My virtual elevation to the Order of the Laurel

While the plan had been to be elevated back in April, the pandemic put an end to pretty much all in person events from March. Their Majesties Theuderic and Engelin offered to elevate me virtually, which was held last night.

Thank you to all that attended, as well as the Good Peers that spoke for me. My deep appreciation for Lady Amelia & Mistress ffride for running the event too.

I hope that once the danger lifts that I will see all of you in person & get a hug.

Classes I taught earlier in the year

Earlier in the year I taught at the Politarchopolis University online. I taught a class on the history of Mamluk embroidery, and thought to share them here too. I have them saved as pdf documents.

Egyptian Mamluk embroidery pdf
Mamluk Egyptian charts & reading pdf

Happy to answer any questions!

13th century embroidered tunic front


This tunic is plain woven linen embroidered in double running stitch in black and red silk, made in Egypt. Unfortunately there are no dimensions available. There is no round section visible for the neck itself, the textile seems neatly cut across the top. I am unsure of how the decorations would go around the neck, since it is a square design. It is currently in the Cooper Hewitt, Accession Number 1971-50-13

I have charted it up for use.
chtunic13thcent PDF
Have fun!

A personal note

I am aware that I haven’t posted for some time, but mundane life pulled me away from much. I do have a small announcement however!

A few weeks ago Their majesties Theuderic II and Engelin II have graciously invited me to join the Order of the Laurel and I have accepted. I am now deeply in the throws of planning garb. So here are a few items that are currently inspiring my garb research.

Textile is 10-15th century C.E. Linen embroidered with brown silk, in circles, trefoils, vines, leaves, and lines. The textile can be found in the Ashmolean Museum, accession number EA1984.288.

Also 10th-15th century C.E. Linen embroidered with blue and red silk in trefoils, leaves, and arabesque vines. Found in the Ashmolean Museum accession number EA1984.66.

This textile is also from 10th-15th century. Striped silk fabric embroidered with red, blue, and yellow silk with silver wrapped thread. It is obviously a neckline from a tunic, with there also being a backing of linen. Currently to be found in the Ashmolean Museum accession number EA1988.25.

Another tunic neckline from the 10th-15th century C.E. Linen, which had been overlaid with black silk, embroidered with black, blue, green, and red silk along with silver metal thread. Decorated with triangles, diagonals, trees, and medallions with crosses. The textile can be found in the Ashmolean Museum, accession number EA1993.338.

New chart with sample of embroidery

This textile can be found in the Ashmolean Museum, Accession number EA 1984.564.

It is a ground cloth of tabby woven linen, embroidered with red and blue silk in a double running stitch. It is 26.5 cm by 7.5 cm, with a rolled and whipped stitch hem in silk. On the far right of the textile looks to be a pattern darned section, but there is not enough of the design left to see.

I have charted up the design in a pdf format-
ashmoleanzigzagswithhooks PDF

I usually ask everyone who reads this blog to try out the pattern themselves here, but this time I have tried it myself & have pictures to show off! There is a very obvious mistake, left in the middle.

The start.

Reaching the end.


Completed, with obvious mistake in the middle. Not the complete pattern, but I ran out of time.


The pattern was embroidered onto a handkerchief that was given to King Niall III and Queen Sabine I, at the William Marshal Memorial Tourney in Stormhold.

A textile in the V&A

This textile was made in Egypt between 1250 and 1500 C.E. It is linen, embroidered with red silk in two distinct patterns. It is 14 cm by 19 cm. There are two rolled hems on the left and right sides. It is thought that it is a possible scarf or girdle. The textile is in the V&A Museum, Accession number 804-1898. The embroidery at the bottom of the textile is almost the same design as a textile in the Ashmolean, which can be read about in a previous post “A new embroidery chart with chevrons and diamond shapes”.

I have charted the top design. It is available as a pdf.
vandazigzags PDF

Let me know how you find it!

A digestive of lemon and quince

Recently I had been given Nawal Nasrallah’s recent translation of 14th century Egyptian cookbook “Treasure Trove of Benefits and Variety at the Table” or Kanz al-fawāʾid fī tanwīʿ al-mawāʾid. I thought to try out a few of the recipes for digestives, although there is only one included in this post. From page 252, recipe number 353, Sharab laymun safarjali (concentrated syrup for lemon-quince drink).

Take a quince, peel it, cut into pieces, and remove the seeds. Boil it in water until it softens and is half cooked. Put the quince aside, and keep the boiling liquid.
Dissolve sugar in the water and boil it until it thickens. Throw in the reserved liquid in which the quince was boiled, and resume boiling it until the syrup is thick enough. Throw in the [boiled] quince and bring it to the boil once or twice, and then remove it. Squeeze one or two lemons on it, and scent it with rosewater.

My redaction-
3 quinces (peeled, cored and chopped)
5 cups water
2 & 1/2 cups raw sugar
2 lemons
3 tablespoons rosewater

Boil the water & quince together until tender.

Remove quince, add sugar and a few strips of lemon peel from the lemons. Boil until half reduced.

While reducing liquid, squeeze two lemons and strain to remove pips.

After liquid has reduced, remove peel and return quinces to pot.

After fruit has fallen apart, mash/blitz with blender. Add lemon juice and rosewater. Strain into jars.

A pilgrim’s flask

This flask is made from blue hand blown glass, with a stopper covered in fabric and attached by a cord to the flask’s fabric case.
The flask’s fabric case is made from linen, embroidered with blue flax and done in pulled thread work.
As seen, the stitches also involve a stitch known as a dove’s eye. The bag was also stuffed with vegetable fibres, possibly for insulation. The size (including the bag) is 13.5cm height with 11 width and 1.5 cm depth.

The pilgrim’s flask in currently in the Ashmolean Museum and thought to have been made between 14th and 15th Century C.E.

A textile with chevrons

This textile was made in Egypt between the 10th-15th century C.E. It is 21.5 cm long and 19 cm wide(the embroidery is 13 cm). It is linen embroidered in blue flax. The textile is in the Ashmolean Museum Accession number EA1984.539.

I have charted it up. It is available for download as a pdf-
ashmoleanzigzag (PDF)
Instead of asking how everyone else finds the chart, I did a handkerchief as a gift to Their Majesties Rowland and Tailltiu.
Have fun!

New exhibition at the Aga Khan Museum

The Aga Khan Museum is currently having an exhibition called “The World of the Fatimids”. Running from March 10th to July 2nd.

One of the highlight pieces is this horn-
This horn is elephant ivory, carved in the 11th to 12th centuries in Fatimid ruled Sicily. It is carved with hunting scenes of mythical and real animals, which reflected the horn being used is hunting.The silver was later added in England during the 17th century. More information is available at the Aga Khan Museum website.