For our Vintage Yuletide Advent Calendar 2019, we introduced you to a little Victorian family getting ready for their Christmas celebrations. Joe and Beth Banford live with their children Tommy and Florence in a little cottage. Today we find them out for a walk. We thought you might enjoy finding out a little more about the family and what has inspired one of this week’s yarn colourways…

Crocus under the window

Florence skipped ahead of Joe and Beth. She was trying to catch up with her brother Tommy who was finding wood for his collection. It was a warm February day and the promise of spring was heavy in the air. The woods were still in hibernation but here and there, fresh shoots and signs of new life were to be seen. A blackbird was rummaging for worms just ahead of them and had been spotted by Florence who now stood rooted to the spot watching. Her love of animals and nature grew with her. She was beginning to recognise birdsong already and along with Tommy, feeding the birds every day had become a happy ritual. The blackbird flew off with a noisy chatter and Florence moved off again. She walked only a couple of steps before crouching down to examine something on the ground.

‘What are these flowers called Pa?’ she beckoned.

Joe smiled and he and Beth walked towards the bent head of their young daughter.

‘They’re crocus Florence,’ Beth told her, ‘Aren’t they beautiful?’

Soon as the frost will get out of my bed,

From this cold dungeon to free me,

I will peer up with my little bright head,

And all will be joyful to see me.


Then from my heart will young petals diverge,

As rays of the sun from their focus;

I from the darkness of earth shall emerge,

A happy and beautiful Crocus!

‘Did you make that up Ma? Florence stood amazed.

‘No, somebody far clever than me – that was written by somebody called Hannah Gould. I’ve known that poem since I was a little girl not much bigger than you are now.’

‘Can we dig the flowers up and take them home?’

‘I suppose it wouldn’t hurt – it’s our little woods after all.’ said Joe. ‘I’ll come back later and dig up a clump so as not to disturb them too much. You’ll have to find somewhere for them to live though Flo’


Beth looked out of the kitchen window at Joe and Florence digging outside. Florence had been given a small piece of garden just below the window to keep. She had tried to dig the soil but it was too heavy for her after all the rain they’d had recently. Joe was digging a hole to pop the crocus into. They looked up suddenly, an excitement on their faces. Beth popped her head around the door.

“What have you got there? ‘ she asked laughing.

‘It’s some wood Ma and it’s got writing on!’

‘Can’t quite make it out,’ said Joe. ‘Let me take it to the workshop and clean it up a little.’


They all sat around the kitchen table looking at the plaque that had been cleaned up by Joe. Foxglove Cottage.

‘But I thought this was Hawthorn cottage,’ said Tommy confused.

‘So did we!’ answered Joe laughing. ‘It seems we have some detective work to do!’

‘Oh let’s call it Foxglove Cottage,’ cried Florence. ‘It’s the prettiest name!’………

More next week…:)

Crocus Under the Window yarn is being listed in our Etsy shop update this Friday 14th February at 8pm GMT

Sherry xx

PS – if you would like to read the letter that went out with last year’s advent calendar introducing the family, I’ve added it below x



– Sherry Iris –

A Vintage Yuletide Yarn Advent Calendar 2019 –

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year”

Charles Dickens – A Christmas Carol


This year’s calendar has been inspired by a family living in

late Victorian times. We join them just as they prepare for Christmas…

Let us introduce you to our little family. It is the late 1800s and Joe and Elizabeth Banford live

with their two children Florence and Thomas in a little cottage just outside the village of Cranhurst.

Joe is a wheelwright – just like his father before him. Their home, Hawthorn Cottage, sits on a modest smallholding that has been in Joe’s family for over two hundred years. Being an only son, he stepped into his father’s shoes early when his health deteriorated. He had learned his trade at his father’s knee, and it is his dearest wish that his own son Tommy will one day follow in his footsteps.

While Florence is always to be found in the company of her cat Sherlock, and wandering around the farmstead talking to the chickens or bringing home nature finds, Tommy is more likely to be in a safe corner of the barn away from the heavier machinery of his father’s work, sanding and

shaping a piece of wood.

Beth’s family hark from Newton, a nearby village on the outskirts of their nearest town Drewston. Beth’s parents had both worked at Drewston Hall, her mother as cook and her father as one of the grounds men.  Beth had enjoyed a wonderful childhood growing up on the estate. Occasionally, she would be given a fine piece of fabric from a damaged gown or a piece of linen that Lady Asten had instructed to be put aside,  knowing that young Beth loved to sew and embroider.

Beth had built up a collection of her treasured fabrics over the years that she now sometimes used to embellish Florence’s dresses. Beth’s mother had long since passed away but her father still lived on the Drewston estate. Days visiting grandpa were full of bliss for the children – Florence disappearing with her mother for walks in the grounds while Tommy collected fallen wood for his projects.

His occupation as a wheelwright brought Joe a steady living. He was able to provide for his family though treats were rare. As winter approaches, the Banford family are preparing for Christmas. We join them at the very beginning of December …


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