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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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.

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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.

 

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.

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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.

Lorca, the goldwork in action

I am catching up with all the things that I have not posted about over the summer. At Easter, before the trip to Seville, we visited Lorca, a small city in the mountains a couple of hours from La Marina to see the Good Friday fiesta.

We have wanted to see this for a few years since we went on  our trip to see the goldwork museums. The four museums house all of the robes and banners that are used in this festival and we were absolutely amazed by them then. Two of the groups that organise the festival, the Blue and the Purple ones, are responsible for the religious side with the icons and the White and Scarlet organise the armies and other groups.

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We really had no idea of the scale of the festival though, what we saw in the museum was only a fraction of what filled the streets. We had a couple of hours wandering around watching everyone get ready and had drinks and something to eat before finding a spot to watch. It was quite bizzare seeing the streets filled with Roman soldiers and chariots and Egyptian girls!

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There are stands where you can buy seats for the parade so next year we will do that but we had a pretty good view of events from our little spot. We were right behind the camera crew so we could see a lot on their monitor as well.

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Apologies for the slightly blurry pictures but I wanted you to see the scale of the floats. As well as the Roman and Egyptian armies and their chariots there were horses racing up and down the street and the huge floats carrying icons , Roman Emperors, Cleopatra and her consorts and even the Pope!

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A truly incredible spectacle and the amount of work that went into the costumes is amazing. Some of the larger group ones were made by machine using ready made goldwork but most of the main characters are hand embroidered and it is truly stunning to see the mass of beautiful work that goes into this event.

A really great celebration of the art of the stitcher and another reason to love Spain! This is only a very small city and not famous for anything apart from this parade so we really wondered how they got to be producing something on this scale every year. We are going to go back next year and hopefully will book seats so we can have an even better view!

I am planning more pouch making this afternoon as Yarndale is in a couple of weeks and I need to get all my stock finished. Then it will be on to the Christmas ornaments, I have made a few of different types but need to decide on which will be the design I make six of for this year for my group of friends.I think I might go with baubles as have not done any of these for a very long time and have just acquired a huge stash of polystyrene balls from a local shop that was closing down.

Hope you have a lovely rest of the weekend and week ahead. We are off to Caldicot Castle for our last event so are hoping for good weather to end the season with.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Just a little bit of bling!

The last photos I want to show you from Seville are from the cathedral. This is one of the largest in the world and it uses the tower or Giralda of the original mosque as part of its design.

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Seville cathedral Giralda 2

The Giralda is stunning, with all of that detail made from brick and the surrounding buildings are also really beautiful, there are lovely cafes and restaurants all around the cathedral which makes it a gorgeous area.

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Seville cathedral 1

Seville cathedral buildings 2

I loved the exterior of the cathedral, the front entrance looks to have been completely replaced as it is a different colour stone and the roof decoration is stunning.

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As we were queuing for a while to get in I took a few artistic shots looking up the facade, the second one is one of my favourite building photos ever, I love the contrast of building shapes and sky.

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Seville cathedral 4 - angled

I really liked the little creatures on the facade especially this fox and the dragon, I think he looks cute and definitely tameable!

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Inside the cathedral was very impressive though not as decorated as I was expecting, compared to others such as Valencia the interior was quite plain but with beautiful lighting illuminating the intricate carved ceiling.

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There was the most impressive gold altar that I have ever seen, absolutely mind blowing in its scale.

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There was also a beautiful display of goldwork and the precious artifacts and paintings in a side room that was gorgeous. A truly magnificent place and a fitting end to our trip.

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Seville cathedral interior goldwork 1

I have had a lovely weekend, mainly watching the rain come down while I have been stitching, which has been a bit of a shock after such high temperatures here for so long. I am hoping that my friends in the re-enactment group have not had bad weather as they were doing a show on top of the hill at Peveril Castle this weekend.

Sadly I missed that as the recent infected bites have led to a flare up of arthritis so I knew I would struggle getting up the hill. I know that other friends have had to cancel events this weekend due to the extreme weather which is such a pity for everyone involved.

Our next event is in a few weeks time at Lincoln and I need to finish my Steampunk jacket for then so I am planning to work on that this coming week.

Hope that you have a lovely week ahead, take care and thanks for visiting.

 

 

Creative people

I had a lovely time at Ashby, the weather was very kind as we only had thunder and lightening at night, not during showtimes and were able to pack all the tents away dry:-)

I spent quite a lot of the time sitting sewing while doing the occasional chat about headresses and we also did the fashion talk again.

Ashby 2018 Ellie and me sewing

This is Ellie showing off her new gloves, decorated with goldwork. I need to get a close up of these as they are fabulous.

Ashby 2018 Ellie and me

I was very pleased that Sadie was working on her new gauntlets and that Symon was making a beautiful tooled leather scabbard for his sword.

Ashby 2018 Sadie 1

I took some pictures as I want to use them in my doctoral research. All the people in my group are so clever. Symon is making another beautiful hand tooled scabbard.

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I handed over the finished circlet to Kate, she was very pleased with it and it fits! I made it in a similar design to Ellie’s but a little simpler.It is made of black velvet over a stiffened hessian (buckram) band.

Kate's headress 2

Kate's headress 1

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Most of the fabric came from stock though not all mine but  between us we managed to sort it. Stitching through buckram makes your fingers sore but it looks lovely.The brass findings were from Etsy here.

A very lovely weekend in the company, as always, of very talented and fun people.Our next event is not for a few weeks now so am hopefully going to get some quality time in the sewing room over the next two weekends, I have been working on another Liberty quilt block so will hopefully get chance to finish that this weekend.

Hope you have a nice rest of the week and will catch up with you soon. Take care and thanks for visiting.

 

 

 

 

 

Come rain, come shine!

Well of course it was like most Ashby events, somewhat wet in parts. We did at least have glorious sunshine on the Sunday, it was very hot in the afternoon for the tournament and then we had a lovely evening and it started raining after we went to bed and never really stopped.

So we were not able to do much on Monday except a few demos like our head dress talk. Here are Ellie and I sewing coifs for the poor. At least we got some lovely pictures from Sunday.

Ashby - Ellie and me sewing -small

Here is what I think must be my favourite one of all time, Luke was doing his armour talk while getting dressed for the tournament and he had just put on his great helm and was telling the crowd that he could still see in front of him but not what was happening behind him so I took that opportunity to do a little happy dance for the crowd 😉

Ashby - me and Luke -small

He knew nothing about it until this appeared on our Facebook page later in the day. Thanks to Adam Kucharczyk for these brilliant pictures.

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I love this one of Ellie in her new crown with the King.

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And here are all of the group at the end of the tournament, we have new fighters this year so it was great to see so many people in the arena.

Ashby 2017 Luke and Mark

The boys had new kit as well, of course. They have been making some beautiful things. Here is Mark in his new coat and chaperon hood.

Luke’s partner Wendy had made him a new chaperon as well and he had a new hat, a bycocket courtesy of the mega -talented Kat of Kat’s Hats.

I didn’t get a picture of the stunning goldwork on the front however Kat had posted this one on her page, she is such a brilliant embroider.

Ashby - Detail of goldwork

The boys looked amazing in their armour as usual, Luke has new leg armour to match his colours.

Ashby Luke in full armour - small

Symon has been doing leather work and has made this wonderful coat of plates and belt, it is all hand tooled, he had to cut out all of the leather from the leaf pattern by hand, just beautiful!

Ashby Symon coat and belt 1

I am very proud of the group and look forward to lots of lovely events with them this year.

Hope that you like the pictures, there is also some video of the fights on our Facebook page as well if you are interested.

Will be back next week with an update on an embroidery finish, until then have a good weekend and thanks for visiting.

 

 

 

 

Here’s one I made earlier

Hello everyone

Hope that you have all had a nice week. I am settling in to the new role at work and am enjoying all of the new modules I am teaching. As I mentioned previously I have been doing some travelling for work and while in Liverpool recently went to the cathedral to see the Elizabeth Hoare Gallery.

The reason why I wanted to visit was that many years ago, about 10 I think but it could be longer, I did a piece of goldwork from a magazine which was taken from this collection. I was very pleased with this Tudor Rose design, my first major piece of goldwork and it sits on my mantelpiece. It took about 50 hours to stitch.

I promised myself then that I would visit the collection, well it has taken a while but is so worth it. The collection was started to preserve Victorian and Edwardian ecclesiastical goldwork and has always been housed at the cathedral.

What makes it very special is that when the cathedral was being built a group was formed to make all the things for the cathedral and those are also displayed there. So unlike other places where you don’t know who made the items it has all been documented.

There are also some lovely samples showing how the items were made and this silks case, complete with stitched colour names on each of the pockets.

The piece I made was taken from this beautiful altar frontal which you can see in its full size at the back of the case in the second photo.I think it looks absolutely stunning in the green velvet.I am very pleased with my version as well.

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There were so many other wonderful pieces, altar frontals, copes, chalice covers, you name it all of the glory that is church stitching was there. An absolutely wonderful collection.I am very pleased that made it there at last and plan to take Ellie there one day.

I have not been doing anything much for the last few weeks but plan to get cracking this weekend on the ornaments, am thinking of doing cathedral window ones.

I have found a couple of tutorials like this one here  and this one and some fab inspiration from Pinterest such as this one using vintage linen from Jo at MyBearPaw.

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Look at this gorgeous idea as well. Hope I can make something as lovely as this from Quilt Maven.

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Will report back on progress! Hope that you all have a lovely weekend.
Thanks for visiting.