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As well as being exceptionally beautiful (I know I am her Mum but here is a pic taken when we went out to celebrate her A levels this week and she really is!) Ellie is a fantastic stitcher so I thought I would show you a couple of her recent finishes.

Ellie - congrats again on your A level success!

Ellie - congrats again on your A level success!

She has been stitching since she was about 8 and did Textiles and Art at GCSE and Art at A level so has always been creative. Her dream (as well as getting a job in the heritage industry) is to one day open her own craft and tea shop as she also loves baking. I plan to make regular visits there to run workshops for her and help her buy stock!

She has been doing a lot of stitching this summer as a way of relaxing after she finished her A levels and she has just completed this beautiful baby card for my cousin and his wife for their first baby Anna Mae.

A cute little rabbit and dummy card - Pattern from Cross Stitcher Magazine

A cute little rabbit and dummy card - Pattern from Cross Stitcher Magazine

She has also just made herself a needle keep to take to University. Her name spelt backwards is Nelle Frog and she collects frogs of all kinds so her choice of motif was very appropriate!

Frog in a lily - again pattern from Cross Stitcher Magazine

Frog in a lily - again pattern from Cross Stitcher Magazine

The needle keep is of her own design – the needles are threaded through the back.

Ellen's needle keep

Ellen's needle keep

I am very, very proud of her. Not only is she clever, very hardworking, kind, appreciative  and helpful (and the most sensible 18 year old around!) but she has coped really well with a difficult couple of years and done brilliantly to achieve what she has. I wish you every success in the future sweetie – you really deserve it and I hope you have the time of your life at University!

I had a really good time at this event , me and the kids went on the train all the way to Castle Cary (the nearest station to Glastonbury Abbey ) and thanks to the lovely lady that runs Mum’s Taxis got there in about 7 1/2 hours from home . I don’t know her name but she was a mine of information about the area so thank you very nice taxi driver!

We good weather, a bit of rain and cloud but very sunny on Sunday and lots of people interested in our demos. Team Falchion do more or less the same kind of event as my other group Order of Fighting Knights.

There was the weapons and armour talk -

The armour rack with an impressive display of pointy things!

The armour rack with an impressive display of pointy things!

The cooking of lunch (thanks to Trish for all the lovely food – especially cake and the fab apples from the orchard on Sun!)
Jake chopping carrots for pottage

Jake chopping carrots for pottage

The range with Trish cooking

The range with Trish cooking

But there was also the forge with Alixx making real life metal things! The kids were very impressed as the other group does not have one of these.

Alixx working at the forge

Alixx working at the forge

See that's the way to get rid of the frustrations of your day job - bit of hammering!

See that's the way to get rid of the frustrations of your day job - bit of hammering!

We all went out on the Saturday night in medieval kit for a drink round town which did raise a few eyebrows – quite a feat in a place like Glastonbury which is known for unconventional visitors!

Red being the colour of choice for medieval evening wear!

Red being the colour of choice for medieval evening wear!

The abbey itself was fantastic – somewhere I have always wanted to go and visit – amazing now but in its heyday it must have been mindblowing.

Glastonbury 5

Glastonbury 6

Glastonbury 7

Glastonbury 9

As re-enactors we always get to be in these beautiful places during the best bits of the day – early mornings and sunsets when there are no crowds – it is wonderful and I am very lucky indeed!

And there was stitching (of course!). The visitor centre had an exhibition entitled ‘Images of Arthur’ and the Avalon Embroiderers’ Guild branch had done these two panels depicting Arthur and Guinevere. They are made up of about 30 separate panels, each being embroidered by a different member of the group, and there are over 40 different types of stitches in each panel.

The Guinevere panel

The Guinevere panel

Stitching detail from the panel

Stitching detail from the panel

The Arthur panel

The Arthur panel

Crewel work foliage from the panel

Crewel work foliage from the panel

An excellent weekend – a big thank you from me and the kids for making us all feel so welcome.

As promised here are the pics from Plas Mawr in Conwy. I first visited this Elizabethan house 11 years ago on our very first (and very wet!) camping trip when Jake was only 4.

We did that trip in 2 very small two man tents and as I spent most of the time trying to make picnics out of the boot of the car we then bought our very first proper family tent ( one you could stand up in and put a table and chairs in!) on our return. We have lots of really fab camping holidays and are now on our 4th family tent and still going strong!

Since we last visited Plas Mawr it has been extensively re-interpreted - 11 years ago they had done all the structural work but it was very bare but now it is wonderful inside – one of the best properties I have ever visited in terms of the furnishing and detail they have put into the house. And lots and lots of stitching!

The house is one of the best preserved of its period in the UK and is famous for its plasterwork which has been extensively restored. But the little touches such as the rushes on the floor and the fresh herbs in the kitchen really make the house come alive.

Plas Mawr house in the middle of Conwy

Plas Mawr house in the middle of Conwy

 

An example of the amazing plasterwork

An example of the amazing plasterwork

 

The litchen with fresh herbs on the table and rushes on the floor - really need smell-o-vision here!

The kitchen with fresh herbs on the table and rushes on the floor - really need smell-o-vision here!

 

I love the attention to detail like this display of spoons

I love the attention to detail like this display of spoons

 

Part of the courtyard

Part of the courtyard

Because the house has been so well interpreted there is stitching from all periods reflecting the occupation of the house from the 1500s. Starting with an Elizabethan piece in the hall on a child’s high chair.

Scrolling flower and fruit motifs on the cushions

Scrolling flower and fruit motifs on the cushions

In the bedroom there are two wonderful velvet runners each with appliqued needlepoint motifs that are based on the stitching that Bess of Hardwick and Mary Queen of Scots did – some of which are at Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire and some at Oxburgh Hall in Norfolk.

One of the runners on top of a wooden chest

One of the runners on top of a wooden chest

Detail of one of the needlepoint motifs - bear and ragged staff

Detail of one of the needlepoint motifs - bear and ragged staff

Another popular motif - pansies

Another popular motif - pansies

A needlepoint chair cushion with a combination of tent stitch for the heraldry and a basket weave stitch for the background

A needlepoint chair cushion with a combination of tent stitch for the heraldry and a basket weave stitch for the background

A blackwork coif on the bed

A blackwork coif on the bed

A sadly faded needlepoint runner on one of the tables in the Great Hall

A sadly faded needlepoint runner on one of the tables in the Great Hall

Whitework from the Plas Mawr attic which was furnished as it would have been in the 1870s

Whitework from the Plas Mawr attic which was furnished as it would have been in the 1870s

The sewing box from the attic complete with darning egg and buttons!

The sewing box from the attic complete with darning egg and buttons!

Once again there is no information on where these pieces came from or who stitched them – I suspect either they were done by willing volunteers or obtained from antique shops or sadly charity shops or jumble sales.

A beautiful venue and well worth a visit.

In family news today lovely daughter Ellie got her A level results – she did very well indeed and is off to Worcester University next month to study History, Heritage and Archaeology (no idea how she got interested in that!)

Here she is last weekend at the Glastonbury show teaching the boys how to fingerbraid.Thanks to Mike from Team Falchion for this pic.

Ellie demonstrating some textile arts

Ellie demonstrating some textile arts

Well done – we are all very proud of you!

Will post more Glastonbury pics soon.

Checked today on the All Seasons Exchange Blog to find that Lisa has got my ornament so I can now share the pics of it with you. It took about 5 days to get to Australia which I was very impressed with.

Lisa also likes Quaker patterns so I did this little tree pattern which is called Quaker Tree Third – it is a freebie from The Workbasket site which I have had in my patterns file for a while. They have some wonderful Quaker designs and quite a few freebies including two more trees.

The front of the exchange ornament

The front of the exchange ornament

The fabric is a sparkly evenweave which is part of my Xmas ornament stash and the thread is from the Silk Mill.

Here is the back of the ornament – I have used the same little scissor charm that I put on all the scissor keeps that I made for the girls this year.

An L for Lisa and a charm

An L for Lisa and a charm

Have just got back from a lovely weekend at Glastonbury Abbey. Thanks to everyone in Team Falchion for a brill time (especially Trish for the food and Alixx for the blacksmith’s forge – the kids were very impressed!)

Will have to post pics from Wales first (mucho stitching!) then get some of this weekend’s pics sorted later this week when I have more time but here is a little taste of the Abbey with another one of my architecture shots.

One of the window arches in the Abbey

One of the window arches in the Abbey

I have for a while been looking at sites that exist to offer stitchers the chance to exchange stitched gifts with other people and this summer took the plunge and signed up to one.

I stitch a lot for family and friends and know they appreciate it but seeing all the lovely stuff that people exchange through these blogs thought I would give it a go.

I have just got my gift from my partner Lisa - who was the person whose blog I read that lead me to the All Seasons Ornament Exchange in the first place.

This exchange was based on your partner’s likes and dislikes and so she sent me this lovely Quaker piece.

My exchange gift from Lisa

My exchange gift from Lisa

 It is a beautifully finished pinkeep which I am really pleased about as I don’t have one of these and have seen lots of lovely ones that other people have made so this will be joining my travelling stitching kit!

My gift to Lisa was posted yesterday – it is going to Australia so will probably take about a week to get there. Once I know that Lisa has got it I will post a pic of it here.

We are off to Glastonbury Abbey in Somerset tomorrow for another event which is somewhere I have always wanted to visit. Will be posting pics of that and the embroidery from last weekend very soon!

Only a short post tonight as it is rather late but I have masses of lovely stitching to show you from our trip to Wales this weekend for the Bodelwyddan show which I will post next week when I return from Glastonbury.

We went to Conwy on Friday to visit the castle and an Elizabethan house called Plas Mawr which is where all of the embroidery was. I have visited both places before on our first ever camping trip when Jake was four ( it rained a lot that time!) This time the weather was much better!

I do like taking ‘arty shots’ and was very pleased at the way this one turned out of an arch in the King’s Hall at the castle.

Arch and clouds

Arch and clouds

We had a lovely sunny weekend and a really great event as usual with lots of sitting round the campfire with friends – I do love going to Wales and it is such a nice venue for an event. Thanks very much to David Smith the organiser, who did a great job as always.

Beautiful Welsh hills - the view from Conwy Castle

Beautiful Welsh hills - the view from Conwy Castle

As you know on my travels I like to look for textile arts of all forms and the recent trip to Berkeley Castle for the re-enactment event was no exception and there were some excellent examples there.

We arrrived on Thursday for a very, very wet pitch – soaked to the skin by the time we got the tent up but we dried off and had a lovely if a little damp weekend as it also rained heavily on Sun as we were packing up. It is a fantastic castle which has been in the same family for over 900 years and we were lucky enough to be camped in the meadows with this view.

Berkeley castle on an overcast July day

Berkeley castle on an overcast July day

It is always a real shame when wet weather happens as the organisers of the events (in this case the lovely Plantagenet Events people) put such an effort into doing this and without paying members of the public turning up they will not happen. I know that it is not the same coming to an event when the weather is not good but can I make a plea to all you out there to not let a bit of rain put you off coming to something – you will still have a great time .

We pull out all the stops to make sure that things go ahead as planned and things will only be cancelled as a last resort if it is really unsafe to go ahead.The people that run these events do not do it to make a vast profit and a couple of bad events can bankrupt them, they do it for the love of keeping our history alive. As participants we do it all for free, we receive no expenses at all for the bigger events and fund all our own costumes, travel and kit (hence the need for the day job!). So please come along – you may be a bit damp but you’ll still have a good time and if you stay indoors every time it rains in England you’d never get out!

We had intended to go round the castle on Fri but it was shut so instead went to the Edward Jenner museum which is located in Berkeley Village right next to the castle in the doctor’s old house. It was a very interesting museum indeed – I knew the story of how he experimented with inoculation having learnt it at school but there were lots of original exhibits relating to his life and family including these two touching examples of stitching.

The whitework detail on the Jenner Family christening robes

The whitework detail on the Jenner Family christening robes

The needlepoint cushion on Edward Jenner's garden chair - in the middle are his intials

The needlepoint cushion on Edward Jenner's garden chair - in the middle are his initials

This is what I love about stitching – it is everywhere from the most ordinary places to the biggest palaces and it still absolutely fascinating me that so much work has been done by so many people that we will never know anything about. I would love to know more about the people (women?) who made these items but sadly nothing is usually recorded.

We then visited the 13th century St Mary’s Church which is between Edward Jenner’s house and the castle. There was some lovely goldwork on the altar frontal and banner.

St Mary's Church

St Mary's Church

Painted screen inside the church

Painted screen inside the church

A tudor rose motif on an altar frontal

A tudor rose motif on an altar frontal

The same motif on a beautiful banner

The same motif on a beautiful banner

There was also a very lovely effigy on the tomb of Thomas 8th Lord of Berkeley and his Lady Katherine dated 1361.

The effigy

The effigy

Ellie and I were admiring the headress and discussing what type it was ( a nebule or goffered headdress ) and I remarked that my friend Kat had made one similar which was on her web site. When we came out of the church who should we bump into but Kat, Richard and Isabella who had come to look at the same effigy before going to the event!

Lady Katherine's nebule headdress

Lady Katherine's nebule headdress

We had a very good tour round the castle itself on Saturday – the grounds were really lovely and I took lots of flower pics which I intend to use as the basis for some embroidery projects later on.

My friends Carl (Geoffrey of Woodstock) and Denise (Matilda de Monfichet) in the castle gardens

My friends Carl (Geoffrey of Woodstock) and Denise (Matilda de Monfichet) in the castle gardens

One of the paths leading to the castle

One of the paths leading to the castle

The view of the medieval tent enacmpment from the castle

The view of the medieval tent enacmpment from the castle

Sadly you couldn’t take any photos inside the castle as there was the most amazing embroidered bedspread and pillow slips made for Elizabeth 1st on display. Couldn’t find any pics of it on the web either so you will just  have to go and see for yourself!

We have just come back from another event at Ashby de la Zouche Castle – a mixed weekend in terms of weather with rain all day on Sat (big thanks to the 120 people who came to see us in that!) and glorious sunshine all day Sunday so we got to pack the tents away dry!

I will leave you with a lovely picture from Tewkesbury this year with yet more embroidery and lots of shiny armour. This is us on the battlefield under the very fine goldwork banner of the Duke of Gloucester (aka Rob).

Lots of men in shiny armour!

Lots of men in shiny armour!

You can just see my head and hand on the right of the pic giving water to Dave . This pic was taken by someone called fac man who has a Flickr site with more pics if you want to see more of the event and the armour!

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