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.

A little bit of history

Hello everyone, hope you are all well and happy. It is another damp and dreary weekend here in Yorkshire but that means plenty of time for catching up on blogging and crafting!

Regular readers will know I love visiting historic places, all places are special in their own way and all very beautiful but sometimes you come across something really special that is a real wow moment.

You may remember that Ellie worked at Hardwick Hall before she moved to Clumber Park, they have an extensive collection of Elizabethan textiles, some worked by Bess of Hardwick and some by Mary Queen of Scots, her husband’s charge in the years before her death.

We were wandering through our second Trust Property, Coughton Court , really enjoying the beautiful treasures when we came across a darkened room full of the most amazing things.

Firstly there was this beautiful chalice cover with the most wonderful Elizabethan goldwork, then a priest’s cope which was made by Catherine of Aragon, (another heroine of mine), and her ladies, no pictures as it was too dark but you can get a glimpse of it at the collections site here.

Coughton textiles 5

Coughton textiles 6

Then at the back in a case was this very simple chemise, embroidered around the neck, the chemise that Mary allegedly wore when she was executed at Fotheringay Castle in 1587.

Coughton - MQS robe 1

This was one of the most wow moments I have ever had at a property, one of those really goose bumpy moments when you realise you are actually really close up to the reality of history. You can see a full length picture of the chemise at the collections site at the above link.

It was also very interesting as all contemporary reports said that Mary wore blood – red undergarments, the colour of a catholic martyr, maybe this was under those red robes.

You can read more about Coughton and the family history at this great blog post  from the very informative Tudor Stuff blog. The family were staunch Catholics and so had a bit of a rough time during the reformation but managed to retain their beautiful property.

There were also some other lovely costumes in portraits. The blackwork on the neck and sleeves of this robe and this lace collar were two of my particular favourites.

There was some very good interpretation using textiles as well, this is something that Ellie and I have noticed as a growing trend in Trust houses and one that we really like. I think it is far more interesting to read something set in the context and also from a practical point of view easier as the print is larger and several people can be reading the information at once.

This was a dinner party at which the guests were all members of the estate who died in the First World War. A very touching and lovely way to remember them, with their photos as place cards and their stories on the back of each chair.

Coughton - textile interpretation 1

Coughton - textile interpretation 2

I will be back soon with more lovely Trust stuff, now off to make another little basket, have resisted the urge to make more for a few weeks but they are so cute and this will be a present for a younger relative.

Hope that you all have a lovely weekend whatever you are doing and see you soon. Thanks for visiting.

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.

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.

 

 

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.

It’s a tough job but someone has to do it!

 

Hello everyone

I started my week’s leave last Friday with a trip down to stay with Ellie in her new flat which is very smart and co-ordinated.

She is feeling very grown up as she has now got a full set of furniture all of her own since she moved into a totally unfurnished place and has gradually acquired everything she needs.

It was also a chance for me to see where she works, you may remember that she got a new job in November, still working for the National Trust at Clumber Park where she is Chapel and Collections Officer. Which means she is in charge of this beautiful place!

Clumber chapel 1

Clumber chapel 2

The setting is amazing, a drive in past the most gorgeous rhododendrons all in bloom, they are my very favourite plant and there were hundreds in the park.

Then into the stable block where her office is, right next to the clock tower and the courtyard with the café. Her office window is the one above the bay window in this picture.

Clumber office 1

Clumber park 1

She has a view down to the lake with the geese and swans. At the moment there are daises everywhere which makes a very pretty carpet.

Such a beautiful place to work and the chapel is stunning, especially as it was built as a private chapel in the late 1800s by the 7th Duke. It has ornate lamps and wonderful wood carvings of angels and saints.

We were there for the Requiem Mass for the Duke so got to participate in the full service with incense and candles as well!

The light coming in through the windows was beautiful.

Clumber chapel 11

Clumber chapel 12

I love all the little details as well such as this door lock.

Clumber chapel 13

There was also a bit of lovely ecclesiastical embroidery, an alter cloth and this banner as well as a couple of beautiful paintings. Apologies as the light was not very good in the side chapel for this picture.

Clumber chapel 14

The main house was demolished in the 1930s as it was too big to maintain, another one was due to be built but sadly due to the war and economic issues it never was so Ellie and her colleagues have been responsible for a new project this summer to try and recreate what the house would have looked like.

They have laid out ropes to make a floor plan and installed furniture, books, games, crockery and information signs telling people what the original rooms looked like and inviting them to come and make themselves at home.

It has been a great success, Clumber gets a lot of families visiting as there are great walks and bike rides and a camp site and it was brilliant to see everyone enjoying the installation.

We then went to Ashby de la Zouche castle for my first event of the season, it was lovely and sunny so got a little pink and had a great time catching up with everyone.

Will post some more pictures of that in another post. Meanwhile there is some work on my doctorate to do, started the research for real this weekend so am going to do some writing up!

Thanks for visiting and see you all soon.