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A few years ago at Harrogate I saw some really stunning, original embroidery in the graduate showcase and was really pleased to see the work of Caren Garfen back again, this time with her own exhibition.
Caren’s work is called ‘She was cooking something up’ and is based around a kitchen installation. It takes the theme of women’s lives and their relationship with food, dieting and body image. Not only is it technically amazing, all of this is hand stitching on screen printed backgrounds, but so creative and powerful.
Apologies as my images are all a bit yellow due to the show lighting.
I was lucky enough to be able to talk to Caren and tell her how much I loved her work.
There are some more detailed pictures (in better light) at this show link.
Her website also gives more details of her work and there is a really interesting interview with Caren at this link on the Textile Artist web site. I particularly like the way her work links modern stitching with the history of women’s work and needlework.
As someone who is really interested in the history of needlework it is fascinating the way that women’s lives were often influenced heavily by their skills with a needle in terms of employment, readiness for marriage, social activities etc and this work makes us think through stitching about our lives and current pressures on them.
No longer do we have to be proficient needlewomen to clothe our families, or ‘make do and mend’ to help the war effort, or have 12 quilt tops ready before we get married but for many of us needlecrafts and knitting are still very central to our lives.
It always fascinates me as someone who has crafted all her life that knitting, quilting, embroidery and sewing are now popular like never before (and often on prime time TV), not because we have to do it but because we want to do it and the ‘handmade home’ is now once again valued over mass production.
The fact that the internet (the original idea of linking computers was to protect data in the event of war) is such as resource for us all (not just women but mainly women) to share ideas, encourage each other and to often enable us to sell our work is fantastic.
My life would definitely by so much poorer without my bloggy ‘imaginary friends’ as my kids call them. So on that note thanks for visiting and have a nice week ahead!
There has been great excitement here in the village this week as we are being used as a film set again, this time for a movie, ‘A Monster Calls’ , with Liam Neeson (who will be playing a tree apparently so won’t be doing any live filming) and Sigourney Weaver who will!
The village and the surrounding countryside has already featured in lots of things, most notably, ‘Last of the Summer Wine’, and ,’Where the Heart is’, and we had Micheal Palin spotted here not long ago while he was filming a ghost story at the vicarage.
However the most exciting thing apart from star spotting is that one of the village shops has been given a make over, this is usually one of our local charity shops and has a very plain window similar to its neighbour that you can just see a bit of on the left of this picture.
But look at that gorgeousness! All that lovely stock. Sadly it is going to have to be turned back after the filming but everyone in the village loves it and wishes it could stay.
We will have some themed shops this weekend though as it is the Jazz Festival and I helped my friend Sharon make bunting with some of the music themed fabric that she bought from the Quilt Cabin in Hebden Bridge a few weeks ago.
It is in the window of her art gallery ‘Enjoy Art’ which will hopefully be busy with lots of visitors to the festival.
I was perusing the charity shops this weekend and not only did I get some more great bargains (a new top for Xmas and some knee-length leather winter boots for the princely sum of £5.45 in total) but also this gorgeous piece of vintage embroidery.
I have taken a couple of close-ups of things we see a lot of round here – is raining again today :-(
And something that has not been seen in Marsden yet however given our role as a film venue who knows what might happen in the future!
No date but I would estimate 1930s – 50s by the style of it. Stitched on linen in cross stitch it says at the top, ‘Teach me please my ABCs’, so I imagine it was for a child’s room and will be going up in my craft room this afternoon.
It is too nice to cut up and was only an amazing £2.80. I do love charity shops :-)
Have made great progress with the hexis for the aprons, they are appliqued to the backing fabric just waiting for a machining session to be sewn together and am working on some more hexi love with the mini charm packs from Simply Solids today.
Will update at the weekend if time allows, I am running the box office for the Jazz Festival again all weekend and am hoping to see a couple of events including one of my favourite vocalists Ruby Wood with her new band The Sugar Sisters who are headlining on Saturday night.
See you soon and thanks for visiting!
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.
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.
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.
Then when we went to Rothenburg we came across this shop selling hand embroidered textiles.
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).
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.
I bought 2 beautiful lace ornaments for the tree and a little heart that hangs in my kitchen.
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.
Hello and happy Mother’s Day for all of you in the UK. I have (virtually) met lots of brilliant, creative and dedicated Mums through blogging and I hope that you have all been thoroughly spoilt today.
Here we have a double celebration as my little baby Ellie is 23 today! Seems impossible but time is flying by.
I made her a special cake – which we had at breakfast as she had to leave this afternoon!
She is very happy at the moment as she has not only passed her driving test (second time around with only 1 fault) but has also this week bought a car :-)
She is practising at the moment but she is planning to drive to some of the events this year with me so that will be very exciting! She has also had a year’s extension on her contract so all is good :-)
Here is the car – it is called Kim after its number plate! Can’t wait to have some fun trips to re-enactment in it.
I had some great presents and flowers from the kids including these very pretty button jars that Ellie made for me – perfect in my newly sorted craft room and loads of gorgeous buttons for embellishments!
While we were having our sewing weekend a few weeks ago she was sorting some of the stuff that she left here and came across this pump bag that I made her while she was at school. This was the name band that I stitched for her.
She must have been about 8 when I made it. A that time I was doing a lot of cross stitch and made lots of cards using little motifs like these.
There has also been another bunny from the production line, this one is Isabella and she will be going to live with a friend from re-enactments new-born baby daughter.
Am very happy at the moment as it is nearly the start of the re-enactment season, I am going on holiday very soon with Mum and the kids to Bavaria and the clocks have gone forward so there will be lighter evenings! Hurrah for Spring and Summer to follow… lovely!
Hope you have had a happy day, take care and thanks for visiting.
Hello and happy weekend!
I know we have one every week but still get stupidly excited about the prospect of the weekend, a whole two days just to do nice stuff.
I love getting up early on the weekends and just pottering around with the prospect of some knitting, stitching, a walk or some baking ahead of me!
I am planning some experimental baking this weekend as I am trying to be gluten free due to a few health problems so I have downloaded some nice looking recipes and will see what the results taste like.
I have some sad stitching news to report as for the first time ever one of my exchange pieces has gone astray :-( I have been doing exchanges for about 6 years and this is the first time a parcel has not got there.
I kept waiting and hoping but it was sent in Oct and has not arrived in the US. Possibly it got mixed up with some seasonal post and may turn up but in the meantime I am going to stitch another piece for the recipient.
This is what it looked like, I can’t find the actual pattern at the moment to tell you the name of it but it was part of a freebie from this gorgeous Italian cross stitcher’s site – she is called La Comtesse & le point decroix and she has really pretty designs on the site.
Hope you are all having a lovely winter weekend and thanks for visiting.
You would think that someone who makes Christmas ornaments nearly all year round and started knitting gifts months ago would be finished well in time for the last posting dates wouldn’t you?
You would not imagine a weekend of frantic finishing and a sudden realisation that one of the bunny gifts does not have any legs at the moment :-(
Only realised yesterday as well that the bag that was going to be given with one of the bunny gifts was still unfinished – oops.
However I am doing well despite the lateness and have the gifts that need to be posted ready to go and will be doing more finishing this week including the legs – was sure I had a whole bag of completed bits but one bunny has had too much Xmas cheer and is legless ha ha :-)
The finished bunny I have named Lucy though she is going to my cousin’s daughter who will name her, hope she likes her as much as the other cousin’s daughter did with the first bunny I made.
I made the bag in the summer – it is made from recycled jeans and a pillow case and it was the colour scheme of the pillow case that inspired Lucy’s 3 dresses.
I love the way she has wonky ears, all the bunnies turn out with such different faces. Lucy looks quite serious don’t you think?
Have also made up all the stitched ornaments into little hanging pillows.These are all JBW Designs from Sew and Sew.
I have little to excuse myself for this tardiness except the fact that I have been very busy at work and possibly have tried once again to make too much in too short a space of time ;-)
I think when I sort out the craft room in Jan I shall have a noticeboard and will write a list of projects and timescales so I can keep track, especially as I have so much medieval kit to stitch for next season.
Planning not helped by the fact that I have just subscribed to a new magazine called Love Patchwork and Quilting which has given me so many new ideas for things that I want to make.
What about this little bird ornament – can you imagine some of those in Christmas fabric?
They have a first 3 issues for £5 deal on their website at the moment and it is a very lovely magazine with links to lots of other lovely blogs.
I have been looking at the work of Amy Smart whose Diary of a Quilter blog is full of lovely, lovely things. So many ideas and so little time!
Anyway back to my finishing now – only 9 days to go till Christmas eek! Thankfully the food shopping is nearly all done so I can concentrate on crafting!
Hope you all have a good lead up to the festive season and thanks for visiting.
Have spent a lovely weekend catching up, on sleep, on time with old friends and today I will be catching up with the crafting I need to have finished for my Autumn Exchange.
It has been lovely to see my friend Anita, she showed me some of her amazing machine quilting pictures while she was here and I was very excited to learn that she has met Ricky Tims (from the Quilt Show) and knows Melly (from the Melly and me blog) and has quilted an item for her latest book!
We all met up on Friday and spent lots of time looking at old pictures of the kids when they were babies, we have 21 kids between us so lots and lots of memories of good times :-)
I have also been busy with the latest bunny, in between stitching and here are a couple of cute little dresses that I have made.
I also thought I would show you the latest in my Xmas stitching, these are still to be buttoned and backed but here are some of my fave designs from JBW that I am stitching for relatives this year.
And I have been experimenting with my bread book, had Anita and friends round for dinner so this was an adaptation of the Stilton and Bacon Rolls recipe with seeds, apologies for the quality of the photo, light not good in the kitchen!
I will be off to Spain next Saturday (where my mother tells me the temperature has dropped to only 28 degrees) so am planning lots more catching up on sleeping, crafting and reading – the terrace is calling!
Have a nice time whatever you are doing and thanks for visiting.
I spend a lot of time travelling to all sorts of beautiful parts of the globe so it was lovely to have week in my gorgeous country appreciating (along with many tourists from all over the world) what England has to offer.
Our first day was spent in the Cotswolds where I grew up and the visit to Bourton-on-the-Water brought back many happy memories of paddling in this stream, seeing the pretty cottages and visiting the model village (which Kerry loved just as much as I did when I first saw it).
We then went to Snowshill Manor, a National Trust property in the Cotswolds, quintessentially an English manor house with beautiful gardens but home to a very eclectic collection by the last owner Charles Paget Wade.
There was everything from samurai warrior suits to old bikes, including many beautiful Oriental chests from his travels. One room had a lovely collection of textiles including what looks like a piece from a Layton jacket!
I particularly liked this sampler book showing miniature garments, no information on its maker but I think it would be a for a similar purpose to the one that inspired the Blackbird Designs book, ‘A Stitcher’s Journey’, which I posted about previously, to show prospective employers your needlework skills.
A lovely day out – and all in the best of English summer sunshine!
Thanks for visiting, more historic loveliness soon!
Hello everyone and I hope you in the UK have been enjoying all this beautiful sunshine we have been having!
It has been wonderful here and we have been really enjoying ourselves. This also bodes very well for our favourite event of the re-enactment year as this coming weekend it is the Tewkesbury Medieval Festival and I am beyond excited :-)
You may remember that last year the event nearly got called off do to the site flooding and it was a mud fest to say the least but this year we are looking forward to lovely sunshine just like the old days.
Do come and visit if you can – it is the 30th anniversary of the event this year and is a brilliant day out, free entry as well though please donate as much as you can to our bucket collectors as it costs a lot to put the event on and we want it to continue! The town and Abbey are also fantastic to wander round and if it is hot there is the river to paddle in.
I have been making lots of kit for friends and have been busy finishing it off in time which is why I have been practising making holes. If you want more info on medieval men’s kit then go to my page which details what everything is called.
I am not very good at this part of the kit making process (my lovely friend Kerry is a dab hand at it and her dresses have beautiful lacing holes down the back). I have usually cheated with using ribbon loops on my dresses but wanted to make a shirt with a laced neck and hose with holes to tie them to the brais.
They are not too bad but could be neater.
I will take some photos of the garments on their recipients and post later – Jake has been very kindly trying things on for me as I go along but as he is lots skinnier than my friends they have looked a bit big on him!
So far I have made a shirt, lined hose and slightly different style of brais so it has been good for me to learn new skills.
I have also been practising neatening my seams by stab stitching as I always zigzag raw edges before sewing together to prevent fraying and this makes them a bit neater and means the sleeves can be rolled up if needed.
I am thinking of adding a new page to the making costume bit with more details of these garments as I know I get lots of hits for that so it is on my to do list now that summer is here and work is quieter.
It was my birthday recently and I got some lovely presents, my sister-in-law Amanda who is a very keen cross stitcher made me this beautiful Celtic design scissor keep which came in very handy as the scissors had really fine points for cutting the holes.
She also stitched this birthday card for me – very appropriate!
And from my lovely kids I got this gorgeous book which was a total surprise as it was not from my wish list. Ellie saw it when one of the staff at Hardwick brought it in and thought I would like it and it is brilliant, just my sort of book with lots and lots of detail about techniques and sources.
It is called Sweet Bags by Jacqui Carey.
And look another version of the Layton Jacket that I have posted about previously, this one is a portrait of Lady Dorothy Carey dated 1615 and I had not seen this pic before.
My lovely Mum gave me some money for garden furniture so I have bought a BBQ and last Friday we had our first Marsden barbie – here is Jake enjoying the sun (and a little cider!)
Still got to get a new table and chairs (that is our camping stuff) once I have decided what I want, tempted by a lovely mosaic bistro set but think the table is a bit small.
Well I shall be posting again in a couple of weeks as after Tewkesbury Kerry and I are off on a National Trust fest making the most of our memberships to go and visit some lovely properties, hope the weather holds for that.
Take care and thank you as always for visiting, liking, following and subscribing :-)
Hello everyone and a very special welcome to all my new followers, I have been getting lots of notifications recently about people now following me and am very honoured, hope you enjoy all the future posts.
I have just got back from a brilliant trip to Florence and am sorting out my many pictures of medieval art and churches for a mega post.
I have had a lovely day today so I thought that I would share some of it with you – when I first moved here I promise to post pictures of my lovely surroundings in all seasons so here we have the early summer collection.
I love walking round here and particularly the walks up the valley with the reservoirs but the scenery has just got better as the rhododendrons are now in bloom! I love rhododendrons and they have only just started to come out so the walks will be even better for the next couple of months!
I am so lucky – all this is just about half an hour walk from my house! And there were baby geese on the reservoir today, have not seen them before.
Got back from holiday to find this very lovely Spring Exchange piece from Stephanie at Blue Star Stitcher, my latest partner in the Seasonal Exchange blog. This is a Prairie Schooler piece in an egg-shaped finish with really lovely beading. The backing fabric is really pretty as well. Thanks Stephanie it goes really well in my kitchen where I am currently displaying all my Spring exchange ornies.
Will be back soon with the Florence pics.
Thanks for visiting.