A Bustle & Sew Publication
Copyright © Bustle & Sew Limited 2023
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.
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First published 2023 by: Bustle & Sew Station House West Cranmore Shepton Mallet BA4 4QP www.bustleandsew.com
June Almanac Page 5
Daisies Seed Packet Embroidery Page 8
By any other name… the Rose Page 11
The Crimson Rose Page 15
Fairytale Goose Head Page 17
Lovely Idea: Flower Vase Quilt Page 20
A Fine Yarn: the art of Spinning Page 21
Lovely Idea: Scrap Twine Page 25
Pins and Needles Page 26
Hollyhocks Cushion Cover Page 27
In the Month of the Strawberry Moon Page 32
Summer Flamingo Hoop Page 46
Summer Rain Page 49
Those Summer Days Page 50
Blooming Lovely: The Elderflower Page 54
Wild Rose Book Mark Page 55
This month is named after Juno, the wife of the Roman king of the gods, Jupiter-andperhapsafterallitisthe queen of the months. The hedgerows are smothered in wild roses,elderflowers,honeysuckleand guelder rose, and along the banks beneath there are countless wild flowers : clover, vetches, moon daisies, grasses of all kinds, meadowsweet with its heady scent -allcreatingabonanzaforbeeswho areoutandaboutthewholedaylong collecting pollen and nectar. However, in spite of this, as Vita Sackville West wrote a century ago in her poem “The Land”….
Thoughtheyearhasturnedalready and, by the end of this month, the days will be shortening again, still winter is a very long way off and there’s plenty of time to enjoy the summer days that lie ahead.
parts of the country flowers, especiallywhiteroses,arestillworn to mark St Barnabas Day. The mowing season was an important time in the seasonal calendar as a good supply of dry hay stored safely against the winter months wouldensurethatthefarmanimals wouldremainwellfedwhenunable to go out to pasture. Heavy rain, which flattened the grass and madeitimpossibletocutbyscythe would have been a disaster.
June is rich in weather lore because it’s such an important time in the crops. “A leak in June brings harvest soon,” and “a dripping June sets all in tune,” are two old sayings. Certainly sudden and often torrential thunderstorms are typical of this month and superstition tells us that rain on the eighth foretells a wet harvest. But, whatever the weather, June is a busy month for the farmer.
It is to be hoped however that any rain had dried up by the eleventh. This is St Barnabas Day which traditionally marked the first day of the hay-cutting season. In some
St Barnabas himself (martyred in AD71) was an early Christian disciple, but not one of the twelve Apostles. A dozen or so ancient English churches were dedicated to him which indicates that he was known here, but wasn’t especially popular. Nevertheless, in fifteenth and sixteenth century London St Barnabas’ Day was an important feast. Churches were decorated with garlands of roses, woodruff (a woodlandherbwithsweet-scented leaves and small white flower) and lavender. Maidens went “gatheriing” for church funds, and money was paid out for “bread, wine and ale for the singers of the King’s Chapel and for the clerks of the town.”
Fruit is ripening on wild cherries now, and you will see a range of birdsincludingpigeons,blackbirds and thrushes feasting on them. Smallgreensloesareappearingon blackthorn, promising the chance
“Idon’tknowwhy,butthe mealswehaveonpicnics alwaystastesomuchnicer thantheoneswehave indoors.”
tomakesloeginintheautumn,and later this month the hedgerows will be festooned with the creamy flowers of travellers’ joy entwined with dog roses and wild honeysuckle.
Thougheverymonthoftheyearhas interestandbeauty,it’shardtobeat June for the sheer abundance of its beauty. The summer solstice falls on 21 June, when there is 16 hours and 32 minutes of direct sunlight (andslightlymoreofindirectdaylight atthebeginningandendoftheday). Thishasbecomeamajorfestivalfor modern pagans who gather at Stonehengeandotherancientsites to greet the rising of the sun on the longest day.
People have come to Stonehenge for centuries, even millennia, to mark this high point of the solar calendar when, here in the northern hemisphere, the days are at their longest. As the sun sets on the solstice day, white-robed modern druids gather among the standing stones to perform a unique ceremony. A central candle is lit and that flame is passed along a circleofsurroundingcandles. There is all-night celebrating and the first rays of the new sun are celebrated with song and dance at dawn. Historically the solstice marked the time when important herbs planted at the spring equinox could be picked for healing rituals and ceremonies.
Anotherimportanthistoricalcustom ofMidsummerwastheprocessions. These originated in urban areas in the musters of the local watch who were commanded to accompany the mayor and aldermen in procession on Midsummer and St Peter’s Eve as a show of civic dignity and pride. Trade guilds also held their own parades, and if they had sufficient resources, their
“Veryhungry,accustomed toEnglishpost-warfood, Gracethoughtthemeal whichfollowedthemost deliciousshehadevereaten Thefood,thewine,theheat, andthebabelofFrenchtalk, mostofwhichwasquite incomprehensibletoheruntunedear,inducedahalfdrunk,entirelyhappystate ofhaziness”
such as watching in the church porch at midnight to see who might die in the year ahead. Love divinations were also popular, such assewingthehempseed-whereby girls threw hemp seed over their shoulders out of doors at night in the hope of seeing the form of their future husbands.
It was also said that if a young woman, blindfolded, picked a full blown rose on Midsummer Day while the church clock strikes twelve, folds the rose up in a sheet of white paper and doesn’t take it out again until Christmas then it will be found as fresh as when gathered. Then, if she places the rose on her bosom, the young man to whom she will be married will come and snatch it away.
processions were spectacular torch-lit affairs with giants, devils, hobby horses, drummers, trumpeters, armed mounted and marching companies and tableaux depicting famous scenes.
Midsummer’s Day and Eve were also times when particular divinations could be carried out,
The third Sunday in June brings Father’s Day, first suggested by Sonora Dodd of Washington in appreciation of her own father to complement the new Mother’s Day which was beginning to become popular at that time. Father’s Day took much longer to become popular than Mother’s Day, but it was finally recognized by a joint resolution of Congress in 1956, receiving Presidential support in 1966 and 1972. Father’s Day crossed the Atlantic to the UK sometime after WW2, not without opposition as it was regarded as a “card-day” too far.
“Soshewasconsideringinherownmind…whetherthe pleasureofmakingadaisy-chainwouldbeworththetrouble ofgettingup&pickingthedaisies.”LewisCarroll
Byanyothername…. a(very)littlehistoryof therose
Youcanalwaysrelyonthetalented folkatTildatocomeupwith somethingprettyandthisquilt definitelymeetsthatdefinition. Iloveitspixelateddesignwhich makestheactualpiecingsimple, thoughyou’lldefinitelyhavetobe well-organisedwhensortingout yourcolours!
AFineYarn… a(very)little lookattheArt ofSpinning
Frigg is the wife of Odin and the Norse goddess of spinning and weaving. She is said to have woven the clouds, mists, and fog. As Odin is known as the All Father, Frigg is known as the All Mother.
Inthemonthof theStrawberry Moon….
Strawberries are summer - here in theUKanyway. Thearrivalofthese sweet juicy red fruits is a sure sign that the new season has begun at last. Good strawberries were one of the earliest victims of food globalization. Strawberries can be found on supermarket shelves most of the year round, industrially producedand,tomymindatleast, not a patch on the homegrown berries. It’s fair to say that the qualityofout-of-seasonberrieshas improved quite a lot over recent years, but you’ll do well to find an outdoor-grown British strawberry on the shelves before mid-June and I much prefer to wait for these slow-grown, locally produced varieties to become available.
Agoodstrawberryshouldbebright red, slightly soft to the touch and with a floral, obviously ripe, aroma. Anything less is likely to lead to disappointment, and it’s worth remembering that some strawberries, especially the relatively tasteless Elsanta turn red well before they’re ripe and ready to eat.
Theoriginofthename“strawberry” isn’t clear. It may be because straw was (and still often is) used to keep the berries fresh and free from rot when they’re grown outside. But it’s also possible that the name derives from the word “strewn” because native wild berries appear “scattered” on the ground.
We’re lucky enough to have wild strawberriesgrowinginourgarden and along the railway lines next to our house and they’re totally delicious. Theberriesaresmalland super sweet, and also delicate, needing to be handled carefully.
Thisisadeliciouswaytoenjoyyourberries-andifyouuselowfatyoghurtandoneofthenatural zero-caloriesugarsubstitutesnowsowidelyavailableitcanbeareasonablyhealthytreattoo. Makes enoughtoserve4-orpossiblyfewerifyourfamilyandfriendsareasgreedyasweare!
● 500 g strawberries
● 3 egg yolks
● 50 g icing sugar
● 150 g Greek yoghurt
● 125 ml whipping cream
● 2 teaspoons vanilla sugar
● Extra strawberries to decorate/serve.
● Rinse, clean and puree the strawberries. Beat the egg yolks and icing sugar together over a warm bain-marie (or use a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water being careful that the bowl does not touch the water) until thick and frothy. Stir in the strawberry puree and the yoghurt.
● Whip the cream and vanilla sugar until stiff and fold into the mixture.
● Place in an ice cream maker and follow maker’s instructions. If you don’t have an ice cream maker then pour the mixture into a shallow, freezer-proof container, cover with a lid and freeze for one hour. Whisk after one hour to break down the ice crystals and repeat the whisking again 3 or 4 times during the freezing process to ensure your frozen yoghurt has an even texture.
● Serve garnished with the extra strawberries.
Juneputsbronzeandcrimsononmanyofher leaves. Themapleleavesandmanyoftheleavesof thornandbrambleanddogwoodarerosy;thehazel leavesarerosybrown;theherbrobertandparsley arerosered;theleavesofashandhollyaredark laquered. Thecopperbeeches,opulentlysombre underafaintlyyellowedsky,seemtobethesacred treesofthethunderthatbroodsabove.
Presentlythecolourofthethreadischangedto blue,whichsoiledwhitecloudspervadeuntilthe wholeskyiswoollywhiteandgreyandmoving north. Thereisnowind,butthereisaroarasofa hurricaneinthetrees faroff;soonitislouder,in thetreesnotsoremote;andinaminutetherainhas traversedhalfamileofwoods,andthedistant combinedroarisswallowedupbythenearer patteringonroofandpaneandleaf,thedanceof leaves,theswayofbranches,thetremblingof wholetreesundertheflood.
Therainfallsstraightuponthehardroad,and eachdropseemstoleapupfromitbarbed. Great dropsdiveamongthemotionless,dustynettles. Thethunderunloadsitsponderousburdenupon theresonantfloorofthesky;butthesoundsofthe myriadleavesandgrass-bladesdrinkingallbut downstheboom,thesplittingroar,andtheechoin thehills.
Whenitisoverithasputafinalsweetnessintothe blackbird’svoiceandintothecalmoftheevening gardenwhenthevoiceofasingerdoesbutlay anothertributeatthefeetoftheenormoussilence.
Thosewhogotothecountryinsearchofquietshould notgoinJune. Itisthenoisiestmonthofalltheyear there. Atthefirstpeepofsunrisesuchagurglingand bubblingofbirdsonggoesupfromtreeandhedgerow thateveryseparatetwigseemsalive.
Thecuckoodoesnotwaitforsunrise,butstartscalling inthefirstearlygreyness,beginningthedayasitmeans togoonuntilthetardysummerduskhasfallen. Asthe longest day approaches it calls almost incessantly, as thoughithasacertainamountof“cuckooing”toget through,andwasmuchbehindhandwiththesumofit. Initsextremehastetofinishanddepartoverseasitfalls into a kind of eager stammer - “Cuck-cuck-oo!” Instead of the clearly enunciated “Cuckoo!” of a monthbefore.
Thesongbirds,mostofthemwithatleastonebrood putoutintotheworld,allowthemselvesanintervalfor rest and thanksgiving before settling down to their midsummermuteness,andmakeasecondspringofthe middleweeksof June.
Thechorusoftheolderbirdsisswelledbythetentative chirps and trills of the new generation. The young blackbirdsespeciallyareaptpupils,flutingthesweet full notes over and over in exact imitation of their parents. … Fat young thrushes scratch beneath the shrubs and gurgle their satisfaction at what is to be foundthere. Eventhenewly-fledgedhouse-sparrows keep up a continuous “tweet tweet!” and as to the youngstarlings,theyareasnoisyastheirneighbours, andthatissayingagooddeal!
Creamyclustersofelderflowersareacommonsightalongourhedgerowsatthistimeofyear. Notonly aretheybeautifultolookat,theyalsohaveaheadyscentandgiveamuscatelflavourtoanything they’remixedwith. Ithasbeensaidthattheiraromaisanarcoticandforthisreasonthatit’sunwiseto plantaneldertreenearabedroomwindow. Similarlyit’salsosaidtobeunwholesomeforcattletorest initsshade. Itcancausedizziness,andthereisanoldsayingthat“hewhosleepsunderanelder-tree willneverawake.”
Farmhorsesusedtohavespraysofelderflowersattachedtotheirbridlesinordertodetertheflies,and driedelderflowersmakeagoodinsectrepellent. Frenchfruitgrowershavebeenknowntostorepear cropsinelderflowersforaperiodofseveralmonthssothattheirmuscatelflavourwouldpermeatethe fruit. ThereisanorthernEuropeanbeliefthatiftheflowerswereputinale,andamanandawoman drankittogetherthattheywouldbemarriedtoeachotherwithintheyear.
Elderflowerwater,whichisanastringent,isstillusedtodayasaningredientineyeandskinlotions. It canbeusedasanaftershaveorforsoothingsunburn,andhasmanycosmeticusesinbeautypreparations aswell.
Almost any kind of non-elastic fibre can be used for embroidery - as long that is - as it can be threaded for a needle and a suitable material can be found to support your stitches. However, until you’ve tried a few different types of thread it’s perhaps best to keep to manufactured embroidery flosses that are tried and tested for strength and colourfastness, and that are suitable for embroidering on many different types of background fabric.
Threads come in all colours of the rainbow (sometimes all at once!) and are packaged in many different types of skeins and hanks. Some are wound so that lengths can be pulled out easily (if you choose the right end that is!), as in stranded cotton. However many brands, and artisan threads, need the skein bands removed and the yarn untwisted or unfolded before they can be used.
Many of these kinds of threads once untwisted will fall out into a skein that can be cut at each end to create a bundle of threads the right length for stitching. If this
is the case then knot the bundle loosely in the centre so it will keep tidily together and not fall apart and tangle. Don’t use an elastic band to hold the threads together, as rather in the same way that they’re bad for your hair, they’re bad for floss too.
Stitches can vary markedly in appearance when they’re worked in different threads. Try a variety of thicknesses and types of thread in one stitch to gauge the different effects achieved. Some stitches are much easier to work in finer threads, but the boldness of heavier fibres can create a dramatic effect.
● The most commonly used thread for embroidery is stranded cotton floss. It has a silky sheen and is widely available in several hundred colours. It is usually composed of six strands that can be separated to create different weights of thread. Always choose a good brand and don’t be tempted by bundles of cheap threads, in my experience they’re not nice to work with and the frustration they can cause may even put a beginner off stitching altogether.
Cloudsarebeautifulandtranquil-andsomethingweall,quitenaturally, takeforgranted. Butinthisdifficulttimes,cloudwatchingcanbeapeaceful activitythatofferscalminasometimestroublingworld. Butaswellas lookingatclouds,whynottrylearningalittleaboutthem?
● Cumulusarelowlyingandlooklikebigfluffycottonwoolballs,unless theydarkenanddeepen,formingcumulonimbuswhichcanbethe harbingerofastorm.
Ifyouhavealittletimetospare,whynotfindapatchofgrass,liebackand watchthecloudsgoby. Chooseawarmsummer’sdaywhenthereareplenty ofcloudsinthesky. Useyourimaginationtofindanimalsandothershapes andpicturesinthecloudsastheydriftpast.