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Well we had a very lovely time at Caldicot this weekend despite a start which involved a fairly damp set up and lots of traffic problems for friends due to road works and delays which meant we were still pitching tents in the rain at 10 o’clock on Friday night! But all was beautiful and sunny come Saturday morning so that meant we had a fab time.

Paul played a major role in the battle leading the English army (to victory on Saturday which was brilliant). He has not been to this event before but the character he plays in our shows, William de Bohun,  once owned Caldicot Castle so he had been planning a visit and as he has all of the kit in de Bohun’s heraldry it looked great on the field.

Here are the before shots of our boys before they went to battle. James, our newest member, was de Bohun’s banner bearer and looked very good in his kit.

Caldicot - Paul and James

Jamie has decorated his helmet with painted blue and yellow squares ready for his new character for next season and was a bit worried it would get scratched but it was fine.

Caldicot - the boys

Caldicot - Jamie new helm

I finished a couple of pieces of kit for the weekend, a wool tunic for a friend and this parti-coloured chaperon to go with the new dress that Ellie has made herself. You may remember this dress from our sewing weekend in Feb.

Caldicot Ellie's new chaperon

Caldicot E and K 2

The chaperon is fully reversible so she can have an all dark pink one if she wants. I am very glad I have finished this as I cut it out of the fabric for the original dress I made her about 4 years ago and then it got put away and forgotten about!

Caldicot E chaperon detail 2

Caldicot E chaperon detail 1

Here are a couple of battlefield pictures for you showing Paul and Jamie in action. Thanks to Tammy, James’ fiancé,  for these as she was on the sidelines with a camera.

Caldicot - battle

Caldicot - battle 2

The group went for a photo shoot round the castle later and took some very good pictures. Here is one of Paul and Jamie at the top of the castle tower.

Caldicot - Paul and Jamie

Ellie and I had a day out after the event as we stayed over on the way back to tick another couple of Trust properties off our list which I will post about later.

An excellent weekend all round.Now for a nice quiet week working on my doctorate with a bit of crafting and walking in between :-) Lovely stuff!

Hope you are looking forward to a nice week ahead, thanks for visiting.

 

We are very lucky and we get to camp in some amazing places, castles and historic venues and this weekend we had an event at Peveril Castle in the Peak District. The views were amazing and well worth the very long climb (with tents and lots of kit!) to the top of the hill.

Peveril the castle 2

Peveril view

Peveril the gorge

Peveril tent and view

Due to the nature of the site we only took modern tents rather than authentic as we had to take the tents down each morning as well. The picture below shows Mark and Shane climbing up on Saturday morning with their kit, it was a long steep hill!

Peveril Castle

But this picture just sums up everything I love about re-enactment, breakfast (bacon butties of course!) in the sunshine outside the tent.

Peveril Castle

The weather was brilliant – despite my fears that this might be a very wet weekend, it was actually a little too hot on the Saturday, we girls were ok in the shade down by the entrance to the castle doing our head dress talks but the boys were sweltering at the top and did a brilliant job of running the events in that heat.

Thanks to Wendy, Kevin, Philip and Daniel for these pictures that they posted to our group Facebook site.

Peveril show

Luke had a new cotehardie to show off – he looks brilliant and I love this picture.

Peveril event

I also really love this one of the girls looking at the view.

Peveril the sisters

Peveril Me and Ellie

Here are Luke and Jamie doing a dagger display.

Peveril Luke and Jamie

This is the arena from the top of the castle.

Peveril event

And here am I with Luke’s very impressive horned helm.

Pevril me and view

Pevril Sisters

Peveril Luke and Mark

Peveril Paul and Jamie

Pevril me and king

Peveril end of show

We were all so tired that after a trip down to a pub at the bottom of the hill for a very nice meal Saturday evening we only had a little sit round the campfire before bed.

A really excellent weekend and a great way to finish the Swords of Mercia events for this year. The Sisters still have a few events left before the tents go away for winter :-(

Ellie is now here for a week’s holiday so we may do some days out later in the week, we do have a trip planned to a textile museum en route to moving Jake into a new flat in Middlesbrough.

Hope you have all had a good weekend and thanks for visiting.

Apologies for the lack of posts recently. A very hot and relaxing holiday in Spain followed by one of the best Tewkesbury weekends ever means that blogging time has been severely curtailed.

Anyway here I am with some costume stuff to share and battle pictures courtesy of Pat Patrick who does such a fab job at all events.

Firstly here are the fruits of the sewing weekend we had in Feb. You may remember this being cut out, well it turned into the outfit below that Kerry on the right is wearing.

Tewks -Ellie and Kerry

The one that Ellie wears is a dress Kerry made some years ago. Apologies for the very non-authentic background, my Photoshop skills are not good enough to replace it!

They looked splendid walking round the market in the morning, even though it was very hot they made a sterling effort to look cool and elegant.

We had our newest member Sadie with us and she really enjoyed the battle. We spent a lot of time pointing out to her all the exciting bits, literally as Pat has captured!

You can just see us at the back of these photos – Sadie in green, Ellie in burgundy. me in blue and Kerry in brown, pointing out where our boys are fighting.

Even though it was really hot all day there was quite a rainstorm during the battle but the boys in armour never felt a thing! Here is the King and his retinue – look at that goldwork!

Tewks - battle in rain

Tewks - battle in rain 3

Tewks - battle in rain

A very excellent time and can’t wait for more events. Now on with some further kit making, in the week before Tewkesbury I managed to make a shirt and brais and mend some hose and an arming jack, now on with an arming waistcoat and then I am going to make some kit for me!

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Hello everyone

Hope that you have been enjoying the fantastic weather we have had this week in the UK, I was very glad that the high temperatures we had last week during the working part continued for the fun bit that was Tatton Medieval Festival.

I love this show, it is one of my all time faves for so many reasons, the venue is beautiful and only one hour from home and it is small enough to be friendly and be able to see everyone to say hello but large enough to have a nice market and beer tent and battle – essentials for a good re-enactment weekend ;-)

I bought some new mugs from Jim the potter, am saving the rest of my spends for the big market at Tewkesbury where a new belt and pouch are on the list.

Tatton Pottery

Tatton Pottery 3

We took my latest tent for its first outing, this is a new (bargain) that I bought at the end of last season.

Tatton new tent

I seem to buy new tents in response to extreme weather, the first (new to me) tent last year was after the icy hail storm at Rufford so we had somewhere to all shelter and this one was in response to the 38 degrees at Tewkesbury so we have some shade!

It worked very well, it is a great size tent for just me and Ellie as there is plenty of space for kit and room to stand up and get dressed in. And at only £40 almost brand new it was a great find – it had to be repaired due to a broken zip after it was first bought so Outdoor World were selling it cheap.

It was a really lovely weekend and not only that thanks to Jamie and Sam I have lots of photos to show you as Jamie very kindly posed for some costume pictures and Sam took lots of the battle.

Tatton Jamie soft kit

Tatton Jamie soft kit 2

Tatton Jamie soft kit 3

Jamie is wearing his very smart tunic showing the dagging on the sleeves, dagging was extra material to show how rich you were and was often lobed like this or oak leaf-shaped. He is also wearing his black hood or chaperon over the topic of the tunic and a bicocket hat. The tunic was made by Jackie from Cloak’d and Dagger’d.

As we were taking these pictures along came another very well dressed gent in later period costume (don’t know his real name but he was playing De Massey in the battle).

Tatton Jamie and De Massey

He is wearing a more fitted doublet with puffed sleeves and the later version of the chaperon when it evolved into a hat, complete with dagging and liripipe or tail. This style of outfit is around mid 1400s whereas Jamie’s is mid 1300s.

Here are the battle pics, love the one of Ellie in the smoke and the last couple that Jamie has put some filters on.

Tatton battle 2014

Tatton battle smoke

Andy and Rhys at Tatton

Ellie at Tatton battle

We are off to Spain this weekend – yippee more sun! Have loads more photos to post from various things which I may get chance to do before I go if not will have to have a serious blog update when I get back!

Have fun and thanks for visiting.

Hello there, we have just got back from a lovely (if wet as always) weekend at Ashby de la Zouche Castle where we were doing a show. Over a 1000 people braved the weather this Bank Holiday to come and see us which was very nice of them.

At least it was sunny on Saturday even if Sunday afternoon and packing the tents was a bit wet and cold :-(

The boys in the group have been working really hard all winter on their new kit so I thought you might like to see some pictures of them in their finery.

Luke has adapted his outfit to include chains that hold his horned great helm and his swords so that he can hang the helm from his back as he fights (he wears another smaller helm underneath to fight in).

Ashby 2014 Jamie and Luke

You can see the chains here on this picture of him and our newest member Jamie and again on a picture taken at the last show of all of our knights on the steps of Bolsover Castle. Thanks to Jamie for these next two photos.

Boys at Bolsover 1

This picture below was also taken at Bolsover and you can see more clearly the helmet that Mark our Dragon Knight was wearing for that show which had a St George’s day theme.

Paul in the blue is a wonderful artist and his costume has such detail on it, his belt has stamped and painted lions and the surcoat and shield are all hand painted.

Boys at Bolsover 2

Shane has got a lovely new helmet for this season (yes it does look a bit like a lemon squeezer!) and some new armour – this picture was taken by one of the visitors as I didn’t get chance to get close-ups due to the inclement weather but he has new arm and leg armour in a blue tint and a new armoured surcoat with plates inside it.

Shane in new armour

They were all looking very splendid and I was very proud of them ;-)

We have a packed summer ahead of us which is brilliant. This weekend we are off to Somerset for an event followed by our week visiting National Trust properties and then another two events to finish off June.

I am really looking forward to the months ahead, my teaching finished last week (just some large piles of marking to come) and my lovely group bought me some gift vouchers for a local wool shop which I am really looking forward to spending!

Just about to make up the first of my (no doubt many) Little Cotton Rabbits elephants and have lots and lots of projects planned for summer – going to make the most of the newly sorted craft room.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Hello again, I hope that you have all had a good week.

I have been enjoying another weekend at home and our first at home BBQ of the year, my last weekend here for two weeks as I have shows then a holiday with my friend Kerry!

Last year we took the opportunity to travel round some of the National Trust properties down South after one of our shows and are doing the same again this year going to visit some places in Somerset, Dorset and Devon.

I am so happy that the season has started again, the joys of cooking bacon butties for breakfast outside the tent and meeting lots of lovely people – it is a great way to spend a weekend. Look at this lovely tent owned by one of our friends – wouldn’t you love to camp in this?

Sherwood event -tents 2

Sherwood event -tent detail

The theme of the first show this year was crime and punishment as it was in Sherwood Forest the home of Robin Hood and his band of merry men. We had another great weekend with really lovely weather so lots of people came to see us. It was just a small event with about 8 groups but there was plenty to see in the living history camps.

Sherwood event -tents 3

Sherwood event -tents 1

It was also a very significant first because Ellie came up in Kim and we drove all the way to re-enactment in the car! She did really well as we went on the motorway and she was not at all fazed (even when there was a big lorry trying to come into the lane). I am really proud of her and it was very lovely being driven all the way there (and back as well by my brilliant friend Kerry).

Because of having all this transport we were able to take the medieval tent and some stuff for the display which was a real luxury, am very happy in any tent but to have my medieval one is very special ;-)

We were camped with some friends who were doing weapons and armour talks all weekend and we did our usual headdress and embroidery talks which was a nice complement to their display.

Sherwood event -weapons

This picture shows the camp after the battle with the boys’ arming jacks and paraphernalia everywhere!

Sherwood event -kit

And we had the great excitement of a new recruit to the group at her first event. And not just a new recruit for the main group this is our new sister for our little watercarrying group. Here is Sadie all dressed up and ready to go for her first show.

Sherwood event -Sadie

Sadie works with Ellie at Hardwick and has been sword training for a while but decided she would like to join us as well and she really enjoyed herself, she will be coming to many of our future shows as well.

So here’s to many more sunny weekends to come – don’t really mind it raining during the week as long as it always dries up by Friday ;-)

Thanks for visiting and see you in a couple of weeks.

Hello everyone

I am really enjoying watching the Great British Sewing Bee on BBC 2 – would love to live in that workshop, all that fabric and buttons and beads and cottons! I know I have a lovely craft room but that would be heaven.

Ellie, Kerry and I had our own little sewing bee last weekend and we had a lovely time cutting out new dresses for them so I thought I would show you a few pics to document the process.

We have a fairly untraditional style of garment making which mainly relies on cutting round existing garments to make new ones and adapting the pattern as we go along.

We do sometimes use bits of existing patterns for shaping such as bodices etc but mostly it is a case of cut, pin, try on and alter until it all fits.

I have the following pattern which is useful basic dress one – available from the Simplicity web site

Simplicity Pattern

This is Kerry’s new dress fabric with her green dress laid on top of it for cutting out. I was surprised to see how square it is at the bottom – when on these bits fold in and don’t give that impression at all.

sewing weekend - cutting kerry's dress

Here she is in the original dress last year at Bolsover Castle.

kerry green dress

This is the beautiful fabric with her cutting the back. This new one will have fitted sleeves and tippets unlike the green dress.

sewing weekend - cutting kerry's dress 2

If you want to more about tippets or other styles of medieval women’s costume please visit my page here.

Or if you want to see a real genius at work go and visit my very talented friend Kat’s page as she makes the most amazing costume and headdresses.

Ellie is making a new version of a two coloured peasant dress using the old pale pink from the gores in the new dress. She loves this dress which is one I made about 3 years ago but it is a bit short for her now. Here is the original.

ellie-pink dress

We cut this one using her other peasant dress as a pattern.

sewing weekend

After she had removed the gores from the old dress she stitched up the new dress and voila! Here she is in the nearly completed garment.

sewing weekend - ellie sewing 1

sewing weekend - ellie sewing 2

sewing weekend - ellie in dress

It is a lovely sunny day here, a bit frosty but I have just been doing a bit of gardening to tidy up the back, the crocuses are out and Spring is in the air.

Now to spend the afternoon finishing a dress for another bunny while watching DVDs, I do so love the weekends :-)

Take care and hope you are enjoying yourselves whatever you are doing.

Thanks for visiting.

We spent last weekend at beautiful Caldicot Castle in South Wales, one of my favourite venues and despite a bad forecast and wet weather all the way down we had a lovely weekend with lots of sun.

Here are some of my favourite sights – medieval tents in a sunny castle!

Caldicot Castle 4

Caldicot Castle 3

Caldicot Castle 2

Caldicot Castle

I have found the picture I took at an earlier event of the helm mantle I made, this is the red covering with plaited band in the front of the picture, the orle I made earlier is at the back.

Helm mantle

The Sisters of Mercia, our little watercarrying group, have had a lovely, lovely season, we have really enjoyed ourselves and made some new friends as well as spending time with old ones.

We are really looking forward to next year.

I will leave you with this pic of us – courtesy of our friend Dave, this was taken before going onto the battlefield. Since the very hot Tewkesbury event and the introduction of cold flannels (as well as water and jelly babies :-)) we have been carrying our own flannels.

Sisters at Caldicot

I have titled this picture, ‘Kerry demonstrating to the Sisters the correct use of the cold flannel’ :-) We are obviously listening to her really carefully! It is a skilled job this watercarrying you know.

Thanks for visiting, see you soon.

Hello everyone, hope you in the UK had a very good Bank Holiday weekend.We had a lovely time, a long car journey (well four in total!) gave me lots of chance for knitting and I took my latest rabbit Emily with me so here she is in her new dress at Ludlow Castle this weekend.

Emily really enjoyed her day – as well as the castle she got to look at some of the weapons close up – here she is on my friend Paul’s weapons rack.

Emily at Ludlow

Emily at Ludlow 3

Emily at Ludlow 2

We were going to see some friends at the Battle of the Nations Team UK tournament at Ludlow Castle in Shropshire, intending only to visit on Sunday dressed in kit but watch and not take part.

However within 10 minutes of getting there were in the arena helping give water and sort armour. We had so much fun we decided to go back again on Monday (despite having a 3 hour drive each way – thanks to lovely Kerry for that!).

It was very warm on Monday and the water, cold flannels and jelly babies were much appreciated by the combatants.

Battle of the Nations is a new venture in the UK where teams compete in full contact tournaments, it is amazing to watch with everything from one-to-one timed combat with points scored for hits to large melees with huge numbers where it is literally last man standing who wins.

It is very fast and furious fighting and we loved being part of it and hope to join them at events again next season. Go and visit their website and Facebook page for more info including videos and photos.

Here are a few more pictures of the castle and of the lovely buildings in the town, it is a really pretty place and I would like to go back for a visit to look at things in more detail sometime.

Ludlow

Ludlow castle 1

Ludlow castle 2

Ludlow town 1

Ludlow town 2

Ludlow town 3

As well as Ludlow I got to spend the day in Chesterfield with Ellie and we had a look round the famous church with the twisted spire – will post some pictures of that in a later post.

We also visited all of the fabric, haberdashery and wool shops in the town (well it would be rude not too!) and as well as the wonderful fabric stall on the market enjoyed the button selection at Fred’s Haberdashery where I picked up these little cuties, perfect for bunny dresses!

Bunny buttons

Am looking forward to a quiet weekend at home making medieval kit and have an urge to start on my Xmas ornie stock as well ready for the craft fairs in Nov – never too soon for a bit of Christmas crafting!

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Hello there

Thought I would post a picture of kit I have made recently and tell you about my latest castle visit!

This is my friend Jamie in the shirt I made him, I have lots of requests for shirts now so will be busy in the off-season and will get lots of practise at making holes!

Jamie - new shirt

We did a lovely show this last weekend with some friends, it was a countryside show just outside a town called Bewdley in Worcestershire.

I was dressed as a lady all day (a very rare sight and I didn’t get any pictures!) and Kerry and I did head-dress talks and the boys had a tournament. Luckily the weather was great.

After the show I stayed on for a bit and went castle visiting. This is Stokesay Castle in Shropshire which has been on my wish list to visit for a while.

It is a fortified manor house in most beautiful setting and we had a lovely day.

Stokesay Castle outside 1

Stokesay Castle outside3

Stokesay Castle house

Stokesay Castle House 2

Stokesay Hall

Most of the rooms were bare apart from this very lovely 17th century panelling in the tower.

Stokesay - room 2

Stokesay - room 3

There is also an old church next door with beautiful wall paintings – sadly none of my pics came out well as it was dark.

We did find some old graves with lovely textures on the headstones where the lichen had grown over them

Stokesay church 1

And we finished the day having some very nice cider in a pub in the centre of Bewdley, these are the views of the River Severn.

Bewdley 2

Bewdley 1

I do not have any shows planned for a few weeks now so will be getting on with rabbit knitting, shirt making and some house fettling, I have some bits of painting to do.Will have a new rabbit to show you at the weekend!

Thank you as always for visiting.

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