Sunday, May 16, 2021

"QUEEN MARY'S GARDEN" © 2019 - Block 44 and ROW 5

Mary Queen of Scots' life is getting rather complicated following her return from France to England.  As the now seated Queen of Scotland, she was young, powerful, and beautiful with a determined strength and vigor.  She was certainly strong and smart enough to be Queen.  Her next husband would not officially be a Scottish King, but a King consort.

Growing up in the French Court, she was encouraged by her de Guise Uncles and King Henry II (the father of her betrothed Dauphin Francis II) to join discussions.  She had the freedom to express her own opinions, even in political matters.  Her exposure to this rare, female opportunity gave Mary the knowledge and confidence to go home and assume her thrown. 

Current, and future, cast of characters (from left to right):
Rizzio, Mary's secretary and closest confidant

Everyone had an idea of who Mary's second husband should be. Her advisors were, of course, thinking only of politics and Scotland's allies/enemies list.  England and Queen Elizabeth had their own ideas and even had men "planted" into Mary's inner circle, acting as influencers and providing intelligence.  Elizabeth was still concerned about Mary's "Stuart legitimacy" claim to the British throne and was intimidated by her strength and popularity.

Of course, the de Guise side of Mary's family had matrimonial plans for her as well.  Mary's mother, Marie de Guise of France, had come to Scotland to act as Reagent "place keeper" for Mary.  After all, she was barely born when the death of her father had left her the throne.  Mother Marie had powerful brothers in the French court which kept France's interests at the forefront.  

France, as a fellow Catholic country, was a strong ally with Scotland.  They needed each other's support against England, now Protestant following Henry VIII's "divorce national conversion."  England wanted to stamp out Catholicism in the region.

Edenborough was fairly strongly Catholic, but outlying Scottish Clans sort of did their own thing.  They basically wanted to be left alone, not wanting to work together against the English.  The clans were too busy stealing and fighting with each other.

There were skirmishes near the border with England.  Mary would ride out with her soldiers in battles.  It is said that Mary was not totally opposed to Protestantism, she mainly wanted to be able to be a strong, practicing Catholic herself.

Then, there was her older half-brother...he had gained some support for being the rightful King before Mary returned home to Scotland.  He was trying to undercut her authority and had his own band of soldiers.

It is said that the King never even saw his daughter Mary as he was near death and she was born hours after he died.  Then, there was Mary's right to the thrown...she was the king's legitimate heir.  Her older brother was only a half brother, which was also a thorny situation.

But what about love?  Mary was pushed and pulled and finally ended up marrying Lord Darnley.  It is thought that Darnley was pushed into the marriage merry-go-round by Queen Elizabeth and her advisers.  

ROW FIVE is done and on the design wall.  My bedroom design wall is smaller than the one in the basement...I've about reached its limit.

Queen Pineapple was blogged on 01/04/21.
Morella Cherry was blogged on 01/04/21.
Spring Starflower was blogged on 01/04/21.
Damson Plum was blogged on 12/08/18.
Bearss Lime was blogged on 10/10/20.
Marguerite Daisy was blogged on 03/22/20.

Worchester Apple 

Eight more blocks, then on to the nutty bird border!  I am trying to control myself drawing the birds, but they are all based on 16th-17th century art, manuscripts, and embroideries.  

I'm finding it hard not "fixing" the drawings to be less fanciful and more "normal."  It's a challenge for me to be faithful to the interpretations of flora and fauna by the artisans and crafters from that time period...I want things a little more anatomically accurate, I guess.

And the wild colors they used...yikes!  Although, I have to admit reproducing mystery flowers and birds in unnatural, unusual colors has been freeing! 

From the little bit I've read about the lives of that era, an embroidery project using bright silks was probably a big help coping and balancing some of the daily difficulties.

In stitches, 
Teresa   :o)

On another thread...

I am still here!  I have my second Covid-19 shot this week, but I am in a state where the split between vaxed and not-vaxed is about 50/50.  So I am still mostly stuck at home with my post-pneumonia sensitive lungs, heart arrhythmia, etc.

I am so jealous of all of you getting so much done during the shutdown!  Being under house-arrest for 12+ months and the whole 2020 year made me feel so helpless.  It totally interfered with my creativity, which leaves me depressed and irritated.  

I missed my 92-yr-old beloved aunt, siblings, nieces and nephews, quilt guilds, quilt shows, traveling to Michigan to see friends, etc.  SO many small businesses closed in the Shoals area...even some major chain restaurants and stores.

Here's to getting out and getting back to normal (and feeling more joyous)!! 

Monday, January 4, 2021

"QUEEN MARY'S GARDEN" © 2019 - Blocks 41, 42, 43


Mary Queen of Scots lived with the French court from the age of five until her marriage at sixteen to the younger Dauphin, Francis II.  She learned languages and studied history, literature, and the Masters.  In addition, her course Scottish dialect was cleaned up, French became her main language, and she learned riding and refinements such as embroidery.

Growing up in the Royal nursery allowed fun and friendship with other royal children in addition to her betrothed.  Marie de Guise, Mary's mother, was from a powerful family in the French court.  

The young queen's mom was back in Scotland, ruling as Mary's Reagent.  Mary's de Guise uncles were involved in her education and discussions of politics, morality, history of the region, and the ties between France and Scotland.

Queen Pineapple

Morello Cherry

Spring Starflower

Nine more blocks to go!  Then it will be all border birds, all the time, with two or three fun elements inserted to keep the birds company.

Happy, Happy New Year to all!

In stitches,

Thursday, December 31, 2020

"QUEEN MARY'S GARDEN" © 2019 continues - Poop-poop-dee-poop!


Let's talk about sanitation in the time of Mary Queen of Scots.  It's the last night of a crappy 2020, so what could be more appropriate?

(This subject is mentioned in at least two of the reputable books I am using as Mary Queen of Scots reference material, so I believe the validity of the subject is unreproachable.)

Castles and great houses, just like the more humble houses of their subjects, had no running water, no indoor plumbing.  Buckets of water were hauled to the castle/house for cooking, bathing, laundry, dishwashing, and what general cleaning was attempted.  And if you wanted a warm tub bath, kettles had to be heated and hauled.

Outdoor privies were not practical at a castle, and certainly the climate of Scotland made their use unpleasant for the humblest of abodes.  The use of an indoor chamber pot was the norm for the  middle and upper classes and had to be emptied.  It was personal, in the room, and a habit that was hard to change when newer, updated offerings were offered.

Also, the upper class members using a chamber pot were not responsible for emptying its contents, so did not have the motivation to try something unfamiliar.

In the 16th century this was often out a window.  Some castles had cesspools below a certain window for disposal.  These would fill and need to be dug out from time to time.  In cities and towns, emptying would be out a window, and often next to the street where people would be walking.  Sidewalks were sort of gutters, and these would overflow...especially in rain.

Oh, my shoes!

In Renaissance Scotland, the housewives threw their chamber pot contents and slops out the windows with the cry "Gardy Loo!" (This was evidently derived from the French "Gardez l'eau," meaning "look out for the water!")

Unfortunately, the sound of the cry and the discarded material often arrived simultaneously. Woe to the one who looked up to see what was coming. It is believed that this may be the origin of the British term "loo" for a toilet.

Royal chamber pots were much fancier, more like chamber chairs or stools.

Oh, my skirts!

Castles and manor houses were generally equipped with garderobes that had stone or wooden seats above a shaft within the pit that had to be cleaned out at intervals.

As a result, castles and great houses, with many residents and guests, had terrible sanitation problems.

From time to time, everyone was moved from one castle to another for the purpose of cleaning and airing.  Can you imagine?  As the waste capacity of the castle would reach full accommodation, people were less careful of where they took care of their bodily functions.

There was a very high rate of infant mortality at this time.  Eventually a connection was made between filth and illness complaints, such as cholera.  

After outdoor pits and pools were emptied/drained, stone floors and corners swished out with buckets of water and brooms, and shear length of uninhabited time, everyone was moved back.

Maybe this is why there were so many castles and great houses per royal family.  

Perhaps this explains so many castle ruins...some were simply impossible to keep clean over time or were initially built in too wet an environment to deal with waste water.  

Proximity of human waste may have even ruined the quality of fresh water.

Maybe as sanitation improved, it was not practical to keep up so many different homes, especially the ones not situated to make sanitation adequate..

Just when I fantasize about the 1500s and the ability to sit around all day and stitch, I uncover another unpleasant factoid.

Stay safe out there and keep each other safe.  Here's hoping 2021 will be a better year!

In stitches,

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

getting excited

(Yet another unposted draft; not sure where my head was in 2013.)

Ooo...I am beginning to get excited about putting the blocks together!

Yes, I do have 16 blocks finished, which is the magic number I need for the symphony quilt.  But I will not use three of the finished blocks in this particular quilt because they are more general: the lyre and both clef blocks.  They will be added to another block to make a smaller wall hanging containing 4 blocks.

I have my woodwind section filled: oboe, flute, clarinet, and bassoon.

I have my brass section filled: trumpet, French horn, trombone, and tuba.

I have my string section finished: violin, viola, cello, and double bass.

I have my piano finished (my favorite solo concerto instrument).

That leaves three blocks, which are all in progress simultaneously.


In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Fine-tuning the woodwinds...

(Another un-posted draft from 2013...good grief.)

Clarinet before fine-tuning...

Clarinet after fine-tuning...

Oboe before fine-tuning...

Oboe after fine-tuning...

The fine-tuning went so well with the strings, that I've been doing it with the four woodwind blocks.  Outlining the keys really highlights the detail of the keys.

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Embroidery outlining adds definition...

(Another draft from the past.  I forgot to post it in 2013.)