A crafty weekend ahead

Hello there 

As you may remember from my last post we were heading down to South Wales this weekend however that has not been possible due to a combination of my work pressures, Jake’s GCSE work pressures and me being in a lot of pain due to back problems etc. 

Work has been so manic recently that I have been doing additional hours and working the last two weekends and realised that all I wanted to do this weekend was sleep, read while enjoying a long soak in a bubble bath and indulge in lots of crafty behaviour. So that is what we are doing instead. There may be a little bit of gardening involved (if the back is ok) but at the moment that looks unlikely due to very wet weather. 

Hopefully things will quieten down a  bit at work in the next couple of weeks ready for a mellow and relaxing summer ( I am very much an optomist!). It is a very lovely job and I get to work with wonderful people but there is always such a lot to do – if anyone can lend me 100 hours they are not using or can point me in the direction of a pattern to knit more time that would be most useful! 

My full-time students finished their course this week and we had a lunchtime celebration – they very kindly bought me presents amongst them these beautiful flowers. 

Gerbera 2
The bouquet in the hall - I love lilies and gerbera so these were an excellent choice
Gerbera 1
What a perfect flower - and such a fab colour

I grow lots of lilies in the garden and always have great success with them – have not tried gerberas yet. The garden is looking very lovely at the moment – the rhododendrons and azaleas are blooming along with the pirieus and the clematis are just about to start so it is all looking very colourful – so nice after the long, cold winter. 

I have several knitting and stitching projects on the go at the moment – I am making very good progress with the lace scarf from the Ravelry pattern. 

Lace scarf 3
Only 1/4 ball left to knit
Lace scarf 2
A close up of the fan and feather pattern

I have another lace scarf pattern lined up but in between have got some stitching to finish. I have completed the cross stitch for my next exchange – have just got the finishing into a pillow ornament to do and that one can be sent to the USA. 

I have just started on a Quaker motif scissor keep as a donation for Tracy at Cupcakes at Home’s  fundraising raffle. Tracy is rescuing rare breed sheep so do go and visit her blog and if you can help in any way I am sure that she would be very grateful. 

I am also planning to do lots of reading – I have just finished the second book by the wonderful Laurie Perry aka Crazy Aunt Purl  – ‘Home is Where the Wine is‘. I think Laurie is fantastic – if you have never read her blog do go and visit – she will have you in stitches both with her humour and her knitting inspiration. She has done a great job of keeping me sane over the last couple of years with her inspirational writing. 

Aunt Purl book
Crazy Aunt Purl's new book

I hope she won’t mind me giving you a sample of why she is so my kind of woman – this is from one of her recent posts where someone suggested the idea of a lending library for yarn so that we can borrow rather than buy stash we are never going to use. 

‘I’m sure lots of folks here can give you great ideas on where to donate yarn but I wanted to tell you that your craft lending library idea is BRILLIANT and I hope when I am a gazallionaire (as I hope to be one day) I can open up the world’s first Craft Lending Library and Wine Bar. We’ll have big comfy couches and chairs, plenty of books, yarn, hooks and needles and a shop cat who will be one of those rare felines that loves everyone and sits everywhere. And I’ll have a poolboy.’  

Laurie Perry – Crazy Aunt Purl 2010 

Well I hope you have a really lovely weekend and that the weather improves – have optimistically suggested we have our first at home BBQ on Monday so here’s hoping for sunshine! 

Thanks for visiting.

Castles and camp fires!

Hello everyone 

I have just got back from the very first re-enactment event of the season hence the post title. We were at the very beautiful Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire for our St George’s Day show. I was only able to make the event from last night due to having to teach yesterday but at least I got my first fix of  canvas and woodsmoke for the year! 

We had a very lovely time – last night it was great fun sitting round the camp fire and catching up with everyone and today was very lovely and sunny with lots of very interested people visiting us and I got to tell them all about the headdresses and embroidery. The weather was really good up until 10 mins before the end when the heavens opened and we all got soaked! However we managed to finish the show. 

I have a couple of pics from the event to share with you. In Jan this year we had an embroidery day here for the girls from the group and Kerry started a goldwork flower – well this her completed piece which is really brilliant – especially as it is her first ever goldwork. 

Kerry's goldwork
A borage flower in gold and silk thread

Also took some more costume pics – the first two are of Lady Anne (aka Leanne) who normally dresses as a peasant but was dressed as a lady for most of this weekend in this gorgeous dress. 

Lil 1
Lady Anne in brocade dress with veil and crispinettes

Lil 2
A close up showing the headdress in more detail

I had a busy week finishing all of the new costume as well as a very hectic work schedule but finally got everything done at 10.30 pm on Fri. As well as Jake’s clothes I am also making a few things for some of the guys in the group. This week I made  a coif  for Lord Bardolph (aka Paul). 

Here is the original coif that I cut round to use as  a pattern. 

Original coif
This one I bought from one of the medieval traders last year - you can never have too many coifs as they tend to wander!

I then cut a number out and ended up handsewing this one due to the temperamental machine. 

cut out coifs
A bit of a coif production line here
Bardolph 2
Lord Bardolph wearing his coif under his bicocket (felted hat)
Bardolph 1
A side view so that you can fully admire the coif and hat

Have come back with an order for some brais for some of the other men in the group so will be cutting those out soon. Our next event is next weekend in South Wales at Cosmeston Medieval Village  which I am really looking forward to as it such an amazing place. 

We are planning a trip to Barry Island (to pay homage to the wonderful sitcom Gavin and Stacy) while we are there we will go to the funfair and have fish and chips and a paddle of course! 

I will try and post again during the week as I have made good progress on the lacy purple scarf – just need to take some pics of the progress. 

Hope you have all had a nice weekend and have a great week ahead. 

Thanks for visiting.

Clothes for a tall boy

Hello there 

I have had a lovely and very busy weekend. Yesterday I worked, knitted and gardened and today I worked (more marking) and started the very first of the new season’s re-enactment costumes. 

Now of course in another land far, far away I would have everything done months ago – not be cutting out stuff the week before our first event however in my defense – 

a) I have been doing a lot of other things since the season finished in Sept – all the Xmas stitching and knitting and the teddy etc etc. 

b) It is a good job that I didn’t make all the new stuff last year as what I have been making today are new clothes for my incredibly tall (and it seems still growing!) son. 

This is Jacob with Granny Pat – taken on holiday a couple of weeks ago – 

Spain Mum 2
On the beach at the nature reserve at El Pinet

 Now granted she is not a tall woman – and by the way today is her birthday so very happy birthday Mum! But this is me standing next to her at the same spot – 

Spain Mum 1
Me and Mum enjoying the sunshine at El Pinet

You see what I mean!  I am quite tall for a woman (5′ 7″) but Jake is just so very, very tall so he needs lots of new clothes now. 

I have been making new brais and hose – check out my Medieval Costume pages for more details of these garments but basically brais are a kind of linen long john worn underneath woollen hose which are split leg trousers. 

Have taken some detailed pics and will at some point find time  to put them up under the Medieval Costume Making sections of the blog but in the meantime here are some pics. 

old brais
Jake's old linen brais

All I do is fold them in half and cut them wider and much,much longer! 

new brais
WIP - this one leg will be joined to other and become new bigger pair that might fit him till Sept!

Would have finished all stitching but have very temperamental sewing machine that was playing up again so still have lots of sewing to do -am getting myself a new machine for my birthday in June and can’t wait. 

I have had a good week for finishes – I have completed the Snowball baby blanket (did not take any pics as it looks the same as before bit a bit longer) and also completed the hat apart from sewing on the beads. 

pink hat 2
Hat from the side showing yarn variations and lace pattern holes
pink hat 3
Hat from above showing decreases

Am glad I did another hat as I think that I have now got my head round how to do these kind of decreases and what is written on the pattern is starting to make sense to me as to how it should look when knitted which is what I am aiming to improve on this year with my knitting techniques. 

I have enjoyed the further lace work and so have decided that I will attempt a lace scarf. I have just cast on this project  from Ravelry – 

lace scarf
Easy Lace Scarf pattern by Clara Parkes

I am using this very beautiful Sublime purple yarn – again from Helen at Woolly Minded and Beady Eyed. 

sublime purple
This should work out a very cheap scarf - one skein should do it for about £3.50!

It looks like it will be  fast knit – have only done about an hour tonight (while watching Season 8 of 24 – very exciting!) and have got about 6 inches done. May not have much time for knitting this week though as manically busy at work and have got to finish all sewing so Jake has clothes to wear next weekend! 

Last weekend I visited my local Quilting Guild – they had their exhibition – sadly could not take any pics of exhibits but did see the very lovely Sue Schofield of Springwood House Designs  who does the wonderful Xmas ornament designs that I have made so many of. We had a very nice chat and I had to buy some more fat quarters of Xmas fabric from all the wonderful stash she had for sale. 

xmas fabric
A little selection to add to my collection

I know I do have a bit of Xmas fabric already (!) but you never know – if the volcanic activity in Iceland turns really serious and we do enter a post-apocalyptic future I will have the stash to survive it. Besides some of it I could use for medieval related gifts as well. 

Anyway after the busy week ahead we are off to Bolsover Castle next Saturday for our first event of the season! Hurrah back under canvas – with a camp fire – again. I can’t wait – am going to be such a happy bunny – pray for nice weather for us will you. 

Thanks for visiting.

Spain – religious icons!

We came back from Spain this week after a lovely week of relaxation, very nice weather (I am a bit brown!) and lots of lovely trips out on our bikes. We left on Ellie’s 19th birthday – here she is the day before opening her pressies – Happy Birthday and enjoy your last year of being a teenager!

Ellies 19th 1
Ellie with her pressies - though money was the most gratefully received gift - poor student!

Poor Ellie has had a bad back so she was only able to come out on a couple of bike trips but Jake and I did some really good long ones.One of my favourite was a trip we had not done before down to the next beach along from La Marina, El Pinet, which is a nature reserve with really good views of the salt flats and my beloved mountains!

Spain mountains
The salinas (salt flats) at El Pinet beach

We also had two chances to see the Semana Santa (Holy Week) celebrations with trips to the parades of icons in both Torrevieja and San Fulgencio. The Torrevieja parade on Good Friday was very crowded and as it took place about 9pm was difficult to get good pics – but the place looked lovely with all the candles in the maces the participants were carrying. There were four large icons including a last supper representation which were all very impressive.

Spain Icons 2
A very crowded Torrevieja street - you can just make out the icons of Jesus and the Madonna

The San Fulgencio parade was on Easter Sunday morning and it was a beautiful sunny day. San Fulgencio is the nearest small town to La Marina and there were not many people there so lots of opportunity for good pics. There were two icons – Jesus and the Madonna and also a beautiful parade of women dressed in very stylish black suits with lace mantillas and traditional combs which looked wonderful.

Spain mantillas
The ladies in their lace
Spain banners
San Fulgencio's goldwork town banners

The Madonna started off being covered in a black veil then after she had been taken round the main streets she was uncovered and the infant Jesus put in her arms – she was then paraded around the main square with the band playing before being taken back to the church.

Spain Icon 4
Detail of the embroidery on the Madonna's dress
Spain Icon 5
The other icon of Jesus
Spain Icon 3
The Madonna unveiled carrying Jesus

A lovely holiday – can’t wait to go back though it will probably be next year now before we go again.

Not much knitting and stitching has been going on though I did get a few more rows done on the latest hat I am working on.

Pink hat
My beaded beret WIP

This pattern comes from the April issue of Let’s Knit and I wanted to do it to try out the lacework pattern which has worked well. It is knitted in Sirdar Escape yarn which is variegated. I don’t think I will be keeping this hat – lovely though it is as it is slightly the wrong shade to go with my Spring coat so will use it as a present.

Also got a bit sidetracked from that just before we went away as Helen from Woolly Minded and Beady Eyed had just had some Baby Snowball delivered so I had to buy some of that to make a baby blanket. It is so soft to work with and feels wonderful when knitted up.

Snowball wool
The Snowball yarn which becomes this .....
Snowball blanket
... a very cuddly blanket!

We have had and are expecting some new additions to the family – we met up with my cousin Neil and his wife Vicky in Spain with their gorgeous 8 month old baby Anna-Mae who we had not met face to face before and my other cousin Joanne is expecting a baby in a few weeks – more chance to knit!

Anna mae
Beautiful Anna-Mae who really liked Jacob's hair!

I have also just started a new cross stitch piece for the ASOE exchange – theme (unsurprisingly!) is Spring so am hoping to finish that this week.

Also need to get cracking on some new re-enactment clothes for Jake as he has grown again so will be cutting out new hose and brais this weekend. Our first event is in two weeks time at Bolsover Castle for St George’s Day weekend followed by the first May Bank Holiday in South Wales at the Cosmeston Medieval Village so am really, really looking forward to being under canvas again!

Have a really busy few weeks coming up with work – normally things get quieter for a bit after Easter but we are running a taster course for people who may want to become Literacy and Numeracy teachers so I start that next week. Does mean there will be less time for creativity but on the plus side we get to do some fun Maths things!

Hope that you all have had a nice Easter – thanks for visiting.