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Hello there

After a very nice (if a little damp at first) show I stayed on for a couple of days and went on a steam train trip to Bridgnorth in Shropshire.

It was very exciting, I love trains anyway but this was a proper train with proper tickets and lovely little compartments (so much nicer to have privacy and not have to listen to other people on their phones!).

Bewdley Train trip

Bewdley Train 2

Bewdley Train 3

Bewdley Train 4

Bewdley Train 5

Bewdley Train 6

Bewdley Train 7

Bewdley Train Trip

Bewdley Train 11

It was a really sunny day and the view of the River Severn and all of the stations with their flowers made me very glad to live in such a gorgeous country.

Bewdley Train 8

Bewdley Train 9

Bridgnorth was very pretty with lots of little gift shops like this one in the second photo.

Bewdley Train 13

Bewdley Train 14

I particularly like the sentiments in these plaques, some sad things have happened to friends recently which makes you realise how precious time with loved ones is.

I am very lucky to have so much love and support from my family and friends and hope that I can be a support to others.

Bewdley Train 15

Bewdley Train 16

It has lots of historic buildings and a funicular railway to get from the Low Town to the High Town.

Bewdley Train 12

Bewdley Train 18

Bewdley Train 17

Bewdley Train 19

A really excellent day out – accompanied in true British fashion by a few pints of very nice cider and fish and chips for tea!

I have a quiet few days ahead which is lovely, going to be doing some sewing and have made a start on knitting Christmas stockings from the free pattern from Little Cotton Rabbits I used last year – only 133 days until Christmas apparently ;-)

Thanks for visiting and see you soon.

Our last trip while in Germany was to Rothenburg ob de Tauber, a gorgeous medieval walled town on the Romantic Road. Not only was the setting perfect, surrounded by forests and rolling hills and fields, but the town itself was so pretty.

I felt severely underdressed and should really have been wearing traditional dress at least if not a Belle outfit, it really was like stepping back in time.

Bavaria 2014 Rotenburg 2

Not only was it gorgeous but there were so many lovely shops, food, gifts, weapons and armour (and embroidery and Christmas shops as I mentioned in my earlier post). We spent so much time shopping we didn’t get to see all of the town so would love to go back someday for longer.

Bavaria 2014 Rotenburg sausage shop
Bavaria 2014 Rotenburg 1

Bavaria 2014 Rotenburg 4

Bavaria 2014 Rotenburg 3

All of the shops and hotel had beautiful signs outside them as well, this was the weapons’ shop sign.

Bavaria 2014 Rotenburg weapons sign

Bavaria 2014 Rotenburg town hall

The wells in the town had all been decorated for Easter, these were all real eggs, hand painted and they looked beautiful.

Bavaria 2014 Rotenburg eggs 2

Bavaria 2014 Rotenburg eggs 1

Bavaria 2014 Rotenburg eggs 3

A wonderful sunny day out and a perfect end to our trip.

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.

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.

Hello again

As you know we are big fans of castles, we have been lucky enough to camp in the grounds of lots of them and have visited many different types from derelict piles of stones to beautiful Victorian rebuilds (Castle Coch and Cardiff Castle).

But I think this is my favourite so far. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited (and I have been very lucky to go to some amazing places).

Not only the castle itself but the location is stunning. These are the views from Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, built by King Ludwig in the 1880s.

Bavaria 2014 Neuschwanstein 7

The yellow castle you can see is his father’s castle and these are pictures of the one he built.

Bavaria 2014 Neuschwanstein 6

Bavaria 2014 Neuschwanstein 5

Bavaria 2014 Neuschwanstein 4

 

Bavaria 2014 Neuschwanstein 3

Bavaria 2014 Neuschwanstein 2

Sadly he only got to live in the castle for a short while before he died. The inside is amazing as well – wonderful wall paintings of Wagner’s operas and goldwork that you wouldn’t believe on all the furnishings.

No photos allowed of the inside as expected but thanks to the miracle of Google images I did find these to show you of the bedroom, great hall and king’s chamber.

Castle interiors

Neuschwanstein_Castle_Singers_Hall-600x450

Neuschwanstein-Castle-interior-600x413

And there are some amazing shots taken by helicopter, look at this one of the castle in Winter – fairytale or what? I now have a mousemat with one of these photos to remind me of the beauty whilst at work.

neuschwanstein_castle_germany_winter-600x450

Will show you some more of the trip later – meanwhile am still enjoying living in my beautiful Marsden as well until I can afford a castle like that, look at this for a gorgeous sunset, picture from the local group Facebook page.

Marsden Sunset pic from FB

Thanks for visiting.

Hello there

A rainy Saturday in Yorkshire (again) just right for a bit of a catch up on photo editing and blogging.

We had a really lovely weekend in Sherwood for our first event, the sun shone, I got a bit brown and lots of people came to see us. More about that in a later post as I have some beautiful places to show you. There were also some fab doors – look at these from Nuremberg ! And lovely old churches – the bottom picture is of one in the town where we stayed – Langenau.

Bavaria 2014 Nuremburg church door 2

Bavaria 2014 Nuremburg door

Bavaria 2014 Langenau Church

The holiday we went on was called Beautiful Bavaria and they weren’t wrong. It was my first ever trip to Germany and I will definitely go back. What a gorgeous country full of all the things that I love best, mountains, castles and old medieval towns.

It was stunning and I felt like I had landed in a Disney film set a lot of the time, all the inspiration for his Fantasy Lands at the Disney parks obviously came from this gorgeous architecture.

This was our first trip solely by coach, we went with this company, Shearings, to Italy two years ago but flew that time. It was a great experience being able to see lots of Europe, we caught the ferry from Dover and went through France, Belgium and all the way down to Bavaria, stopping in Belgium overnight each way.

Lots of time to stare out of the window (how I love not driving!) and lots of time for knitting – perfect! We had a great driver/guide who had researched lots about Germany history and so we learnt so much while we were there. The sort of holiday we all really enjoy.

Our first day trip was to Nuremberg which was very lovely, they have done a great job of rebuilding what was damaged during the war and the castle, churches and beautiful old buildings look perfect now. Below is the church in the city square with its famous clock.

Bavaria 2014 Nuremburg church clock

The pictures below show the inside of one of the other churches where there was the most gorgeous little door (think it would have held an icon originally) as well as this casket in gold and silver.

Bavaria 2014 Nuremburg church door

Bavaria 2014 Nuremburg church casket

And the usual wonderful religious art (not as much as in Florence but that is the Reformation for you!)

Bavaria 2014 Nuremburg church painting

There was the most beautiful fountain in the city square as well and we made  a wish by twisting a gold ring in the ironwork. We also ate sausage and sauerkraut, I had a German beer (the kids liked the sausages but not the other things!)

Bavaria 2014 Nuremburg 1

 

Bavaria 2014 Nuremburg 2

Bavaria 2014 Nuremburg fountain

We visited the castle which had a great museum, this crown (which I think belonged to Charlemagne) was very impressive and the boys from my medieval group would love to get their hands on these weapons.

Bavaria 2014 Nuremburg crown

Bavaria 2014 Nuremburg castle weapons

This is the chapel in the castle which was very simple but lovely. It was a brilliant trip and I have more pictures for you later. Meanwhile hope you are having a lovely weekend and thanks for visiting.

Bavaria 2014 Nuremburg castle

Hello everyone

Just a quick post about our trip to Bavaria and look what Jake found! Here he is with his bear (admittedly a stuffed one) in the Steiff Teddy Bear Museum which was an unexpected bonus to a fab trip away.

Bavaria 2014 Jake with bear

The holiday was ace – you know when you see pictures of a place and think that it can’t be that nice, well it was. Bavaria is beautiful, full of castles, mountains, cute little villages and medieval towns and we had a whistle-stop tour of some of the loveliness.

It was like being in a real life Disney Fantasy Land – with free wine as we had another all-inclusive hotel deal ha ha. And I got to knit all the way through Europe as we had hours on the coach so I was very happy :-)

The pictures below show the amazing Neuschwanstein Castle and the town of Rotenberg ob de Tauber.

Bavaria 2014 Neuschwanstein 1

 

Bavaria 2014 Rotenburg

Would love to go back and explore more sometime. Have so many beautiful things to share with you but this is just an interim post as have no time this week, off for our first event in Sherwood Forest this weekend so in between  work, getting ready for that and the finishing of another bunny for a special baby am very short of time.

Have a lovely weekend ahead and thanks for visiting.

Hello everyone, apologies in advance as this is a very picture heavy post but I have some fab 17th century embroidery to show you!

We visited mainly smaller Tudor properties this week, not by design just those that were local to us (and open on the right days!). We still have many more on our wish list to do :-)

The first was one I have had on my list for a while Little Moreton Hall in Cheshire, a very lovely Tudor house which as you can see from the pictures has suffered through the years and has needed extensive structural work to keep it from falling down!

Little Moreton Hall

Moreton 2

Moreton 3

Moreton 4

Moreton 5

The second was East Riddlesden Hall in Keighley, not only a beautiful little house but also home to some gorgeous embroidery.

East Riddlesden Hall

ERH 2

Look at all these beautiful pictures.

ERH 6

East Riddlesden Hall

ERH 8

ERH 9

Sadly their sampler display was not available due to a ceiling collapse in that room so I will return to see that sometime.

There was also some lovely embroidery that had been done for the displays by local women, this blackwork beadspread and crewel work hangings date from the 1920s.

ERH 11

ERH 10
And some fantastic plaster ceilings.

ERH 3

ERH 4

ERH 5

The last one we visited was Gawthorpe Hall near Burnley, this is a mini Hardwick Hall in design and is home to the Rachel Kay Shuttleworth needlework collection. A small part of her 28,000 pieces were on display.Rachel lived in the house in the 1950s and was a passionate needlewoman.

There were no photos allowed in the house but there is an excellent blog with online gallery and details of the textile courses they run.

Gawthorpe Hall

Gawthorpe 2

A very textilicious holiday with lots of inspiration for me!

Now back to the real world of work with just a few bits of stitching a week to keep me sane :-)

Thanks as always for visiting, I will be off to Ashby de La Zouche Castle next weekend for a show with Swords of Mercia so if you are in the area come along and say hello!

Hello again

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).

Bourton

Bourton 2

Bourton 3

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.

Snowshill

Snowshill 3

Snowshill 4

Snowshill 5

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!

Snowshill textiles

Snowshill textiles 2

Snowshill textiles 3

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.

Snowshill textiles 4

Snowshill textiles 5

Snowshill textiles 6

A lovely day out – and all in the best of English summer sunshine!

Thanks for visiting, more historic loveliness soon!

Hello everyone

Well the snow has almost gone here in Yorkshire apart from bits on the hills, we have Spring flowers appearing and have had a couple of warm days recently so we are all feeling very happy!

One of my favourite parts of the China Nationalities Museum that I visited while in Beijing was the exhibition of needlework, this sign outside perfectly captures how I, (and it would seem the museum organisers), feel about stitching!

China Nationalities Museum Sign

There were themed displays of footwear (including the very sad lotus feet shoes for bound feet), bags, headwear and gifts – these little embroidered tokens of love and affection are called henbao.

China Nationalities Museum Henbao

China Nationalities Museum Boots

China Nationalities Museum Lotus feet shoes

I was interested to see cross stitch and patchwork in the bags as well as the more traditional Chinese silk embroidery.

China Nationalities Museum Cross Stitch bag

China Nationalities Museum Cross Stitch bag 2

China Nationalities Museum Cross Stitch bag 3

China Nationalities Museum Patchwork bag

There was also a section devoted to needlework tools – anyone remember these pincushions at the top of the photo?

My Nana had one when I was little (as well as the tomato one with the strawberry emery attached).

China Nationalities Museum Pincushion

In another part of the museum there were some displays of traditional Miao people costume, with beautiful silver headdresses and embroidered robes.

Each strand of the skirt is a separate piece joined with silver beads.

China Nationalities Museum Miao

China Nationalities Museum Miao 2

China Nationalities Museum Miao 3

China Nationalities Museum Miao 4

I have had a busy week craft wise, have finished and posted my Spring ornament for the Seasonal Exchange, part made two bags out of recycled denim and pillowcases and been to two knitting groups (though more drinking coffee and wine was done than actual knitting – as usual!)

And next week the season starts again! They joy of seeing all my re-enactment friends and camping and campfires and BBQs – I shall be so happy :-)

I must get around to putting up the events page for this year but next weekend we are at Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire - on Sat and Sun celebrating the victory of St George over the evil Dragon Knight! Please come and join us if you can.

Take care and thank you for visiting.

Hello everyone

Hope that you are all well and happy.

Seems longer than week ago that I was in Spain with those lovely blue skis :-)

My Mum had surprise day trip planned for me, I thought that it was going to be  a new museum of religious art or a fab church but it turned out to be this amazing art deco house in a little town called Novelda, about an hour away from where she lives in the mountains. She discovered it in a DK book that my brother and sister-in-law bought her and first went to visit it last October.

Spain has a lot of Art Deco and Modernist art and I have seen many very lovely things, mainly fabulous doors and ironwork but this was really special.

If you didn’t know it was there you would not really notice the house, the facade is lovely but it is tucked away in a little street in the centre of the town and from the front it looks to be quite a small property but it stretches back a long way and like many Spanish houses it has a Moorish influenced courtyard garden inside the house.

The wonderful thing about the house is that most of the rooms are furnished with original Art Deco furniture and it looks so lived in.

The house is called Casa Modernista and was built between 1900 and 1903 – the DK travel web site  has info on location and times info . It is well worth a visit if you ever find yourself in the area.

Spain Casa Modernista

Spain Casa Modernista 2

Spain Casa Modernista 3

Spain Casa Modernista 4

Spain Casa Modernista 5

Spain Casa Modernista 6

Spain Casa Modernista 7

Spain Casa Modernista 8

After lunch (tapas at a lovely little cafe round the corner) we had a little wander around the town and the market and then set off to find a church, St Mary Magdelene’s Sanctury and castle that we could see from the town and that Mum went to on her last trip there. After a few false starts and lots of communing with the locals we found it and it was really beautiful.

As far as we could work out it was built in the early 1900s and reminded me very much of Gaudi’s Sagrada Famila that I was lucky enough to visit a few years ago in Barcelona – on a much smaller scale. A very interesting church and look at those wonderful blue skies! These pictures were taken on the 4th of January!

Spain- Novelda Church 1

Spain- Novelda Church 2

Spain- Novelda Church 3

Spain- Novelda Church 4

So back to reality this week, a busy week at work but I had knitting group and a lovely relaxing weekend crafting and cooking so it was not all bad ;-)

I have been working hard at creating new stock to take the craft centre, have some new heart ornaments made from recycled charity shop finds that I am just finishing off so will post them next weekend.

I have finished my hat – in beautiful James Brett variegated wool, this was an adaptation of a pattern that I had as a freebie booklet from a knitting mag. I changed the stocking stitch with Fair Isle main part for moss stitch with a stocking stitch crown when I realised how hard it was going it be to do the decreases for the crown shaping in moss stitch.

New hat Jan 2

New hat Jan 1

I am very pleased that it turned out so well and that I now have the confidence to play around with patterns like this. It is very warm and lovely and I just cast on for another one in the purple version of this wool.

This will be followed by matching scarves and possibly wristwarmers in both colourways , at some point in between everything else I want to do. I have still not managed to win the lottery so unfortunately crafting is still subsidiary to my day job – is just lucky I really enjoy what I do!

Exciting job related news – my next trip to China has been confirmed. I will be leaving for Beijing at the end of Feb for two weeks of teaching followed by a few days of exploring the city.I am so lucky, life is wonderful at the moment and I am so enjoying myself.

Like most of the rest of the UK it has been snowing overnight – not as much as I expected but here is the view from my window this morning.Hopefully it will last until the weekend when I can go for a walk on the snowy moors!

Snowy Marsden Jan

Hope that you have a good week ahead and thanks for visiting.

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