This morning, I spent a relaxing half an hour or so finishing off the pennants for my first ever fabric bunting. No yarn, no felt. Just these pretty little fabrics. I then hopped out to The Wool Shop (this fab little shop in Liskeard which stocks yarn, buttons, haberdashery, lingerie, tights AND ladies footwear)to purchase the bias binding to enable me to string my pennants together which I had planned to do this evening. I need to refine my planning skills because I’m currently stuck in a holding pattern as it didn’t cross my mind to buy matching thread at the same time. Never mind, at least I have something to look forward to tomorrow!
If you’ve been reading for a while you will know that I am a hearts and flowers girl…but that’s not all. I’m also a tiny little bit addicted to bunting. If it incorporates hearts and or flowers all the better. I’ve had a little tot up of the bunting garlands in my house – 7 and counting. The only rooms that have, thus far, escaped are the bathrooms and our bedroom. (If I had a photo of an amused looking husband shaking his head at me I might insert it right here!).
Instead, I’ll remind you of the last bunting that I made:
And, of course, it plays quite a large part in many of my wreaths:
As I was sewing at far too close to midnight last night, I got to wondering why we call it bunting and how long it has been around and whether it has always been used for purely decorative purposes. I associate it with the mid 20th century – I’m sure my parents must have been surrounded by it during their post-war childhoods…weren’t they?
My research tells me that it was actually only used for special occasions and and then put away again until the next time that it was needed but I shall continue to imagine that period in history a la Darling Buds of May and in constant street parties festooned beautiful bunting.
What is bunting?
The OED 1995 edition defines it as 1. flags and other decorations. 2.a loosely woven fabric used for those and by 2009 the entry had been updated to flags and other colourful festive decorations.
These are some of the many bunting offerings at Glastonbury Festival 2015:
Today, we use the term to refer to any strung together decoration. Here’s one that I made a year or so ago – no sign of a triangle there.
On my journey of bunting discovery, the first revelation that I happened upon was that it was originally made from fabric woven from yarn!! We’re not talking crochet here, of course, but it’s nice to think that the little triangles that I enjoy hooking aren’t all that far removed from the pennants of history.The fabric used was called ‘buntine’ (derived from the middle English ‘bontine’) and was used to make signal flags (flags with combinations of numbers representing each letter of the alphabet) used onboard the Royal Naval ships in order to send messages.
One very famous message communicated in this way was sent from from HMS Victory as the battle of Trafalgar was imminent and repeated throughout the fleet. You might have heard it a few times before:
“England expects that every man will do his duty”
Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson
21 October 1805
Bunting has become a staple of vintage chic yet its 19th century origins couldn’t be any further removed from the cosy interiors created by modern homemakers in the 21st Century and I think that it has taken on a different meaning for me.
I’m just off to start hooking my next offering – watch this space!
I’ve just had meander through my photos and it seems that I had forgotten quite how much bunting I have shared 2015 with – I’ll leave you with some of my favourite images just for fun!
Thanks fore reading