Weird Weather!

Hello there

Just back from a fabulous weekend at Ashby de la Zouche Castle with the Swords of Mercia.

A brilliant two days of shows and thanks to all the lovely people who came to see us, our biggest crowd yet – about 1,000 people in total over the weekend and we got very lovely feedback from them.

The weather was most peculiar, we British do talk about the weather an awful lot but there again we have a lot more weather to talk about!

Not for us the endless days of the same stuff, we can have two or three season’s worth in a day!

This weekend started with boiling hot for Saturday (spent most of day giving water to the guys) followed by a disaster movie type storm all evening. I have never seen so much lightning in my life.

Ashby is always an event of extremes, we used to do two shows a year there and one was hot and one very wet – as we are now only doing one a year this year the weather combined.

Thankfully it was beautiful for both shows and for packing up all the tents – always a relief!

I had my lovely little medieval tent to sleep in this weekend, here it is in the sunshine before packing up tonight. Have not used for a couple of years due to not having a car but my lovely friend Shane brought it for me this weekend.

Tent at Ashby

And this is the view from outside the tent – beautiful!

Castle at Ashby

Here are a few other pics from the show – thanks to Ellie and Wendy for these.

The group pic shows us at the end of the show today, I am in the nun’s costume as usual. We had some new members with us this weekend so welcome to Jamie, Sam, Richard and Alex, you were fab!

Group at Ashby - tourney

And here is lovely Ellie in a dress she has not worn for a while, looking beautiful in the late afternoon sun.

Ellie at Ashby

Thank you to all my lovely friends in the group, this was our last show together for this year though we have some other shows that just me, Kerry and Ellie are doing.

You have been a second family to me for nearly 11 years now and your friendship and support has meant so much to me.They do say laughter is the best medicine, well we will always be very healthy with the fun we have together πŸ™‚

I have a lovely quiet week coming up so am planning lots of crafting. I have just started knitting my first ever bunny from Julie of Little Cotton Rabbits and am loving it!

Hoping to get it finished soon but meanwhile here is what I hope it will look like.

Little Cotton Rabbits

If you would like toΒ have the pattern go to Ravelry – fab knitting site with loads of free patterns as well and buy Julie’s wonderful pattern.

Thanks for visiting and see you again soon.

Tudor Times

Hello everyone, apologies in advance as this is a very picture heavy post but I have some fab 17th century embroidery to show you!

We visited mainly smaller Tudor properties this week, not by design just those that were local to us (and open on the right days!). We still have many more on our wish list to do πŸ™‚

The first was one I have had on my list for a while Little Moreton Hall in Cheshire, a very lovely Tudor house which as you can see from the pictures has suffered through the years and has needed extensive structural work to keep it from falling down!

Little Moreton Hall

Moreton 2

Moreton 3

Moreton 4

Moreton 5

The second was East Riddlesden Hall in Keighley, not only a beautiful little house but also home to some gorgeous embroidery.

East Riddlesden Hall


Look at all these beautiful pictures.


East Riddlesden Hall



Sadly their sampler display was not available due to a ceiling collapse in that room so I will return to see that sometime.

There was also some lovely embroidery that had been done for the displays by local women, this blackwork beadspread and crewel work hangings date from the 1920s.

ERH 11

ERH 10
And some fantastic plaster ceilings.




The last one we visited was Gawthorpe Hall near Burnley, this is a mini Hardwick Hall in design and is home to the Rachel Kay Shuttleworth needlework collection. A small part of her 28,000 pieces were on display.Rachel lived in the house in the 1950s and was a passionate needlewoman.

There were no photos allowed in the house but there is an excellent blog with online gallery and details of the textile courses they run.

Gawthorpe Hall

Gawthorpe 2

A very textilicious holiday with lots of inspiration for me!

Now back to the real world of work with just a few bits of stitching a week to keep me sane πŸ™‚

Thanks as always for visiting, I will be off to Ashby de La Zouche Castle next weekend for a show with Swords of Mercia so if you are in the area come along and say hello!

This is England

Hello again

I spend a lot of time travelling to all sorts of beautiful parts of the globe so it was lovely to have week in my gorgeous country appreciating (along with many tourists from all over the world) what England has to offer.

Our first day was spent in the Cotswolds where I grew up and the visit to Bourton-on-the-Water brought back many happy memories of paddling in this stream, seeing the pretty cottages and visiting the model village (which Kerry loved just as much as I did when I first saw it).


Bourton 2

Bourton 3

We then went to Snowshill Manor, a National Trust property in the Cotswolds, quintessentially an English manor house with beautiful gardens but home to a very eclectic collection by the last owner Charles Paget Wade.


Snowshill 3

Snowshill 4

Snowshill 5

There was everything from samurai warrior suits to old bikes, including many beautiful Oriental chests from his travels. One room had a lovely collection of textiles including what looks like a piece from a Layton jacket!

Snowshill textiles

Snowshill textiles 2

Snowshill textiles 3

I particularly liked this sampler book showing miniature garments, no information on its maker but I think it would be a for a similar purpose to the one that inspired the Blackbird Designs book, ‘A Stitcher’s Journey’, which I posted about previously, to show prospective employers your needlework skills.

Snowshill textiles 4

Snowshill textiles 5

Snowshill textiles 6

A lovely day out – and all in the best of English summer sunshine!

Thanks for visiting, more historic loveliness soon!

The heat of the (k)night

Well hello from my cool lounge – dare I say it is a little warm out there today, not that I am complaining but am having a cool half hour inside to blog.

We have had a lovely week starting with the amazingly brilliant and very, very hot Tewkesbury last weekend.

Huge congratulations to all the boys who fought in temperatures of 34 degrees on the Saturday.

One of the organisers had the brilliant idea of filling buckets with large blocks of ice and flannels so we spent a lot of time cooling people off as well as giving water.

The back of the battlefield looked like Emergency Ward 10 1471 style and there were lots of very red faces but thankfully no ill effects.

Possibly my best Tewkesbury ever – such fun even if were all looking like lobsters!

Here are a few pics, these were taken by my lovely friend Sam.

Luke, one of our group, in his new armour

Luke at Tewks

Luke and Jamie guarding the Prince

Tewks Prince and boys

The Prince with Margaret of Anjou and her bodyguards

Tewks Margaret of Anjou

The battle

Tewks battle

My lovely Ellie watercarrying

Tewks Ellie

I didn’t manage to get any pics of the kit I have made actually being worn as it was too hot to put wool on but everything fitted ok which is good and we bought lots more fabric to make things for us and the boys in the next few months.

The craft room needs a bit of organisation which I plan to do this weekend!

However here is a pic from the Tutbury show a couple of weeks ago of the orle that I made for a friend, these are padded decorations for helmets and I have made this blue and white one and a red and white one as well.


After Tewkesbury Kerry and I went on a little holiday visiting lots of lovely National Trust properties, mainly Tudor ones so I will sort out pics for a mega post over the weekend.There were some beautiful textiles as always so we had a fab time.

Now going to have a quiet weekend of stitching, a little gardening and maybe a walk (which will involve a paddle and ice-cream πŸ™‚ Oh and catching up on the most recent episode of The White Queen where they should be doing the Tewkesbury battle as well!

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Practising making holes

Hello everyone and I hope you in the UK have been enjoying all this beautiful sunshine we have been having!

It has been wonderful here and we have been really enjoying ourselves. This also bodes very well for our favourite event of the re-enactment year as this coming weekend it is the Tewkesbury Medieval Festival and I am beyond excited πŸ™‚

You may remember that last year the event nearly got called off do to the site flooding and it was a mud fest to say the least but this year we are looking forward to lovely sunshine just like the old days.

Do come and visit if you can – it is the 30th anniversary of the event this year and is a brilliant day out, free entry as well though please donate as much as you can to our bucket collectors as it costs a lot to put the event on and we want it to continue! The town and Abbey are also fantastic to wander round and if it is hot there is the river to paddle in.

I have been making lots of kit for friends and have been busy finishing it off in time which is why I have been practising making holes. If you want more info on medieval men’s kit then go to my page which details what everything is called.

I am not very good at this part of the kit making process (my lovely friend Kerry is a dab hand at it and her dresses have beautiful lacing holes down the back). I have usually cheated with using ribbon loops on my dresses but wanted to make a shirt with a laced neck and hose with holes to tie them to the brais.

Shirt neck detail

Hose  holes detail

Hose outside holes detail

They are not too bad but could be neater.

I will take some photos of the garments on their recipients and post later – Jake has been very kindly trying things on for me as I go along but as he is lots skinnier than my friends they have looked a bit big on him!

So far I have made a shirt, lined hose and slightly different style of brais so it has been good for me to learn new skills.


I have also been practising neatening my seams by stab stitching as I always zigzag raw edges before sewing together to prevent fraying and this makes them a bit neater and means the sleeves can be rolled up if needed.

Shirt sleeve detail

I am thinking of adding a new page to the making costume bit with more details of these garments as I know I get lots of hits for that so it is on my to do list now that summer is here and work is quieter.

It was my birthday recently and I got some lovely presents, my sister-in-law Amanda who is a very keen cross stitcher made me this beautiful Celtic design scissor keep which came in very handy as the scissors had really fine points for cutting the holes.

Birthday scissor keep front

Birthday scissor keep

She also stitched this birthday card for me – very appropriate!

Cross stitch birthday card

And from my lovely kids I got this gorgeous book which was a total surprise as it was not from my wish list. Ellie saw it when one of the staff at Hardwick brought it in and thought I would like it and it is brilliant, just my sort of book with lots and lots of detail about techniques and sources.

Sweet bags book

Sweet bags book 2

Sweet bags book 3

It is called Sweet Bags by Jacqui Carey.

And look another version of the Layton Jacket that I have posted about previously, this one is a portrait of Lady Dorothy Carey dated 1615 and I had not seen this pic before.

My lovely Mum gave me some money for garden furniture so I have bought a BBQ and last Friday we had our first Marsden barbie – here is Jake enjoying the sun (and a little cider!)

BBQ in Marsden

Still got to get a new table and chairs (that is our camping stuff) once I have decided what I want, tempted by a lovely mosaic bistro set but think the table is a bit small.

Well I shall be posting again in a couple of weeks as after Tewkesbury Kerry and I are off on a National Trust fest making the most of our memberships to go and visit some lovely properties, hope the weather holds for that.

Take care and thank you as always for visiting, liking, following and subscribing πŸ™‚

More medieval art – and this time it gets to live with me!

Hello everyone

Am posting this from my bedroom while watching the mist roll in over the moors – don’t you just love July in England lol!

The weather has been pretty variable here lately but I have been spending most of my free time making medieval costume for friends so it has not been a problem.

I realised after I had posted the pictures from Florence that I had not yet shown you my latest wonderful art from my friend Pat of Buckles Medieval Art.

These were my Christmas presents (and a wonderful house-warming present from Pat who is lovely as well as superbly talented!)

I have previously posted about the art I already have from Buckles and these beautiful pieces are now in my bedroom and lounge to add to my collection.

An early style of tryptich – Byzantine Art influenced, very much like the Baptistry in Florence.

Buckles new art 4

A later style Madonna triptych, there were so many like this in the Uffuzi Gallery in Florence.

Buckles new art 3

Buckles new art 1

My house-warming gift, a painting of me in lady’s costume to complete my set of me in different roles – I also have an embroiderer and a nun.

Buckles new art 2

It is so lovely to be able to own these pieces, thank you Pat and Clive for all your hard work!

When we were at Tatton recently we took some pictures of their stall – look at all this wonderful work.

Buckles Stall

Buckles 2

Buckles 3

Buckles 5

Buckles 4

Please go and visit their web site as well.

Work is still busy, busy so am enjoying my R and R with some simple garment making – shirts, brais, hose and coifs for friends. Nice hand finishing while watching fairly mindless TV of an evening.

I have also been enjoying the White Queen on BBC 1 – spending time fabric spotting to see if I own any of the stuff they have used πŸ™‚

Take care, have a good week and thanks for visiting.