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.

Cobwebs in the chapel and other conservation tasks

Many years ago, 7 to be exact, I went to visit my lovely daughter at her first full time job with the Trust at Powis Castle in Wales. I had a great time and learnt lots about conservation and what she did to maintain the things in the castle. Here she is in that job with her daily checklist clipboard for recording light levels and other important things.

Ellie at Powis

Since then I have visited her at Hardwick House and had an access all areas in the textile store there which was amazing, climbed the chapel tower at Clumber and been a World War 1 Land Girl volunteer. Having a daughter in the heritage industry is fab because as well as all the lovely places she has worked I have had some brilliant behind the scenes fun as well.

Clumber 3 - chapel

On Sunday she was working so I went and volunteered with her again. The first job was cleaning the chapel which involved learning some new dusting skills.

Clumber 20 - chapel

There are some amazing statues in the chapel and they have to be cleaned very carefully with a soft brush as they are extremely fragile being over 130 years old.

Clumber 21 - chapel

Clumber 22 - chapel

Clumber 23 - chapel

I also dusted the gorgeous hanging lights with a very long extendable fluffy duster.This is more complicated than it sounds as the lights are very fragile and the brush needs careful control, not easy when it is eight foot in the air!

There was a lovely exhibition that Ellie had put together of some of the ecclesiastical garments that they have at the chapel. One of my projects over the winter will be some gold work to take to re-enactment. I was thinking of something like this piece on the top left on this montage as I love the simplicity and elegance of the design.

I was also really thrilled to see the candlesticks that I have recently donated to the chapel on the altar. I bought these from a local charity shop about 5 years ago but Ellie mentioned last time she was here that they were looking for some for the chapel as the originals can no longer be on display.

Clumber 16 - chapel

I was going to donate them anyway when I move to Spain so I was very happy for them to go to their new home now. They look amazing, so shiny and sparkling and I am so pleased that they fit in so well.

Clumber 18 - chapel

Clumber 17 - chapel

We also got to visit Nellie, the replica of the trench digging tank that Ellie and her team constructed as part of the WW2 events at Clumber this year.

Clumber 1 - Nellie

It is an amazing feat of construction, all made of wood and it looks so much like the original. There is also an assault course which the children have been enjoying.

Clumber 4 - Ellie

Clumber 5 - Nellie

The afternoon was spent in Ellen’s conservation room and store where I got to see some of the artefacts from the house.

Clumber 24 - chapel

As it was demolished in 1938 there is very little that has been found but anything that is goes in here and is catalogued and stored in conservation grade bags.This is a gorgeous confirmation badge.

Clumber 26 - chapel

Clumber 25 - chapel

Clumber 2 - Nellie

There was a small piece of a cross from the chapel statues that needs to be reattached along with various finds such as some small wooden shields.

Clumber 29 - chapel

I helped with some cataloguing of these and Ellie showed me some of the others including two of her favourite finds from underneath the choir stalls in the chapel.

Clumber 27 - chapel

Clumber 28 - chapel

One is some little boats made from the notes of the hymns to be sung that day and the other a crumpled bag that came from a sweet shop. Clearly some choir boys were getting bored one day! I do love these little bits of social history, they are just as exciting to me as ornate paintings or grand houses.

I am so lucky to have children doing exciting things that they love and it is brilliant that I can share in them.

I am still making felt flowers but am going to stop soon and get back to some knitting as there are Christmas presents to be finished. We are at Lincoln Steampunk this Saturday so I am really looking forward to that. I shall be taking a brolly to protect the tea party hat as we have had some dreadful downpours lately 😦

Hopefully I will get chance to post some pictures before we set off for Scotland next week! Hope that you have a nice week ahead and thanks for visiting.

 

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.

Crich 1

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.

Crich 2

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!

Crich 13

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.

Crich 9

Crich 8

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.

Crich 22

Crich 23

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.

Crich 27

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.

Crich 16

Crich 15

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.

Crich 33

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.

Clumber event 10

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.

Clumber event 9

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

Clumber event 8

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.

Clumber event 2

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.

Clumber event 6

Clumber event 7

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.

Clumber event 5

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.

Clumber display 12

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.

Clumber display 5

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

Clumber display 3

Clumber display 7

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.

Clumber display 6

Clumber display 9

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.

Clumber display 26

Clumber display 25

Clumber display 24

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!

Clumber display 23

Clumber display 22

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.

Clumber display 20

Clumber display 19

Clumber display 18

Clumber display 17

Clumber display 16

Clumber display 21

Clumber display 15

Clumber display 14

Clumber display 13

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.

Clumber event 7

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.

Make do and Mend – cute flowers and vintage finds!

I have been having a lovely time this week working on my hat and some more felt flowers. I am now slightly obsessed as these are so easy to make so I have made enough for the hat and for a corsage and am now making some extra ones for my display. One of the things that I bought in the original charity shop bargain haul was a very boring burgundy felt hat so I am planning some beautiful marigold style flowers for that one.

I have treated myself to some new felt which I know is not strictly in the Make do and Mend spirit but I still have quiet books on my to do list for sometime so I will use some of it for that as well.

MDaM felt flowers 1

I found lots of inspiration for the flowers on Pinterest and also came across this brilliant site with free templates for personal use, thank you Paper and Peony for your generosity with these! I used template P-01 for the pink flowers below and P-03 and P-05 in layers for the hat flowers.

MDaM felt flowers 2

 

The corsage flowers are two layers of felt stitched with perle thread with a pearl bead added and then backed with leaves from the templates and a stem I cut myself and stitched with perle. I have seen wired versions as well that use florist’s wire.

MDaM felt flowers 3

 

I have added a little brooch pin from stash, I think these came from Ebay or Etsy and I bought them a while ago when I was making flower brooches out of fabric.

MDaM felt flowers 4

 

The hat is modelled on an advert for one that I found on Pinterest.

Make do and mend hat

I have no idea if it is actually a 40s design but since it is for a hat and felt flowers to make yourself it does fit with the spirit of Make do and Mend. I actually bought the hat from Amazon here  and removed the feathers and sewed the flowers on with perle. I liked this hat as it is not made from the more modern simamay but from stiffened fabric.

MDaM felt flowers 5

 

The flowers are made from three layers of felt petals and then the centre is just a short piece of felt snipped on one side and rolled up and stitched in place. It does not show up very well in the photos but there are different colours used in the pink and darker purple ones.

MDaM felt flowers 6

 

I am still working on the slippers ( as I got sidetracked by flowers!) but I wanted to show you the vintage finds that I have been gathering. I do have my mother’s ration book to use in the display, she was born in 1941, but also I managed to win these on Ebay which cover three years of clothing coupons which were owned by a man from Stockton. I wonder if most of the books that are left are from men who did not spend their coupons!

MDaM - ration books 1

MDaM - ration books 2

MDaM - ration books 3

I have also got this wonderful set of vintage dressing up dolls. I wanted to find something that I could use to let children decide what to spend their coupons on and found this set on Ebay. I wasn’t sure if I was going to carry on bidding for them but told Ellie about them and she won them for me as a present! There are lots of dolls and outfits so they are going to make a marvellous addition to the display.

MDaM - dolls 1

I have also bought some vintage knitting patterns, these are so lovely and I am very tempted to do some actual jumper knitting as I love the styles that were available. I love the cheerful expression on the glove pattern lady’s face and she does have the most fantastic hat.

MDaM -knitting pattern 1

MDaM -knitting pattern 2

MDaM -knitting pattern 3

MDaM -knitting pattern 4

I love the pram set, especially the little leggings with feet. I knitted a lot when I was pregnant with Ellie and I still have the little woollen suit that I knitted to bring her home from hospital. I used to love knitting baby bootees as they were so quick and cute.

I have been drooling over the work of a brilliant knitter who I found on my travels, 1940s Style for You. She no longer actually blogs but has a Facebook page and still sells vintage clothing but has some wonderful stuff on her blog and I have been learning a lot as there are posts covering four years of knitting and vintage clothing.

MDaM -knitting pattern 5

MDaM -knitting pattern 6

1940s jumper patterns feature a lot of lacy designs as this takes less wool. Wool cost 2 coupons per ball so the less you could get away with the better when you only had only around 20 coupons for 6 months. I will do a full post on all of the lovely stuff I have found out later on about rationing and tell you more about the Stitching for Victory book as well.

Today’s plans are for a bit more doctorate work then spending the afternoon in the craft room finishing the slippers and sorting out all my things for the event. I leave Thursday afternoon as I am helping with set up on Friday and my wonderful best friend Kerry is coming to get me so we will have chance to have a catch up as well.

I am so excited about the event, there has been some publicity about the replica of the trench digging tank that they have made and it looks absolutely fantastic. I am so proud of Ellie and her team. I am also very, very pleased to tell you that Jake, my son, has got a teaching job in Japan. I am not sure where he will be going yet but that will be sometime in August. I have been a very proud Mum this week 🙂

I hope you have a lovely time whatever you are doing and I will attempt to post some pictures from the event before I leave for Spain a few days later. 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

MDaM -shirt 13

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.

MDaM -shirt 7

MDaM -shirt 8

MDaM -shirt 11

MDaM -shirt 10

MDaM -shirt 12

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.

MDaM -shirt 2

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.

MDaM - SfV book 3

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.