Gifts for the new Baroness and King & Queen

Last night was the Midwinter Investiture of Stormhold’s new Baroness Maestra Antonia di Lorenzo. As a gift from the Guild she got a horn bowl & spoon (for her salt) and a tea towel based on the chart from A Blackwork Challenge-
img_0287 It is silk on linen. I used Guterman silk, since it is quite fine & doesn’t fray. The reverse- img_0288

Their Majesties Niall and Liadan got a leather bound book and a small handkerchief embroidered with a blackwork from a sampler in the V&A. The blackwork embroidery is at the bottom of the sampler. I haven’t charted the whole sampler, as the rest of the designs are pattern darning and not in good condition. The front of my embroidery- img_0289 It is silk on linen, but made from Ver a Soie silk thread. The reverse- img_0290 Anyone interested in the chart?

Another charted design

This item is thought to be either a sash or a turban. Made in the Mamluk period in Egypt (1250-1517) it is blue silk on linen. The item is 26.5 cm by 15 cm. The original is in the Ashmolean. Unfortunately the picture does not show the edges of the embroidery, so the chart is simply a theory as to how it finishes. Here is a picture of a recent embroidery I did based on the chart-I chose to only do three squares up, as I wanted to show the interlocking circles without either drowning each other out. The original shown above has five squares, but the pattern is adaptable. The extra squares can be added later, if I desire. The reverse- Close up detail- The chart can be downloaded from the link below. I found the best way to do it is the do the small linked squares first, then the lines of squares and rosettes. The way to do the squares and rosettes by doing one half or dashes of the squares (with the insides being done as well) then doubling back and filling in the dashes. Let me know how it goes!
Squares and interlacing knots (pdf)

More gifts from the Guild

As the Shire of Krae Glas has now been made into a Barony and with the King and Queen of Lochac there, some gifts were made by myself to welcome them all.

Please excuse the fuzziness, I thought I had focussed properly…

This is the back of the kerchief, showing that it is reversible, even the cross stitch. This is based on a chart I had done previously on a third Blackwork Challenge. One of the easiest Blackwork I have done, while looking quite good. Black silk on linen, which has a higher thread count than the original 13th century kerchief. The kerchief was wrapped around two begleri, made of smoky quartz. All four begleri took me an evening to make and fiddle around with.

Really sorry about the fuzziness. I based the begleri on designs found on Culture Taste. The new Baron and Baroness of Krae Glas got a kerchief in the colours of Krae Glas-

This was based on Mathilde Eschenbach’s charted pattern from a doll’s robe. Here is the back and a good way to see the details of the golden thread-

The new B&B also got begleri, but theirs was red tiger eye.

I wish all them all the best with their gifts. If you want more information on begleri, please look at the Tasbih, misbaha, komboloi and begleri post.

The gift for the King & Queen

I made a small embroidered wrapping cloth, out of linen with silk embroidery to give to the King & Queen of Lochac at Winter Feast in Stormhold. I used one of the sampler designs I charted last year. It is up on the Guild to download, so please go to a Second Blackwork Challenge.

It took me just under two weeks of fairly intensive sewing. The sampler had it in blue silk, but I used black. I found it an easy pattern to work out, but quite repetitive.

This is the back of the fabric and the pattern is reversible. I am not the best joiner, however!. It was wrapped around a small jar of Lebanese coffee. I am thinking I may have included some instruction on how to brew said coffee though…
Suggested reading
The Skill of the Two Hands by Caroline Stone. From Saudi Aramco World.

Some research

Since there is very likely to be a K&Q visit in December for the William Marshal Memorial Feast, I was told it would be a Good Thing to have a small gift from the Guild. I have thought of making something, but since I was considering making Fatimid garb (the same time period as William the Marshal) as well as making more garb for my kids, I thought the best thing would be the very well known coffee.

Coffee has a lot of fanciful stories floating around about it but are hard to believe. Many of them date to a much later period, such as the dancing goat story which can only be dated to 1671. However, it is known that coffee spread from Ethiopia to Yemen and Egypt very quickly. Coffea arabica is a native to Ethiopia and the Sudan. Coffea canephora (or Robusta) is native to central Africa. Robusta has a bigger yield to arabica, having more caffeine per gram but is more bitter in flavour. Therefor it was considered the poorer cousin.

Coffee houses opened in Mecca, the holy city between 1512 and 1524. The drinking of coffee was banned, until the local sheik became a drinker and the bans were then lifted. This happened all over the Islam world, recurring in Damascus in 1530, the first coffee house opening in Constantinople in 1553 and coffee stores being sacked in Cairo in 1532 after another ban had been put on the drink. A lot of this can be found on the coffee page, if anyone is interested…

Coffee was thought to have been taken to Europe for wholesale consumption by Venetian traders. However, the coffee we drink today has changed considerably from the one people drank 500 years ago. Today there is powdered coffee as well as a huge range of blended coffee. If I wish to give a more medieval type coffee bean, I must go for a single origin coffee.

The port of Moka in Yemen was one of the biggest exporters of coffee, considered the best in the world. So I have been looking at coffee wholesalers in Australia, such as Jaspers Coffee and the Coffee Company. Specifically tracing single origin coffee from Ethiopia or Yemen. Maybe regular beans, although there are peaberries to consider as well. The coffee bean develops like a peanut, with nuts together in the fruit. A peaberry is a single nut. Peaberries occur when there is less nitrogen in the soil. Considered by some to have the flavour of two beans in one. So I will shop a couple of days before. Should I get them ground or leave them whole? Europeans grind their coffee but it is pulverized in the Middle East, creating a fine powder (which can then be mixed with spices such as cardamom).

Coffee: Its History, Cultivation, and Uses by Robert Hewitt is available to read from Google Books.