So much has happened in the recent few days, but I will try and catch everyone up.
First what were "the guys" doing while we stitched -- one day they trained to Leeds to visit the Royal Armoury (no pictures permitted anymore), one day they drove to Carlisle and walked all over the Castle, the Roman Fort and a Hadrian's Wall Mile marker, one day they did laundry, one day they took a walk with our local tutor's SO along an abandoned railway trestle complete with bridge and followed with pub lunch -- as you see they were keeping busy.
For us last Thursday was using a braiding post - a post attached to a table and you use it to hold the loop ends while you weave between your hands (loop manipulation) with 5 loops. We then did a braid using a the kumihimo technique - far easier and more even tension. As our tutor says "a thread under tension is a thread under control" which is soooo true for braiding. In the afternoon we started with Jane Lemon working with purls and bullion.
Then came the marketplace -- very dangerous place with items from our tutors, Bill Barnes - Golden Threads, and much more. This was then followed by a lecture and slide show on the work of the Sarum Group. The altar frontals and accompanying bits are awe inspiring - truly! What was the most fascinating to me was the design - looks great at 100 yards, 30 - 10 - close. You see more and more detail.
Friday was our 2 sessions with Jane. In the am we did a braid stitch called a basket stitch. It is a variation on interlocking cross stitch. It was a bitch to do with #8 passing - looks great, but.... We did it with 2 threads lying under. This did help with width maintenance, but.... In the afternoon we did the background with Madeira "metal thread" in an encroaching Gobelin pattern. She had us doing a wierd variation to avoid splitting threads, but there are other ways of doing it which lay more evenly. Think I frustrated Jane a bit. Since I will change a couple of the motifs to bugs (from leaves), I'm not sure of my boundaries, so did not want to do a full run up and down the side of the bag. Jane did give us a wonderful talk on design - value, focal point, and fibinacci, while we worked.
Friday evening was our Elizabethan Dinner at Dalmain House. It was a lovely dinner and we sat at a 16th/17th C. trestle table (the other 2 were more modern) in the oldest part of the hall which dates back to the late 1500's. The room had mostly candlelight and fireplace light for the dinner.
Saturday we drove to the Bowes Museum. The medieval hall, the costume hall, and the textile hall were closed. What we did see was wonderful, including some lace. Yes I managed to get the book from their lace exhibit which closed in April. For dinner, it was arranged for us to go to a nearly pub for a fabulous dinner. The pub was under new management and the chef was a fine London chef. Very yummy!
Sunday we were up early to drive to Traquair House in Scotland - about 2 hours. We arrived before the coach with everyone else aboard. The day was dreary and misty. The house is late Elizabethan and very little has changed about it. Since it has been in the same family, and they were always Catholic, they paid large fines over the years and hadn't the money to "improve" the house. They have fabulous slips - 6 uncut hangings and a 6th which was obviously for edgings. The brew house was closed for brewing, but Will bought a couple pints for testing/tasting. No pictures permitted :(
Then onto the hotel - Dryburgh Abbey Hotel - a converted manor house next to the Abbey grounds. It was a nice hotel and we had a lovely dinner. Up the next am to walk through the Abbey grounds before we left. Very atmospheric!
On to Mellerstain House a few miles from Dryburgh. The house was closed so we had the whole place to ourselves. It dates back to late Elizabethan times, but was extensively remodeled by the architects Adams (father and son) during Georgian times. Quite lovely, but I resisted waltzing down the rows of museum cases in the ballroom. Then off to Edinburgh - about 35 miles away. Found our B&B Kew House easily. Good dinner at a small place recommended by our landlord.
Today was Edinburgh Castle and a tour bus around the city. Fascinating! The metal thread embroidery on the regimental dress is something to see even if you aren't interested in the castle portion. On the way out we went into a working tartan wool weaving mill and shop. The weaving hasn't changed much in the last 150 years except the pattern is done with metal cards, the width has doubled, and an engine was attached to the loom. Tired now. Edinburgh is a walking city and the feet hurt. Shall take a rest before dinner.