the last few weeks! I saw her last night at the ‘Fabric Fruitloops of Crowborough’ meeting/catch up, where she showed me her patchwork cushion cover and it looked lovely in the flesh.  There was a little bit of a scuffle when Mags tried to put it on the stock list for the two craft fairs they’re all doing together this weekend. The cushion is back at Tara’s house, but if you’re in Kent, they are selling lots of other things at the Langton Green Fair in Tunbridge Wells on Saturday and the Rotherfield Fair on Sunday (near Crowborough).  They (Ginny, Mags, Mary, Sue and Tara) are collectively called the ‘Sewing Circle’. Hopefully Tara will take some pics, as she does so well with her fancy camera!  Here she is with part 12 of Tara Tuesdays and more lovely photography…

Grand Tour Finale (part 1)

We endured the long slog of a drive from Winscombe to Cornwall and it was most definitely a case of “are we there yet?!” It seemed to take ages, we were in Devon and then Exeter and thought “oh not too long now” but oh no! It just seemed to drag on forever! I was chin strapped by the time we arrived and just wanted to have a shower and a sleep! We stayed at a fabulous B&B in Falmouth that we found several years ago and haven’t been to for far too long. It is called the Ivanhoe and we have become great friends with the owners Donna & Gill (they even came to our wedding!) We were greeted with homemade scones and “a bit of clotted” as Donna called it and a pot of tea which was ace! We briefly caught up and then got ourselves ready to go out. Fortunately, the B&B is located in a perfect spot and we could easily walk into town within about 10 minutes which was great for me as I didn’t want to do any more driving that day! We had a lovely meal out and then were back at the B&B and in bed ready for the next day. The breakfasts at the Ivanhoe are delish and Gill makes all of her own jams and marmalades that are really good too. She is also an artist and lots of her work is for sale and hanging up in the cheery breakfast area. We have several of her things in our house which we have purchased over the years.

The weather wasn’t great in Falmouth so we decided it might be a good idea to go to the Eden Project as we have never been and thought that we really ought to have by now! It wasn’t too far a drive but the weather was thick mist and fog, great, not! Although expensive to get in, we had a great time and took masses of pics, some of which I have attached for you below.

We also went to Chysauster which is an English Heritage place and again, the weather was just awful! We drove onto St Ives thinking it might clear up en route but it didn’t! St Ives is so pretty, not so much if the weather is grim like it was (bit like now actually, pouring down where I am and my washing is out, grrrrrrr!) Anyway, I digress. We just wanted to mouch in St Ives and the first shop I found (unintentionally although I did want to go there) was Poppy Treffy’s. I was determined to buy something so came away with some buttons, two beautiful linen tea towels and a bobbin holder case! Not overly exciting but still want I wanted! I am lucky enough to have a very generous husband who has bought me loads of Poppy’s stuff so I didn’t really actually NEED anything! We were about to head back to the car when we found a gorgeous shop where EVERYTHING was handmade, what drew us in was the BUY CORNISH, BUY CORNISH, BUY CORNISH, BUY CORNISH sign! I found some gorgeous buttons which were expensive but I just HAD to have them! Pics below!

We were having dinner with Donna & Gill this evening which was great and the next day we wanted to have a mouch (well I did) in Falmouth itself as it is such a nice town with some great shops. Hubby’s head dropped and his feet dragged after I had forced him round all of the shops, I was laden with bags and had made many purchases from Seasalt and also found a great place that Gill had recommended called Kit where I bought some gorgeous fabric for £6 a metre, such a bargain!

We were moving onto Padstow after Falmouth as we had a reservation at Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant which I was very excited about as I am a huge fan. We drove through Newquay and I was blown away with the beauty of the beaches here. We stopped for some photographs and then made our way onto the Woodlands Country House Hotel which is where we were staying for just one night before we headed onto our final place before home. The weather was fabulous! Completely different to Falmouth and St Ives! We were staying in the Jade Room and I have to say that this place was by far the most luxurious out of everywhere we have stayed. The bathroom was just unbelievable and I had my own dressing table to get myself ready at before I went out which was a real treat! Our room had a spectacular view and not very far from us were lots of pretty, almost private, beaches within 5 minutes drive. Our hosts advised us to drive to Harlyn Bay. I even went in the sea, it was freezing but sometimes it just has to be done! There was hardly a soul about which was just great!

We had the most gorgeous meal at Mr Stein’s and although expensive, I would highly recommend it! It was a real treat! Breakfast was delish again the next day and we had a bit of time in Padstow itself before we headed off to Tintagel Castle (OMG) and Teffont Evias our final stop before home. I think if I was ever to move somewhere away from East Sussex, Cornwall would be high up on my list! It is just so gorgeous there; I missed being away for so long and can’t wait to go back!

Final part of GT will be for you next week, just want to drag it out that wee bit longer! :0)