Winter project

At the end of the summer season last year the Costume Group was about making a tapestry for Reception to hang on the wall. Not having a lot of experience with tapestry we thought a wall hanging using various embroidery techniques hat we’ve learned over the last several years would be better. We came up with several ideas but thought to start with a design based on the Great Hall window, the plasterwork and the gables.


Once the pattern was drawn out to scale and transferred to the base cloth, we had a slight change of tack and used a lovely photograph of the Hall window taken by Barbara, the House Steward, as further inspiration for the window design. 

The border is made up from images in the plaster freize in the Hall, worked in various embroidery techniques, including stumpwork and freestyle blackwork. 

The faces are linked together by lucetted cord, often used in our costumes for ties and laces, to represent the ribbed pattern of the plasterwork on the Hall ceiling.

Other features of the plasterwork have been picked out with quilted sections and needlelace.  

Scraps from our material cupboard were used for the window panes, which started off as six abstract collage panels. It slowly came together by putting a large piece of navy blue net over the top, then black cord to make the panes. The window frame is made with pieces of grey wool material, with both right and wrong sides on display for the different textures. 

The next stage is to finish the gables and roof top, complete the border and then work out how to fix it to the wall! 

Experimental musings – new things for next year

After several weeks I’ve finished a pair of hose for a boy. They started off as two pairs but were ridiculously narrow so joined all the pieces together and it now looks quite good. One problem we discovered over the summer was that the trousers tend to fall down easily on little boys, and our pairs of braces weren’t really up to the job. So we’ve been thinking of solutions – possibly adding small lacing strip at the back of the doublet and waist of hose to tie the two together, which would be quite authentic, but may be time consuming. Alternatively, as with the hose just finished, we could put a cord though the waist band.

Also on the go at the moment is a jacket or doublet to go over a lady’s kirtle. We were having fun with shoulder rolls yesterday! and we’ve got a blackwork ruff and possibly a fancy pair of embroidered gloves underway as well. Another volunteer has just finished making metres and metres of handmade lace, which she did during the season. The next step is to make it into an appropriately fine ruff.

We’ve also been wondering about having a workshop for volunteers to do some Elizabethan embroidery and make something as a group project – something small, and not too tricky.