Nunnington needlework

We had a great mini trip up North, the first place we visited was Nunnington Hall in North Yorkshire, a lovely stone house dating back to the 12th century surrounded by beautiful countryside.

Not only was the house beautiful with lots of light and airy paneled rooms as the house has been displayed as it would have been in the 1920s, but there were also some wonderful examples of needlework connected to the family.

Firstly this Durham quilt, hand quilted by the last owner’s grandmother.

Nunnington -quilt 1

Nunnington -quilt 3

Nunnington -quilt 2

Then these stunning Jacobean crewelwork panels in the bedroom, they have been restored by the Trust, mainly to mend the linen backing, but the colours are still wonderful even though they are faded.

Nunnington -crewelwork bedroom

Nunnington -crewelwork detail

Panels this size must have taken so long to make, they were originally made for a bed.

There was also a very pretty needlepoint chair cover and some samplers dating from 1785 and 1835 with the makers’ names on.

Nunnington -needlepoint

Nunnington -sampler 1

Nunnington -sampler 2

This is not a good picture of the sampler due to the low light but here is a better one from the National Trust Collections site here. It was stitched by 10 year old Betsy Pickard in 1835 as a firescreen and is beautifully done.

Another thing that I really liked were the little cross stitched signs, someone has been working very hard to theme the information given.

Nunnington -label 1

Nunnington -label 2

There was also some very impressive other needlework that I will share with you in a later post, I absolutely loved it and it has given me an interesting challenge that I will share with you then.

Today will be mainly finishing off items for Yarndale, I have a basket and needlebook in progress and there is always more embroidering of sheep to be done!

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Man made splendour

We also visited Penrhyn Castle when we were in Wales which is a stunning mock castle built in the 1820s for the wealthy Pennant family who had made their fortune from slate.

Penrhyn Castle

It is even more impressive when you learn that it was only a holiday home, used for a couple of months a year.

My favourite areas were the great hall, built to look like a cathedral, the amazing staircase made of dark and light stone and the drawing room with its beautiful silk damask wallpaper.

Penrhyn Castle 3

Penrhyn Castle staircase

The Drawing Room at Penrhyn Castle, Gwynedd showing the oak chairs and sofa designed by Thomas Hopper and the dazzling silk lampas (brocade) and curtains

As with all the Trust properties that we visit I love looking for the details of the construction, like this wonderful door and the brass grille in the great hall that was part of the heating system. Such gorgeous work.

Penrhyn Castle 2

Penrhyn Castle 4

On a less grand, but equally lovely scale, we visited Plas Newydd, built beside the Menai Strait for the first Marquis of Angelsey who was a hero of the battle of Waterloo, again it was firstly used as a holiday home but later the family lived there full-time.

Plas Newdd house

This beautiful bedroom belonged to one of the women who lived there in the 1930s and it is just the sort of place that I could see myself actually living in.

Plas Newdd interior 2

Plas Newdd interior 1

I love the delicate fabrics on the bed, the beautiful printed wallpaper and the muslin spot fabric for the curtains and dressing table, so romantic!

There was lots of beautiful work on display at Erddig as well, stunning mirrors and furniture and some beautiful silk stitchery.

Erdigg interior 3

Erdigg interior 7

One of the best parts of the house for me were the housekeeper’s sitting room and the servants’ attic rooms, full of evidence of the sorts of stitching that the household staff would have been doing.

I love the way that these rooms look, a little shabby but so real, so unlike the grandeur of Penrhyn but just as interesting.

I have just had my birthday and my lovely children bought me lots of presents including a very nice quilting book so I will share that with you in my next post.

I am spending the weekend hand-stitching and watching TV, finishing off applying lace to lots of things for my steampunk outfit for next weekend and and working on some more embroidery for bags for Yarndale.

Hope that you all have a lovely weekend and thanks for visiting.

 

 

Natural beauty

Ellie and I have just come back from our long weekend camping in North Wales. Originally we were booked into a re-enactment at Conwy but our group had to cancel so we thought we would make the most of the opportunity for a visit to some of the National Trust properties in the area.We stayed at  Conwy Touring Park which was a lovely site with great views.

Since it was nice weather for most of the time we not only got to visit several properties but also go for a walk in the mountains in Snowdonia. We saw such beautiful places so I thought I would share some of them with you.

First we visited Erddig , which is a house that dates from the early 1700s and it has been beautifully restored after falling into a ruinous state in the 1960s. The formal gardens were gorgeous and I particularly loved the less formal borders with thistles, poppies and lilies.

Erddig 2

Erddig 3

Erddig 4

Erddig 1

On Saturday we drove into the Snowdonia National Park to an area known as Cwm Idwal which is also owned by the Trust.

Cwm Idwal 1

Cwm Idwal 2

It was a perfect day for walking, cloudy but not wet and the clouds added to the dramatic scenery. We had a brilliant walk round the lake and then a picnic by a waterfall, just perfect!

Cwm Idwal 3

Cwm Idwal 4

Cwm Idwal 5

In the afternoon the sun came out which made the wonderful Bodnant Gardens look fantastic. The house is still in private ownership and the gardens that surround it are just gorgeous with the most beautiful views towards Snowdonia.

Bodnant 1

Bodnant 2

Bodnant 12

Bodnant 13

We really loved the hydrangea bushes, the heads were all at different stages of flowering and it was amazing to see the colours develop on these blue ones, so beautiful!

Bodnant 10

Bodnant 9

Bodnant 11

A great weekend and I will be back later in the week with some of the lovely interiors from these and the other places we visited.

Meanwhile I am working on some more Steampunk stuff as I want to update my outfit. We have been dressing up in the evenings at events and here is a picture taken by my lovely friend Silke at Tatton.

Alison Steampunk - Tatton - small

I love my top hat and am awaiting a new skirt, gloves and choker that will be delivered this week.I am decorating a pair of boots and velvet jacket with lace to add to my collection of outfits.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

 

 

Mainly Sky

Hello and a Happy New Year to you all. I have had a lovely time with Ellie and Jake and then my Mum in Spain and hope that your festive season has been good as well.

I love looking at the sky, I love the way it changes and provides us with the most beautiful colours, one of the things that I love most about Spain is the wonderful sunsets every night, pink and orange as the sun goes down over the mountains.

Here is a gorgeous sunset behind the palm trees from one of our trips out.

spain-2017-2

 

We went to Clumber Park on Boxing Day as Ellie was working, she and I had been for the morning service on Christmas Day which was lovely but this was Jake’s first visit to Clumber.

We went to see the Kitchen Garden which is part of her responsibility as well as the Chapel and I took lots of pictures of the sky above and through the beautiful greenhouse.

 

These pots are also her responsibility, at some point she has to sort and catalogue them all!

 

clumber-10

We then went on the fairy trail, just as the sun was setting, there were lots of different parts of the woodland decorated with clues for children to find treasure and it looked beautiful in the winter light.

I also took this picture with the Chapel in the background which I really like.

clumber-15

I did try to get ‘seven swans a swimming’ but alas they were too quick for me but here are a few on the lake anyway.

clumber-17

It is very dull here today but the mists over the moors look beautiful, good job I am not planning to go out but instead to spend quality time in the craft room before I am back to work on Monday.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

 

If Carlsberg did gardens……

Our last house on the tour was the beautiful Stourhead. I realised when we got there that I have seen so many pictures of the gardens and just had not realised that this was the house we were visiting, we chose it as it was so close to where the event was.

Stourhead 1

Stourhead 2

The house is a Palladian one and the gardens were created in the 1740s and are some of the most amazingly beautiful I have ever seen. Just look at this view.

Stourhead 5 gardens

Stourhead 6 gardens

I have been having trouble walking recently due to an infection a few months ago so was using my stick and didn’t think I would be able to make the walk around the lake. However the National Trust have manned golf carts for people with reduced mobility so I was able to go on a tour round the lake which was brilliant. There are lots of follies such as this cottage and the temple which is now a wedding venue.

The house was full of art and wonderful treasures like this bird table centrepiece from the 1600s.

Stourhead 4 - bird

And I always love the libraries with the patterned books spines.

Stourhead 3 - books

There was also a gorgeous church next to the lake, a bat was flying around inside and we watched it for ages.The church were having a flower festival to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday and it looked very lovely.There was also a beautifully decorated organ as well with art deco style flowers.

Stourhead 10 church

I was particularly interested in this effigy dating from the mid 1300s showing a nebule or goffered headdress. My very talented friend Kat has made lots of beautiful versions of this for friends in re-enactment.

Stourhead 11 headdress

We really enjoyed the day at Stourhead and it is really worth a visit if you are in the area. At the moment the interpretation tells the story of the son of the owners, Harry Hoare, who was sadly killed in the First World War, events which led to the house being given to the Trust.

Another very worthwhile use of my Trust membership and I enjoy knowing that I am helping preserve all this for future generations.

Thanks for visiting and see you soon!

On location

Hello again. The third property we visited on our little National Trust tour was Laycock Abbey. Apologies as for some reason I can’t add links at the moment or would have put one in for the information.

The whole village belongs to the Trust and it was very pretty with lots of little honesty stalls outside all of the houses selling jams etc. The Abbey itself is beautiful, mellow stone which looked so lovely on a summer day.

Laycock 2

I love all the details on the stone and spent quite a lot of time taking pictures of things as inspiration for future patterns. The quatrefoil is a design that is common on older buildings and I love the stained glass window above the main stairs that now forms part of Fox Talbot’s Great Hall with its wonderful painted ceiling.

Laycock 8

The Abbey has been used as a filming location for lots of things, most famously for the Harry Potter films. We visited the Warner Brothers’ Studio Harry Potter experience a couple of years ago as a Christmas trip and we saw the sets for things like Snape’s potion class which was filmed here in the crypt.

All very exciting and very apt as it was William Henry Fox Talbot, the owner of the house, who took the first ever photograph using a negative in 1835. I think that he would be amazed how much we now document our lives on social media and the way that we use photos, such an essential part of our lives.

That is another reason why I love visiting Trust houses, not only are you sometimes seeing things from great events like the Mary Queen of Scots chemise but also from what must have seemed at the time quite a small thing, a great personal achievement for him but I doubt he realised the significance to the world.

He was also friends with other inventors and there was another great piece of textile interpretation in the dining room. This tablecloth showed the dishes from a dinner with the plates representing the guests, amongst whom was Charles Babbage. He was the creator of the Analytical Engine who along with the daughter of Lord Byron, mathematician Ada Lovelace who worked with him on the idea of programming, gave us the beginnings of computing.

Laycock textile interpretation 1

Laycock textile interpretation 2

I find it absolutely amazing that two men at a dinner table all those years ago set in motion the technology that allows me to sit here in my lounge on my laptop blogging and uploading pictures for you. It just makes you wonder who is sitting somewhere right now with the next idea that will revolutionise things and what it will be.

Laycock cloisters 4

The cloisters were my favourite part of the place, I love the stonework and the way that the light and shadows contrast. I think they are such wonderful and spiritual places, even with lots of visitors in them you can sense how peaceful they would have been when this was an abbey.

Hope that you all have a good week ahead, I am spending the rest of the weekend working on a very special piece of embroidery that I won’t be able to reveal for a while, Ellie’s best friend from University is getting married soon and I am making a ring pillow for them!

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Tudor splendour

Hello, hope that you are all well and happy. I am very much so as I have submitted the work I was doing for my doctorate, hurrah , which means more sewing time, double hurrah  🙂 and I am going to Simply Solids this afternoon for another of their sewing courses.

Add to that the fact that I am off to Lisbon on Tuesday with my lovely Mum and my lovely son has come home from University , (for about 9 months until he hopefully goes off to teach in Japan), so I am quite possibly one of the happiest bunnies around!

We had a fab weekend at Tatton as well, the rain held off until the battle on Sunday so we only got a little bit wet and we met up with lots of old friends and Ellie and I marshalled the battle for the first time rather than water carrying which was very exciting. I could show you some photos of all of the excitement if I hadn’t filed them somewhere safe!

So on to the pictures from the National Trust visits Ellie and I did a while ago. First stop was Charlecote Park  in Warwickshire, a beautiful Tudor manor still owned by the family.

I love Tudor buildings with the red stone and the twisted chimneys and this had a beautiful setting as well. It was brilliant to see so many families enjoying the place, it was the school holidays and there was a teddy bear’s picnic on the lawn. Lots of future National Trust members hopefully who will bring their own children and help care for these places forever.

Charlecote 5

Charlecote 6

In the Great Hall there were some brilliant costume pictures, sadly too high up on the wall to take detailed shots but in the dining room there was wonderful wallpaper and in the library some very ornate needlepoint chairs that looked Spanish in origin.

Charlecote 8

I also loved the plasterwork on the ceilings, more inspiration for that book of textile patterns based on historic buildings that I am going to write one day!

Charlecote 7

Charlecote 13

Charlecote 14

There was also a lovely display of the more ordinary textiles in the laundry and the kitchen with embroidered traycloths and some rag rugs which had been made by children as part of a craft event.

A very lovely place to visit on a sunny English afternoon! Well will love you and leave you now as have to go and choose the fabric for the class this afternoon, we are making vinyl project bags so hopefully I will have a finished bag to show you soon.

Take care and thanks for visiting.