A Bustle & Sew Publication Copyright © Bustle & Sew Limited 2022 The right of Helen Grimes to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form, or by any means, without the prior written permission of the author, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser. Every effort has been made to ensure that all the information in this book is accurate. However, due to differing conditions, tools and individual skills, the publisher cannot be responsible for any injuries, losses and other damages that may result from the use of the information in this book.
First published 2022 by: Bustle & Sew Station House West Cranmore Shepton Mallet BA4 4QP www.bustleandsew.com
Welcome to the May Magazine Hello everyone! May is one of the most beautiful months here in the English countryside. Spring is in full flight, as indeed are the birds, butterflies and bees enjoying the warmth of the spring sunshine as new life emerges all around us. Those iconic emblems of summer, the swallows, have returned and are busy seeking out suitable places to raise their families whist blossoms and blooms are everywhere. This month’s edition has a very spring-like feel I think with several projects ideal for taking outside for some al fresco stitching, as well as seasonal recipes, garden notes and more besides. I particularly enjoyed learning more about May Morris - William’s daughter - having previously been woefully ignorant of her contribution to the world of embroidery and textile design. I hope you enjoy this issue and the June Magazine will be published on Thursday 26 May. Until then I hope you have a lovely month, with lots of time for stitching! Very best wishes
Between this month’s covers … May Almanac
Organising your Workspace
The Cutting Garden
Good Vibes Mini Hoop
Tastes of the Season: Elderflower
A (very) Little Guide to Pins
A Little about May Morris
A Look at Sashiko
In the Garden: Sweet Peas
Tips for Stitchers
Poetry Corner: The Owl
Hello Giraffe! Hoop
Embroidery Stitch Guide
A Stitcher’s Alphabet
In the Kitchen: Conversion Tables
The Common Daisy
Daisy Chain Peg Bag
The Countryside in May
In the Garden: Herbs
Peeping Badger Cushion Cover
In the Kitchen: Bustle in the Hedgerows
May The coming of May has always been a time for celebration. If we welcome the warm weather now, with all the comfort of our centrally heated homes and thermal clothing to keep us snug during the winter months, then think how much more eagerly the month was welcomed when the only source of heating in a cottage would have been an open fire, and possibly a cooking range, around which drenched heavy woollen clothing and leather boots had to be dried out. The first of the month is of course, May Day - traditionally a time for setting out to gather greenery and flowers, especially May blossom from the hawthorn tree. Known as “bringing in the May” the custom was associated with a lot of rather saucy goings-on between all the lads and lasses who seized the excuse to vanish into the woods. The focal point of British May Day festivities was, and still is, the Maypole - a tall pole decorated
with flowers at its top and often painted with brightly coloured stripes. There are ribbons too, for each dance to grasp and create pretty coloured patterns by weaving in and out of each other as they dance around the pole.
“It is the season now to go About the country high and low, Among the lilacs hand in hand, And two by two in fairy land”
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-94) A more restrained celebration still takes place in Oxford where people gather on Magdalen Bridge in the early hours of the morning to hear the choir of Magdalen College sing a Latin hymn at the top of the college tower at 6 am.
Today May 1st is also celebrated as Labour day by trades unions, socialists and workers movements. It is marked by rallies and marches, and sometimes by protests and riots, in countries across the world. Labour Day celebrations originated in the USA in 1867 when the working day was reduced from 10 to 8 hours, firstly in Illinois and later across the country. Many birds are now coaxing their broods out of the nest and into the world - and it’s fun to watch them trying out their wings with wobbly test flights from bush to bush, zig-zagging across the garden. They still can’t feed themselves though and their poor harassed parents have to work even harder to feed their scattered offspring until they finally become selfsufficient - when if the conditions are right, the parents may raise a second or even third brood of chicks during the summer months. It’s impossible to ignore the birds this month, even supposing you…
A (very) Little Look at Sashiko
Sashiko is the traditional form of stitching from northern Japan and uses running stitch to create intricate designs – usually worked in white or cream thread on an indigo blue background.
Sashiko developed over the two centuries between the early 17th and mid-19th centuries probably beginning as someone repaired damaged clothes economically by using undyed thread on dark blue indigo cloth – then realising the decorative potential in the stitches they were making. At this time all fibres would have been hand spun, woven and dyed from natural fibres including linen and hemp. The thrifty communities would have continually recycled – cloth may have begun life as a garment, then been re-purposed into bags and aprons, finally ending its life as a cleaning rag – every thread created during what would have been a very labour-intensive process was far too precious to throw away.
Patterns were handed down by the women of the families in these fishing and farming communities – their sashiko designs created a unique and individual style. Sashiko was an artisan craft – invented to quilt together layers of fabric for warm clothing, recycling old and By the early 20th century Sashiko was accepted as a damaged textiles as part of the quilting, and also winter occupation when the usual heavy snowfall in the lending strength to working garments which were often north of Japan meant that work outside was very subject to a great deal of wear and tear. limited. Sashiko skills were vital for young women and girls to acquire if they wanted to make a good marriage 6
– learning Sashiko helped to develop patience and could use indigo, with patterns no larger than a grain of rice or with stripes no wider than the width of a straw. perseverance – essential for a farmer’s wife. This may be the origin of the idea that Sashiko stitches Vintage Sashiko consists of two or three layers of fabric, must resemble grains of rice. It is also said to represent with the best on top, and even the most complicated snow lying on the ground. designs are achieved with simple running stitch. Modern Sashiko may have only one layer of fabric or By the mid-20th century however, increased prosperity, use polyester or cotton quilt wadding. As part of the commercialisation and the introduction of man made recycling process vintage Sashiko uses layers of old or fibres meant that, like other artisan cultures across the worn fabric instead of wadding, so it’s much flatter than world, the way country folk dressed began to change our western quilts. The stitches create a textured, and the art of Sashiko declined. Many garments were flowing design sitting as they do on the fabric surface. discarded, or destroyed in other ways. In the 1970s though, as western-style quilting became more popular The traditional indigo and white colours used give in Japan, the art of Sashiko stitching was rediscovered. Sashiko work dramatic visual impact, though over time Modern stitchers appreciate working in the Sashiko the creamy cotton thread often took on a pale ice blue style for its creative and relaxing qualities. tint due to the migration of the dye. These colours were used in response to Edo sumptuary laws which prevented the lower classes from wearing brightly coloured and patterned clothing. Ordinary people
Ghiordes Knot Stitch This is worked as shown in the diagram on the left by making closely spaced small stitches - the first leaving a loop on the surface of the fabric and pulling the second one securely to secure the loop in place. When the area is covered trim the loops and fluff the ends of the thread with your needle.
A Stitcher’s Alphabet
Part Four: H, I and J
Hand Cooler These small, cooled, egg-shaped items were originally made of porcelain, marble, glass or crystal and were just slightly smaller than an actual egg. They were held in the palms of Victorian ladies to ward off the possibility of the social humiliation of a wet, warm handshake. Since extending one's hand was the common gesture for the invitation to dance, hand coolers became invaluable as during that time it was unacceptable for ladies to have hot, sweaty hands. In France during this time period, it was expected that a ladies' hand would be cool and dry when kissed in greeting by an admiring male. This simple fact was made all the more problematic by the fact that women wore layers upon layers of clothing as part of the Victorian Fashions, trapping in body heat. One means of dealing with this problem was the hand cooler. But “What has this to do with stitching?” I hear you say. Hand coolers or “eggs” were kept in the work basket and could be held in the stitcher’s hand at intervals to cool it. This was important when working white embroidery or using metal threads as any heat or stickiness transferred to the thread will quickly discolour it and spoil the work.
Bellis perennis: The Common English Daisy Bellis perennis I’m sure that nearly everyone reading this will have made daisy chains as a child? Perhaps they were a little wonky rather like the Daisy Chain embroidery - which I wanted to make as much like my childhood chains as I could. I remember at school sitting with my friends trying to make our individual chains as long as possible, then joining our lengths together and twining them round the old elm tree at the end of the playground. They didn’t last long though - all that handling by little hot fingers as well as the warm summer weather meant that they withered and died by the end of the day. Daisies traditionally represent purity and innocence, whilst the Latin name of our common English Daisy is Bellis perennis which translates as “pretty” and “everlasting.”The name “daisy" itself is probably derived from the words “day’s eye” as the flower closes at night and opens its petals once again in the morning. There is saying that once you can place your foot upon seven daisies in the grass then spring is definitely here. Chaucer called the daisy the “eye of the day". In Medieval times, the daisy was commonly known as "Mary's Rose". Daisy is used as a girl's name and as a nickname for girls named Margaret, after the French name for the oxeye daisy, marguerite. The daisy itself is an edible flower and its young leaves can be eaten raw in salads, or cooked, though they do become increasingly bitter and astringent with age. It’s also used in making teas and as a vitamin supplement.
There’s a bustle in the hedgerows….
Tagliatelle with Spring Vegetables and Herbs Ingredients Serves 4-6
● Parmesan cheese shavings to serve
● 25g mixed herbs, such as basil, chervil, chives and parsley, roughly chopped
● Put all the fresh herbs and dried oregano into a bowl. Add all but 2 tbspn of the olive oil. Stir well and set aside for a few hours if possible to infuse.
● 1 tspn dried oregano
● Blanch all of the summer vegetables separately in a large pan of lightly salted boiling water for 1-3 minutes depending upon size and the vegetable. Drain and immediately refresh under cold running water. Pat dry with a tea towel.
● 125ml extra virgin olive oil ● 700g mixed young vegetables (such as diced courgettes, asparagus tips, French beans, shelled broad beans and/or peas, scraped and halved baby carrots) ● 2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped ● 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed ● 400g dried tagliatelle ● 6 tpsn single cream
● Heat the remaining olive oil in a large frying pan, add the shallots and garlic and saute gently for about 7 minutes until softened. Add the vegetables to the pan, stir fry over a gentle heat to warm through, then add the herb mixture. ● Meanwhile, cook the tagliatelle in a large pan of boiling water until al dente. Drain, reserving 4 tbspn of the cooking water. Add the pasta and reserved water to the frying pan and toss with the vegetables and sauce. Stir in the cream and heat through briefly. Serve at once, seasoned with salt and pepper, and scattered liberally with Parmesan shavings.
Gooseberry and Elderflower Jam Ingredients ● 2kg slightly under-ripe gooseberries, topped and tailed ● 20 elderflower heads, cut close to the stem (optional but amazing!) ● 2.7kg sugar ● Knob of butter
Method ● Put the gooseberries into a preserving pan with 1.2 litres water. Tie the elderflowers in a piece of muslin and add to the pan. Simmer gently for about 30 minutes or until the fruit is very soft and reduced, mashing to a pulp with a wooden spoon and stirring from time to time to prevent sticking. ● Remove the pan from the heat, add the sugar and stir until dissolved, then add the butter. Bring to the boil and boil rapidly for about 10 minutes or until setting point is reached. ● Take the pan off the heat and remove any scum with a slotted spoon. Remove the muslin ba, then leave to stand for 15 minutes. Pot and cover in the usual way.
May Morris A (very) Little Look at her Life and Work
The Night In a scented wood An owl is calling; O’er the resting land The night is falling; The air is sweet With the scent of may; The birds are asleep, They are waiting for day. In the purple night No light is showing; O’er the silent land A breeze is blowing. It rustles the leaves With a soft little sigh; The owl is so still, Then gives, softly, a cry
By Helen Leuty