A trip to Rossendale in Lancashire means many things to me. It’s a place where I feel at ‘Home’. I catch up with my family and now and again I revisit aspects of the industrial heritage and it’s textiles stories that had sparked my love of textiles, many years ago. I remember family tales from the Cotton Mills – of clogs sparking on cobbles, the Mee Mawing Language of Weavers and my great-aunt explaining how she used to thread a shuttle. Helmshore Cotton Mill is one of the last remaining Mills in the Rossendale Valley where you can truly experience the full glory of original machinery in working order.
This video is from a recent visit and shows some beautiful working Carding, Roving & Spinning machines. It’s noisier than you might think!
A little bonus for you are the fabulous Fulling Machines showing how Military Wool Cloth was made.
To have family who are as bonkers about vintage as I am is wonderful. So to have a weekend away, mixing family time with not one but two vintage shows was a true delight.
Being in Manchester I of course had to start my stay with a curry on the famous Curry Mile – So nice!
The next day was shopping time. Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair was heaving with stalls and shoppers. I have been to vintage fairs before but never in a university city. So many students buying vintage! They have very good taste. We came home with goodies including a vintage Levi jacket and a small leather case that might end up as a new sewing box.
Homemade cake on vintage china
The following day was my first ever visit to the Textile Society’s Antique Textile Fair in Manchester, (organised by Decorative Fairs) and I was not disappointed. The range of goods for sale was everything from buttons to hats, quilts to hair pins. My only two problems were not having enough money or a large enough suitcase to take it all home with me! Next year I think I will be better prepared and take my car (don’t let me husband know). The whole selling space was one big bag full of inspiration – colour, textures, pattern, worn & aged and everything had a former life (which I love – if only the pieces could talk!).
By the end of the day I had bought a coverlet top from County Antrim in Ireland, lots of small quilted pieces and a huge safety pin. I had talked to some wonderfully knowledgeable people and made some new friends. A truly, perfect day.
Straight stitch is a versatile stitch…. the more I experiment with the stitches on this course, the more I am seeing unlimited possibilities for their uses in my own work. The sample below is Straight Stitch on Irish Linen, using threads including imitation silk, DMC stranded embroidery thread, hand dyed linen, Sylko 50 weight sewing thread, Tudor Twist, and King Tut 40 weight variegated quilting thread.
The following experimental piece was created on silk fabric with threads including Tudor Twist and hand dyed linen thread. I am enjoying sharing this work with you all. I hope I am inspiring you all to have a go and experiment!