Shetland Wool Week

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I am feeling very excited as we enter the month of September for two reasons. Firstly, (although I do not want to wish the year away!) I so love the autumn. Also because it will be Shetland Wool Week from 23rd September until 1 October. Apart from the passion I have for textiles I also have a love for yarn, in fact any crafts which involve creating with natural products.

A KNITTING DEMONSTRATION  AT THE SHETLAND TEXTILE MUSEUM, MAINLAND, SHETLAND.

Shetland Wool week is a celebration of Britain’s most northerly native sheep, the Shetland textile industry and the rural farming community on the islands. Shetland wool has a reputation for being hardwearing and so Shetland knitwear has a deserved respect gained from many generations of hard working knitters.

 

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Shetland Wool Week was conceived only eight years ago and has grown into an internationally acclaimed event. This year there will be an extensive range of exhibitions, classes and events, which will cover many different subjects. These will include; weaving, spinning, dyeing, Fair Isle and lace knitting as well as many other fascinating subject areas. Events will take place from the most southern tip of the Shetland, right up to the most northerly island of Unst, famous for its beautiful lacework, with many locations in between.

Sadly I won’t be able to visit this year, but here’s hoping I will be able to next time! However, with a desire to celebrate this event, I have made a few small items for my shop from Shetland Tweed wool fabric, sharing a little of this beautiful product.

 

All information taken from the Shetland Wool Week website. For more information go here

 

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The Wonderful Work of Marthe Armitage

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I absolutely love the work of Marthe Armitage. She graduated from Chelsea School of Art after the second world war, and in the 1950s, after she was married and had children, started designing lino-cut wallpapers.

 

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Whilst raising her young family in the 1960s, Marthe would push her pram along the Thames in Chiswick and take inspiration from things she saw along the way: cow parsley, oak leaves, seed pods.

 

 

Using the same methods as she did over 50 years ago, her hand drawn designs appear as she draws and not before. After sketching the design, she uses hand-cut lino blocks and her century-old offset lithographic printing press that she has owned for over 40 years to create custom-printed rolls of wallpaper.

 

 

 

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Today, Marthe’s daughter helps in her Chiswick studio as apart from being aged over 80, still has many orders to produce! Her work is highly sort after by the rich and famous keen for her designs.

 

 

Her intricate wallpaper designs, available through archive and hand-printed wallpaper specialists Hamilton Weston, are more popular than ever, and she is still designing and printing industriously.

Info & images via Wikipedia/Hamilton Weston/Casswebsite.org/uppercasemagazine

 

 

 

 

Standen – An Arts & Crafts House

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One of my favourite places to visit each year is Standen House. The reason I love this property so much is because of the connection with William Morris. I have a passion for the designs he created – perhaps because of the rich palette of colours with their inspiration from nature which appeals to me, but for whatever reason, I never tire of seeing them.

This Arts & Crafts house and gardens is located in East Grinstead, West Sussex, England. Now managed by the National Trust, the property was built between 1891 and 1894 by the architect Philip Webb (a friend of William Morris) for a prosperous solicitor James Beale, his wife Margaret, and their family.

It is decorated with Morris carpets, fabrics and wallpapers, and the garden complements the beauty of the house. 

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I can only describe Standen as a very welcoming home. Each time I visit I feel a cosiness about it, as I wonder through its rooms…. if that can be said of a stately home!

 

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You can discover information about the Arts & Crafts movement through the beautiful collection of furniture, embroideries and pottery found within its walls.

 

William Morris …..

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.

I do not want art for a few any more than education for a few, or freedom for a few.”

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The Beale family

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Image & info via The National Trust website

The Beales were originally a non-conformist family from Birmingham, with seven children and many more grandchildren. Standen became a real family home, wrapped up in idyllic childhood memories.

 

Estate & Gardens

The estate was formed from three farms which the Beales purchased in 1890. They started planting the 12-acre garden almost immediately using the site of an 18th century garden and orchard. In early 1891 trees were planted, a yew hedge established an the kitchen garden begun.

Webb chose a mixture of natural styles combining old-fashioned formality and compartmentalised gardens in the final design.

 

 

The resulting Arts and Crafts garden used local materials for its formal elements, and loose plantings amongst yew hedges, trellis and pergolas, emphasising, natural colour schemes and subtle combinations of colour and foliage, definitely complimenting the beautiful Arts & Crafts house.

 

 

Information about the collection at Standen, please go to http://www.nationaltrustcollections.org.uk and search for Standen.

Remaining images taken by me

Trip to a Silk Mill

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My love for textiles lead me to visit the Whitchurch Silk Mill located in Hampshire. It’s the oldest silk mill in the UK still in its original building and full of industrial history.

 

The mill was bought by John Hide of Whitchurch. He installed a new waterwheel and three water powered ‘tappet’ looms to replace the 50 year old wooden treadle looms operated by muscle power. His son James, pictured below, took over the mill in 1905 and remained there until his death aged 92.

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One if the products woven at the mill was silk gaberdine and silk linings for Burberry raincoats. Thomas Burberry, had married into the Hide family.

When visiting you will see the original mill wheel and Victorian machinery still being used which were powered by the water mill until the late 1920s.

Definitely worth a visit! Open until the 1st October 2017 when they will be closing for refurbishment but I’m happy to say they will be due to re-open July 2018.

Information via the Whitchurch Silk Mill website

My Passion for Handwoven Tweed

Having such a passion for handcrafted and tweed, I was intrigued to read the story of a young man named Daniel Harris.

After rescuing a rusting loom from an old barn in rural Wales and with no training or prior knowledge of weaving, Daniel learnt how to fully dismantle and reassemble looms that hadn’t been used for 30 years, he rebuilt the machines and taught himself the art of loom weaving.

He is now the proud owner of the creation of London’s first micro-mill. Established in 2011, the London Cloth Company uses traditional weaving techniques and a range of equipment dating all the way back to the 1870s.

Tweed, so long the mark of the upper class outdoorsman, has persisted through its combination of delicate design in rough-wearing wool.

Although traditional craftspeople still hand weave it in Scotland and Ireland, their operations have become industrial in scale, churning out vast lengths of the world-famous Harris Tweed daily for sale to tourists picking through Edinburgh’s souvenir shops.

The London Cloth Company, tiny as it is, exports to Sweden, Japan and Germany and five years on, supplies woven cloth to a growing number of designers, companies and individuals.

See the article ‘Weaving Modern Cloth with Victorian Looms’. Listen to the rhythmic sound of the loom as you watch the video here of Daniel at work. It is so inspirational!

Information, video & photos via the following: BBC news magazine/The tweed Pig/Style Salvage/Port magazine$_32