Wednesday, 11 November 2009


There has fallen a splendid tear
From the passion-flower at the gate.
She is coming, my dove, my dear;
She is coming, my life, my fate;
The red rose cries, 'She is near, she is near;'
And the white rose weeps, 'She is late;'
The larkspur listens, 'I hear, I hear;'

And the lily whispers, 'I wait.'

Maud, Alfred, Lord Tennyson

I am not much of a poetry buff but this is one of my all-time favourite stanzas of poetry. There is so much magic and mystery in it. Not being a buff I've not read the rest of it, I'm just happy with this bit.

So, maud the noun, not the poetical person - Shandy has been kind enough to direct me over to Needled where Kate has written a post about a traditional Scottish wrap worn by shepherds called, wait for it, a maud. Unfortunately, I had already cut and sewn my fabric before I read about mauds but, nevertheless, that is now the name of my checked wrap.

A few details - the fabric that I bought is 100 per cent wool and 60 inches wide (apologies metric friends but when in Rome ...). The dimensions that I was aiming for were 22 by 68 inches and I decided to make my wrap, or rather my maud, from a double layer so I bought 54 inches (one-and-a-half yards) of fabric. I had thought to make the maud longer by attaching the extra eight inches or so to the 60 inch width but, alas, the checks are not square and didn't match up.

Instead I cut the extra eight inches into two equal widths and sewed one to either end of the maud. Then the unravelling began - some 90 by 8 inches of thread pulling. Unh, it took a while. The colours in the fringe don't line up with the checks either but for me this is ok.

I folded the fabric plus fringe in half and sewed it up, followed by some top stitching. What I have now is effectively a 60 inch tube of fabric with a fringe at either end. I had thought to run a few lines of stitching down the centre to keep it all together, and then I thought, well, why not a few lines of decorative stitching? and then I thought, well, why not some decorative surface embroidery? Where do these ideas come from? Topic for another post.

ps The portrait of Tennyson is by George Frederic Watts and is in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London.