Stopping the crowds

Hello everyone. I hope that you are all having a lovely weekend. I am as it is sunny and we have blue skies here and I did my first day of teaching with one of my new groups yesterday. I have changed job roles this year and just moved office so am feeling very much like it is first days back at school! I have been busy making baskets for Sarah as well.

At our recent event in Lincoln during the Steam Punk Festival we once again went out to promote our show and in the evening for a photo shoot at the cathedral so I thought that I would share the pictures with you.Thanks to Kate and Wendy, our fab Swords of Mercia support crew, for these. I think we look brilliant!


We were once again very popular, especially the girls who spent ages being photographed. There are lots of photography groups who come and visit for the weekend and Ellie and Kerry, as well the knights spent ages posing for them and I even got asked as well!

I love these pictures of Ellie inside the cathedral.



There were also some brilliant ones of our knights, especially the ones of them kneeling in parts of the cathedral.



This is a superb shot of Jamie in his newest armour.


We also had some great ones taken back at the Bishop’s Palace, look at this lovely pair of medieval gentlemen.



Luke has new armour, what a surprise,  and here he is with Shane in his latest livery.


Here is Paul with Clive, Shane and Jamie outside the cathedral.


I really do think our group looks splendid, am very proud of everyone for all of the effort that they make with their kit. That was our last show as a group for this year, Ellie, Kerry and I will be at Caldicot Castle in South Wales for our last show of the season this coming weekend and then it is going to be a lovely Autumn of sitting stitching and thinking about Christmas crafting😉

I hope that you are all having a nice start to Autumn, it is one of my favourite times of the year, am looking forward to some blackberry picking soon and lots of cooking nice stews. Will be back next week with a final round up of baskets that I have made!

Thanks for visiting and take care.

Catching up

Hello everyone

It has been a bit of whirlwind here and I have been catching up on myself, the trip to Lisbon was great as was the event this last weekend, I have now just about caught up on all the housework and washing so now time to catch up on the fun blogging stuff!

I have so many lovely things to show you and lots of pictures from all my trips but will start with a little bit of making, here is the tabard that I finished for Jamie a few weeks ago, I finally found the pictures inside another folder.

It was a fairly simple make but had a lot of hand finishing, Jamie designed it himself and it not only looks good but works in terms of protecting his nice new brigandine which you can see in this first picture.

Tatton - Jamie's new tabard


Tatton - Jamie's new tabard 2

Tatton - Jamie's new tabard 3

Tatton - Jamie's new tabard 4

It is made of wool and lined in linen, I didn’t do the lining all the way down to the bottom so the scallops are just raw edges.

I was doing quite a lot of photography to back up my research and took this of one of the other groups in kit outside their tent, what lovely costumes!

Tatton - King and friends

I also have a few pictures from Tewkesbury, there were a few old friends who we had not seen for a very long time.Here are Bev and Kat dressed in the 15th century Burgundian dresses walking onto the battlefield.

Bev, the one on the right in the red gown, was one of the founder members of our old group and we haven’t seen her for a while so it was good to catch up.

Kat and Bev at Tewks

They were in the Queen’s party for the first time and were very pleased to be walking onto the battlefield at the start, the Queen is in the dark blue gown on the right of the second picture next to the prince. Pictures from Facebook.

Kat and Bev at Tewks 2

And we were thrilled to meet up with two of our oldest friends from re-enactment, Carl and Denise. We haven’t seen much of them for a few years and it was great to spend time with them, here we are with Carl outside the beer tent on Sat night, Ellie looks fab in her pirate theme costume.

Carl, Ellie and me at Tewks- small

So a brilliant weekend, am now very glad of a couple of quiet weekends at home. Need to sort out lots of pictures from my holidays so will be back with more lovely stuff for you soon.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

A bit of a battle

Hello everyone, while we are having a washout of early June here just thought I would post some pictures of the very hot weekend we had at Templecombe to remind me of what summer should be like.

We love this event, not only does it have a great relaxed atmosphere but there is a palisade that we get to be behind while the guys charge it with battering rams. All  very exciting!

All pictures are from the event Facebook page courtesy of Gene Alcock and Pat Patrick.

Here we are discussing what is going to happen, I am obviously pointing out that the action will be to the left, where the palisade door is! The commander Bruce is off to parley with the enemy.

Templecombe - waterbearers by Pat

This Dave, Kerry’s partner with his banner bearer, (also called Dave!). His flag got shot by the gunners so now has a very authentic air and a few holes!

Templecombe - Dave by Pat -small

Here he is  doing a champion’s fight.

Templecombe - Dave fighting by Pat

Sadly he lost to Mick’s very large mace!

Templecombe - Dave fighting 2 by Pat -small

Here is the attack on the palisade door. Mick and his mace in charge again.

Templecombe - Gene Alcock 3

This is one of my favourite pictures of some of the guys in armour. Love the happy faces and the very large bardiche that John is holding.

Templecombe - Gene Alcock

And here is the battle in full swing with me just waiting in the wings ready to water the very hot troops.

Templecombe - Gene Alcock 4

An excellent weekend and thanks to all the organisers. I will be back later with the National Trust pictures, have had a very productive weekend and finally finished both my assignment for my doctorate and Jamie’s new tabard in time for our next event next weekend. I can now have a nice relaxing week doing fun stuff!

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Sunshine and gold

Hello everyone, am back from my very hot and brilliant event and a quick National Trust houses tour with Ellie. We saw four very beautiful properties and have had a thoroughly splendid time, got lots of photos to edit in between the work stuff this week.

Not been doing much crafting due to being away, just some hand sewing of hexagons in the car but wanted to show you the newly braided outfit and some pictures from our last event at Ashby de la Zouche Castle.

We had a really sunny and hot weekend which is not always the case at this venue and came home very pink and happy. Here is a close up of Ellie’s dress and coat with the 30 feet of braid on it.

I ordered it from a company in the US via Etsy , Tin Tiara Trims  and sewed two strips together. Ellie just has to finish beading it all now, she has done the neckline but has the gown to do as well. It is gorgeous stuff and I have lots left for Christmas ornaments as well!

This is a detail picture of the new belt she has made to go with the pouch and torque head dress. The charms she has used were also from Etsy.

Ashby - Ellie 5

She has also been busy with some new circlet head dresses, here she is a couple of weeks ago at an event celebrating the 750th anniversary of Chesterfield’s market charter. Photos from group Facebook page.

Ellie at Chesterfield 2 -small

Ellie at Chesterfield 1 -small

The dress she is wearing is one that Kerry gave her that she has altered and she has also made the veil, she is becoming a very skilled needlewoman and I am very proud of her🙂

The King’s encampment was looking rather splendid as well, he has a new flag as well as a new awning area.

Ashby - kings awning

His kit is always amazing and he pus such a great effort into it.

Ashby - kings flag

Will be back soon with photos of Trust loveliness, have a nice week ahead and enjoy the sunshine if you are in the UK.

Thanks for visiting.

The end of a lovely day and a lovely season

I think my favourite time in re-enactment is the end of the first day of an event, especially when it is sunny and you have had a good day when everything has gone to plan and both re-enactors and the public have enjoyed themselves.

Then you can look forward to a relaxing evening, maybe have a BBQ, sit round the camp fire and visit the beer tent later on. All lovely with the added prospect of another event day tomorrow.

These photos below were taken at the end of Saturday at the Caldicot show last weekend. Caldicot was my first ever large re-enactment event and that is where I fell in love with doing this.

We are so lucky to be able to do this and be in lovely places full of beauty and history.

The castle is a magical place, especially when the evening sun is shining on it and I was just wandering round taking pictures of people relaxing outside their tents, or in the case of the Battle of the Nations group doing a bit of sword training.

Caldicot 2015

Caldicot 2

Caldicot 3

Caldicot 4

Caldicot 5

Caldicot 6

Caldicot 8

Caldicot 9

Caldicot 10

The view from the top of the tower was brilliant, thanks to all of the groups who camped inside the castle with their living history displays, it really does bring the castle to life.

Caldicot 11

Caldicot 12

I have been helping to organise this event for the last few years and along with Ellie will be organising it again next year, this was our last show for this year and a great way to end the season.

It has been a very variable year in terms of weather, Caldicot being the only show where we have not come home with a wet tent, but still brilliant fun.

Our group, Swords of Mercia, have done more shows for English Heritage than previous years and got good feedback from all of them and hopefully we will get the chance to do those shows again next year.

We have had lots of sitting round campfires, discussing armour and kit, all the new things the boys have bought or want to, and all the things we have made or are going to make.

As usual we have promised to be more organised for next season and make sure that all kit is made well in advance. We shall see if that actually happens!

So I still have a couple of bits of tent to dry, it is raining here at the moment but I am hopefully it will dry up later. Am taking Ted for a walk in a bit and then will be sewing up the wedding jacket🙂

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


Hello everyone, hope that you all had a really nice Bank Holiday.

We had a lovely time at Lincoln, usual mix of sun and rain and I was drying the medieval tent out on the line until a few hours ago when it started thundering here😦

This was our last event with the Swords of Mercia group so I need to get the canvas tent really dry before it gets put away.

The Lincoln Bishop’s Palace is unsurprisingly right next door to the magnificent Lincoln Cathedral and we spent quite a lot of time in there and the surrounding area, promoting our event.

Wendy, the partner of one of our knights, Luke, did a photoshoot in the cathedral for myself, Ellie and Luke and I thought that I would devote a post to the brilliant pictures that she took.

Ellie at Lincoln

Ellie in Lincoln Cathedral

Luke at Lincoln

Luke in Lincoln Cathedral

Alison at Lincoln

Alison at Lincoln - lighting candles

Alison at Lincoln - Luke and the Chapter House

Alison at Lincoln - praying red kneeler

Alison at Lincoln - praying

Alison at Lincoln Cathedral

Alison at Lincoln door 2

I absolutely love these photos, she has an amazing eye for what makes a good shot and the effects she has put on really emphasise the beauty of the cathedral.

It is funny as I don’t normally like pictures of myself but these are fantastic and will be printing several of me off to display at home, as well as lovely Ellie who always looks so beautiful in photos.

Will tell you more about our weekend in the next post as there was another event in Lincoln at the time that we all enjoyed.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

A very special bit of sewing

Hello everyone, hope you are all ok, another dull and damp day here in Yorkshire but a great excuse to sit in and do some stitching – not that I really ever need an excuse!

I did take Ted the dog out for a walk yesterday, only 20 minutes as by then we were both soaked to the skin, lovely August weather.

I am about to start on a very special project, details of which I can’t reveal fully until it is done but will keep you updated of progress here and if you could channel your good wishes for its success that would be greatly appreciated.

Like most women of my generation I learnt to sew at school though I was not keen at all, mainly due to a very stern sewing mistress and an overemphasis on procedure rather than creativity.

I seem to remember an awful lot of tailors chalk and tacking and don’t think I actually ever finished my final garments, which were a striped brown and cream blouse and brown cord skirt.

I loved the cookery classes, that seemed to me to be much more creative and I went on to take both an O and A level in that subject.

I still love cooking and even living on my own for most of the year really enjoy experimenting with new recipes.

My grandmother sewed and made most of our clothes when we were children, my sister and I were mostly dressed in identical outfits, sorry no photo evidence available as I do remember some cute poncho and kilt sets and her making me hotpants at one point!

It would have been something similar to this – currently available at this link eBay vintage poncho if you fancy it.

Vintage poncho

I did lots of altering during my later teens and twenties, mainly dying and refurbishing of charity shop clothes being was a huge fan then, as I am now, of a bargain for a good cause.

I was very fond of buying plain black pumps, the sort you wear for PE in school, and sewing bows and beads on to them when I was a poor student, then you could have a lovely pair of customised footwear for £2.

However I didn’t really do much actual garment making until we started re-enactment, apart from the Christmas that I made whole wardrobe of outfits for Ellie’s Barbie doll🙂

I don’t still have that pattern, (do still have the knitting pattern book with the ski outfits for Barbie in), but they were something like this gorgeous collection of gowns available from here – Barbie pattern . And while searching I found this Pinterest board with lots of links for free Barbie doll clothes patterns.

Barbie patterns

Having the whole family to clothe for events and children growing quickly meant that I learnt to follow patterns again and think I have done an ok job at what I have made. Here are some of my completions from the last few years.

chaperon - front

chaperon - back


ellie - turquoise dress




Two of the outfits I am most impressed with myself for making are two of my ladies outfits complete with head dresses. I don’t wear these much any more but did enjoy making them.

black surcoat and torque


The fit is not brilliant in some cases but people are generally impressed that we make our own kit.

Lately I have mainly made men’s kit, shirts, hose and brais, they are so much easier than ladies’ outfits😉 and have invented my own patterns for those by drawing round existing garments like t-shirts and trousers and altering them to suit period clothing. I am pleased with what I have done and the recipients are happy so feel confident with that type of sewing.

Then there was the challenge of the checkerboard surcoat this season, I was very happy with the result of that and so was Jamie.

Jamie's surcoat

This new challenge is to make a wedding outfit for my brother’s partner Amanda. They are getting married in October on his 50th birthday after 25 years together which is brilliant🙂

She has asked me to make her a jacket, part of the ceremony is outdoors so she will probably be wearing a cloak as well for that.

Final details are not decided but we are meeting up to do that this week and go fabric shopping next week. It will be something Victorian inspired in a nice silk or brocade.

I am a bit nervous but very pleased that she has asked me, she said she would rather have something made by me as I understand what it is she wants and likes the fact that it will be made with love, even if it may not be the most perfect garment in the world!

This will count as the fulfilment of number 9 on the Sewing Bucket List – a project from a printed pattern.

So far I have only done number 2 – something for him, (lots of those with all of the kit I have made), number 14 – something with applique or embroidery, I am counting all those linen and Liberty pincushions as the hexagons are appliqued to the linen and part completed number 4 – a quilt or blanket for charity which will be the final result of the Quilt Block of the month that I am so far behind on!

So will be doing regular progress reports for you on the outfit.

Take care and thanks for visiting.