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.

Gawthorpe 1

Gawthorpe 2

Gawthorpe 29

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

Gawthorpe 24

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

Gawthorpe 13

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.

Gawthorpe 22

Gawthorpe 23

Gawthorpe 21

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.

Gawthorpe 3

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!

Gawthorpe 4

Gawthorpe 5

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!

Gawthorpe 30

Gawthorpe 31

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

Gawthorpe 27

Gawthorpe 28

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.

Gene-Tierney-makeup-1940s-

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.

 

Bordado – the art or pastime of embroidering cloth

Bordado, as we found out in Seville, is Spanish for embroidery. The Folk Museum had lots of really interesting artifacts all housed in the beautiful Moorish Pavillion.

Seville Bordado museum

The first section we looked at was devoted to materials and their transformation and there were lots of displays of all types of artisan workshops including gilding, woodwork, leather and bakery.

There were also some brilliant works in progress pieces, one of the most exciting things for me in museums is seeing the unfinished pieces so you can see how they have made the embroidery.

In these pictures you can see the whitework paisley before the holes are cut and where padding stitches have been done first before satin stitch. There is also the lace being worked over a paper pattern.

I was really interested to see the tissue paper pinned round the working area on this last piece to keep it clean. That is something I haven’t done but is a great idea. The embroidery frames are beautifully made as well.

Seville Bordado 5 - paper

Then to my great excitement there was a whole gallery of embroidery and lace, one of the biggest collections that I have ever seen, so much wonderful work.

Seville Bordado - lace display

Much of it was a very similar type of work, sets of tray cloths or table cloths and napkins all unused and very similar in design.

Seville Bordado - napkin display

I wondered if they had been sample pieces for a book on embroidery or a series of magazines.I would guess they may be from the late 20s or 30s looking at the designs, there was no information about their origins though.

There was also very detailed whitework, some with cutwork lace.

I have never done any whitework though have some books on it and would love to. I don’t think I could ever make lace though I love looking at it.

One of my favourite pieces of whitework was this amazingly detailed unfinished tablecloth, you can just see the pencil outline of the rest of the design on the right.

Seville Bordado - whitework 3 - unfinished

Things like this always make me want to know the story of the maker, what happened, was it boredom and it became a WIP? Was there a tragedy and she never finished because of this?

There was also lots of amazing Spanish lace, whenever we go to the Easter Parades we admire the beautiful lace mantillas that the women wear with the high combs and these were stunning examples of mantillas and shawls.

When we at the recent fiesta in Alicante there were a group of people in costume with mantillas and lace aprons, it was too crowded and dark to get pictures then but these are a couple from Google from previous year’s fiestas to show you how beautiful they are. Spain has such a wonderful history of textile crafts and I love these traditional costumes.

Alicante costumes

Alicante costumes 2

I am still working on Jenny’s embroidery sampler at the moment and having fun practising stitches I have not done for a while like chain stitch. I still can’t master French Knots so may have to substitute seed beads.

I have a nice week ahead as I am working from home all work which means lots of early finishes and sewing time. We might even get some more BBQs in, only 7 to go to hit our target of 20. Hope you are also going to have a lovely week, take care and thanks for visiting.

The importance of afternoon tea

Hello everyone

Hope that you have all had a good week. It has been a busy one for me and very little crafting is being done at present, partly due to the start of term but also I am trying to rest my wrist as I still have a problem with tendonitis which is quite painful.

However I have lots of photos from trips out over the last few months, mostly involving lovely textiles so I thought we could look at some of those over the next few posts instead!

Sharon and I recently visited Cannon Hall House and Gardens. We used to go there a lot when the kids were little as they have an excellent farm but had never been in the house.

The reason for our visit was an exhibition of costume from the Downton Abbey TV series.

There were some really lovely pieces, starting with some of the very simple outfits worn by the cook and Lady Sybil in her role as an Army nurse.

Downton costume - Cook

Downton costume - Sybil

But then they got more elaborate. It was lovely to see them in the room settings with the all important afternoon tea laid for Lady Violet, I did love her character, she was so witty with her put downs!

Downton costumes

Downton costume - Lady Violet and Lady Sybil

The daughter’s costumes were beautiful, but they were all so tiny, they must have only been size 6 or 8.

Two of these ones in the drawing-room were made for the series.

Downton costume - young ladies and housemaid

This one was an original 1920’s dress and was worn by Lady Sybil in the series.

Downton costume - Sybil original

Though the below stairs costumes were very plain the housemaids who would be in the family rooms had some pretty detail on their aprons.

Downton costume- housemaid

And for serving dinner they had lovely black dresses and lace aprons.

Downton costume - evening maid

Though nowhere near the glamour of the dresses worn by Lady Sybil, Lady Edith and Lady Mary. I love these, ‘new fashion, looser more unstructured gowns.

Having worn corsets and very restraining dresses in my medieval roles I can really appreciate how the women must have felt to be able to wear this rather than the Edwardian costume of their parents and grandparents.

Downton costume - evening gowns

I always love seeing the laundries at old houses as well, when I was little my grandmother had a tub with a mangle, it did plus in so the water was heated by electric but I used to love using the mangle!

Downton costume - laundry

Sharon and I ended the day with visits to a couple of garden centres and of course some afternoon tea and cake!

I think I could easily live the life of a Downtown Abbey daughter, not that I don’t appreciate all that feminism has done for us but lots of time to read, embroider and take afternoon tea, I think I could cope with that 😉

Meanwhile I shall content myself with organising Crafternoon Teas for my friends – we have another one coming up in a few weeks so chance to get the cake stand out again.

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

A glimpse of life in the laundry

Hello again

One of the parts of our visit to Kingston Lacy that I most enjoyed was seeing the laundry which they had furnished not only with the equipment used but also examples of the textiles as well, very exciting for me!

The house dates from the 1600s but the display was of the Victorian machines and textiles.

NT Holiday June 2014 -Sewing machines KL

NT Holiday June 2014 Lace 2 KL

NT Holiday June 2014 - Lace 1 KL

NT Holiday June 2014 - laundry

I love this huge roller mangle, I remember my Mum and Nana having washing machines with mangles on top when I was little and really loved having a go, would not have been so exciting to be a full-time laundry maid though.

NT Holiday June 2014 - mangle KL

NT Holiday June 2014 - children's clothes KL

NT Holiday June 2014 - irons KL

The drying cupboard was very interesting as well, I assume many large houses might have had something similar but have not seen one before, these racks slid into the cupboard which had heated pipes on the floor.

NT Holiday June 2014 -drying room KL

I also found some lovely textiles in the main house – what a surprise! Will save that and pictures of the house for the next post.

Thanks for visiting.

Bavarian textiles – a tale of two Margaretes

There will always be textiles wherever I go as not only are they important and many of the places I visit have them on display as part of the social history of the location but also I do sometimes seek them out 😉

However this holiday I had some very pleasant surprises on the textile front as I found some when I wasn’t even looking for them 🙂

The first nice surprise was this beautiful sampler which had been done by Margarete the lady who ran the hotel we stayed in Germany. She was in her 70s and the hotel has been in her family for over 100 years.

Bavaria 2014 Langenau sampler

I couldn’t help thinking that she must have had a pretty hard life, she was on duty about 15 hours a day when we were there and I hope that at some points they got to close the hotel and have a holiday themselves.

I like to imagine that she stitched this in her free time and it gave her pleasure and helped her relax, it is a beautifully stitched piece and she was obviously proud of it as it was hung in the bar area.

Then we had our unexpected trip to the Steiff Teddy Bear Museum  which was an optional trip on the holiday which the kids really wanted to go to. It was really good with a little interactive piece at the start that told you the history of the company followed by a room with lots of toys that you could touch (and sit on) then displays of the toys throughout the ages.

Bavaria 2014 Steiff sewing room

The company was started by Margarete Steiff who was a keen seamstress, she had polio as a child and never married but sewed children’s clothes then made her first toy, an elephant (by accident it was meant to be a pincushion but it got played with!).

She then went on to make teddies and all manner of other creatures. The above photo shows a reproduction of the sewing room that starts the interactive part.

One of the most interesting parts for me as I have been making toys recently (both knitted and have started a couple of fabric ones) was the workroom at the end where as well as staff working demonstrating the toys being made they had lots of patterns hung up and old photos showing the factory workers. There is a concise history of the Steiff business at this link if you are interested.

Bavaria 2014 Steiff patterns 1

Bavaria 2014 Steiff patterns 2

Bavaria 2014 Steiff machinists

Bavaria 2014 Steiff toymakers

Then when we went to Rothenburg we came across this shop selling hand embroidered textiles.

Bavaria 2014 Rotenburg embroidery shop

They employ over 500 home workers to do the embroidery so I had to go and support the local economy and all those lovely ladies didn’t I? The kids were very patient while I chose from hundreds of gorgeous things.

I bought these beautiful lavender filled whitework pillows for display in my kitchen and an embroidered runner for the Xmas table. As I reminded Jake I do only have 4 (he seemed to think that was too many last year – no idea why?). This one will go very nicely with my holly decorated dinner set).

Bavarian needlework -whitework 1

Bavarian needlework -whitework

Bavarian needlework -xmas cloth

Rothenburg is also famous for its Christmas shops (which I honestly didn’t know when I booked the trip kids) and so spent ages in the Christmas Village in the Kathe Wolfahrt shop which was amazing! No photos allowed inside but this is from their website and it actually looks like this.

Christmas shop Rothenburg

I bought 2 beautiful lace ornaments for the tree and a little heart that hangs in my kitchen.

Bavarian needlework -xmas ornies

Bavarian needlework - heart

A wonderful array of textile goodness to add to a lovely holiday – very happy.

More pictures to come of the town of Rothenburg, it is still raining here in Yorkshire so no alternative but to spend the day in crafting – how sad 😉

Thanks for visiting.