Tudor Costume

Hello there, hope you are having a nice weekend, am about to go out to an open garden afternoon here in the village but before I do wanted to share some of the Tudor costume we have seen recently as Ellie and I had a little trip out to Nostell Priory  this week.

Ellie has been there before for a training course (she gets to go to some fab venues for her staff development!) and wanted to go back as a visitor.

The house dates from the 1800s but the family were related to Tudor notables including Elizabeth Woodville and so there were quite a few portraits of costume that were brilliant to see.

This blackwork jacket belonged to a Duchess and the detail on the painting was very good.

Nostell Priory blackwork portrait

Nostell Priory balckwork portrait 2

The best thing was just before we left which was this amazing portrait of Thomas More  (he who sadly failed in his attempts to get Henry 8th his divorce from Catherine of Aragon) and his family.

There was such brilliant detail in the pictures of the costumes so I took some close up shots for me and for my friend Kat who makes such fantastic Tudor costume as well as medieval period things.

Nostell Priory Moore pic whole

Nostell Priory Moore pic

Nostell Priory Moore pic 2

The blackwork embroidery on this shift is very detailed and there also appears to be similar embroidery on the edge of the dress.

Nostell Priory Moore pic 3

It was interesting to see that two of the sisters had shared two of the fabrics, using it alternately for sleeves and bodice.

Nostell Priory Moore pic 4

Nostell Priory Moore pic 5

I have some very good news to share with you as well as Ellie is going to be staying at Hardwick permanently – her contract which was due to run out next March has been extended and she will be there for there for the foreseeable future 🙂 We are all very pleased not least Kerry as she was going to miss her cinema buddy!

One of the things that I keep meaning to post about is the National Trust Collections web site that details all of their artefacts, Ellie uses this a lot for her blog so you may find it useful if you are interested in more detail about their collections.

Will be back later with some more textile loveliness from Nostell, meanwhile take care and thanks for visiting.

The joy of stitching

Hello everyone, hope that you are having a lovely weekend, I am still knitting bunnies but turning my thoughts to other things as well as work is easing off and I have the summer coming up.

In and amongst the kit making I am planning some other stitching projects. It is while since I did anything stitchery apart from exchange pieces and Xmas ornies but am musing on some long-term projects (would love to do another big goldwork piece) and have some more blackwork gifts planned for later in the year.

I love doing blackwork, have not done any for so long and was reminded of my passion for it when Kerry brought up her sewing basket with her for our dress making weekend and there were the needlecase and scissor fob I had made for her some years ago.

Kerry's blackwork needlebook

This was one of the sets I made for the girls in my old medieval group, here they all are with their gifts, these were done in 2009.The picture below shows Kerry’s needlebook along with the two others I made.


blackwork needlebooks

A couple of years earlier I did a piece for a friend’s wedding, they are re-enactors so I thought they would like this piece based on the effigies we see (and use for costume research) in many churches.

Jenny and Blackie's wedding pic

I have so many more ideas of stuff I would like to do so am going to spend some time lining up the new projects this weekend. You never know – I might win the lottery soon and be able to give up work and is best to be prepared 😉

Hope you are having fun whatever you are doing, thanks for visiting.

Tudor Times

Hello everyone, apologies in advance as this is a very picture heavy post but I have some fab 17th century embroidery to show you!

We visited mainly smaller Tudor properties this week, not by design just those that were local to us (and open on the right days!). We still have many more on our wish list to do 🙂

The first was one I have had on my list for a while Little Moreton Hall in Cheshire, a very lovely Tudor house which as you can see from the pictures has suffered through the years and has needed extensive structural work to keep it from falling down!

Little Moreton Hall

Moreton 2

Moreton 3

Moreton 4

Moreton 5

The second was East Riddlesden Hall in Keighley, not only a beautiful little house but also home to some gorgeous embroidery.

East Riddlesden Hall


Look at all these beautiful pictures.


East Riddlesden Hall



Sadly their sampler display was not available due to a ceiling collapse in that room so I will return to see that sometime.

There was also some lovely embroidery that had been done for the displays by local women, this blackwork beadspread and crewel work hangings date from the 1920s.

ERH 11

ERH 10
And some fantastic plaster ceilings.




The last one we visited was Gawthorpe Hall near Burnley, this is a mini Hardwick Hall in design and is home to the Rachel Kay Shuttleworth needlework collection. A small part of her 28,000 pieces were on display.Rachel lived in the house in the 1950s and was a passionate needlewoman.

There were no photos allowed in the house but there is an excellent blog with online gallery and details of the textile courses they run.

Gawthorpe Hall

Gawthorpe 2

A very textilicious holiday with lots of inspiration for me!

Now back to the real world of work with just a few bits of stitching a week to keep me sane 🙂

Thanks as always for visiting, I will be off to Ashby de La Zouche Castle next weekend for a show with Swords of Mercia so if you are in the area come along and say hello!

Where did the time go?

Hello everyone, I hope that you are all having a lovely weekend.

We are and it started with lovely daughter Ellie’s 21st birthday on Friday. I can’t believe that she is not only celebrating her birthday but also that she is nearly at the end of her time at Uni! It only seems a few weeks ago that we were dropping her off at her halls.

As I type she is sitting writing her dissertation, she is doing very well and is about 3/4 way through this. She is also applying for jobs in the heritage industry so I am keeping my fingers crossed for her as she has worked so hard.

She is still volunteering at Greyfriars, the National Trust Tudor house in Worcester where she worked as a Conservation Assistant last year but has also been doing voluntary work archiving material from the old Worcester hospital.

We were going to go to Leeds on a day out and visit Temple Newsam house but got sidetracked by some new charity shops in town so had a day of retail therapy instead which not only gained us both lots of new clothes (including some lovely tops for Ellie’s work wardrobe) but also donated some funds to charity! A win win situation. I love shopping in charity shops, we have some fab ones in our town with some really expensive labels at a fraction of the cost.

Ellie does not really want to be 21 and out in the big wide world – she would rather be a Disney Princess so I bought her lots of Disney gifts for her birthday – here is her pile of pinkness and her and Jake posing , they look very 60s hippy chicks here.

Ellie 21st 4

Ellie 21st 1

We also had a Disney fairies birthday cake with a sparkler in.

Ellie 21st 2

One of her presents, from my sister -in- law Amanda, was this beautiful blackwork picture.

Ellie 21st 3

She also celebrated with her friends in Worcester – in fancy dress of course – the theme was Army Girls.

Ellie 21st Worcs 1

So have a very happy 22nd year – we are all very proud of you!

My Mum also arrived on Friday as we are off to the Italian Lakes on Wednesday – lucky us.

So take care and I will see you all in a week or so!

Disneyland Christmas !!!

Hello there

I hope that you are all well and happy and that you have had a very good Christmas. We had an excellent time at Disneyland as we expected to and thoroughly enjoyed our first Disney Christmas. Thanks to my very lovely children I have now have a new camera which they let me open before the trip so was able to take some very good pics.

We arrived back safely on Boxing Day evening despite high winds that made for a bit of a bumpy landing and since then have been relaxing (I am on leave for the next two weeks which is wonderful!)

I have finished my latest stitched item, this is a gift for my aunt who lives in Spain. She loves antique style  frames, I can’t remember where I got this one from but I have had it for a while and the blackwork design is from an old copy of New Stitches magazine  issue 106.

Maureen's Xmas pic 2

Maureen's Xmas pic 1

I am off to Spain at the weekend where it is nice and sunny and am really looking forward to it. Hope that you all have a very happy New Year wherever you are and see you in 2012!

The end of a busy week….and then there was embroidery!

Hello everyone , hope you are all well and happy. I am currently feeling tired but happy after a very busy first week of term, I must be getting old as I was very glad to see Friday :-). I have had a lovely time with my new group of students, they are very lively and I’m sure we will have a great year ahead.

I had a nice relaxing weekend planned and I have been enjoying myself – once again surrounded by textiles. My local branch of  the Embroiderers’ Guild were having their biennial exhibition on Saturday so after meeting at Lydia’s lovely yarn shop Spun  for a couple of hours of the WI monthly craft session where I cast on for a new pair of wristwarmers I wended my way to that.( I love that word ‘wended’ don’t you – always sounds like something out of a fairytale!)

I have not been able to attend a meeting this year due to work pressures but it was very lovely to see everyone, eat nice cake and marvel at all the wonderful talent that is in the group. The slideshow below shows just a small selection of the fabulous work there was on display.


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I also bought a couple of books on historical textiles (bargain at £1 each) and added this little piece of needleace to my collection of textile creations.

Textile books


Today we had the first full planning meeting for our new re-enactment group Swords of Mercia held at the Hardwick Inn, this is a lovely old  pub – see pics below, in the grounds of the fantastic Hardwick Hall  – once home to my heroine Bess.

Hardwick 1

Hardwick 2

Apart from a very nice lunch and a catch up we also organised lots of things about how the group will be run , I am to be secretary, booking us into events and also help with costume making and advice. We have until next year probably before we do our first show but I already have some fettling to do to make new hangings for the display tent we will use for talks.

I have finished the stitching on my Autumn exchange pice (no pics allowed as it is not be posted till 1st Nov) so as well as the wristwarmers I have started on another Xmas stitch – this is a Nordic inspired tree design from the Cross Stitcher mag I treated myself to yesterday.No pics yet as not much stitched.

So a busy week but a very nice one, have had great fun once again and am very much looking forward to the year ahead – both personally and professionally.

Hope that you all have a nice week ahead and see you soon. Thanks for visiting.

Never too early for Xmas crafting!

Hope everyone has had a nice week. I have been getting on well with my Xmas ornie targets for this year – I am aiming to make one new ornie for me a month as well as the usual present ornies and stock for at least one Xmas craft fair. So I will be starting that stock as soon as term finishes at the end of May and I have a bit more time.

So far for me I have finished three JBW stockings (plus a blue one to hang on the conservatory door) and this week completed the JBW Xmas pudding ornie and another one which is taken from a bigger design using blackwork of ivy leaves from one of my old New Stitches magazines. I have made the ivy leaf ornie before for my Project Nepal fundraising but want to re-make a lot of past ornies just for me and this was my demo piece at last week’s WI craft bee. They are both backed with some nice holly fabric from my stash and the pudding one has a great stocking ribbon that I got at the Harrogate show last year.

Xmas ivy ornie

                        Xmas ivy ornie 2

Xmas pud ornie

Xmas pud ornie 2

Xmas pud ornie ribbon

I am now working on a JBW tree ornie for me. I have put together all of the blocks for my stained glass window Xmas fabric throw with the sashing and this afternoon will do the border which is pieced from all the Xmas fabric used and the backing. Hopefully that will be finished this afternoon as I have been very good and got up early to do the housework and spring clean the cellar!

stained glass window quilt top

I am very pleased with the way that it has turned out – I did have a bit of a challenge with the outer sashing as I discovered that the bottom row of blocks were quite a bit smaller than the top row (my inaccurate cutting!) so I had to stretch that row to make it fit but it turned out ok. With the left over block I am going to make a cushion in the same style and have cut out single pieces for a matching cushion. I have also got lots of odd rectangles from cutting the border so thought I would make a small runner for the coffee table so that my room can be very co-ordinated this Xmas.

We had a bit of a show and tell of all the different blocks on Monday at Quilt Group. This is a pic of Davina’s blocks that I took at the workshop which just shows how different the choice of fabric and sashing colour can make the quilt look.

May - Davina's quilt blocks

If you go and visit Davina’s blog  you can see the pic she took of the original stained glass pattern with solids and black sashing.

I have had a very nice week, very busy at work but I have had a few trips out to visit my students which is always lovely. On Monday I went ‘over the border’ to Nelson in Lancashire. It was a  lovely train journey through very beautiful countryside, this is a very historic area  full of beautiful hills and moors and lots of industrial heritage – mainly dating from the Victorian era when all the mills were built.  Here are a few pics to share with you – the first two are taken at  Hebden Bridge station, then there is a view of the hills from the train and the flower was near the college I was visiting.

Hebden station

Hebden clock

Hebden view

Hebden flower

I hope you have all a nice week ahead. I am very much looking forward to next week as I am going down to visit Ellie in Worcester and we are going to the Malvern Quilt Show ! There may well be some additions to the stash (it would be a shame if there weren’t!) and then I am helping Ellie bring all her stuff back up as she is coming here for the summer this year which is lovely as we can do lots of crafting together.

Thanks for visiting.

A Lovely Week!

Hello again

Hope you have been having a very nice week. I have –  filled with lots of lovely crafting and fun with other people while doing it. I only started crafting socially (as in joining groups) about 4 years ago when I joined the Embroiderers’ Guild but now the kids have grown up and I have a lot more free time for me it forms a large part of my social life and I love it! It is so nice seeing what other people are working on and getting advice when you get stuck and having a good laugh (and usually some cake!) while you are at it. This week was a very nice one as I went to two knitting groups, did one session at WI and spent all day yesterday at a Quilt Workshop run by Christine from my quilt group.

First of all though my Spring Exchange for the Seasonal Exchange blog  has arrived in the USA so I can show you pics of that.When I was given my partner Lisa’s name I went to look on her blog to see what sort of things she liked making and I saw that she had made this as an exchange piece for her to send off and she mentioned that she liked it so much that she would want to make one for herself in the future so I thought this would be perfect and luckily she is pleased with it.

Spring bird ornie 1

The design is called Friendship Bird Floss Ring and is from the Jan/Feb issue of Gift of Stitching magazine. It is stitched on evenweave with thread from The Silk Mill. It is the first time I have used the little pearl thread rings which I got from Sew and So.
I have seen on a few people’s blog pics of their smaller stitched items photographed outside on bushes so I thought since this is a bird it would be nice for him to be in a tree so here he is in my garden!
Spring bird ornie 2

Knitting progress with the pink baby cardi is slow but steady – not helped by the fact that I keep forgetting to do eyelet rows while I am decreasing so I have had to take back quite a few rows!

I have also almost finished my latest Xmas ornie and made a start on another this week as a demo piece for my WI meeting. I have recently joined my local branch of the Women’s Institute which meets monthly with a variety of activities on the programme. This month it was a Craft Bee and I was asked if I would like to demo something so I chose blackwork which turned out to be  good choice as no-one had heard of if. There were quite a few cross stitchers who came to my table but some people who had never tried crafts before so we had a fun evening. The pics below show my demo table and a couple of the pieces that beginners did. I used patterns from the Blackwork Archives  for the beginners as there are some very good simple designs there that you can download.

WI Blackwork 1

WI Blackwork 2

WI Blackwork 3

The quilt workshop I went to was based on a design called Stained Glass Windows. I forgot to get a picture of the original quilt that Christine had made as a demo but it was made from bold plain colours with black sashing to give the effect of stained glass. We had been asked to bring any fabric from our stash and as I have rather a lot of Xmas fabric (ahem!) rather than buying anything new I decided I would use the workshop to make an Xmas version of the sofa throw WIP.

The quilt design seemed quite complex to start off with (especially for me as I am a little spatially challenged!) as you layer seven 10 inch squares of fabric and cut them all at once into seven different sized rectangles, then you lay them out so that each block has one of each of the seven colours.

You can make any size of quilt by cutting extra sets of seven fabrics. I will probably only use 6 of my 7 blocks for the throw – I may cut out pieces for another block to make 8 blocks once I see how big the 6 are (am hoping to get some more quilting done this afternoon in between hedge cutting and other domestic duties!) Here are the three I got finished yesterday, I decided to use green sashing rather than black as I thought it looked more festive. 

May quilt 1

I am very pleased with them as it is the first time I have done a sashed block and it wasn’t as hard as I thought. I had lots of help from the others and it was very nice to see all the different colour combinations that people chose and how they turned out.

In cake news this week I have been experimenting with my recipe and have made a different flavour – vanilla with a hint of ginger (Jake approves!) – here are the strawberry and chocolate star topped versions I made for quilt workshop.

May cupcakes

Lastly I will leave you with some pics of my neighbours’ very cute cat, Henry, who was climbing in the clematis this week and very kindly posed for me. We don’t have any pets any more – all having died of old age –  but Henry comes round a lot and is very friendly.

Henry 2

Henry 1

I just love that last pic – so cute!

Well I hope that you have a lovely week ahead – I am going to be super busy as I am out every night, all social and crafting which is lovely. Thanks as always for visiting and for all the lovely comments! I especially welcome all those new people who have visited through the photo scavenger hunt

Birthday and the Bard

This weekend we went to visit Ellie in Worcester as it is her birthday this week. For her birthday treat she wants to visit London and do some more museum visting (goodie!) which we will do later in the year.On Saturday we took a little trip to Stratford-on-Avon so we could visit some of the Shakespeare houses.

For Ellie this was not only a day out but of course a field trip, she is doing a module on musuems at the moment and is very interested from a professional point of view about how things are displayed and how the information is presented. She is currently employed as a conservation assistant at a Tudor house owned by the National Trust in Worcester so was also very interested in how they were looking after the houses and was not impressed by the cobwebs and dust at one of them!

It was a bit dull and cold so apologies for not having nice sunny pics to show you. They also did not allow interior pics in Shakespeare’s house so have only got exterior pics to show you here.

Stratford 1
Primulas outside Shakespeare's house


Stratford 2
More arty pics from the garden


Stratford 3
Beautiful carvings on the Griffin Inn


There were also very few textiles, there were some bedhangings and clothes in the house – Shakespeares’s father was a glove maker so there was a room laid out as his workshop but most of the textiles were very utilitarian apart from some lovely painted linen wall hangings which were very impressive. I did find a lovely blackwork coif in one of the other displays – apologies as it is a bit dark!

Stratford 4
Seventeenth century coif with insect embroidery

We also went out for a meal with Ellie, my sister, nephew Sam, Jake and her friends. She really liked her birthday pressies which I hoped she would, I bought her Cath Kidston’s Stitch and Sew books, another craft /quilting book  Simple Sewn Gifts by Helen Phillips  and some pretty material and cup cake decorations and cases.

Simple Sewn Gifts
Look at those cute little patchwork hearts!

It is brilliant having a daughter who enjoys the same stuff as I do and I am looking forward to borrowing the books as well when she comes home in the summer! I can’t believe that she will be 20 this week (she can’t either!) she is so grown up now and very lovely!

Ellen b day 1
Ellie with her birthday cupcake fixings
Ellie b day 2
Can't fit that many candles on the cake so she had to make do with the words instead!

I have finished the red chunky wool hat so will get some pics of me modelling it – it has been so nice and warm here that hopefully it is going to straight into the drawer. I managed to get lots done to the garden last week and it is lovely and sunny again today, it is so nice to have an extra hour of daylight in the evenings now so I will have chance to do a bit more pottering later on. I am planning a trip to the garden centre this Sun (as it is Mother’s Day) to buy myself some pretty primulas and lillies for the empty pots.

I am working on a cross stitch exchange for Spring so won’t be able to show you that for a while but have also made a good start on my next Xmas ornie – am doing the JBW Xmas pudding – bit late with this one as it was supposed to be the March finish but better late than never!

JBW Plum pudding
It is stitched over one using a single thread so is coming along fast

Hope that you have all had a lovely week and thank you for visiting.

Wonderful historic needlework reproductions

On one of my recent travels round the internet I was following a link from Constance’s lovely ‘Born in the Wrong Age’   blog (do go and visit she is an re-enactor in Australia who does fab needlework) and found this wonderful site full of members’ needlework projects  from the West Kingdom of the Society of Creative Anachronism. The society operates worldwide though they seem to be most active in the US and their members produce the most wonderful examples of historical needlework. 

To whet your appetite I hope they don’t mine but I have borrowed a few pics to show you the standard of work which is amazing. There are loads more on the site as well as lots of really good info and articles (click on the Articles link on the right hand menu on their site ) so do go and have a look. 

Goldwork collar
Part of a goldwork collar by Letitia
Whitework coif
A gorgeous whitework coif by Ella
Blackwork by Juliana
 couched goldwork
Couched goldwork by Katherine
Embroidery and silverwork by Letitia

All very,very talented ladies I’m sure you will agree. 

I am having a quiet week at home doing lots of marking and listening to the rain! We are off this weekend to the wonderful Berkeley Castle where we have this as our view. 

Berkeley castle
Not a bad view for a campsite!

If you are near South Glos do come and visit – this link  gives you details of the event. That is my lovely friend Keith in the pic on the top right of the web site, he only looks like that on the battlefield (or if someone pinches his mead round the campfire!) 

Even if you are not coming pray for fine weather for us please – last year this was our wettest pitch and even though we don’t mind a bit of damp as we are hardy campers it puts off the paying public and that is a real shame for us and all the people who give up all their time and effort to organise these events. As I have mentioned before most of the events rely on unpaid volunteers for the organising and the hard work of providing facilities and without paying visitors they will not happen (someone has to pay for the portaloos!) . So here’s hoping for very good weather this year! 

After that event we are off for a week camping in the Forest of Dean with my sister Jacky (did I mention that I love camping!) and then it is straight on to Ashby de La Zouche castle  in Leicestershire for another weekend of camping (I love, love, love camping!!!) where our group are doing another show. 

So the blog will be very quiet for a bit while I paddle in mud (no hopefully bask in the sun!) in a field somewhere and enjoy some lovely campfires and BBQs ( I also love BBQs!). 

Thanks very much for visiting – see you all soon!