A mini Hardwick Hall

Our last day of the staycation saw us at Gawthorpe Hall in Lancashire, another National Trust property. I have visited twice before but Mum and Ellen had never been. I particularly wanted Ellen to visit as the house was designed by the same architect as Hardwick, where she used to work and is a beautiful miniature version with an amazing textile collection. There are some historic rooms open but much of the public space contains the textiles collected by Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth.

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Rachel lived there from 1886 until 1967 and collected over 30,000 pieces of textiles, from all cultures and for all uses.

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She was an avid embroiderer and promoter of arts and crafts of all kinds which she taught to keep the skills alive.

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This small display of ecclesiastical goldwork reminded me of my visit to the Elizabeth Hoare collection in Liverpool.

Rachel believed that creativity had health and and social benefits. I like to think that she and I would have been very good friends if I had ever been able to meet her, she sounds wonderful. The collection is maintained by a charity and works with schools and local communities as well as stitchers.

I love this display of her desk in one of the rooms, her stitching is on the walls and in the drawers are all the sorts of things she would have used, I love seeing this very personal side of stitching and can imagine her writing articles for embroidery magazines and deciding on new projects here.

There were some very similar pieces to those in the Women Travellers exhibition at Bankfield Museum that came from Eastern Europe and Asia.

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The displays have changed since I last went about 5 years ago and there were so many wonderful pieces of whitework and lace on display.

These are two things I have never done but am fascinated by the delicacy of the work and think that the shawls and collars are beautiful. Maybe one day I will be able to incorporate something like this into a Steampunk costume.

Another thing I loved were these hexagons that she had collected, they had been fussy cut and posted to someone, probably as gift.

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I think it is so exciting to see actual papers made of scraps, you can just imagine the sender making these and sending them to a special friend. There were also some hexagon needlebooks and you know how I love a good hexagon!

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Rachel’s personal rooms also contained this wonderful bed with crewelwork hangings, I am really looking forward to the day when I have a hand- made quilt on my bed, I have one as a work in progress but it will probably be a retirement project as have not touched it for about a year. Luckily fabric does not go off!

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There was also a display of contemporary embroidery inspired by the collection with some beautiful whitework pieces and silk embroidered birds and insects.

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This case of needle work tools was also inspired by the collection.

I have been embracing Rachel’s philosophy very much this week, we are right in the middle of marking season, with the added work on my doctorate and so it has been wonderful to sit and stitch in the evenings. I have been working on a table decoration for my Make do and Mend display and so have been quietly doing chain stitch while watching Netflix, very soothing after a hard day of thinking!

I have transformed a man’s shirt into a blouse for my display as well and am now busy working on other aspects, luckily both Jake and I have worn through socks recently so I will be able to demonstrate my darning mushroom and darning egg and I have just got a copy of a vintage pattern for making some patchwork slippers so that is my next project for the event.I am really enjoying the research for the event and have been doing lots of very interesting reading. I have also just won an auction on Ebay for some clothing and food ration books to add to my artifacts which I am very excited about. I will do a post all about that in a little while but my next post will be all about the Haworth 1940s event that Ellie and I are going to this weekend.

We are very excited, Howarth is such a cute village, home to the Bronte sisters and I have not been to this event before, though we have done a Steampunk one there a few years ago. The tablecloth jacket will have an outing as I have decided it is a great example of Make do and Mend and I will be putting on my false eyelashes and red lipstick for a bit of 1940s glamour. I am aiming for something like the gorgeous Gene Tierney here.

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As with when we do Steampuk it always seems strange to be wearing make up and costume as I am so used to medieval re-enactment and shapeless clothing and all my hair covered. It will be lovely to be able to have a bit of 1940s style and I can’t wait to see all of the gorgeous outfits there.

Hope that you all have a nice weekend planned, take care and thanks for visiting.

 

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Women who broke the mould

One of our staycation trips before Spain was to Bankfield Museum in the local town of Halifax. It is a beautiful museum situated just outside the town in what was a mill-owner’s house.

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The Ackroyd family that lived there also built a model village, Ackroydon,  in the surrounding area with well-designed houses for the workers that they then helped their staff to buy, so they were real social campaigners, aside from living in the very glamorous Italian style mansion house!

I have wanted to go there for a while to see their costume collection, that is currently being re-organised and will open in late May so Ellie and I have plans to visit later in the summer. However there was a really good exhibition on Women Travellers that had the added bonus of lots and lots of fascinating textiles.

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The exhibition told the story of four women, Gertrude Bell, who I was familiar with already, Edith Durham, Lizzie Humphries and Anne Lister. Lizzy and Anne were local women, the others came from Durham and London.

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Bankfield - Edith

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Bankfield - Anne

All of them had travelled extensively on their own and Edith in particular collected lots of examples of textiles as she did so.She mainly explored the Balkans and came back with some beautiful examples of traditional costume including marvelous embroidery and goldwork.

Many of the items were gifts for weddings including the beautiful embroidered gauze towels in these pictures above and below, There was also such intricate goldwork!

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I really liked this blackwork piece above, I have not done any blackwork for so long but I love the stunning effect with just one colour of thread.

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A particular favourite of mine in the exhibition was her drawings of people in costume and the photos and postcards that she collected.I also loved all the original labels.

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One of the things that I noticed was the way that the women’s exploration was portrayed by media of the time. Lizzy Humphries’ husband actually abandoned her and their round the world walking tour, (taking most of their money with him!), but the poor women still had to suffer being referred to as Mrs Harry Humphries , spelt wrongly below, by newspapers and posters, she didn’t even get to go by her own name!

A really brilliant exhibition, I love things like this, there is so little that tells people about the different roles that women played in travel, research and politics like these women did.

There are also other exhibitions as well like this small one of various ceramics in a room with a wonderful tiled floor.I can’t wait to go back to the museum as they are also going to be having a Halifax at War exhibition as well from June 8th with lots of original photos. And entry to the museum is totally free!

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I was originally supposed to be at a festival with my sister this weekend but my back and joints are not very happy at the moment so I have (probably wisely) given up three days camping for a weekend in the house sorting out my Make do and Mend garments and some work on my doctorate.

I hope that you have a good weekend whatever you are planning and if you are in the UK a nice and hopefully not too cold and wet Bank Holiday weekend.Take care and thanks for visiting.

600 years in a weekend

We have had a lovely time doing two events this weekend. Firstly it was a multi-period event at Thoresby Hall in Nottinghamshire. This beautiful Victorian house is now a hotel but we were able to go into the grounds.

I especially loved the gates and we had a picnic lunch in that gorgeous turret seating area looking out from the lawn,we do get to see some stunning places!

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There were lots of different groups there from the Romans to World War 2 plus some American Civil War so we had great fun admiring all of the different costumes. I particularly loved this WWW1 tent with all the textiles and authentic magazines.

Ellie would really like to do WWW2 as well as medieval so was interested in talking to those groups. The funny thing was virtually everyone we talked to also did medieval as well.

I finished making a new linen veil the night before, great to stop my neck being burnt as it was very hot.

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I took these shots of Ellie on stairs up to the formal gardens, I love the light in these.

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Sunday we spent at Clumber Park – a little time travel 600 years into the future to 1918 for our WWW1 land girls stint rather then 1318 and the court of Edward the 2nd. I will post about that in a couple of days.

I am having a very quiet week this week in preparation for another weekend event coming up, at the lovely Ashby Castle, making the headress for Kate and doing lots of marking.

Hope you have a nice week planned, take care and thanks for visiting.

Possibly the best National Trust tearoom ever !

I hope that you all had a lovely Christmas, we did and are now having a few quiet, and snowy, days before departing for Spain.

We made our now traditional visit to Clumber Park on Boxing Day and Ellie had booked us in to the very lovely tea room that is located in the old Head Gardener’s House.

I found this wonderful picture of part of the lake that we walked around from the National Trust website, it has been taken from a crane next to the chapel that Ellie is in charge of.

Clumber from air

We usually stop off for tea and cake at every Trust property and always rate the tea rooms for theme, decor and availability of gluten free cake and this one scored very highly indeed.

It has been restored and is absolutely gorgeous inside. This exterior picture is from the National Trust website as I forgot to take one but all others are mine. We especially loved the very glamorous Victorian themed toilets.

Clumber - Head Gardener's House

They also had exceptional good gluten free chocolate brownie, no pictures of that as it was eaten too quickly!

This gorgeous silk embroidery was hanging in the upstairs hallway.

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Before the tea we had a lovely walk round the park, again there was a beautiful winter sun like last year so I was able to take some arty shots.

This beautiful old stone bench by the lake is part of the collection that Ellen looks after, I love the long shadows in the photos.

On Christmas Eve we visited Nottingham for the Christmas market and had a quick wander round, they have beautifully decorated stalls with lots of chocolate, gingerbread and German inspired food.

There are some beautiful buildings in the city centre as well.

It was lovely to meet Ava, my great niece,  as well, she is such a happy, smiling baby and she really loved her little knitted mouse, she fell asleep holding it which was so cute.Here is a picture of my lovely children at the family lunch we had. Jake looks so grown up with his beard.

Xmas Ellie and Jake

Hope you all have a lovely New Year, don’t forget to like this post for a chance to enter the giveaway. Thanks very much for visiting and see you all again in 2018.

 

 

Gorgeous and so tiny!

I have not had chance to get here to post pictures of the Victoria costumes at Harewood until now. Work has been pretty busy and I taught last Saturday and then we had Jazz festival. Really enjoyed that as always though due to work only volunteered Sat night and Sunday.

The costumes that we saw were beautifully made and we marveled at the size of them. Jenna Coleman must be so minute to fit into these outfits, even with the benefit of a corset!

There were two rooms with costumes in, the first showed some of the gowns belonging to her ladies in waiting.

Then the gorgeous ballroom had four of Victoria’s gowns in.

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Beautiful work and it was great to be able to see them very close up.

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This muslin and lace one was my favourite, given that I love old lace so much. It was beautiful!

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They also had the coronation gown which was embroidered with motifs representing all of the four emblems of the UK.

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Here is a picture of it from the series.

Victoria coronation pic

The last gowns were a layered dress of voile and gold silk and a simple but very pretty day dress.

I would have loved to see the wedding dress as well, so pretty!

Victoria wedding pic

 

I have yet to start watching Season 2 but am looking forward to more gorgeousness when I do.

I am enjoying the luxury of a whole weekend at home and have no real plans other than stitching some Christmas ornaments and lots and lots of relaxing watching TV, or rather watching programmes.

I have recently got rid of all TV services so am now just using my laptop and Netflix and Amazon Prime and have not missed the old TV services at all.I was not watching enough programmes when they were aired to warrant the cost so have upgraded to super fast broadband and all digital content, very 21st century!

I hope that you have a lovely weekend whatever you are doing and thanks for visiting.

Delightful dahlias

Well we are just back from our visit to Harewood, it was quite a nice day weather wise so we got some time in the garden.

As always the dahlias were our favourite, these are so pretty and the colours just wonderful.

The gardens were looking really gorgeous as well, I do love all the autumn colours of the trees in the distance. We had gone primarily to see the Victoria costumes and I took lots of pictures of those and the house which I will put in the next post.

Term has gone well so far but I am really busy at the moment with late nights and teaching Saturdays so crafting time is almost zero. Lots of planning projects in my head though and I have made the first of the Christmas ornaments which I will share with you soon.

The Yarndale stall went well, not certain how much I sold yet but had a very lovely comment from someone here on the blog who had bought some of my things so thank you Natalie! Here is the stall and you can see my bags on display at the back.

Yarndale stall - 2017

So just a short post for today, hope you are all well and enjoying the start to autumn, take care and thanks for visiting.

Hexagon challenge

You all know by now how much I love hexagons and am in the process of making a full size double bed quilt from some using the Grandmother’s Garden pattern.

Well we were really thrilled to come across some wonderful miniature needlework during our recent visit to Nunnington, they have a series of miniature rooms that are part of their collection.

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Rather than being one dolls’ house these are lots of different rooms like this grand staircase in the picture above and most contained amazing examples of miniature cross stitch and needlepoint.

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When Ellie was little we bought her a dolls’ house and spent many years furnishing it and I stitched rugs and and made bedding for it. When she went to University we gave it to the family across the road who had 8 girls and I am sure they must have loved playing with it.

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Now she has her own house she has decided she would like to have another dolls’ house and has bought an antique cabinet to house it in, similar to the many we have seen in historic houses.

I said I would make some rugs etc for her but we also came across this miniature hexagon bed quilt in the display so I am going to attempt something like this for her. I have no idea if it has been paper pieced or not. I can’t imagine how you can cut paper and fold them that small as each must be only 1/4 cm across. I may well have to make my pieces bigger!

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There were also miniature sewing tools and work in progress like this needlepoint frame and lace making pillow and tatting.

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All wonderful stuff and so cute! I have been looking for information and as usual there is lots of inspiration on Pinterest so after Yarndale will have a go at a mini, mini, mini quilt. I have found a site that sells tiny papers as well!

I found this amazing mini quilt show on Pinterest, no idea who created it but look at the tiny loveliness here.

Mini quilt show

This weekend we have the Steampunk event at Lincoln, sadly our medieval show has been cancelled due to structural problems at the site BUT that means two whole days to enjoy the Steampunk and marvel at all the lovely costumes. My very talented daughter has been working on a fabulous costume for this year so all will be revealed next week!

Take care and thanks for visiting.