On Tuesday I left the tranquility of Appleby to travel to the medieval town or York, about 1.5 hours to the south west, to welcome twenty needleworkers and our star tutors Alison Cole and Meredith Willett for the second installment of our All England Tour series.
The beauty of living in a rural town is our connection with nature and the seasons, which has been and continues to be a great inspiration for artists and designers.
As the magnificent trees start to see their leaves take on the golden glory of British autumn, the nation celebrates the wonderful apple. And the start of a new season is the perfect time to start a new needlework project, and what better design than our Elizabethan Oakapple?
These beautiful tartan needlepoints were recently completed by Sandra McFarlane and Pamela Clarkson, who attended the Scottish Highlands Tour in August.
The canvases, which were hand-painted with the MacGregor tartan, were provided by our tutor Meredith Willett who also taught a silk and metal thread design during formal teaching hours (this was much too fiddly to stitch while travelling!). Phillipa taught a beautiful crewel work piece in a deep blue wool. You ca read about all the projects from this tourhere.
For some time we have been working with our Seat Frame manufacture to fix a design fault on the bolt mechanism between the hoop and the stalk. In order to use the frame comfortably, one MUST have nice sturdy hoop, which means the bolt needs to stand up to frequent tightening. Unfortunately, as some of you will have noticed, it sometimes fails such scrutiny and you end up with a droopy hoop.
Although we have only just come down from the excitement of the Scottish Highlands Tour, we are already looking forward to our next one! Beginning in just a few weeks the All England Tour, Part II will take us from York to Windsor exploring needlework treasures in the East of England. We can't wait!
We are particularly looking forward to meeting needlework historian Dr Lynn Hulse, who will lecture on Embroidered Garments and Accessories of the Tudor and Jacobean Periods during the tour.
The Scottish Highlands & Islands Needlework Tour has begun and I have a few days to catch up on so brace yourselves for a few blog posts back to back as I throw out there all the juicy photos we've been taking over the first week.
I recently returned from the beautiful Islands of Scotland, having completed the final checks for our needlework retreat beginning in a few days. This was the last of three trips we have made over the past year to make sure everything is in order and expectations are met for our small group of needlework enthusiasts when they arrive on Tuesday. It seems like an age ago that we first started building this itinerary and I am quite thrilled by what we have in store most of which we have kept a secret until now.
We are pleased to welcome our new tutor to Lady Anne's Needlework Retreats, Mandy Ewing. Originally from Cumbria, Mandy completed the Royal School of Needlework Apprenticeship in 1995 in London and taught for the RSN and worked in the RSN Studio as a studio embroider and then for a period of time the Studio Manager, overseeing a wide variety of commissions.
It's a rare thing to be able to actually visit the needlework stores and destinations you hear about in other countries. It's almost like seeing a famous person in the street, you get slightly tingly. This is how I felt when I walked into three needlework destinations in San Francisco that I'd heard much about from Mum but never visited myself
I have been lucky enough over my career to have been in the presence of some fabulous historic embroideries. But none have taken my breath away quite so much a the crewel work bed hangings at Muncaster Castle. We are delighted to open our interest list for the Muncaster Bed Hanging, our new project design soon to be replacing the Glasgow Bedspread!
At the Crewel Work Company we share a passion for historic needlework and for enabling others to enjoy historic designs through our kits and retreats. Our activities in the needlework world bring us into contact with incredible historic textile collections all over Britain. The people responsible for these collections are part of a network of custodians all over the country who work tremendously hard to house, treasure and celebrate historic needlework.
If you are looking for something unique and definitely not on the tourist trail whilst also enjoying your needlework, you can rest assured you will find it on Lady Anne's Retreats. It would be almost impossible to achieve the experiences guests enjoy on our retreats as a lone traveller.
We are counting down to our next adventures with excitement as we make the final checks and preparations for our Scottish Highlands and Islands tour in August and All England Part II retreat in September.
Andie uses traditional, natural dyeing processes and is dedicated to producing hand embroidery thread and fine knitting wool in Ariège, France. We caught up with her recently as we release three new redwork kits (which come with a FREE redwork Rabbit kit until the end of June) containing Andie's wonderful natural Cochineal-dyed wool.
We are currently working on a new project kit to be released in the Autumn. This kit will feature a section from a large bed hanging from an original 17th century Jacobean Bed Hanging in the collection at Muncaster Castle.
Jenny Adin-Christie is an exceptional embroidery tutor and designer and is widely known in the global stitching community for her intricate features, impeccable detail and perfect finishing. Her international reputation is why we are so pleased she is part of ourLady Anne’s Needlework Retreats.
After what can only be described as a pre-summer summer here in England in February, we entered March with much cooler weather. As we were counting down the final days to the retreat it became clear that the rain wasn't going to let up.
While one might have wished the sun to return, in fact this is quite the most ideal weather for a residential retreat. With the perfect excuse to stay indoors, we could settle into long hours of stitching and watch the blustery wet weather from the comfort of our cosy hotel.
Nicola Jarvis is well-known in the needlework community for her beautiful designs featuring animals, birds and flora. You may remember her Dove Cottage Sampler from the 2018 Spring Residential or have even stitched one of her iconic bird designs, which showcase her immaculate and creative modern crewel work.
We are delighted to introduce Nicola Fairhurst of the Royal School of Needlework as a Lady Anne's Needlework Tutor. Nicola is our 2019 New Talent! Nicola recently received a donation from us to support her studies and help launch her career as a fully-fledged professional embroidery tutor.
We are very excited to soon be releasing a new Crewel, Silk & Goldwork kit - Shakespeare's Bird & Strawberries, a replica 16th/17th century bible cover from The Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust Museum in Stratford-Upon-Avon.
I met Sarah Rakestraw on Tuesday morning when she presented me with a box full of gold and silver threads, wound specially for our new range of Elizabethan kits. The quality of these threads is instantly apparent. They were heavy in my hand and I could sense the vibrancy of the silver and gold within, itching to get out and show off their affluence. The care, expertise and attention to detail used to produce these threads is phenomenal and it is this reason Phillipa and Laura chose Sarah to supply the metal threads for their first foray into Gold Work kits. Like their Crewel Work Kits, the materials simply have to be the best.
We have one copy of Sarah Rakestraw and Susan Hinde's Glorious Goldwork to giveaway. To enter the competition, just comment below or on today's post on our Facebook page about your experience with Goldwork. All comments qualify so there's no right answer, just tell us how you feel about Goldwork!
Sometimes in life you're at the right place at the right time. This happened to me In 1999 when I was at Glamis Castle in Scotland, studying the needlework in The Queen Mother's apartments within the castle.
Zinaida Kazban is a bright young star in a new generation of hand embroiderers emerging from the Royal School of Needlework'sFuture Tutors Programme. She is also our 2018 "New Talent" selected by the School to be sponsored by Lady Anne's Needlework Retreats in her graduating year and as she makes her first steps into the wide world of professional hand embroidery.
Phillipa's visit to the V&A's Clothworkers Museum in London
I was so excited to see legendary examples of crewel work from the past 400 years that I literally could not sleep the night before my recent trip to the V&A repository. At 3.00am I looked out of my bedroom window and in the incredibly bright full moon witnessed Mikey our cat defending the rockery from a spring toad. I left the next morning for London in full confidence that he would defend the house in the same manner while I was away.
Thank you to Anne Parsons for sharing her finished Elizabethan Oakapple Tree. Anne has done a fabulous job on this tricky design, particularly on the tree truck, which she has expertly filled with dense rows of stem stitch.
I've still got so much to do on this cushion! The 19th May is looming and I haven't finished one side yet! Luckily I have Laura on my back asking me for catch-up videos every second minute so here are all of them so far. How are you all doing?
Nicola Jarvis is widely known in the global stitching community for her beautiful embroidery kits featuring ornate birds, animals and flowers. You might know her best however for her iconic bird designs, which she decorates in an incredible variety of techniques and colours.
We are so excited to welcome 14 fabulous ladies back again to the Ryebeck Hotel on the edge of Lake Windermere in The Lake District for our 3rd Spring Residential Needlework Retreat. We have exclusive use of the hotel all week so we have no distractions from our classes and no strangers hurrying us down the hallway to breakfast! It snowed yesterday so it couldn't be cosier as we sit and stitch.
We have been thinking hard at the CWC about how we should build up to Prince Harry and Meghan's wedding. After all, their wedding will be the last major Royal bash for a while (apart from a potential coronation that is!) so we better make the most of it!
You would be forgiven for not knowing a thing about Ardverikie House. It is not exactly on the tourist trail. Even if you did find yourself in the deepest darkest Cairngorms (a place few will grace in their lifetime), you could happily zoom past the entrance of this Victorian hunting lodge without ever knowing it was there. You might, if you’re quick, glance the turreted gatehouse (pictured above), but the filthy weather, dark skies and the perilous A86 will pull your attention back to the road as you negotiate the corner and press on to Fort William. What lies beyond the entrance will remain an enigma to you, as it will to most people.
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