To continue where the previous post left off, I’m now grafting chunks of skirt back together using the kitchener stitch because hey, I like to laugh in the face of potential knitpocalyse.
It’s not a quick process, partly because of frequent interruptions by Robyn-the-robin tapping on the window for more mealworms… or a passing twin asking, “Mummy, do birds have tongues?” or “Can you hear electricity?” or “When’s lunch?” At least Robyn is able to answer one of those questions:-
So, whilst we pace the length of the waiting room, hoping to hear that the patient (skirt) has survived surgery, may I please tell you about something cool? Look! :-
And this is its other side:-
It’s hundreds of years old, and I found it in the garden. Here’s the story.
So, we live in a very old converted brewery. As you might expect, we often find old bits and pieces buried or hidden around the place. Chunks of Victorian/Edwardian smoking pipe are a particularly common find, and I like to leave a few in plant pots, to look like a hundred-and-something-year-old smokers’ corner.
Once, we found a whole extra cellar, in addition to the legit, official cellar that was on the house details when we bought this place. Seriously, I’m not joking. The Stoic Spouse opened the secret hatch that we found in the floor of the downstairs loo, and let himself nervously down into the abyss below. There was a lot of rubble, and some railway lines. No, I don’t mean railway sleepers, I mean actual pieces of metal railway line. Weird. Understandably he backed off, and we’ve never opened that hatch since. There’s also a rumour of a tunnel from our (legit) cellar to the pub across the road, but we’ve never yet found it.
The other day I was evading my responsibilities to try and home-educate the children, by weeding the garden. I wasn’t expecting to find any artefacts because in the five years it took me to redevelop this garden, I dug over every single inch of ground to a depth that practically hit Australia. (In other news, I’m not prone to exaggeration at all.)
But then I found this thing.
It’s just under an inch across, and its weight and colour made me assume that it’s made of lead. But that was where my insight ended. A helpful archaeological friend put me in touch with our local finds officer, and I sent him the details. I didn’t expect a response for some time, but I guess that the global pandemic has interrupted most of his usual activities, so I had a reply within an hour. Here’s what he said:-
My first impression is that you have a Medieval to Post Medieval (AD 1200 – 1800) lead token. The date range on these is huge because we get lots of them and they vary a huge amount in form! They can be used for lots of different purposes, as gaming counters, weights, trade tokens and more.
Interesting, if a little non-specific! So it’s anywhere from two hundred to eight hundred years old. Our village is plenty older than that range, so anything is possible. I’m going to try and find out more. I wonder who dropped it, and why. I wonder what they used it for, how they came to have it. It’s been difficult to find out much about the history of our home, but I can’t help wondering about the lives that have passed this way before.
Somehow, I’m going to get more information. And when I do, I’ll let you know.
And in the meantime, I’ll just have to get on with the knitting.
You should try the London Mudlark group on Facebook. Huge community of historians and finds researchers. Maybe they can tell you about your token!! Can’t wait to see your completed skirt ????
I’ve stumbled across your blog, and I am in love ???? thank you for giving me a little bit of loveliness to look forward to ????
Maybe you just jumped timelines and hadn’t actually dug as much of your garden in this timeline as the last one where you got to Australia. ???? You know, just a thought….
Patty nouraie says
I absolutely love this post!!! I wonder if you could knit the star design from the token. Can’t wait to see the skirt all back together again.
Fascinating! Secret cellar, close up Robyn, really old token AND knitting of the skirt update. What an interesting post (as always). How you get such good shots of Robyn using your free hand is a real skill. I’m sure we all feel like we know her now!
If your house is an old brewery they used the rails to roll the keg into the brewery and out. Those things weighted a lot so the help of a rail and pulley was needed. He definitely should go back in again as there’s an entrance there too somewere. Better take a lamp next time. I know as I had inherited my grandmothers house build in 1664 with a huge vault under the garden. We discovered that with redesigning the garden. https://www.thetokensociety.org.uk/ is an interesting site to go to for tokens, My father in law was an engineer that worked on the underground of Amsterdam giving him the opportunity to dig for real old tokens and other items. Those pics or R the R are of such excellent quality. I shake so much with taking close ups to take a sharp pic. That skirt is still on the horizon, you’re a real tenacious.
Isabel Jordan says
What a diverse and interesting post. And life. Good to be taken off on a tangent sometimes.
FAAAAAAABULOUS ! You lucky things, you Brits, with all that history around you (and in your gardens) !
We don’t have anything in ours other than weeds. Sighh ..
Robyn is now entirely tame, that’s my guess. She is apostrophizing your for something – what could it be ? I mean, she has all those mealworms sitting there – or lying there, I suppose I should say. Are they dead ?
Oh, and btw, Phil .. can you hear electricity ? [grin]
Wow! What a really cool find!! So happy to see the skirt is being put back together again.
Claire C says
I am genuinely in awe of the kitchenering, which for me is usually done with the minimum of stitches possible…i.e. sock toes or the occasional underarm seam, also accompanied by gritted teeth, some wine for fortitude and occasional profanities. You’re a bl**dy genius!
Ann L Neftin says
I’d love to have a copy to wear in silver as a pendant. Consider this.Sell on Etsy – might be interesting for you. ♥️
Teresa B Rastoskey says
Wow, Super Knitter/designer, brave woman who created a fascinating skirt pattern and had the moxie to take it apart and put it back together. Even if the destruction required wine. Robyn-tamer and twinage wrangler, too. And now Indiana Jones. What an interesting life you lead when you are not wearing your “at work” hat.
OMG! You have a secret cellar that you haven’t properly explored?! How cool is that! Wow, your token beats my found glass marble. Our back yard has trash from the 1960s buried in it. Mostly I find glass, bits of aluminum foil or metal. But once in a while a marble will appear. So totally random how it happens! Have you ever given thought to a metal detector? Might be fun.
Love your skirt! The colors look amazing. It’s almost back in one piece. Can’t wait to see it done!
What a neat find! I’d love to hear the results of this person making a closer examination. Enjoy the knitting, too. I’m working on a Find Your Fade shawl and some bowl cozies/dishclothes for a friend.
How exciting to find something so special and please let us know what the experts come up with, The work you are doing on your skirt is amazing – and very brave!
The Merry Bee says
Your posts really do lift me from my Corona-induced state of suspended animation – thank you!
FYI, I’m left-handed but knit right-handed, and find Kitchener stitch tricky with a sewing needle. I found this method of working it with a third knitting needle. Sooo much easier
How on earth can you resist the temptation to explore the secret cellar? It’d be niggling away at me until I’d investigated every last inch! Then again, I guess you have quite a lot on your hands already what with all the archaeology, gardening, knitting, designing, writing, bird feeding, child-wrangling and occasionally doing the ‘day job’ of being a psychologist.
So exciting about your token too: I love the idea of you sneaking the design into a knitting pattern someday…
Lórienne G says
Why in the name of goodness have you not explored that non-legit cellar yet? I would have investigated every single square centimetre! You have a lot of self-control, I’ll give you that.
The rails were to pull the keg in and out of the brewery, as it was so heavy.
I wish I had a garden like that. Modern houses suck…
Get that Stoic Spouse to open that hatch again, and send us pictures!
Ms Sue says
I love seeing whatever you have on your needles at any given time (living vicariously thru your knitting – I’m a slow and intermittent knitter) and absolutely love hearing about your twins and animals and gardening. Always an interesting read. Thank you for your blog.
FYI there’s a token featured on the mudlark page today that looks suspiciously like yours!!!
The Twisted Yarn says
Oh! I’ll go and have a look. Thank you.