The end of a lovely day and a lovely season

I think my favourite time in re-enactment is the end of the first day of an event, especially when it is sunny and you have had a good day when everything has gone to plan and both re-enactors and the public have enjoyed themselves.

Then you can look forward to a relaxing evening, maybe have a BBQ, sit round the camp fire and visit the beer tent later on. All lovely with the added prospect of another event day tomorrow.

These photos below were taken at the end of Saturday at the Caldicot show last weekend. Caldicot was my first ever large re-enactment event and that is where I fell in love with doing this.

We are so lucky to be able to do this and be in lovely places full of beauty and history.

The castle is a magical place, especially when the evening sun is shining on it and I was just wandering round taking pictures of people relaxing outside their tents, or in the case of the Battle of the Nations group doing a bit of sword training.

Caldicot 2015

Caldicot 2

Caldicot 3

Caldicot 4

Caldicot 5

Caldicot 6

Caldicot 8

Caldicot 9

Caldicot 10

The view from the top of the tower was brilliant, thanks to all of the groups who camped inside the castle with their living history displays, it really does bring the castle to life.

Caldicot 11

Caldicot 12

I have been helping to organise this event for the last few years and along with Ellie will be organising it again next year, this was our last show for this year and a great way to end the season.

It has been a very variable year in terms of weather, Caldicot being the only show where we have not come home with a wet tent, but still brilliant fun.

Our group, Swords of Mercia, have done more shows for English Heritage than previous years and got good feedback from all of them and hopefully we will get the chance to do those shows again next year.

We have had lots of sitting round campfires, discussing armour and kit, all the new things the boys have bought or want to, and all the things we have made or are going to make.

As usual we have promised to be more organised for next season and make sure that all kit is made well in advance. We shall see if that actually happens!

So I still have a couple of bits of tent to dry, it is raining here at the moment but I am hopefully it will dry up later. Am taking Ted for a walk in a bit and then will be sewing up the wedding jacket :-)

Hope that you have a lovely weekend planned and thanks for visiting.

Photoshoot

Hello everyone, hope that you all had a really nice Bank Holiday.

We had a lovely time at Lincoln, usual mix of sun and rain and I was drying the medieval tent out on the line until a few hours ago when it started thundering here :-(

This was our last event with the Swords of Mercia group so I need to get the canvas tent really dry before it gets put away.

The Lincoln Bishop’s Palace is unsurprisingly right next door to the magnificent Lincoln Cathedral and we spent quite a lot of time in there and the surrounding area, promoting our event.

Wendy, the partner of one of our knights, Luke, did a photoshoot in the cathedral for myself, Ellie and Luke and I thought that I would devote a post to the brilliant pictures that she took.

Ellie at Lincoln

Ellie in Lincoln Cathedral

Luke at Lincoln

Luke in Lincoln Cathedral

Alison at Lincoln

Alison at Lincoln - lighting candles

Alison at Lincoln - Luke and the Chapter House

Alison at Lincoln - praying red kneeler

Alison at Lincoln - praying

Alison at Lincoln Cathedral

Alison at Lincoln door 2

I absolutely love these photos, she has an amazing eye for what makes a good shot and the effects she has put on really emphasise the beauty of the cathedral.

It is funny as I don’t normally like pictures of myself but these are fantastic and will be printing several of me off to display at home, as well as lovely Ellie who always looks so beautiful in photos.

Will tell you more about our weekend in the next post as there was another event in Lincoln at the time that we all enjoyed.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

A very special bit of sewing

Hello everyone, hope you are all ok, another dull and damp day here in Yorkshire but a great excuse to sit in and do some stitching – not that I really ever need an excuse!

I did take Ted the dog out for a walk yesterday, only 20 minutes as by then we were both soaked to the skin, lovely August weather.

I am about to start on a very special project, details of which I can’t reveal fully until it is done but will keep you updated of progress here and if you could channel your good wishes for its success that would be greatly appreciated.

Like most women of my generation I learnt to sew at school though I was not keen at all, mainly due to a very stern sewing mistress and an overemphasis on procedure rather than creativity.

I seem to remember an awful lot of tailors chalk and tacking and don’t think I actually ever finished my final garments, which were a striped brown and cream blouse and brown cord skirt.

I loved the cookery classes, that seemed to me to be much more creative and I went on to take both an O and A level in that subject.

I still love cooking and even living on my own for most of the year really enjoy experimenting with new recipes.

My grandmother sewed and made most of our clothes when we were children, my sister and I were mostly dressed in identical outfits, sorry no photo evidence available as I do remember some cute poncho and kilt sets and her making me hotpants at one point!

It would have been something similar to this – currently available at this link eBay vintage poncho if you fancy it.

Vintage poncho

I did lots of altering during my later teens and twenties, mainly dying and refurbishing of charity shop clothes being was a huge fan then, as I am now, of a bargain for a good cause.

I was very fond of buying plain black pumps, the sort you wear for PE in school, and sewing bows and beads on to them when I was a poor student, then you could have a lovely pair of customised footwear for £2.

However I didn’t really do much actual garment making until we started re-enactment, apart from the Christmas that I made whole wardrobe of outfits for Ellie’s Barbie doll :-)

I don’t still have that pattern, (do still have the knitting pattern book with the ski outfits for Barbie in), but they were something like this gorgeous collection of gowns available from here – Barbie pattern . And while searching I found this Pinterest board with lots of links for free Barbie doll clothes patterns.

Barbie patterns

Having the whole family to clothe for events and children growing quickly meant that I learnt to follow patterns again and think I have done an ok job at what I have made. Here are some of my completions from the last few years.

chaperon - front

chaperon - back

ellie-pink-dress

ellie - turquoise dress

jake-ashby

jamie-new-shirt

shirt-neck-detail

Two of the outfits I am most impressed with myself for making are two of my ladies outfits complete with head dresses. I don’t wear these much any more but did enjoy making them.

black surcoat and torque

yellow-dress-and-torque

The fit is not brilliant in some cases but people are generally impressed that we make our own kit.

Lately I have mainly made men’s kit, shirts, hose and brais, they are so much easier than ladies’ outfits ;-) and have invented my own patterns for those by drawing round existing garments like t-shirts and trousers and altering them to suit period clothing. I am pleased with what I have done and the recipients are happy so feel confident with that type of sewing.

Then there was the challenge of the checkerboard surcoat this season, I was very happy with the result of that and so was Jamie.

Jamie's surcoat

This new challenge is to make a wedding outfit for my brother’s partner Amanda. They are getting married in October on his 50th birthday after 25 years together which is brilliant :-)

She has asked me to make her a jacket, part of the ceremony is outdoors so she will probably be wearing a cloak as well for that.

Final details are not decided but we are meeting up to do that this week and go fabric shopping next week. It will be something Victorian inspired in a nice silk or brocade.

I am a bit nervous but very pleased that she has asked me, she said she would rather have something made by me as I understand what it is she wants and likes the fact that it will be made with love, even if it may not be the most perfect garment in the world!

This will count as the fulfilment of number 9 on the Sewing Bucket List – a project from a printed pattern.

So far I have only done number 2 – something for him, (lots of those with all of the kit I have made), number 14 – something with applique or embroidery, I am counting all those linen and Liberty pincushions as the hexagons are appliqued to the linen and part completed number 4 – a quilt or blanket for charity which will be the final result of the Quilt Block of the month that I am so far behind on!

So will be doing regular progress reports for you on the outfit.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

A weekend of two halves

Hello everyone and welcome to Yorkshire where I am pleased to tell you that time travel has indeed become possible!

We have whizzed through what was left of summer and have gone straight to November where the swideways misty rain is in full force. Hopefully the time travel will work the other way and we might get back to those few days in June that were sunny at some point.

We had a good weekend at Peveril Castle , we learnt from experience last year that taking all of your camping kit up the hill to the castle along with all the armour and weapons the boys feel they need, (and spares just in case), leads to some hot and bothered knights and ladies.

You can see from this picture just how high it is – a stunning location to do a show in.

Peveril castle

So we booked a campsite to stay at in the valley and so had a very pleasant two nights with food and drinks at the local hostelry and showers – a real luxury as we are normally on a quick freshen up with a bowl of water and a babywipe!

Saturday was perfect weather, the boys had set up on Friday night so we had a very lovely morning sat in the shade at the bottom of the castle doing our head dress talks then took a slow walk up for the afternoon tournament.

The view was spectacular as these pictures show – I think this is one of my all time favourite re-enactment pictures, really stunning!

Peveril - helms - small

The ladies looked beautiful as always, this is Ellie and Sadie, one of our newest members. The pictures were taken by one of the staff member’s mother who very kindly posted them on Facebook.

Peveril - ladies 2-small

Peveril - ladies 1-small

We also had a friend with us doing some posed shots, here we all are in the lovely Saturday sunshine!

Peveril - group - small

And I love this one of Ellie, Sadie and I – that backdrop is stunning, we are so very lucky being able to go to such lovely places.

Peveril - ladies and nun -small

Saturday night we discussed plans for Sunday in the pub, the forecast was bad so we spent the first hour of Sunday taking all of the equipment down from the castle in relays, in the brilliant sunshine which made us wonder if the rain would be arriving but it did by midday :-(

The afternoon was spent with all of us huddled under the porch at the back of the visitor centre trying not to leap on the brave people that came out that day and get them to try on head dresses and do some sword training.

It was a pity that we could not have done the full show but this is England and we have had a particularly rainy season this year, all of the events have been a bit wet at some point and I am still drying out tents from a couple of weeks ago as we have not had the sun during the week either.

Much as I love re-enactment I am very happy to have the next few weekends at home so can concentrate on some of the stuff for Sarah’s stall at Yarndale, the linen and Liberty pincushions are looking really cute so I am now working on matching needlebooks. Will post some pictures of finished items at the weekend.

Thanks very much for visiting and see you soon.

Lovely boys!

We have just had a fantastic weekend at Tewkesbury Medieval Festival, camped not only with our group but also with friends from the Falchion re-enactment group so have had a great time with lovely boys to keep us company and make us laugh.

There was also some splendid new kit to show off. Paul had painted the most detailed surcoat for his 15th century armour, here he is in camp and walking onto battle with myself and James who were watercarrying.

Tewks - Paul's surcoat

Tewks 2015 - battle walk on

Jamie has recently taken delivery of a new set of armour and a brigandine from Armour Services Historical, this is so beautiful and I love the rivet patterns on the brig.

Tewks - new kit

Tewks - Jamie new armour 2

Tewks - Jamie new armour 3

Tewks - Jamie new armour 4

I was able to deliver the brais and shirts I had been making to their new owners and have lots of other people asking for kit so have a busy few months planned.

However I have got a poorly wrist at the moment, think it is carpal tunnel problems so am on light duties only and cannot knit at all :-(

I am going to be working on the quilted ornaments this weekend as that does not involve much wrist movement and hopefully with a bit of rest and some wearing of my support splint should be back to normal soon!

Sharon and I had a lovely time in Spain, it was very hot – up to 40 degrees – so we spent most of our time in the shade but she got lots of sample knitting done for Sarah and really enjoyed the visits we did, will post some pictures this weekend.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Attention to detail

We had a great time at Ashby de la Zouche and amazingly apart from light drizzle on Sunday it didn’t rain! This was Sunday evening before we sat round the campfire – just beautiful.

Ashby May 2015

Ashby May 2015 Castle in sun 2

Ashby May 2015 Castle in sun 3

Jamie’s new surcoat was finished just in time on Friday – it took a lot longer than expected because of the lining which I had to do 3 times before I got it right. At least I have learnt from the experience and will not attempt to machine sew one in next time as it is too bulky.

I have had lots of compliments on it and a couple of requests for others so will be making more. I am going to update my, ‘Making a surcoat page’, when I get chance as I know that always gets lots of visitors.

I was especially pleased that not only did the individual squares match up the front and back did as well and the part squares at either side.

Ashby May 2015 Jamie 2

Ashby May 2015 Jamie 3

Ashby May 2015 Jamie 4

The boys did some action shots for me as well.

Ashby May 2015 Luke and Jamie 1

Ashby May 2015 Luke and Jamie 2

Ashby May 2015 Luke and Jamie 3

It never ceases to amaze me the attention to detail that the boys in our medieval group pay to their kit, even though they know it will get battered and worn they spend so much effort making it look lovely, they are real works of art.

Here are some more pictures of Luke with his new brigandine or coat of plates, behind the leather are metal plates for protection.

Ashby May 2015 Luke brig detail 1

Ashby May 2015 Luke detail 3

Ashby May 2015 Luke brig detail 2

Ashby May 2015 Luke brig detail 3

I love the decorated rivets and am going to try to get some of these for a belt for Ellen.

Ashby May 2015 Luke detail 1

Ashby May 2015 Luke detail 2

Ashby May 2015 Luke 1

Ashby May 2015 Luke with sword

Here is Shane’s beautiful arm armour and our King – Edward the second (or Clive in real life) whose costumes are always amazing, he has a new crowned helmet for this season which is very impressive.

Ashby May 2015 Shane detail

Ashby May 2015 King 1

Ashby May 2015 King detail 1

Ashby May 2015 King detail 2

Ashby May 2015 King detail 3

This week’s task is to make a shirt before the event next weekend – should be a simple job and at least I do have a very long car journey to finish the hand stitching!

Have fun and see you all again soon, thanks for visiting.

A sunny weekend at a castle

Well I hope that you all had a lovely weekend as we had an excellent time at our first show of the year at Bolsover Castle. The sun shone almost all the time apart from a very heaver shower on Saturday, luckily just as our slot finished, which allowed us to test the new waterproofing on the awning :-)

We were there doing a St George’s event with a number of other groups including the wonderful Atkinson’s Action Horses who we have seen before a couple of year’s ago doing their dressage display at Bolsover.

William Cavendish who built the castle was a very keen horseman and the riding stables have been restored and are used for a display of 17th century horsemanship by the group.

This weekend the group were displaying combat training and stunt riding and there were some brilliant flips and rides alongside the horse either horizontal or vertical while still holding on and the incredible riding of two horses at once.

They do stunt work for lots of TV shows and films and we saw the horse that has been used in Poldark which was very exciting! Go and have a look at their web site to see pictures of the stunts.

As well as all that there was us with the usual weapons and armour talks, head dress talks  and combat , this time with a difference as it was with dragons!

Sadly not Game of Thones standards but two of our members Jamie and Trevor did a brilliant job dressing in dragon costumes to thrill the crowd.

It was also an outing for the new costume we have been working on. I can’t take credit for Jamie’s new outfit apart from the material which I gave him as the gown was made by Jackie from Cloaked and Daggered   and he looks very lovely in it. Here he is on the left of this picture with Luke.

Bolsover St George

Bolsover St Gerge 2

And here are James, Trevor and Richard – looking not quite so fine and dandy but very happy in their peasants’ outfits.

Bolsover St Gerge 3

Ellie I can take some credit for, she has had this gown and coat for a number of years, we bought it from a friend who had it made by the genius that is Kat from Kats Hats. Ellie had outgrown the gown so I altered it, removing two of the coat panels to make new sleeves.

Bolsover St George - Ellie

Bolsover St Gerge 5

Bolsover St Gerge 6

Bolsover St Gerge 7
I am planning to make a matching torque head dress similar to the black one that she is wearing in the picture which was one of my earliest makes.

She had many compliments on the outfit and had her picture taken with lots of children who wanted to be with the ‘princess’! It is lovely to wear being made of silk velvet which is a very fine material and looks beautiful on her.

So back to reality this week with the start of teaching term and a few weekends at home to make more kit!
Take care and thanks as always for visiting.