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"It is the perfect blend of fashion, photography, English history, and knitting!" — Petals to Picots
"A gorgeous book filled with classic-looking sweater patterns." — Canary Knits
Featuring new and reimagined garments based on the original edition published in 1998, this volume of Tudor Roses presents gorgeous knitwear inspired by the historical female figures of the Tudor Dynasty.
Through garment design, Alice Starmore and her daughter Jade tell the stories of fourteen women connected with the Tudor dynasty. They weave a narrative around the known facts of their subjects' lives using photography, art, and the only medium through which the Tudor women could leave a lasting physical record in their world—needlework.
Tudor Roses includes fourteen patterns for sweaters and other wearables that follow the chronological order of the Tudor dynasty. A different model portrays each of the Tudor women, from Elizabeth Woodville, grandmother of Henry VIII, through Mary, Queen of Scots. The stunning design and photography appeals to knitters seeking designs that offer an attractive balance of historic and modern elements.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780962558689
Publisher: Unicorn Books & Crafts, Incorporated
Publication date: 08/01/1998
Pages: 128
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 11.50(h) x (d)

About the Author

An acclaimed textile designer, author, artist, and photographer, Alice Starmore is a native of Scotland's Isle of Lewis. Starmore has taught and lectured extensively throughout Britain, Europe, and the United States. She has written 16 books and countless magazine articles. Dover has previously published her acclaimed Aran Knitting and her classic Book of Fair Isle Knitting, which introduced Americans to the popular traditional technique.

Tudor Roses: A Personal Statement by Alice Starmore
It is not the business of women to govern kingdoms but of men.

These words were spoken in 1483, not long before the 330-year reign of the Plantagenet dynasty came to a violent end at the Battle of Bosworth. The words are ironic because that bloody conclusion, and the resulting foundation of the Tudor dynasty, were events engineered by women with courage, shrewd statecraft and a steely sense of purpose. Yet they are barely remembered: eclipsed by their male contemporaries. The chroniclers of the time were men, as were the portrait painters. High-born women were encouraged in only two activities — needlework and the production of male heirs.

My daughter Jade and I decided to tell the stories of fourteen women connected with the Tudor dynasty: women who in some way made a stand and chose their own paths — for good or ill. If these renaissance women were not allowed to write their own stories, and their painted portraits were often idealised, how could we know what they were really like? That is the question we sought to answer in creating Tudor Roses. Our approach was to put ourselves in their place; to stand in their shoes; to blend history and imagination; to weave a narrative around the known facts of their lives. We planned to deliver this narrative in a unique manner, using not just writing but photography, art and the only medium through which our subjects could leave a lasting physical record in their world — needlework.

A Tudor chronicler wrote of the "pain, labour and diligence the tailors, embroiderers and goldsmiths took both to make and devise garments for lords, ladies, knights and esquires ..." This is the model we chose to emulate. I designed and made garments never seen in knitting before, full of meaningful details, carefully constructed to evoke character. Jade undertook fourteen photoshoots, using a different model to play each of our Tudor subjects. The evocation of character was considered when constructing the photographic sets, as each of our dramatis personæ has her own distinct colour scheme, designed to project an aspect of her personality and story. We both took pains to balance the historical with the modern; the garments I created are eminently wearable today, while Jade's photographs are in the style of renaissance portraits but have a contemporary twist. As a final detail, we enlisted students of silversmithing at City of Glasgow College to produce Tudor-themed jewellery that can be worn by modern women.

The result is a unique book that transcends the traditional knitting market. Tudor Roses will appeal to aficionados of art photography, of history, and of fabric and costume. It is also a volume for book-lovers, classically designed on a page size that allows unstinted white space. Jade and I are grateful to Calla Editions™ for granting such a generous canvas on which to paint our joint vision.

Finally, Tudor Roses will also appeal to students of life's ironies. The last character portrayed in the book is Mary, Queen of Scots, the granddaughter of Margaret Tudor. Her needlework survives to this day, and the craft gave her solace during many years of imprisonment prior to her execution in 1587. She was beheaded but won posthumously because it was her son who became James I of England when the line of Henry VIII fizzled out. In July of 2013, in London, a boy was born to worldwide media attention; he is destined to become King George VII and it is through Mary that he takes his dash of Tudor blood. From back across the centuries, our shrewd stateswomen can allow themselves a wry smile.

Read an Excerpt

Tudor Roses

By Alice Starmore

Dover Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 2013 Alice Starmore
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-60660-070-2



There has not been time to mourn. It is easier this way as I do not know which of my kin I must grieve for. My husband is dead, this much I know, leaving the poisoned legacy of a divided kingdom. I stand on one side – the woman with no royal blood whom he married for love – and his brother Richard on the other. My son Edward stands between us; he is the rightful king but he is young and cannot claim the throne on his own behalf.

I have taken my daughters to sanctuary in Westminster Abbey, but my sons are in the Tower. At first they were seen, but there has been no sight of them for weeks. There are whispers that they escaped and have been spirited abroad but there are other whispers that they are dead; murdered. I do not know the truth and do not know if I will ever see them again. Richard has claimed the crown in their place. He claims my husband was born out of wedlock, sired by a common archer, and calls his own mother a whore. She remains silent on the subject.

I am entreated to leave sanctuary and to place my daughters in Richard's care. I may have little choice. Sanctuary is a tradition and a moral idea, but its laws can be broken; my husband set the precedent for that. He dragged his enemies from a church and executed them in the aftermath of a bloody battle. I would rather we walked from sanctuary than were dragged. My daughters will be visible at court and that will make it harder for them to disappear like my sons. I will defer to Richard's demands and play the meek widow, but I will see him suffer in the end. This I swear.

Westminster Abbey, 148



I was very young when I bore Henry, my only son; the age of thirteen is far too soon to bear a child, and I knew after the birth that I could never hope for another. But one son was sufficient, and the blood of the House of Lancaster lives on through him. I sent him abroad to keep him safe from Yorkist plots and the bloody battles of the Wars of the Roses, while I remained in England, a silent witness to the making and unmaking of kings. I have taken politics in my stride and have quietly fought for my son's rights, patiently paving the way for his return. But in all my planning, even I could not have anticipated the circumstances that would finally bring him back to England. My hope for him was a guarantee of safety, a good marriage and the retrieval of the earldom and lands of Richmond; not an easy goal to achieve. But now the tide of fortune flows in our favour and I aim higher – for the crown of England itself.

My son arrived in England with an army at his back and supporters at his side. Richard defends his title with an equal army and possibly more. They will meet in battle and the outcome rests on my husband, Lord Stanley. He commands a large force, and has promised he will fight at Henry's side. But he has also promised Richard the same. Where his loyalty truly lies is known to none but himself. I suspect he has none. He will watch and wait and make the decision that is of most benefit to himself. It makes a mockery of his family motto, Sans Changer, but I cannot fault him. If I were a man in his position then I would do the same. Chivalry and honour belong only in the tales we tell our children; survival and power are all that matter in these times.

If Henry falls in battle then I will lose everything: son, title, wealth, possibly even my own life. If he wins then we will take the greatest prize of all – the throne of England. Only God knows what the outcome will be.

Alea iacta est. All that remains is to wait and pray.

Lathom, Lancashire, 1485



When I was a little girl I was promised to the Dauphin of France. That changed soon enough, along with everything else, for in my two decades of life I have seen certainties dwindle into shadows. My little brother should have become Edward V of England, but history will only puzzle over his absence. I think of him still, especially as I will soon be queen in his place.

News came today that Henry of Richmond has defeated my uncle in battle, and Richard now lies dead in Leicester. Henry will ride into London as king by right of conquest, and he will marry me for my Yorkist bloodline. We will finally unite the white rose and the red – a happy ending after all the years of bloodshed. Or maybe just an ending, for the kings of England will no longer be Plantagenet. Instead I will change my name to Tudor.

I have no expectation that we will rule as equals, even though we both have equal right. Henry will be guided by his mother, and I will be carefully watched in case I try to advance my own claim to the throne. But we are both young and if God favours us then we will be blessed with children. Affection and love for them will draw us together, the Wars of the Roses will be forgotten and we will live in prosperity and peace.

Sheriff Hutton Castle, Yorkshire, 1485



Today I am made Queen of Scotland at only thirteen years of age, though in my heart I wish I were queen of a more temperate and placid country. France, I have heard, is a mild land with delightful palaces. I cannot say the same of Scotland, where the castles and the sky are often the same steely grey, and the wind is so sharp it feels it may draw blood. They say it is milder in the west. I pray we will spend the winter there.

Here in Edinburgh the castle seems to grow out of the cold rock and towers over the dishevelled city. The court seems no less dishevelled, and at times they speak a language that sounds as if it were mined from the very rock itself. King James IV – my husband – is more genteel and very handsome, although somewhat older than me. I am not ill-treated and he seems to have a kind enough heart. Still, I keenly feel my lack of years and terribly miss my family and my home. It is all so very different here. But I will bear it; royal children have duties, and mine has always been to leave and be wife to a king in another land. I will devise costumes that will keep me warm. I will have my own children and, God willing, they will be kings and queens in years to come.

Holyrood Abbey, Edinburgh, 1503



Since my arrival in England my situation has not been as I expected. At first all was well, my husband Arthur was agreeable, and our marriage – although unconsummated because of our youth – was friendly. Then he succumbed to an illness and died soon after, aged sixteen. I did not know him long but I felt for the king and queen. Their sorrow was barely contained, and Prince Henry, their one remaining son, was not felt sufficient to guarantee the continuation of the Tudor line. Queen Elizabeth became pregnant again and lost her life in childbed. Sad as these events were, their sorrows were not mine, and as a widow I expected both myself and my dowry to be returned to my parents in Spain. But the king was not prepared to relinquish the coin, for in this instance rumour speaks the truth and he is something of a miser. He suggested that the problem would be solved if I married him instead, since he was now in want of a wife. My mother refused to give her consent. She was Queen of Castile in her own right, and had the same power as any man. For a time I was then promised to Prince Henry, now the heir to the throne. Not long after followed news of my mother's death, which filled me with sadness and also lessened my diplomatic value. I was now only a bargaining piece for my father's kingdom of Aragon since the might of Castile had passed on to my sister. My father and brother-in-law were too busy quarrelling over it to be of any help to me.

To be alone and unwanted in a strange land, without friends or family to rely on, and with no indication of what the future might bring, is not easily borne. But old King Henry has died and my fortunes have changed for the better. His son inherits the throne, and tomorrow he will make me his queen. He is a true gentleman, who is true to his word and his promises. I hope and pray that he will remain so.

Richmond Palace, 1509



My husband is dead. I have to be careful to hide my smile as it would not do to have the Queen of France openly joyful upon the death of her king. It is not that I wished ill on Louis XII, but he was an old man and I only married him for duty. I have been sequestered from the French court to see if I am with child; for six weeks I may see no men other than a priest and Francis I, who is the new King of France, but I know there is no need for this charade. The French for pregnant is enceinte. Curiously, this word also refers to the walls around a castle. I am not enceinte; I am unencumbered and free. My brother made me a promise when I agreed to marry the aged King Louis: if I outlived my husband – which we both knew was very likely – then I would be free to marry as I pleased, for love rather than for duty. I know he will not keep his word. Henry does as he pleases and makes and breaks promises as frequently as night follows day. I intend to keep his word for him. I am in love with his best friend and companion, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, who is coming to escort me back to England. The new French king has tried to persuade me into his own bed, despite it already being filled with his wife. Francis is a greedy man, but he is also competitive. When I tell him of my plans he will help me, if only to discomfort my brother and deprive him of a beautiful pawn with which to play in the royal courts of Europe. My domicile has a chapel, small but perfectly adequate for a wedding. I will persuade Charles to marry me before we return to England. Those who God has joined together not even Henry will dare to part. He will be angry but in time he will forgive. It does my brother good not to have his way in everything.

Palais de Cluny, Paris, 1515



Yesterday I was a princess, fit to marry a king. Today I am declared the king's bastard, wanted by nobody. Everything has been taken from me. My mother – who could not give the king a son – refused to accept a divorce, and in punishment we are kept from each other. If I had been a boy then all would have been different, but the way matters stand, my father no longer requires my presence; in fact my very existence has become an embarrassment to him. He now has other concerns; he has stripped away my status and identity with a hastily conceived document, and soon I will be required to deny my own faith – or lose my head. I must swear that I believe my father to be the one true head of the Church of England. He has broken with Rome, reformed the church and defiled the abbeys and monasteries, stealing their wealth and burning their relics, just as he has destroyed everything I hold dear.

Everything I knew to be true has gone, but I know it is not his fault – he has been bewitched. The whore Anne Boleyn has cast a spell on him and tricked her way into my mother's place. My servants are to be taken away from me and scattered across other households. I am to be evicted from my royal residence, which will then be given to the whore's brother. I pray to God that she will pay for her sins. I know He will listen, and that one day she will suffer for all the pain she has caused me.

Beaulieu Palace, Essex, 1533



I will not ride out hunting for a while. My escape from the whispers and treachery of the court will have to be forgone. But it is not with a heavy heart that I abstain from that pleasure. My monthly courses have not come and I am pregnant again. Let it be a boy this time. I love my Elizabeth dearly, but she is not the prince Henry desires above all else. He loved me once, and it was for me that he tore the church from Rome's grasp, even though I know at heart he is not a reformer like me, but still cleaves to the Catholic traditions. He ignored the commands of the Pope because he wanted to be free from his wife Katherine: free to marry me.

All was well for a time, and then Elizabeth was born and the whispers started. Truthfully they started long before then, but he was deaf to them. Now he begins to hear that I am a witch and that the union between us is cursed. His mood towards me has soured. But I am with child again and all may still be well. It must be a son, whole and healthy, or I am lost.

Greenwich Palace, 1535



We do not speak of the last queen. I was once her lady-in-waiting but now I wear her crown and shoulder her troubles. She was not offered the luxury of a divorce or a quiet retreat to a nunnery. She played a dangerous game – and lost her head. The people believe she was an adulterous witch. The court knows differently, but none were prepared to speak on her behalf. She was faithful; she was too clever to be otherwise. She died because she promised the king a son, and all she delivered was a daughter and then something half-formed: male but born too early to survive. Henry lost his patience and took her life. And now I am in her place, playing the same game. I am with child. I will tell him today. The wheel of fortune turns and I must pray that it favours me. God grant me the luck that deserted my predecessors.

Hampton Court, 1537


Excerpted from Tudor Roses by Alice Starmore. Copyright © 2013 Alice Starmore. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents


Dramatis Personæ,
About the New Edition,
About the Tudors,
Elizabeth Woodville,
Elizabeth of York,
Margaret Tudor,
Katherine of Aragon,
Mary Tudor,
Lady Mary,
Anne Boleyn,
Jane Seymour,
Anne Of Cleves,
Katherine Howard,
Catherine Parr,
Elizabeth the First,
Mary, Queen of Scots,
About the Knitting,
About the Jewellery,
Alice Starmore Yarns,

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Tudor Roses 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
angelthreads on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The pictures in this book are great. However, although I consider myself a very experienced knitter, I was not moved to try any of the patterns here.
TheLibraryhag on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful book of patterns inspired by different members of the Tudor Dynasty. There is also some history included that makes it extra fun. The patterns, for the most part, are not for the faint of heart.
Cierdwyn More than 1 year ago
The patterns in this book are beyond lovely, but one major gripe is that NONE of the sweater patterns I looked at gave bust measurements, while giving other measurements like underarm, etc.  This is absolutely ridiculous.  The bust is the is the FIRST thing you need to know in a sweater pattern to determine fit, and an experienced designer like Starmore just *forgets*? Makes no sense to me
Anonymous More than 1 year ago