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. 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 2023 by: Bustle & Sew Station House West Cranmore Shepton Mallet BA4 4QP www.bustleandsew.com
Welcome to the November Magazine Hello everyone! And welcome to the new-look Bustle & Sew Magazine! The changes came about after Rosie pointed out that the cover style had remained unchanged since 2014(!) where does time go? I am also trying to cut down the amount of ink needed for those of you who print recipes and pattern pages so have changed the layout of these too. If you have any comments on these changes then please do let me know, I’d love to hear your thoughts. This month we are counting down to Christmas in earnest with another two seasonal patterns and embracing the darker evenings with the Mellow Days candle cosies. We have two bird creations as well, and I don’t think I could choose my favourite between them. I love the goldfinch, even though these colourful birds “steal” all my holly berries each year. My chickens are my new love of course and I’m sorely tempted to make a whole flock of these little hen heads! Also between the covers you’ll discover a little history of knitting (hopefully with not too many dropped stitches or missed facts) to an amusing excerpt from Diary of a Provincial Lady about planting bulbs for forcing which may well be something many of us will be doing this month. I hope you enjoy this issue and the December Magazine will be published on Thursday 30 November, in five weeks time. Until then I hope you have a lovely month, with lots of time for stitching! Very best wishes
Helen xx 3
In the natural world, November is the month when autumn finally gives way to winter. The last leaves fall from the trees and many hibernating animals begin their winter sleep. All Soul’s Day or Soul-mass Day on the second dates from the eleventh century. All souls was a way of ensuring that those in Purgatory could be helped on their way to Heaven by the ringing of the church bells, offering up prayers and lighting candles. Purgatory had of course no place in Protestant theology and so All Souls was suppressed in 1559 following the Reformation. Memories are long in the country though, and traditional soul-cakes were still being baked and offered
to visitors at the end of the seventeenth century.
“Soul! Soul! For a soul cake! I pray, good missis, a soul cake! An apple or a pear, a plum or a cherry, Any good thing to make us all merry. One for Peter, one for Paul, Three for Him who made us all.”
There’s still colour along the lanes and in the hedgerows, bracken and bramble offer shades of gold and a rich purplish-brown whilst
the seed heads of wild clematis known as Old Man’s Beard - still festoon the hedges on either side of the path. Still too, there are still a few roses shining out in sheltered places, and the lemonyellow fireworks of winter jasmine have begun to burst out on house and cottage walls. The churchyard hollies are packed with colour, berries clustering amongst their dark green shiny leaves, for all the world like swarms of scarlet bees or ladybirds. As the year progresses and winter comes knocking at the door, the colour across the countryside begins to die away, giving way to more muted greys, browns and mauves, highlighted by the brilliant white of frost on those wonderful clear cold days.
But these more subtle colours are beautiful too and the old splash of vivid red or orange from the remaining hips, haws and one or two late blooming flowers is all the more welcome for its scarcity. Traditionally, when people lived closer to the land, November marked the period of final preparation for the cold, dark months ahead. If you don’t already have nesting boxes in your garden now is the time to put them up as they’ll provide shelter for birds over the winter months and also become part of their habitat, ready for nesting in spring. Keep them well fed and healthy by stocking up your bird table and feeders regularly. Remember that many birds love the berries and seeds remaining on plants after the flowers are long gone, so don’t tidy up your garden too much if you want to encourage wildlife. Leaf litter, old logs and decaying vegetation all provide shelter over the winter months and if you buy some hedgehog boxes you’ll be even more likely to attract some prickly visitors who will repay your kindness by reducing your garden’s slug population in the spring. If you’re having a bonfire though, do be careful to check it carefully before lighting to avoid harming any hedgehogs sheltering within - they are inclined to view a waiting pile of logs and branches as a perfect sleeping place for the winter months. The eve or vigil of St Martin, 10 November, was a day for weather forecasting… “If the tenth day be cloudy, it foretells a wet; if dry, a sharp, winter.” St Martin’s Day proper, the following day, which we now remember more commonly as Armistice Day, November 11, was traditionally seen as the herald of winter. Even so, there may still be the chance of a “St Martin’s Summer, a spell of warmer weather, at this time of the year, as noted by Shakespeare in the first part of Henry VI: “Expect Saint Martin’s summer, halcyons’ days, since I have entered into these wars.”
Across the Atlantic in the US, Thanksgiving falls in November (Canadian Thanksgiving is an October celebration). It’s held on the last Thursday of the month and dates from the time of the Pilgrim Fathers in the seventeenth century. Thanksgiving was recommended by the President each year from 1863 and fixed as a public holiday in 1941. Families gather together and traditionally a meal including roast turkey and pumpkin pie is eaten. High winds are perhaps more likely than another summer this month, and these were particularly violent in the Great Storm of 1703 which hit England on 26 November. It has been estimated that this catastrophe was equivalent to a Category 3 hurricane, with winds gusting at 120 mph and waves breaking over sixty feet high. Eight thousand people died, including a tenth of the Royal Navy’s servicemen. The devastation was on a vast scale; buildings were
destroyed and church spires blown off; chimneys toppled and killed among many others, the bishop of Bath and Wells and his wife; and windmills were set ablaze from the friction created as their sales spun madly out of control. The Eddystone Lighthouse disappeared along with its crew, and even its architect, Henry Winstanley, who had arrived especially that night to enjoy the furious spectacle and oversee any subsequent necessary repairs. By comparison, the greatest English storm in today’s living memory, that of October 1987 may not have been as severe but the wind still gusted up to 100 mph, 19 million trees were felled and 19 people died. Finally, as November comes to a close, we are all very excitedly looking forward to Christmas. In our family the build up always begins with Stir Up Sunday - the last Sunday before Advent. This 7
tradition dates back to Victorian times when the family would gather together to stir the Christmas pudding five weeks before Christmas. The opening words of the Book of Common Prayer read on this Sunday before Advent at church are ‘Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord’, and so the tradition is that this is the day to get stirring! But did you know that Christmas pudding traditionally contains 13 ingredients to represent Jesus and his disciples. It is traditionally stirred (while making a wish) by each member of the family from East to West, to remember the Wise Men that visited Jesus in the Nativity Story. This year Stir Up Sunday falls on Sunday 26th, so it’s time to put on your apron and gather family or friends to make your Christmas puddings. It's the day when wishes are said to come true, so get stirring!
Goldfinch and Thistle Notes: This project is suitable for confident beginners. Stitches used are basket filling stitch, chain stitch, satin stitch, split stitch, straight stitch, turkey knot stitch. Shown mounted in 6” hoop.
● Not available in sample ● Iron your background fabric well before beginning. ● Stitch design in accordance with guide on following pages. ● When finished press lightly on the reverse being very careful not to flatten your stitches and mount in hoop for display.
The Last Show of the year… November is the month when, traditionally, gardeners enjoy their last fling, their last riot of colour in the final flower shows of autumn, showcasing their dahlias and chrysanthemums. As a rule, there will also be classes for fruit and vegetables at these shows, where we can see apples that are almost too good to be true, and pears and grapes that are perfection itself. Then there are startlingly white leeks and a yard long, and onions like teapots too. But many years ago, at a London show, a fierce argument erupted as to the worth of these giant specimens. In the end, a famous chef was asked to come and give his opinion. He said that there was not one thing on view that he would have in his kitchen. But no one will argue with the gorgeous chrysanthemums and when the flowers fade at last their owners will bend their backs and their gaze to ground level and start rummaging around to take cuttings, to start all over again next year. Gardeners - there’s no stopping them!
Albert Butler: Book of the Countryside
A (very) Little History A November Fog of Hand Knitting Fog everywhere. Fog up the river, where it flows among green aits and meadows; fog down the river, where it rolls defiled among the tiers of shipping and the waterside pollutions of a great (and dirty) city. “Sometimes, people come up to me when I am knitting and sayEssex thingsmarshes, like, "Oh, wish could Fogthey on the fogIon theI Kentish knit, but heights. I'm just not kind of person can sit of Fogthecreeping into thewho cabooses and waste time like that." collier-brigs; fog lying out on the yards and hovering in the rigging of great How can knitting be wasting time? ships; fog drooping on the gunwales of barges and small First, I boats. never just knit; I knit and think, knit and listen, knit and watch. Fog in the eyes and throats of ancient Greenwich Second, you aren't wasting time if you get a useful or pensioners, wheezing by the firesides of their beautiful object at the end of it.. wards; fog in the stem and bowl of the afternoon pipe of the wrathful skipper, down in his close cabin; fog cruelly pinching the toes and fingers Stephanie End” of his shiveringPearl littleMcPhee ‘prentice “At boy Knits on deck. Chance people on the bridges peeping over the parapets into a nether sky of fog, with fog all round them, as if they were up in a balloon and hanging in the misty clouds.
Charles Dickens (1812-1870) from Bleak House, 1853
John Clare 1793-1864
The Approach of Winter
November often seems to somehow catch us slightly by surprise. We know it’s coming after all, but are lulled into a false sense that the warmth and sunshine are here to stay - October after all can be pleasantly bright and mild. But after the excitement of Halloween, the clocks go back and it’s dark at five o’clock. Such a contrast with the weeks before! November is the last month of autumn and, as we are saying farewell to the very last of the warm days, we can start to look forward to the frosts and snows of winter. Although by the end of the month the last leaves will have fallen from the trees and the countryside will be bare of colour, nonetheless he fruit and vegetables in season this month means that our food at least remains colourful. Vibrant carrots, sweet potatoes and deep red cabbage make bright side dishes, whilst pomegranates add a pretty finishing touch to a wide variety of recipes. Pack a punch with peppery turnip and horseradish, grated into crisp rostis or creamy sauces. For something sweet, juicy satsumas and tangerines are perfect for healthy snacks.
November is one of the best months for root vegetables, parsnips and celeriac in particular make great additions to your shopping list. And although not quite as much can be found now as in October, it’s still worth foraging along the hedgerows as rosehips and chestnuts make welcome late additions to the wild larder. If you’re out and about at dusk this month then keep an eye open for murmurations of starlings which usually begin in November. They’re a truly spectacular phenomenon as up to 100,000 birds swoop and whirl in these wonderful aerial pre-roosting displays. As well as our non-migratory resident birds, the flocks include starlings from colder climates and are a reminder that wildlife definitely doesn’t stop simply because the weather’s a bit chilly and the trees are bare. Indeed, the beginning of the month brings one of our own home-grown seasonal celebrations - Bonfire Night on the fifth, so let’s wrap up warm, head outside and enjoy the spectacle! Hot dogs, toffee apples and mugs of steaming hot cocoa compulsory!
Roast Parsnips in Honey & Mustard Ingredients ● 2 tbsp olive oil ● 800g-1kg parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks ● 3 tbsp honey ● 3 tbsp wholegrain mustard
Method ● Preheat oven to 200°C/Gas 6. Heat the oil in a roasting tray in the oven. ● In a pan of boiling water, cook the parsnips for 4 minutes and then drain. Toss in the hot oil to coat. Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until just tender. ● Mix the honey and mustard together in a bowl. Mix with the roasted parsnips. Return to the oven for 5-10 minutes.
Notes The sweet nutty flavour of parsnips works really well with the honey and mustard glaze in this recipe. It’s a great accompaniment to a Sunday roast! Parsnips are plentiful and good value at this time of year, as well as being able to withstand the cold winter weather - a really dependable winter vegetable. Unlike some other abundant home-grown ingredients, the parsnip’s popularity in the UK survived wartime rationing when it was promoted as a substitute for more exotic sweet ingredients including, ambitiously, bananas!
Preparing for the holidays….. “Christmas is coming, The geese are getting fat. Please to put a penny In the old man’s hat!”
And there are lots of other things you can put in hand now to make December just that little bit easier and less stressed.
A (very) Little Guide to Scissors It’s a good principle to always purchase the best tools you can afford, and this is particularly true of scissors. You’ll use scissors in absolutely every project you ever make, so it’s worth spending a little time, trouble (and money too!) on choosing a good pair - and then looking after them properly. There is a bewildering variety of scissors available, so your first decision is what you’re going to use yours for. Shears are perfect for cutting fabric and if you prefer to lay your fabric flat and cut, then you might consider a pair with a bent handle. Serrated blades are good to keep lightweight and/or slippery fabrics under control as the serrated edges will grip the fabric giving you a more accurate cut. General purpose and small scissors are great for snipping threads - and can also be used to cut non-woven fabrics such as felt. Be sure to try before you buy as scissors vary enormously and you need a pair that feels right in your hand and that you are able to control properly. If you’re left-handed then it’s worth looking for a specialist pair. Scissors with tempered blades are good quality and strong too, whilst stainless steel blades are lighter in weight, but very sharp and rust proof too. Make sure the pair you’re considering give a smooth cut right from the back to the point of the blade. Specialist scissors are also available: applique scissors are specially designed for close trimming of fabric edges, the flattened blade allows them to pass easily between layers of fabric. Machine embroidery scissors have handles that are curved to one side so you can accurately trim loose threads and buttonhole scissors have a special adjustable screw to secure them partially open for an exact cutting length. There are three things you should watch out for to keep your fabric scissors in tip top condition. Firstly dust (or lint from fabric) can be abrasive and may blunt the blades, so it’s good practice to wipe
your scissors over with a dry cloth after each use. Don’t allow moisture to come into contact with them and never put them in the dishwasher(!) You can purchase blade sharpeners that I’ve used quite successfully at home, or get them professionally sharpened should they become dull. It’s also good practice to occasionally oil the pivot screw with a tiny drop of sewing machine oil, then wipe the blades with a soft cloth and make a few cuts through scrap fabric to remove any surplus. And the third thing to keep your scissors as good as new NEVER use them to cut paper!!
The Trouble with Bulbs Plant the indoor bulbs. Just as I am in the middle of them, Lady Boxe calls. I say, untruthfully, how nice to see her, and beg her to sit down while I just finish the bulbs. Lady B. Makes determined attempt to sit down in armchair where I have already placed two bulb-bowls and the bag of charcoal, is headed off just in time and takes the sofa. Do I know, she asks, how very late it is for indoor bulbs? September really, or even October is the time. Do I know that the only really reliable firm for hyacinths is Somebody of Haarlem? Cannot catch the name of the firm, which is Dutch, but reply Yes I do know, but think it my duty to buy
Empire products. Feel at the time, and still think, that this is an excellent reply. Unfortunately Vicky comes into the drawing room later and says: “O Mummie, are those the bulbs we got at Woolworths?” …......... Finish the bulbs and put them in the cellar. Feel that after all the cellar is probably draughty, change my mind, and take them all up to the attic.
From The Diary of a Provincial Lady, 1930, E M Delafield
Take a look at bulb-bowls on returning suitcase to attic, and am inclined to think that it looks as though the cat has been up here. If so, this will be the last straw. Shall tell Lady Boxe that I sent all my bulbs to a sick friend in a nursing home.
: On Rose’s advice, bring bulbbowls up from cellar and put them in drawing room. Several of them perfectly visible, but somehow do not look entirely healthy. Rose thinks too much watering. If so Cissie Crabbe entirely to blame. (Mem: Either move bulbbowls upstairs, or tell Ethel to show Lady Boxe into morning room if she calls. Cannot possibly enter into further discussions with her concerning bulbs.
Consult Cissie about the bulbs, which Angela looks at bulbs, and says look very much as though the mice had been at them. What made me think they would be in flower for She says: Unlimited Watering, and tells me about her Christmas? Do not reply to this. own bulbs at Norwich. Am discouraged. Remove bulb-bowls, with what is Administer Unlimited Water to the bulbs (some of which left of bulbs to greenhouse. Tell Robert that I goes through the attic floor onto the landing below), and hope to do better another year. He replies, move half of them down to the cellar, as Cissie Crabbe Another year, better not waste my money. says attic is airless.