A mini Hardwick Hall

Our last day of the staycation saw us at Gawthorpe Hall in Lancashire, another National Trust property. I have visited twice before but Mum and Ellen had never been. I particularly wanted Ellen to visit as the house was designed by the same architect as Hardwick, where she used to work and is a beautiful miniature version with an amazing textile collection. There are some historic rooms open but much of the public space contains the textiles collected by Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth.

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Rachel lived there from 1886 until 1967 and collected over 30,000 pieces of textiles, from all cultures and for all uses.

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She was an avid embroiderer and promoter of arts and crafts of all kinds which she taught to keep the skills alive.

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This small display of ecclesiastical goldwork reminded me of my visit to the Elizabeth Hoare collection in Liverpool.

Rachel believed that creativity had health and and social benefits. I like to think that she and I would have been very good friends if I had ever been able to meet her, she sounds wonderful. The collection is maintained by a charity and works with schools and local communities as well as stitchers.

I love this display of her desk in one of the rooms, her stitching is on the walls and in the drawers are all the sorts of things she would have used, I love seeing this very personal side of stitching and can imagine her writing articles for embroidery magazines and deciding on new projects here.

There were some very similar pieces to those in the Women Travellers exhibition at Bankfield Museum that came from Eastern Europe and Asia.

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The displays have changed since I last went about 5 years ago and there were so many wonderful pieces of whitework and lace on display.

These are two things I have never done but am fascinated by the delicacy of the work and think that the shawls and collars are beautiful. Maybe one day I will be able to incorporate something like this into a Steampunk costume.

Another thing I loved were these hexagons that she had collected, they had been fussy cut and posted to someone, probably as gift.

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I think it is so exciting to see actual papers made of scraps, you can just imagine the sender making these and sending them to a special friend. There were also some hexagon needlebooks and you know how I love a good hexagon!

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Gawthorpe 5

Rachel’s personal rooms also contained this wonderful bed with crewelwork hangings, I am really looking forward to the day when I have a hand- made quilt on my bed, I have one as a work in progress but it will probably be a retirement project as have not touched it for about a year. Luckily fabric does not go off!

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There was also a display of contemporary embroidery inspired by the collection with some beautiful whitework pieces and silk embroidered birds and insects.

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This case of needle work tools was also inspired by the collection.

I have been embracing Rachel’s philosophy very much this week, we are right in the middle of marking season, with the added work on my doctorate and so it has been wonderful to sit and stitch in the evenings. I have been working on a table decoration for my Make do and Mend display and so have been quietly doing chain stitch while watching Netflix, very soothing after a hard day of thinking!

I have transformed a man’s shirt into a blouse for my display as well and am now busy working on other aspects, luckily both Jake and I have worn through socks recently so I will be able to demonstrate my darning mushroom and darning egg and I have just got a copy of a vintage pattern for making some patchwork slippers so that is my next project for the event.I am really enjoying the research for the event and have been doing lots of very interesting reading. I have also just won an auction on Ebay for some clothing and food ration books to add to my artifacts which I am very excited about. I will do a post all about that in a little while but my next post will be all about the Haworth 1940s event that Ellie and I are going to this weekend.

We are very excited, Howarth is such a cute village, home to the Bronte sisters and I have not been to this event before, though we have done a Steampunk one there a few years ago. The tablecloth jacket will have an outing as I have decided it is a great example of Make do and Mend and I will be putting on my false eyelashes and red lipstick for a bit of 1940s glamour. I am aiming for something like the gorgeous Gene Tierney here.

Gene-Tierney-makeup-1940s-

As with when we do Steampuk it always seems strange to be wearing make up and costume as I am so used to medieval re-enactment and shapeless clothing and all my hair covered. It will be lovely to be able to have a bit of 1940s style and I can’t wait to see all of the gorgeous outfits there.

Hope that you all have a nice weekend planned, take care and thanks for visiting.

 

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Women who broke the mould

One of our staycation trips before Spain was to Bankfield Museum in the local town of Halifax. It is a beautiful museum situated just outside the town in what was a mill-owner’s house.

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The Ackroyd family that lived there also built a model village, Ackroydon,  in the surrounding area with well-designed houses for the workers that they then helped their staff to buy, so they were real social campaigners, aside from living in the very glamorous Italian style mansion house!

I have wanted to go there for a while to see their costume collection, that is currently being re-organised and will open in late May so Ellie and I have plans to visit later in the summer. However there was a really good exhibition on Women Travellers that had the added bonus of lots and lots of fascinating textiles.

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Bankfield Museum 5

The exhibition told the story of four women, Gertrude Bell, who I was familiar with already, Edith Durham, Lizzie Humphries and Anne Lister. Lizzy and Anne were local women, the others came from Durham and London.

Bankfield - Gertrude

Bankfield - Edith

Bankfield -Lizzie

Bankfield - Anne

All of them had travelled extensively on their own and Edith in particular collected lots of examples of textiles as she did so.She mainly explored the Balkans and came back with some beautiful examples of traditional costume including marvelous embroidery and goldwork.

Many of the items were gifts for weddings including the beautiful embroidered gauze towels in these pictures above and below, There was also such intricate goldwork!

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I really liked this blackwork piece above, I have not done any blackwork for so long but I love the stunning effect with just one colour of thread.

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A particular favourite of mine in the exhibition was her drawings of people in costume and the photos and postcards that she collected.I also loved all the original labels.

Bankfield Museum 9

One of the things that I noticed was the way that the women’s exploration was portrayed by media of the time. Lizzy Humphries’ husband actually abandoned her and their round the world walking tour, (taking most of their money with him!), but the poor women still had to suffer being referred to as Mrs Harry Humphries , spelt wrongly below, by newspapers and posters, she didn’t even get to go by her own name!

A really brilliant exhibition, I love things like this, there is so little that tells people about the different roles that women played in travel, research and politics like these women did.

There are also other exhibitions as well like this small one of various ceramics in a room with a wonderful tiled floor.I can’t wait to go back to the museum as they are also going to be having a Halifax at War exhibition as well from June 8th with lots of original photos. And entry to the museum is totally free!

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Bankfield Museum 29

I was originally supposed to be at a festival with my sister this weekend but my back and joints are not very happy at the moment so I have (probably wisely) given up three days camping for a weekend in the house sorting out my Make do and Mend garments and some work on my doctorate.

I hope that you have a good weekend whatever you are planning and if you are in the UK a nice and hopefully not too cold and wet Bank Holiday weekend.Take care and thanks for visiting.

Withdrawal symptoms

Although I have been having fun knitting things for Barbie I have missed stitching so I will be taking some embroidery on holiday with me, maybe even something vintage that I can use for my Make do and Mend display.

I still have lots of Jenny’s lovely Stitchery club things to make and she has recently posted a lovely new version of her vintage needlebook. This is a great Make do and Mend project turning an embroidered doiley into a beautiful needlebook. The pictures are from Jenny’s site and the instructions are here.

ELEFANTZ vintage style needlebook main pic

I love the crochet she has done on the edge of the wadding inside the needlebook, would love to be able to crochet but can’t get the hang of it!And she has hexis and you know how much I love hexis!

She also posted a link to this beautiful free design from her friend Fee’s blog. I love this and am seriously tempted to stitch this for me, either as a hanging for the sewing room or as a project bag/file cover. I do need some other stitching friends to make things for though as I often run out of people to gift things to! Picture from Fee’s site.

Fee's craft studio button jar

There are lots of other lovely projects that make lovely presents at Fee’s blog as well as she has a year of gifts series with lots of great free ideas, I also love these vintage embroidery needlecases. Photo from Fee’s blog.

Fee's craft studio vintage needlebooks

Something that has been on my wishlist for a while is this cute retro camper design, this would make up into a very cute travel pouch and I love the idea of applique and embroidery. It is a free pattern from Flamingo Toes blog here.

retro camper embroidery

Not that I have got time for any of this at present, I have been having a very social week so have hardly been in to do anything which has been very nice 🙂 I will have to spend most of this weekend working on the doctorate apart from trying to get the Barbie things finished in the evenings.

I have a deadline next week so have to write about 8,000 words by Friday, wish me luck! It will all be over fairly soon and then I have the summer to look forward to with some new things to make for Yarndale, I may try some more sheep themed things as they went down well.

I hope that you are all going to have a lovely weekend ahead, it has been beautifully sunny today so even though I will be inside most of the time I will hopefully have lovely weather to look at.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

I’m a Barbie girl ….

Do you remember that very irritating song some years ago that started with this? I recall the lines about it being fantastic and plastic and it did remind me at the time of my own fun playing with Barbies as a child.

I loved making clothes and houses for Barbie when Ellie was little. I made an entire apartment out of cardboard boxes, including all of the furniture and we loved doing that together, visiting the DIY shop for large samples of wallpaper and using old carpet and fabric scraps.

I have decided to make some Barbie clothes as presents for the younger cousins this year as all of them have the dolls and enjoy playing with them but don’t have an extensive wardrobe. I am hoping I might be able to do a little bit of knitting for them as well, I have not knitted for ages but think my wrist would stand some small items.

I have bought myself a model for fitting purposes, she came from the local charity shop.I thought I might be able to make a pattern from the jeans she is wearing.

barbie model 1barbie model 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I do have a knitting pattern book from ages ago and have been looking up some new resources which I thought I would share with you. You can see that the owner of my doll also had the same knitting book, the ski jumper is identical and look at those fab 1990s disco outfits. I am sure I had some jumpers that were very similar at the time!

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I was also looking at Barbie sets on Ebay and was so tempted.They had the original Country Camper on Ebay which I remember getting for Christmas one year and was thrilled, that obviously sewed the seeds for my love of camping and camper vans.

barbie country camper

There is a newer version as well which is fantastic, look at all the options you have here, and a pool!

barbie new camper 1

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This Sprucecrafts site has got links to ten other sites with patterns or tutorials for clothes.My favourite link out of all of them is this one Craftiness is not optional, not just for the wonderful blog name but also for all of the beautiful and very simple and adaptable ideas there are here.Pictures below are from the blog.

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I have also found a pattern for a little knitted shrug from this site.

barbie shrug

I am really looking forward to making some cute skirts and dresses with some of my Liberty fabric and my collection of lace, crochet and vintage embroidery. I was lucky enough to get these three new tray cloths on my charity shop trip as well and Barbie clothes will be great for using up the tiny scraps.

vintage traycloths jan all

 

I am planning to make more of the Liberty edged vintage log cabin blocks as below with these as well as eventually I would like enough to make a quilt.

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I think it would look really cute to try and make some skirts for the dolls with the embroidery on the bottom using the tray cloth designs. If I can make it work for a whole jacket I should be able to do it for some Barbie skirts!

vintage traycloths jan 4

 

Progress on the Steampunk Vampire hunter outfit is going well, I finished embellishing the hat and umbrella some weeks ago and have bought some new lace gloves and the black skirt in the same design as the red and purple ones.

I am really looking forward to Whitby next weekend, not only is it a chance to spend time with Ellie. Kerry and James but I can’t wait to see all the lovely outfits that everyone is wearing there.

I was very pleased, after fruitless hours of searching on Ebay for bottles and printable labels, to find this gorgeous perfume bottle that I am going to use as a holy water bottle. It was in a local shop for the bargain sum of £2 🙂 Isn’t it beautiful? I am going to hang it from my belt.

steampunk whitby holy water bottle 1

steampunk whitby holy water bottle 2

I will take lots of photos for you and be back soon with those. Meanwhile have a lovely week ahead and thanks for visiting.

The stockings are finished!

I have been rushing to finish everything in time for Christmas, it always amazes me that though I think I start early enough each year I am still there checking last posting dates and running around doing last minute finishes!

Anyway the ornaments are finished, I have only had time to make 8 of these so far but will definitely make more for next year for all the people that didn’t get one this year. One has already gone to the Wool and Wine ornament exchange so these are the seven that are left.

Xmas stockings 1

I did two of each design for friends and then the tree one for me. I loved choosing all of the fabrics and embellishments and am really pleased to have improved my blanket stitch which I only learnt this summer.

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The back is finished with a little pearl headed pin and decorative bead to hide the ribbon stitching.

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The original patterns as seen in this picture from Jenny’s website had some really beautiful flower embroidery on so they would make lovely sachets to go in drawers or on hangers so I will make some other ones from floral fabric and fill them with lavender.

ELEFANTZ stocking noel 1

I have realised that although I thought I had done things for everyone as I have also been working on some stitched and quilted ornaments that I might have already given my Mum and aunt the designs I had planned to finish off this week so am going to go with another one of the folded baubles for them. I know that I did give them one each in 2015, as pictured below, but they are so pretty I would love to make more.

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I have also found some new resources to go with them and that was partly what inspired me to do more of these. This tutorial is a good step by step one and if you sign up for The Ornament Girl’s newsletter she will e-mail you links to three step by step video tutorials. She also has lots of lovely ideas on her website and you can join the ornament club or buy supplies from her.

One of the things I didn’t realise is that you can also make these folded ones from ribbon. I just happen to have quite a bit of Christmas ribbon in my stash so am going to experiment with that. I have found some great inspiration from this Pinterest board here.

These seem to be very popular in Eastern Europe as there are some amazing ones from places like Slovakia and Poland. I don’t have a lot of the satin ribbon that are used in these but do have lots of wired ribbon in beautiful Christmas designs like the bauble below.Original links and sources for these pictures can be found at the Pinterest board link above.

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I also love the use of cross stitch in these ones, that is something to consider for next year as well.

Folded fabric bauble 1

You can also fold the ribbon into petals as they have done with the second layer of the this amazing red,white and green one.

Folded fabric bauble 2

These are just so pretty, I love the variations in the designs while sticking to the one colour scheme.The site in the photo caption sells the most gorgeous ribbon kits for these.

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So I shall be spending this afternoon under a fleecy blanket, watching Netflix and making ornaments. A perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon 🙂

Rosemari has decorated her tree with all the baubles she made at our bauble making sessions and afterwards at home and has kindly sent me a photo to share with you, don’t they look wonderful!  She was well and truly bitten by the bauble making bug 🙂

Rosemari's tree

I hope that you have all had a good week and enjoyed your weekends. Don’t forget to like any of my posts before Christmas to be entered into my 11th year blogaversary giveaway drawn in Jan. Take care and thanks for visiting.

Ta da!

I have had a lovely week of stitching and am very pleased that I have already finished the first set of stockings.They are so pretty and have turned out even better than expected.

 

Jenny Xmas stocking 6

The designs are from the wonderful Jenny of Elefantz Stitchery Club and I followed her advice to back the fabric with interfacing which worked really well without a hoop.

 

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I am so pleased with the stitching on these, especially the blanket stitch which I only learnt how to do this summer and though I say so myself has come out very neat 🙂 Now they just need to be cut out, backed and stuffed.

Apologies for the slightly blue pictures again, I even tried taking shots outside but even that did not make any difference.I did get a nice shot of the frosty hills behind the house though.Look at that lovely blue sky!

Frosty hills

I have been working almost solely on this project while watching lots of interesting things on Netflix, a very good murder mystery called Guilt and a competition program about cabins in the wild that has given me lots of ideas for future holidays as they feature lots of cabins from one of my favourite site Canopy and Stars!

Wouldn’t you love to stay in this tin tabernacle, or the very cute gardener’s hut or the geodome.

Canopy and Stars tin hut

Canopy and Stars gardener's shed

Canopy and Stars geodome

They have so many wonderful places on here that I am putting on my wish list for future trips. All pictures from their site.I am slightly addicted to watching tiny house videos on You Tube so this would satisfy some of my cravings to have my own tiny house.

Meanwhile we have booked mine and Mum’s city trip for next year, we will be going to Krakow in Poland in April. We were hoping to be able to get to Istanbul but flights and times were not good from here so we are now really looking forward to our first visit to Poland and to sights like this.

Krakow

We have not yet sorted a Spanish city trip but that will probably be done in June. Meanwhile back to reality and I have another set of stockings to prepare today.These have been so quick to do I think I may make more than six as I would like one as well.

Have a nice week ahead, hopefully on my next post I will have some good progress on the Steampunk jacket to report, so far all I have done is cut out pattern pieces, which took about 2 hours, and work out how much material I have, and discover I have not got enough interfacing or lining so I will have to buy those before I can progress much further.

My plan is to have at least the pieces cut out and possibly the bustle made before the end of the week. The jacket part is going to take more fitting so I have allowed a month for that as the event is on the 24th Nov and I know from past experience that it can take a while!

Take care and thanks for visiting.

 

A wonderful work in progress!

As you know I have been eagerly awaiting the latest of Jenny’s Stitchery Club. I love stitching things for Christmas and was trying to decide what to make for the special set of 6 this year and then Jenny solved all of my problems with this lovely set of designs, picture from Jenny’s website.

elefantz-xmas-stockings-picture

I am altering the designs slightly as I am using all Christmas fabric so am also going to use some star sequins in place of some of the flower stitching. I am going to have so much fun embellishing them with little beads and lace as well so am really looking forward to spending more time this afternoon stitching these.I have done most of the outlines, now to start on the chain stitch around the applique and try and make it as neat as possible!

I prepared the designs in a slightly different way to usual as I wanted to use this lovely background fabric and I only have two quite small pieces of it. Normally I would use a hoop while I stitch but remembered that Jenny uses a fusible interfacing to stabilise the fabric and stitches without a hoop so I have done that and it is working well and saves on fabric needed.

Jenny Xmas stocking 1

I traced the designs in pencil rather than the usual Zig pen just because I was upstairs and didn’t have them with me.It has worked ok but may be a bit faint for you to see.

Jenny Xmas stocking 2

The applique pieces are attached with double sided fusible applique paper, there is a good tutorial on this technique on Jenny’s website here if you have not done this before.

Jenny Xmas stocking 3

Jenny Xmas stocking 4

I love this poinsettia design on this stocking, they are one of my favourite things to have in the house at Christmas.

I am so glad that Jenny included hexagons with the designs as I really love hexagons! As these ornaments will not need to be washed I have glued the paper piece inside each hexagon so that it will be nice and neat around the fussy cut area.

Jenny Xmas stocking 5

I am going to back each stocking with some of the same material that I have used for the front and stuff them and put hanging ribbons on.My plan is to do these three then start on the next batch and use different material but basically the same designs.

I think they are gorgeous designs and as well as using them for Christmas they would make lovely lavender sachets for drawers or a very pretty design for a stitched birthday card so I can see myself making lots more of these.

I have had a very lovely week, it has been mostly beautiful sunshine here and the autumn colours are just stunning. These pictures are from our local Facebook page.

Marden Autumn 1

Marden Autumn 2

I am feeling a lot better and fingers crossed this will continue, I am in a lot less pain and generally have more energy so I am hoping to be going on some lovely walks myself soon.

I also had a great night out with the Wool and Wine girls last night at the annual village quiz where we came a respectable fourth from the bottom. Next week is the last week before half term and I only have one Saturday left to teach so that will mean more time for crafting!

Hope you are having a nice weekend and have a good week ahead. Take care and thanks for visiting.