A Vintage Weekend away in Manchester

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.

Shopping galore!
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.


The Eye of The Needle at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

Last weekend my brain was buzzing and I was on ‘Inspiration Overdrive!
The Big Stitch, organised by the Embroiderers’ Guild, was on at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England. Textile artists galore, demonstrating their skills and techniques, were dotted throughout the museum. In addition, me and my chum, had tickets for the renowned Eye of the Needle exhibition, displaying 17th century embroidery pieces from the Feller Collection.

For me, the highlights of the day,
….. were firstly, the Eye of the Needle pieces – and what really made it, was that magnifier lenses (a bit like Sherlock Holmes would use) were made available in abundance within the exhibition space, enabling us all the opportunity to see the textiles up close – this made me see the work in a very different light.
….. and secondly, the textile artists. Each left me with more and more ideas and the enthusiasm to try out and experiment at home.

By the end of the day we sat down for a coffee and rested our feet….. I love a coffee at the end of a long day of looking. Sometimes I don’t see or absorb everything. Discussing highlights and thoughts with another, consolidates your creative thoughts and is a great way of sharing how those ideas can be implemented in each others work.
Here are the highlights of the wonderful day.

Stitches galore in every piece in The Eye of The Needle. It’s hard to believe these pieces were made without the stitching equipment we have available to us today…. stump work, gold work, white work, needle lace and so much more…….. and I do love the embroidered bugs.










… and now for the world’s Longest Embroidery!…..



A brilliant day and a definite date in the diary for next year!

MODA – Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture

Over the summer The Museum of Domestic Art and Arcitecture (MODA) in London, offered a rare opportunity for the public to view their exclusive collections… which include the work of the design house Silver Studios (1880-1963), Crown wallpapers’ archive, vintage textiles and selections of vintage magazines and journals. The MODA collection includes lots of other goodies, but I was particularly taken with the vintage hand cut, Japanese Katagami mulberry paper stencils used in making indigo dyed fabric for kimonos.

Here is a flavour of the day.

Large tables for viewing the collections
MODA Archive
MODA Archive
MODA Archive
Hand cut, Japanese Katagami mulberry paper stencils



They are so fine




Here are a few pages from the wonderfully colourful vintage magazines in the collection



Had to share this!