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.

Copenhagen – costume old and new

As re-enactors we spend a lot of time trying to be as authentic as we can when it comes to costume, most of it we make ourselves and so we visit churches to see effigies, look at manuscripts and illustrated bibles to try and get clues about things.

The best source is always a portrait but sadly those are very rare for the early 1300s which is the era we do most of the time.

The Tudor period is luckily a different situation as it was very fashionable to have your portrait painted so there are lots of lovely examples and Mum and I really enjoyed the paintings saw at Frederiksborg Castle.

Although I don’t make Tudor costume myself my lovely friend Kat does and Ellie has her costumed volunteers at Hardwick Hall so I still like to look at these and take pictures for them to use.

One day when I have more time I would love to re-enact this period if only for the blackwork I can wear so all of this research will come in useful.

Just look at these wonderful examples of beaded headwear, lace and jewellery. All of these ladies lived from the mid 1500s to mid 1600s and are members or relatives of the Danish Royal family at that time.

Copenhagen Costume

Copenhagen Costume 11

Copenhagen Costume 12

Copenhagen Costume 13

Copenhagen Costume 14

Copenhagen Costume 15

Copenhagen Costume 16

Copenhagen Costume 17

Copenhagen Costume 18

What really struck me was just how similar the fashions were to our Tudor and Elizabethan fashions of the time, I had not expected there to be so much similarity across Europe in dress.

We were also very impressed with the way that costume had been used in the interpretation for the children. The whole of the old wine cellar was devoted to an exhibition of the life of Christian 4th of Denmark who was born in 1577 at Frederiksborg Castle.

The best thing about the exhibition was that portraits of the young prince and his family had been used to recreate costume that children could try on.

They were elaborate and very authentic reproductions from the front with splits and ties at the back which would be easy to try on but also in a range of sizes so every child could try on something.

There were boys’ as well as girls’ costume, plus mini armour and a photo area with drapes to make it look like a portrait background.

Copenhagen Costume

Copenhagen Costume 2

Copenhagen Costume 3

Copenhagen Costume 4

Copenhagen Costume 5

Copenhagen Costume 6

Copenhagen Costume 7

This one was our favourite – the portrait at the back shows the King’s family and there are four dresses to try on with head dresses as there were three daughters in the portrait.

This is a photo of the painting from the National Museum of Denmark’s website.

Christian's family

Copenhagen Costume 8

Genius idea and there were lots of children enjoying the displays which also included food displays and an area where they could practise writing with a quill pen and colour pictures of costume.

I showed all of this to Ellie as inspiration for her interpretation as although I have seen costume in properties I have visited in the UK nothing has been done on this scale.

We have our first re-enactment event of the season this weekend at Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire  so if you are in the area please come and say hello.

There is plenty to see and do and there may well be dragons involved at some point as the theme for the weekend is the celebration of St George’s Day. It has been beautiful weather here this week so we hope it will continue for the weekend 🙂

Have a good weekend whatever you do and thanks for visiting.

Copenhagen – churches, castles and Carlsberg!

Hello and hope that you are all well and happy. We have had a splendid time on our whistlestop tour of Denmark.

Copenhagen city 1

Copenhagen city

We have seen a lot in a short space of time, taking advantage of the fact that we bought a Copenhagen Card. The card covers entrance to 74 museums and attractions as well as all transport so we visited two castles that were further out from the city as well. Excellent value and well worth getting if you are visiting the city.

This is the beautiful Frederiksborg Castle at Hillerod, an idyllic setting with woodland and gardens surrounding it which we really enjoyed for our picnic and ice cream after the visit, the castle has one of the most amazing chapels that I have ever seen.

Copenhagen Fredriksborg

Copenhagen Fredriksborg

Copenhagen Fredriksborg

Copenhagen Fredriksborg

We enjoyed a Metro train trip to Hillerod and an ordinary train trip another day to Helsingor which gave us a chance to admire the Danish scenery, (very like England, much less like Sweden than I was expecting, flat and no pine trees, miles of lovely coastline, lakes and beautiful houses).

Copenhagen Kronborg 5

This is the Kronberg Castle at Helsingor, built to collect taxes and keep an eye on Sweden a short distance away – we did wave but unfortunately as we didn’t have our passports with us couldn’t visit. I have been to Sweden twice before and would love to return one day.

Copenhagen Kronborg

Copenhagen Kronborg 2

Travel in Denmark was very good, efficient, frequent and comfortable.Our hotel, Wakeup Copenhagen, was 10 mins from the main station and trains were plentiful. The hotel was very nice, small rooms but comfortable beds and a lovely shower 🙂

As a public transport enthusiast it was lovely to see accessible trains with lots of space not only for luggage (I would love trains like this for going to re-enactment events) but also the bikes that are so popular everywhere.

Copenhagen train bike area

As always on our trips we tried to absorb as much of the history as we could in the short time we were there and not only were there some stunning places but it was lovely to remember again the connections between the UK and Denmark, (not just the Viking invasions), with the royal marriages so it helped put together the jigsaw of European history for us.

It was also interesting to see the human side of the royal lives, as well as the grand palaces and stunning dĂ©cor there were displays like this of Princess Louise’s sewing chair from the late 1800s in the Ameliaborg Palace , she was obviously a keen needlewomen from the amount of things in her study.

Copenhagen city 6 - Louise sewing chair

I was also very excited by this display in the National Museum, one of the Scandanavian bog finds which are some well preserved medieval clothes, not a very good picture as my reflection is in the way but great excitement for me to see a real dress and hood so similar to the ones I make for re-enactment.

Copenhagen museum 6

The churches were very interesting, from spending so much time in Spanish, Catholic ones to the plainer and less ornate beauty here – the top two pictures are Frederick’s church then the Trinity church and lastly the Cathedral.

Copenhagen city

Copenhagen city 5

Copenhagen city 7

Copenhagen city 8

As well as trains there were boats, a canal cruise and the water bus, the latter to see the Little Mermaid statue.

Copenhagen city 3 - mermaid

We also visited the Tivoli Gardens a couple of times, the world’s second oldest amusement park, which reminded us of a mini Disneyland complete with a pirate ship restaurant and beautiful buildings.

Copenhagen Tivoli

Copenhagen Tivoli 2

Copenhagen Tivoli 3

Oh and I even found a fabric shop  in Helsingor and bought a couple of fat quarters of fun kids’ fabric with penguins and tigers on 🙂

Copenhagen Fabric shop

Copenhagen Fabric shop

I have put together a slide show with more pictures for you of all the loveliness at the castles we visited and will be back later in the week with a post about the costume from the castles and churches as there was some amazing detail in the paintings and some great costume reproductions.

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Have a lovely weekend ahead and enjoy whatever you are doing. Thanks for visiting.

I can resist anything ……. except temptation….. and books

I blame Amazon, all you are doing is checking if they have a book and putting it on your wishlist for future reference, a sewing book recommended by one of my new favourite blogs,  Did You Make That?

Then when you are updating your wishlist there is a little message that says, ‘get yourself a little something’ , and you think, ‘no Amazon I am being good’, as I have 27 books in the, ‘to be read pile’ , already.

But then you see that something you have had on your wishlist for ages has gone down to a ridiculously low price AND it is being sold by one of the charity book sellers and it is Easter and you don’t really like chocolate so no-one has bought you any so it is really an Easter present to yourself 🙂

Anyway it is done and it is on its way and I could have worse vices than a small book addiction I suppose.

I have bought Flower Power Patchwork which was reviewed in one of my quilt mags a while ago, looks like it will be really good for using some of my beautiful Liberty fabric.

Flower Power Patchwork

It is a gorgeous weekend here and I am very much enjoying the sunshine, I replanted my hanging baskets yesterday and they are looking very pretty.

April flowers

I have also made very good progress with the re-knitting of the cuff for the #knit for winter mittens that I first blogged about a couple of days ago.

Knit for winter - Cuff knitting

It worked much better with the Debbie Bliss yarn and I have now picked up all of the stitches and am ready for the knitting in the round stuff.

It doesn’t seem to fit very well on the circular needles, seems to be a bit too small for me to actually knit with – maybe I am doing something wrong but think I need to use the DPNs instead, shall wait until knitting group on Tuesday for more advice.

Well must go now as the bin men have just been which means I can put the washing out for the first time this year – very exciting, my life is so rock and roll 😉

Thanks for visiting and enjoy your sunshine if you are lucky enough to have some.

More pins – of a different kind !

Hope that you are all having a great Easter weekend, I am very much enjoying myself pottering around the house, the weather has been kind so done a little garden tidying and lots of knitting while catching up on some of my recorded TV. Have finally finished game of Thrones (just in time for Season 5) and Wolf Hall.

I have had guests for the last few weekends which has been very nice but I am also very much enjoying quiet time alone (Jake is still here for the holidays but is happily amusing himself with the joys of online entertainment).

I was talking to him last night about blogs etc and was surprised that he had never used Pinterest, I was explaining the pleasure I get from being able to look up sewing, knitting and quilting inspiration and then later on in the evening while doing a bit of catching up of my favourite blogs I came across this amazing board which I though I would share with you.

It was linked to by Melissa of Happy Quilting – I found her website as a link from Crazy Mom Quilts , one of my favourite quilting sites.

She has lots of lovely boards with her quilting on but this Quilts, Quilts, Quilts Pinterest board  she has linked to set up by Maryland Quilter has no fewer than 170,865 pins on it, enough to keep you amused for a while! There is some amazing stuff out there and I am in awe at the skill levels of people.

Meanwhile on the actually productive front I have finished the fairly tricky lace pattern for the first cuff of my #knit for winter mittens but unfortunately it is not working with the wool.

Knitting April 2015 - finished cuff

It is beautiful wool but is variegated with a lot of different colours and is just not going to work on this small an item.

Knitting April 2015 - variegated wool

I should have realised before but sometimes it takes a while for things to sink in and it was only when I finished I realised that I am not happy with the fact that the seam for the cuffs is going to have such a drastic colour change.

Knitting April 2015 - cuff joined

Am starting again with some Debbie Bliss Rialto four ply that I got as part of another de-stash, re-stash from knitting group and will save the other wool for a larger scale project, I think it would make a lovely hat for the #knit for winter campaign as the colours are beautiful but it needs a larger scale to show it off.

Knitting April 2015 - Debbie Bliss wool

I also think that this smoother wool will work better with the lace pattern as well as I am not happy about the untidiness of the top of the pattern here.

Knitting April 2015 - cuff detail

Also cast on for a simple knitting group project (one that I can drink wine with!) This is a moss stitch cowl from a Let’s Knit freebie booklet from a few years ago with some Rowan wool cotton, again from the de-stash, re-stash and this will be donated to the #knit for winter campaign as well.

Knitting April 2015 - rowan cowl

Knitting April 2015

I am really looking forward to the week ahead as my lovely Mum arrives on Weds and we are off to Copenhagen on Friday for a few days, will post lots of Scandinavian historical stuff when I get back!

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Knit for Winter

I know that the post title may be a bit confusing as it is Easter but the way the weather is here in Yorkshire today it might as well be November, we had a beautiful warm Spring day here yesterday and I was getting all excited but now it is all ‘mists and mellow fruitfulness’ again.

Not that this is a problem as my Easter weekend is full of indoor knitting and stitching plans anyway.

Although I am not doing as much knitting this year I was very excited to be asked to participate in a project to raise awareness of the campaign #knit for winter being run by Sunrise Senior Living.

Myself and several other bloggers have been asked to knit items which will be donated to charities who help older people to raise money and awareness of the effects of the cold weather for older people.

This is a quote from the campaign blog post  showing how big a problem this can be.

“Age UK report than an average of 25,000 “excess winter deaths” occur each year during the winter months (December – March). One elderly person dies needlessly every 7 minutes from the cold. That is around 206 deaths each day which could be prevented.”

If you would like to get involved then you can post a comment with contact details on the Knit for Winter blog post or if you use Twitter search #knitforwinter

I know that there are lots of knitters with spare wool and time who would love to get involved in this very good cause – use up your stash and not only will you get a warm feeling, someone else will as well 😉

To start the campaign they have very kindly given me some gorgeous wool and a pattern, look at this lovely stuff.

Knit for winter -Erin cowl and mitts

Knit for winter 2 cowl

The pattern is by Lesley Jones and is called the Eirin cowl and fingerless mitts and I have put a link to her Etsy site in case you love the pattern as much as I do. She also has more shawls as well as the Eirin pattern on her Ravelry page.

I chose this pattern from all the ones I was offered as it is similar to some wristwarmers that I knitted a few years ago in the picture below and wanted to have a practise with lace again.

knit for winter - lilac-handwarmers

It is in the round which will be a challenge as I have never done that before but I have my lovely friends at knitting group if I get stuck!

Knit for winter 4- mitts

I have also just finished this little hat out of some de-stash, re-stash wool that I got when we had a swap session at knitting group, going to add some tassels to it and that can be donated as well.

Knit for winter-beanie

Have got enough wool for a few more of these in different colours so will be casting on for those over the next few weeks, these are great knitting group projects as you don’t have to concentrate too hard on them when you have had wine!