After making the Remembrance Day poppy and the Tudor rose for Lancashire Day, I thought it would be nice to make a different brooch to mark the changing of the seasons and traditions. It's taken me a while to get around to it but the snowdrops growing in my parents' garden gave me the inspiration.
At first, my plan was to make something 3D in felt which, in my fantasies, would have looked something like these gorgeous examples by CozyFelt (left) and Olga Voloshchenko (right). Sadly though the reality of my skills meant I had to aim for something simpler. I played around with felt and fabric for a while but nothing looked quite right. Back to the drawing board and to cross stitch.
I found a pattern in my magazine stash and settled down last Sunday with a cup of tea and a couple of pieces of Scottish tablet to stitch.
And this was the result! I tried lots of different settings but this simple border of green and white felt worked the best. There's a couched silver thread around the linen to give a touch of sparkle. Not what I envisaged at the start but I'm pretty happy with it.
That wasn't the end of the snowdrops though.
While looking for ideas and patterns, I came across lots of information about snowdrops, including this lovely, little poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson.
Many many welcomes,
Ever as of old-time,
Coming in the cold time,
Prophet of the gay time,
Prophet of the May time,
Prophet of the roses,
Many many welcomes,
I thought it summed up beautifully the hope and anticipation that these first flowers of the year bring.
The snowdrop, in purest white arraie,
First rears her hedde on Candlemas daie
I also discovered that today is Candlemas Day when a blessing of the church candles for the coming year would have been held. Snowdrops are also known as both Candlemas bells and Mary's tapers. You can see in this photo how they might have come by the latter name as they push their flame-like white tips into the light.Candlemas marks the midway point between the Winter Solstice (shortest day) and the Spring Equinox (20 March) and coincides with the pagan Celtic feast of Imbolc. As you know, I love a good tradition and don't want to miss an excuse for feasting, so I thought it would be fitting to mark the occasion with something to eat.
It wasn't hard to find inspiration in that humble staple, milk. Imbolc translates as 'ewe's milk' and the scientific name for snowdrops, Galanthus, comes from the Greek for milk (gala) and flower (anthos). As I've had a bit of a poorly tummy this week, a warm milky pudding sounded just the thing. I did consider making galatopita (being Greek and milky) but instead settled on that English classic, rice pudding, laced with a splash of amaretto.
Who would have thought that the simple little snowdrop could provide so much inspiration?
Before I go , I have one last traditional saying.
If Candlemas Day be fair and bright
Winter will take another flight.
If Candlemas Day be cloud and rain
Winter is gone and will not come again.
I don't know what it's been like in your corner of the world today, but here it's been a beautiful sunny day. Looks like we're in for a long winter :(
Do you ever find that some posts come together really easily and others you have to labour over? This is definitely the latter. I had such a mix of ideas and inspiration it was hard to bring that muddled mass together. I hope I got there in the end. x