Historic Scotland

We were staying quite a distance away from most of the National Trust for Scotland properties but did travel across to the other coast one day to visit the historic town of Culross.

We stopped for a cup of tea in a very cute little cafe and as I was looking out of the window I thought it looked familiar and I might have seen it in a film and turned round to see a signed picture from one of the stars of Outlander. I have really enjoyed this historical series, particularly looking at the costume, so I was really interested to hear about the locations that were used for the series.

The two pictures below show how the market square above was transformed for some of the scenes in one of the earlier seasons.

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Scotland Culross-Outlander 2

The whole of the town is beautiful, there are such gorgeous cottages along winding streets leading up to the hill with views across the Firth of Forth.

We also visited Culross Palace, really a manor house rather than a place with amazing painted ceilings. No pictures were allowed inside so I only have ones from other travel sites.

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Scotland Culross Palace

There was a gorgeous garden as well that goes all the way up to the hillside. There were some wonderful thistles and cardoons. The gardens were also used in the filming as they grow lots of traditional herbs there.

The most wonderful thing for me was that there is a Culross Needlework group who have been working on some gorgeous things to decorate the rooms. This picture is from the National Trust website.

Culross needlework - cloth

There were so many amazing examples of 17th and 18th century embroidery including sweet bags, pillows, pincushions, bed hangings and coverlets.

Sadly I have not been able to find many other pictures of their work apart from these few from the Trust website but there is an article about them here. They had also recreated one of mine and Ellen’s favourite pieces, the Layton jacket, which was in one of the bedrooms.

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Scotland Culross_detail_jacket_

With each piece there was information about the embroidery and the stitches used. It really made the place come alive and I hope it is something that the Trust encourages at other properties.

We also enjoyed a visit to Kilchurn Castle which stands in an amazing location at the end of a loch near where my friend lives. It was a gloomy and wet day when we visited but I can imaging the castle in all its glory and its location makes for some amazing photos.

We also met a lovely pair of Highland cows and had a chat to a photographer who works there taking amazing photos in all seasons.

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This is one of mine from across the loch through the rain in a very nice hotel where we had some tea and a chat to Jake all the way in Japan via the miracles of the internet.

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We ended our trip with a visit to Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Hill House, which Ellen was particularly keen to see as they have built a box around it to preserve it from the weather. I love the Art Deco designs of Charles and Margaret Mackintosh and her wonderful artwork and embroidery.

A really excellent holiday combining all of my favourite things, camping, mountains, historic houses, needlework and of course family and friends. I will definitely be back soon!

Yarndale is taking place this weekend so hopefully Sharon and Sarah will have had a good time, I managed to make a few things for sale so I will be back in a while to post pictures of those. I am having a very relaxing and creative weekend. I was hoping to do a bit of walking but it has been so appallingly wet that I am quite content to stay in and watch the pouring rain from the comfort of my sewing room.

Hope you are all having a lovely time and are not too wet where you are, take care and thanks for visiting.

 

 

Costume inspiration

The recent visit to Bankfield Museum gave us so many ideas for future Steampunk costume. There were some lovely fashion plates up the stairs and decorating the rooms and then some gorgeous Victorian gowns. I really love this purpley/grey one on the left here and Ellie would love to make the pink one below.

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The dress in the foreground of the picture above was originally purple and you can see that on the fringe and the mottling on the back of the dress. The one at the back is so elegant, I love the shaping on the jacket.

We also loved the fact that they  had dress up, and not just for children. These top pictures were really high quality reproductions of two of the Regency outfits they had on display, the embroidery on waistcoats from this period is always stunning.

There were also some displays of local textile production, including a lovely collection of hat pins, cuff links and buttons all made from casein which is actually milk protein! Fascinating to think that buttons can be made of milk.

It is so nice as well to see pictures of the women who made the hat pins. There was such a huge demand for them then. I think it is a great pity there is not more hat wearing, and I don’t just mean woolly ones in winter. Bring back hats for everyday wear!

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There was also the display of the gorgeous costumes from the Gentleman Jack TV series, part of which was filmed in Halifax, at Shibden Hall where Ann Lister lived. This is the fourth TV costume exhibition we have seen, the others being Victoria, Downton Abbey and a sneak peek at some of the Wolf Hall ones from before the exhibition . I really like seeing the clothes in detail, close up without the cases the museum pieces often have to be in. The sleeve silhouettes on these dresses are gorgeous and I love the lace shawls.

In the cases round the room there were also some fascinating needlework tools and accessories and samplers, I love seeing things like these, they really make you think about who was using them and what they were making and the skill level of these very young needlewomen.

One of the most interesting was this pincushion made from a shell. You can also see a walnut thimble case in one of the above pictures, next to the miniature sewing machine.

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I have started reading the Elm Creek Quilts book series again, I first read them all about 10 years ago and loved them so have the joy of re-reading all 20 books in the series and was very excited to learn that a new story is being published. It is definitely making me want to make more quilt blocks again after all the Yarndale stock is finished.

I am interspersing time in the craft room doing that with finishing off a knitted animal and then am going to work on some Christmas and birthday gifts. As well as more Barbie clothes I really want to make a quiet book. I have been doing some research and have found some gorgeous ideas. I particularly love the ones that are little doll houses like this one in this video. Look at the cuteness of the little cat and teddy and that wonderful wardrobe!

Quiet book doll houseSo many lovely things to make and luckily more time to do them! Jake is happily finding his feet in Japan, the doctorate is done 🙂 apart from the final proof read and printing off so I can indulge myself in all manner of crafty loveliness with all this free time I now have!

 

Hope that you are having a nice weekend as well. I will be back soon with some of the Lincoln Steampunk costumes.Take care and thanks for visiting.

Halifax at War

We had a lovely day out after dropping Jake off at the airport and our first stop was back to the brilliant Bankfield Museum where they had a really good exhibition about the town’s involvement in WW2.

Halifax at war 1

This was the same place where we saw the excellent Women Traveller’s exhibition in the Spring and once again I was really impressed with their interpretation.

As well as the wealth of original artefacts on display there were some really lovely examples of civilian dress, some of these were Utility garments. We really loved these beautiful dresses.

What we really liked was the focus on the town’s involvement, Halifax has been an important textile centre for centuries and so the exhibition talked about the involvement in making wool for uniforms.There were lots of original publications about textile production during the war which was really interesting for me.

There was also some lovely Make do and Mend areas with some familiar things. I was very excited to see an original slipper pattern as you may remember that I bought a copy of one like this for my display. We were also pleased to find that we girls could be useful to the war effort as well as decorative 😉

The museum also had just opened their new costume gallery and in addition had an exhibition of costumes from the Gentleman Jack TV series. This tells the story of Anne Lister, one of the women featured in the Women Travellers’ exhibition, so I will do another post with all those pictures.

I have been having a wonderful relaxing week, mainly embroidering sheep for this year’s Yarndale stock. Jake has started his teaching and is enjoying teaching Primary age children in the centre of Tokyo.

Teaching starts tomorrow for me so I am looking forward to meeting a new group. I do have Sunday and Monday off to carry on with the Yarndale bags and pouches as there are only a few weeks to go! I don’t know where this year has gone, the summer seems to have flown by and I am sad that it is over but as usual looking forward to more time to stitch.

I hope that you have had a nice week and have an enjoyable weekend planned. Thanks for visiting, take care and I will see you again soon with more costume loveliness.

Warning, tram heavy post!

I have had an absolutely brilliant weekend thanks to my lovely daughter.The BBQ social was excellent, we had lovely food and played lots of games and it was so nice to meet all her team. They are the fantastic rangers and gardeners that look after Clumber Park and a really fun and dedicated group of people. Luckily the weather was good, a little windy and damp later at night but we had a camp in the rose gardens and it was nice enough to have bacon butties outdoors before heading back to Ellen’s for a quick change into our 1940s outfits.

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Crich was such a fantastic place. I have never been before and can’t work out why as it not that far away from here. However I haven’t been to any of the other open-air museums either so we must just have missed them all on our travels.

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The heavens opened just as we parked and we were absolutely soaked to the skin by the time we got there but luckily it brightened up and we had just about dried off before getting soaked on the way out. Here are Ellen and Charlotte looking damp but happy!

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It is amazing how quickly the weather can change at the moment but luckily for the re-enactors it was nice all afternoon and there were lots of people there.

I loved the trams, there were lots in the sheds as well as ones running up and down the street. They have been so beautifully restored and there all sorts of different types.

There was also lots of information about the development of trams and the history of the depots. I loved these pictures of them in action and the celebrations of the openings.

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I would love to go back on a non-event day as well as we did not get to see everything. We did have tea in the tearooms above the pub, the whole place is so beautifully built and I love the little touches like the tape on the windows and the vintage signs.

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We also had a ride on the tram below and saw the parade of vehicles and some of the group displays.

The tram ride was lovely as it went all the way up into the countryside. The museum is located in an old quarry and there are some lovely woodland walks that you can do, when it is not tipping down and you are not wearing fabric shoes with heels! I was very excited to be given an old penny for my tram fare as well.

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Crich 28

I didn’t manage to get many pictures of people in costume but did get this lovely couple having a vintage picnic and a couple who were wearing ARP kit.

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The Land Army group who we met last year at Thoresby were there again as well as some of the groups we met at Clumber and this wonderful tent, set out like a 1940s kitchen.

I am hoping to persuade Ellen to let me buy a vintage caravan to do up for 1940s events, I would love to have one like this that we could use for Make do and Mend displays.

Vintage caravan 1

I think she might be coming round to the idea as at least, unlike a tent, you don’t have to dry it off after camping weekends!

We ended with a lovely sing song in the park where all the entertainers were on the bandstand and we had a medley of all the WW2 songs. It was such a lovely day and I can’t wait for my next 1940s event in the autumn.

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On Sunday I went to Clumber and did some volunteering. I will devote whole post to that as I got to do some very exciting things and learnt a lot more about looking after the collection.

I am in work all week now as it is A level results time, so will be doing lots of phone duty and catching up on admin. The weekend ahead is all doctorate and then hopefully just a few more days until it is all done.

I hope that you all have a good week ahead, don’t forget to like or comment on this or any post until the 23rd Aug for my flower giveaway. Take care and thanks for visiting.

Don’t you know there is a war on?

I wanted to show you some more of the Clumber pictures before I go away again. I didn’t get chance to take many but have also got some from the National Trust Facebook page.

These are mainly courtesy of Charlotte who was organising the event with Ellen and Lewis. He is the marvellous ranger who helped everyone pitch their tents in the rain on Friday when they realised that the ground was really hard and they couldn’t get the pegs in. Here they all are with Winston Churchill and a member of the Admiralty.

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I really love this one of Charlotte and Ellen, they look so happy. Despite the stresses of the event organisation including the bad weather they did a brilliant job and hopefully we may get to attend a similar event next year.

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Ellen got the chance to fire a few guns which made her very happy.

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I met some very nice people while doing the rationing talk, the costumes were brilliant and I had lots of chats with people about making, my favourite sort of conversations.

Clumber event 1

These lovely ladies were also Steampunk people and had knitted a Land Army jumper, matching gloves with the rest of the wool and also made a hat.

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Clumber event 3

I didn’t get their names but the lady with the hat told me she had a very large collection so I don’t feel too indulgent with my now quite small (9 at present) including two Steampunk works in progress.

The displays in the camps looked really interesting, we got a chance to see them on the Friday night after set up and to chat with the re-enactors on Saturday in the beer tent.

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I did not get chance to visit on Sunday as we were so busy but did get chance to have a quick wander round the turning yard where these groups were having afternoon tea with their vintage cars.

I love the attention to detail here, the tablecloths, tea cosies and china all looked amazing. I had serious tablecloth envy and I loved their vintage picnic chairs.

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Clumber event 4

I am having a very nice quiet day today, it is actually my birthday but I celebrated early in Spain. I had a lovely time there, I did do lots and lots of work on my doctorate so it is about 80% completed. I also got chance to go to the pool a few times and the beach and had a brilliant visit to Tabarca, the island I have previously posted about . It was a gorgeous day and we swam in cool blue sea feeling very lucky and happy.

I am off to a conference tomorrow, the International Medieval Conference in Leeds, where I am presenting about some of my research into how re-enactors develop their roles as medieval royalty. I am really looking forward to that and to going to all of the other presentations that I have chosen, mainly on textiles! It will be brilliant to spend four days in the company of so many people who love the same things that I do.

Then it is back here for some more working on the doctorate time before the Tewkesbury event. I am then looking forward to a nice quiet summer with lots of time to just relax and do textile related things. I seem to have been so busy in the last few months it will be nice to just be at home with very little to do. We do have a couple of weekends away planned but then nothing more until the end of August. I intend to make a big list of all the unfinished projects and get some of those worked on.

I hope you have a nice week ahead, what ever you have planned and thanks, as always for visiting.

 

 

 

 

Doing our bit for the war effort

We had a brilliant time at Clumber. Sadly the weather was not kind to us on Friday or Saturday, resulting in a very damp day of set up and for those who were in the field displays and Ellie and her team, a very wet first day and not many public visiting.

We were fine in the Parsonage and so were very busy on Saturday. Luckily Sunday was lovely and sunny and there were lots of people there enjoying the displays and the music entertainment.Due to the nice weather we expected to be less busy on Sunday but had visitors all day.

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Clumber display 2

Clumber display 1

We very much enjoyed playing our new re-enactment roles of Margaret and Ann from the WI. It was very lovely to be able to sit and drink tea and chat to people in the beautiful surroundings of the Parsonage.

The really lovely thing about the event as Kerry said was that unlike medieval where we are giving people lots of information people were sharing their stories with us, their memories of rationing and the sewing and mending that their mums and grannies did and sometimes some very moving stories of their families during the war.

It was so interesting to hear all about their stories and to meet lots of different people. I didn’t get chance to see any of the events in the field during the day as we were quite far away from that part but we had a really nice chat to lots of the re-enactors on Saturday night at the beer tent and made a new friend who was doing a food rationing display.

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Dawn (Mrs Mac) had a brilliant display and it was amazing to see how little food the actual weekly ration was, especially the bacon!

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I love bacon and easily eat four times that in a week.We also loved the cardboard wedding cake which lifted off to reveal a small sponge underneath.

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We had two tables, one for clothes rationing and one for the Make and Mend leaflets and there were some very good reactions to my ‘what will you spend your twenty coupons on?’ activity with a list of what things cost in coupons such as a raincoat for 9 coupons and underwear 2 coupons each.

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I also had lots of my vintage textiles displayed and the transformed shirt as well as the knitting patterns. We were lucky to find some lovely vintage cups to have tea out of!

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I am very glad that I took the crochet lace and pegs which were a last minute idea as I had lots of leaflets and they made a great display on the fireplace. I have also made a new set of marigold flowers for my hat which you can see at the front on the table.

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Here I am demonstrating the use of the darning mushroom.The visitors were all very complimentary about the jacket and no-one thought it was made out of tablecloths. I am very inspired to make something else now, maybe a summer blouse.

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I do have some other pictures of the event which I will share with you later, I am going to be away for the next three weeks, in Spain and at a conference so I will see you all when I return. I am really looking forward to some sun and to lots and lots of sleep! It has been a very busy few weeks but everything has been done now so when I come back things will be much quieter.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Making do – the shirt transformation

I am well underway with all my lovely Make Do and Mend things for my display. I have not only been making things but also acquiring some really interesting things from Ebay. One of the lovely things about this period is that I can actually afford the real artifacts from the period, unlike medieval where they are all in museums or long gone.

I have so much to show you that I am splitting it up into several posts. This one is about one of the charity shop bargain shirts that I got for £1 that I have given a makeover. It did take me a little longer than the one hour they give them on the Sewing Bee but I really enjoyed the process and am very happy with the results.

MDaM -shirt 1

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I won’t actually wear this one as it is a little short for my taste but will do the same again with other finds as I loved the experimentation. I kept the collar as it was in the end but altered the buttons for some that had a more vintage feel, took in the sleeves and shortened them, added bust darts and shortened it, using the spare material for a cute frill.

I was going to use this piece of embroidered doily for a pocket and so I removed the pocket (thankfully very carefully), and cut it out of the doily but it did not look right so I just used some of the flower motifs for the pocket and collar. I also added some vintage lace to the sleeves.

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I was inspired by advice in the books that I had bought previously on Make do and Mend such as the one below on making new clothes out of worn ones.

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I have just finished reading the wonderful Stitching for Victory book as well which has lots of similar adverts for patterns and detail about all of the sewing during the war.This pattern uses very much the same idea as above and could be bought for 1 shilling from the Girl’s Own Paper.

MDaM - SfV book 1

They also had an advert for a pattern for lingerie, if you were lucky enough to get your hands on some parachute silk or old clothing that was suitable.

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Stitching for Victory is such an amazing book that I will have to do a whole post about it, one of the best books I have ever read about stitching history, so much wonderful detail. It is currently available on Amazon for less than £3 so it is a real bargain as well. One of the very lovely things is that there are lots of quotes from the stitchers of the period, so often the makers’ voices get lost in museum exhibits and the history records so it is wonderful to have the words and pictures from all those wonderful people.

One of the other things that I am loving about this period is that I have so many techniques that I can use for my work. Medieval is wonderful but often I have not been able to do something as it does not fit the period whereas there are less restrictions with this so I am really enjoying that freedom, very much like Steampunk although it is lovely to do the research on the history as well and find authentic things for the period.

I wanted a banner for my table display and was trying to think of what I could do when I spotted an embroidery of ‘make do and mend’ on my craft room wall. It was one of Jenny of Elefantz’s designs that is waiting to be made up into something and it gave me the ideas to stitch the slogan onto something. I was looking for some vintage linen and came across this embroidered traycloth in my stash that made the perfect frame. I learnt to do chain stitch last year so embroidered the letters in the same colours as the original embroidery and am very pleased with it.

MDaM -banner 1

MDaM -banner 2

I am making a demonstration pair of slippers from some felt and scraps of Liberty for hexagons so I will show you those next time and I have just started making some gorgeous felt flowers.

I have a new hat that I ordered from Ebay that needed a little something. I remember seeing some 1940s brooches years ago on Hen House’s blog and thinking they were really lovely and I have come across lots of inspiration such as this diagram in the Stitching for Victory book so I am on with that at the moment.

MDaM - SfV book 5

I hope that you are all having a lovely creative time with whatever you are doing, take care and thanks for visiting.