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We had a great time at Ashby de la Zouche and amazingly apart from light drizzle on Sunday it didn’t rain! This was Sunday evening before we sat round the campfire – just beautiful.

Ashby May 2015

Ashby May 2015 Castle in sun 2

Ashby May 2015 Castle in sun 3

Jamie’s new surcoat was finished just in time on Friday – it took a lot longer than expected because of the lining which I had to do 3 times before I got it right. At least I have learnt from the experience and will not attempt to machine sew one in next time as it is too bulky.

I have had lots of compliments on it and a couple of requests for others so will be making more. I am going to update my, ‘Making a surcoat page’, when I get chance as I know that always gets lots of visitors.

I was especially pleased that not only did the individual squares match up the front and back did as well and the part squares at either side.

Ashby May 2015 Jamie 2

Ashby May 2015 Jamie 3

Ashby May 2015 Jamie 4

The boys did some action shots for me as well.

Ashby May 2015 Luke and Jamie 1

Ashby May 2015 Luke and Jamie 2

Ashby May 2015 Luke and Jamie 3

It never ceases to amaze me the attention to detail that the boys in our medieval group pay to their kit, even though they know it will get battered and worn they spend so much effort making it look lovely, they are real works of art.

Here are some more pictures of Luke with his new brigandine or coat of plates, behind the leather are metal plates for protection.

Ashby May 2015 Luke brig detail 1

Ashby May 2015 Luke detail 3

Ashby May 2015 Luke brig detail 2

Ashby May 2015 Luke brig detail 3

I love the decorated rivets and am going to try to get some of these for a belt for Ellen.

Ashby May 2015 Luke detail 1

Ashby May 2015 Luke detail 2

Ashby May 2015 Luke 1

Ashby May 2015 Luke with sword

Here is Shane’s beautiful arm armour and our King – Edward the second (or Clive in real life) whose costumes are always amazing, he has a new crowned helmet for this season which is very impressive.

Ashby May 2015 Shane detail

Ashby May 2015 King 1

Ashby May 2015 King detail 1

Ashby May 2015 King detail 2

Ashby May 2015 King detail 3

This week’s task is to make a shirt before the event next weekend – should be a simple job and at least I do have a very long car journey to finish the hand stitching!

Have fun and see you all again soon, thanks for visiting.

Well I hope that you all had a lovely weekend as we had an excellent time at our first show of the year at Bolsover Castle. The sun shone almost all the time apart from a very heaver shower on Saturday, luckily just as our slot finished, which allowed us to test the new waterproofing on the awning :-)

We were there doing a St George’s event with a number of other groups including the wonderful Atkinson’s Action Horses who we have seen before a couple of year’s ago doing their dressage display at Bolsover.

William Cavendish who built the castle was a very keen horseman and the riding stables have been restored and are used for a display of 17th century horsemanship by the group.

This weekend the group were displaying combat training and stunt riding and there were some brilliant flips and rides alongside the horse either horizontal or vertical while still holding on and the incredible riding of two horses at once.

They do stunt work for lots of TV shows and films and we saw the horse that has been used in Poldark which was very exciting! Go and have a look at their web site to see pictures of the stunts.

As well as all that there was us with the usual weapons and armour talks, head dress talks  and combat , this time with a difference as it was with dragons!

Sadly not Game of Thones standards but two of our members Jamie and Trevor did a brilliant job dressing in dragon costumes to thrill the crowd.

It was also an outing for the new costume we have been working on. I can’t take credit for Jamie’s new outfit apart from the material which I gave him as the gown was made by Jackie from Cloaked and Daggered   and he looks very lovely in it. Here he is on the left of this picture with Luke.

Bolsover St George

Bolsover St Gerge 2

And here are James, Trevor and Richard – looking not quite so fine and dandy but very happy in their peasants’ outfits.

Bolsover St Gerge 3

Ellie I can take some credit for, she has had this gown and coat for a number of years, we bought it from a friend who had it made by the genius that is Kat from Kats Hats. Ellie had outgrown the gown so I altered it, removing two of the coat panels to make new sleeves.

Bolsover St George - Ellie

Bolsover St Gerge 5

Bolsover St Gerge 6

Bolsover St Gerge 7
I am planning to make a matching torque head dress similar to the black one that she is wearing in the picture which was one of my earliest makes.

She had many compliments on the outfit and had her picture taken with lots of children who wanted to be with the ‘princess’! It is lovely to wear being made of silk velvet which is a very fine material and looks beautiful on her.

So back to reality this week with the start of teaching term and a few weekends at home to make more kit!
Take care and thanks as always for visiting.

As re-enactors we spend a lot of time trying to be as authentic as we can when it comes to costume, most of it we make ourselves and so we visit churches to see effigies, look at manuscripts and illustrated bibles to try and get clues about things.

The best source is always a portrait but sadly those are very rare for the early 1300s which is the era we do most of the time.

The Tudor period is luckily a different situation as it was very fashionable to have your portrait painted so there are lots of lovely examples and Mum and I really enjoyed the paintings saw at Frederiksborg Castle.

Although I don’t make Tudor costume myself my lovely friend Kat does and Ellie has her costumed volunteers at Hardwick Hall so I still like to look at these and take pictures for them to use.

One day when I have more time I would love to re-enact this period if only for the blackwork I can wear so all of this research will come in useful.

Just look at these wonderful examples of beaded headwear, lace and jewellery. All of these ladies lived from the mid 1500s to mid 1600s and are members or relatives of the Danish Royal family at that time.

Copenhagen Costume

Copenhagen Costume 11

Copenhagen Costume 12

Copenhagen Costume 13

Copenhagen Costume 14

Copenhagen Costume 15

Copenhagen Costume 16

Copenhagen Costume 17

Copenhagen Costume 18

What really struck me was just how similar the fashions were to our Tudor and Elizabethan fashions of the time, I had not expected there to be so much similarity across Europe in dress.

We were also very impressed with the way that costume had been used in the interpretation for the children. The whole of the old wine cellar was devoted to an exhibition of the life of Christian 4th of Denmark who was born in 1577 at Frederiksborg Castle.

The best thing about the exhibition was that portraits of the young prince and his family had been used to recreate costume that children could try on.

They were elaborate and very authentic reproductions from the front with splits and ties at the back which would be easy to try on but also in a range of sizes so every child could try on something.

There were boys’ as well as girls’ costume, plus mini armour and a photo area with drapes to make it look like a portrait background.

Copenhagen Costume

Copenhagen Costume 2

Copenhagen Costume 3

Copenhagen Costume 4

Copenhagen Costume 5

Copenhagen Costume 6

Copenhagen Costume 7

This one was our favourite – the portrait at the back shows the King’s family and there are four dresses to try on with head dresses as there were three daughters in the portrait.

This is a photo of the painting from the National Museum of Denmark’s website.

Christian's family

Copenhagen Costume 8

Genius idea and there were lots of children enjoying the displays which also included food displays and an area where they could practise writing with a quill pen and colour pictures of costume.

I showed all of this to Ellie as inspiration for her interpretation as although I have seen costume in properties I have visited in the UK nothing has been done on this scale.

We have our first re-enactment event of the season this weekend at Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire  so if you are in the area please come and say hello.

There is plenty to see and do and there may well be dragons involved at some point as the theme for the weekend is the celebration of St George’s Day. It has been beautiful weather here this week so we hope it will continue for the weekend :-)

Have a good weekend whatever you do and thanks for visiting.

Hello again

We (as in Ellie, Kerry, Sadie and I) promised ourselves at the end of last season in September that we would not spend the winter as we usually do talking about all of the things we were going to make but meet up more regularly to make things.

So we met again this weekend at my house for a second sewing weekend. This also included a little evening out to introduce Sadie to the delights of Marsden.

I am exempt from having to make any large things as I am hostess so I feed and provide equipment and guidance if needed while the others get on with their stuff.

It was a very successful weekend with Kerry finishing two linings to go under her corset , working on a pair of cuffs for her gloves for next season and revising a dress.

Ellie and Sadie both made shifts which were nearly finished by yesterday evening apart from the hand finishing of the seams. Here Ellie is hard at work and later modelling her creation (excuse the lack of light – winter in Yorkshire!)

Sewing day Nov -Ellie

Sewing day Nov -Ellie 2

She has had her hair cut short which looks very lovely and donated the hair to a children’s cancer charity for making wigs for kids undergoing chemotherapy.

Sadie was using her machine for the first time and it all went very well!

Sewing day Nov -Sadie

Since we do so much work for English Heritage ( who have very strict guidelines on costume) we machine sew main seams then fold the seam allowance over and ‘stab stitch’ through to neaten the seams.

This also hides the overlocking on the edge of the material. I usually then oversew the seams, both to cover up the machining and to provide extra strength.

Some of the garments like shifts and hose and brais (the men’s undergarments) get a lot of wear and tear, particularly when worn under armour and this helps strengthen the seams. All hems are handstitched.

I did manage to finish a couple of things – hexis of course! Here are two of my latest Christmas ornaments using a slightly bigger hexi and making two hexi flowers which are sewn together.

Sewing day Nov - hexi ornie

 

Sewing day Nov -ornie 2

The flower for the backing is plain fabric with a patterned centre square.

This is a great way of using up little scraps from my Christmas fabric stash. Some of the fabric that I am using now I have had for years and am getting to the end of it so this is a very economical method as well as being very enjoyable :-)

I am also making good progress with all of my hand-made gifts (though there will no doubt be a mad dash as usual at the end – luckily some don’t have to be finished until the 29th when I go to Spain!).

Below are the finished pincushion and needlebook. The scissor keep to finish the set is almost done, just needs the buttons and cord added.

Sewing day Nov -needlebook

Sewing day Nov -needlebook 2

Of course the great excitement later this week is the visit to Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show! I have set myself quite a strict budget which I intend to spend on charm packs and buttons.

There may just be some pictures of fabric in my next post :-)

Meanwhile stay happy and thanks for visiting.

Well this is unbelievably my 400th post so I thought I would celebrate by inviting you to like this post and I will pick a winner who will receive their choice of handmade small from anything they have seen on my site.

It could be a pincushion, brooch, scissor keep, needlebook, Christmas ornament, pouch, compact case, phone or kindle case etc. Please click like and then I will choose one person and contact them and ask what sort of fabric colours you would like for the gift. I will pick a winner in 2 weeks – on Sunday 5th Oct.

We have had a busy weekend sewing – Jamie, Ellie and Kerry have been here and we have been making shifts and coifs for the girls and a tabard to go over Jamie’s new armour (due next year).

Sewing weekend - Jamie tabard

Sewing weekend - Jamie tabard 2

This is a work in progress but you get the general idea, it is made of wool and will be lined with red linen.

It won’t have the pleat in as we were just working on length. This picture shows Jamie hard at work making the pattern for the dagging on the white part of the tabard which involved drawing round a wineglass!

Sewing weekend -Jamie cutting

Kerry had also made a new head-dress – a coronet, she is very talented and creates the most wonderful stuff out of very everyday materials and ‘found’ jewellery.

Sewing weekend - Kerry coronet

Sewing weekend - Kerry coronet

ewing weekend - Elle pinning

I have been making more flower brooches –  the one below from a charity shop broderie anglaise skirt that I have also used for phone covers etc. and these other ones from stash fabric.

Sewing weekend - brooches

Sewing weekend - brooches

Ellie brought me a present as well – the best sort – vintage fabric, look at this beautiful lace that someone had given her to go to a good home! I think I shall add it to the things I am going to use for the bee quilt inspired cushion I mentioned a couple of posts ago.

Sewing weekend - lace from Ellie

Term starts next week and I have a submission due for my doctorate (which I have written but may need more work) so I am going to be doing very little else but work for the next few weeks.

I have saved lots of the lovely National Trust textile pictures to post about while production slows down here at Maison Ryan ;-)

Thanks as always for visiting and don’t forget to click like!

Well we had a brilliant weekend away at the Mortimer’s Cross event at Hampton Court Castle.

I knew it was going to be a fab weekend when after a very pleasant train journey spent sewing more flower brooches I ended up pitching my little tent in a field with this view and settling down to a cold cider and my last evening meal in the open air for this year. A lovely end to a busy week.

Hampton Court camping

Hampton Court 2-camping

The weather was perfect and so I had a wander round the gardens on Saturday in between the two battles.

Hampton Court  -gardens

Hampton Court 4 -gardens

Hampton Court 5-gardens

Hampton Court 6-gardens

Hampton Court 7-gardens

Hampton Court 8-gardens

We then had a tour of the castle before tea (contemplating how we would redecorate if we bought it as it is currently up for sale at only £9 million).

Hampton Court  - castle

Hampton Court 10-castle

This is my new friend Angela who I first met at the Caldicot event.

Hampton Court 11- castle

I would keep these fabulous light fittings, they reminded me of the William Burges designs at Cardiff Castle.

Hampton Court 12- castle

Hampton Court 13- castle

Hampton Court 14- castle

Hampton Court 15- castle

Hampton Court 16- castle

There were two bands on Saturday night including a wonderful Celidh band with an excellent fiddle player so we danced lots and stayed up far too late really ;-)

Sunday was more of the same, the weather held and the two battles that day were even better, everyone making the most of the last event.

Hampton Court battle

Hampton Court battle 2

Standing on the field with the guns going off and arrows raining down I couldn’t have been happier. Such a lovely time and an excellent way to end a very good season.

You can tell how happy I am in this picture as it looks like I am dancing with these two friends in armour. Thanks to Pat for the battle photos, he did a brilliant job as always of capturing the action for us.

Hampton Court battle 3

This has to be my fave picture of the season, another one of Pat’s photos – a friend captioned this as ‘now we know that gunners have hearts!’

Hampton Court battle 4 - guns

Looking forward to our first off-season kit making weekend, the Sisters Kerry and Ellie plus friend Jamie will be here.There will be linen everywhere and hopefully completed shifts at the end of it!

Meanwhile there are more brooches and Christmas ornaments to be made, what would life be without fabric and wool?

Thanks for visiting and look out for the next post which will be a very special one as it my 400th so I will be having a little giveaway!

Hello everyone

Am having a lovely relaxing Sunday making more brooches so thought I would show you the product of my labours. Yesterday I had a busy day, housework and general fettling and a very nice (if a little damp) walk with Ted, my friend’s dog.

We went picking blackberries, I am of course better than Ted at this as he doesn’t have opposable thumbs but he is very friendly companion and I am now getting to chat with lots of the dog owners of my village!

The blackberries went into the first of this season’s crumbles with some mango and plums from my fruit and veg box delivery that I get weekly from the local deli and very delicious it is too.

Here are two more brooches. I have adapted the design to use 6 petals so that I can have different colour combinations.

Brooches and beads 3

Brooches and beads 4

This one above is made from some of the fabric I bought from the quilt shop in Hebden Bridge, the darker fabric is part of the Downton Abbey range and is the Dowager’s Paisley in Purple.

The cream one I don’t have a name for, it has a very pretty print on the background so I am making two more of these as Xmas pressies as I think they work well together. Cotton Patch  has a good range of Downtown Abbey fabrics in metre lengths or fat quarters and charm packs.

Brooches and beads 5

This one is made with Liberty Tana Lawn in Mark Paisley, the teal and blue colourway and is the fabric that came with my brooch kit from Teazle. This online fabric site Alice Caroline has lots of Tana Lawn in different sized pieces.

Last weekend I met a very nice lady at Caldicot called Helen who makes the most gorgeous beaded jewellery. I bought these two beautiful designs from her, I think they look just as good on the back as the front and think they would look great on a medieval pouch or head-dress.

Brooches and beads

Brooches and beads 2

Her design company is called Bristol Beadery  and she has an Etsy shop where she also sells lots of bracelets etc. Lovely ideas for presents.

I have just discovered the joys of Netflix on my laptop ( a little late I know ) but have been watching back to back episodes of my favourite Supernatural series.

I had just finished Season 8 yesterday when Netflix suggested that I might like to watch Orange is the New Black and I am now hooked, fantastic series and one I can very much relate to as every year I have trainee teachers who work in prisons.

So I will be mainly on the sofa for the rest of the day surrounded by my craft materials and essential tea of course.

Brooches and beads 6

My daughter Ellie has a blog about her work for the National Trust called a View from my Attic – maybe I should call mine a view from my sofa since I do spend a lot of time here crafting ;-)

A little note about links in my blog, I am not sponsored or paid in any way for the links that I put, just that lots of times people have asked me where I get things that I use so I always put links in to sources for material and patterns etc to help others find stuff.

Have a lovely rest of the weekend and thanks for visiting.

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.

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