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Thursday, 20 November 2014

It is Carnival time!

At this time of year, when the evenings are getting longer, something quite magical is happening in our part of the world - it is the time for Carnivals.
The history of  West Country Carnivals goes back to 1605, the Gunpowder Plot. It started in Bridgewater, with an effigy of  Guy Fawkes being carried through the streets. The lights and illumination did not happen until the late 19th and the start of the 20th century, with the introduction of electric light.
The purpose of the the Carnival Parades is to raise money for local charities. Various groups and clubs, with the help of private donations and sponsorships by local businesses, plan and build their themed floats during the year, each of them also pulling their own generator to power the lights.

Shepton Mallet Carnival did not start until 1963 - 4, with the aim of raising funds for a community hall. There are various carnival circuits, the one our town is on, runs thought out November, visiting towns in our region.

Last Wednesday, as a part of  Somerset Carnival season , we were treated to a fantastic spectacle of lights, sound, and movement, lasting nearly 2 hours.

I made a video of the best floats, unfortunately I could not upload it here, so below are just some clips from it. Please make sure you turn the sound on, although it is not very good (only taken with my small pocket camera), but it will you an idea.

©pleasureinstitching.blogspot. co uk. 2014

Sunday, 16 November 2014

I believe you will find this interesting, it might even shock you

This is a very short post, and no pictures. I just want to draw your attention to a blog post I have read today, you will not need any explanation from me.
This is a link to a blog post by The Eternal Maker, a shop and online fabric and craft store, I have bought fabric from. If you can find time, please read it and read the link in the post as well.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

wool embroidery - start

I made a start on the wool embroidery for my cushion. 
In the end I decided to use a design from Karin Holmberg's book.
This is the first time I am embroidering on wool felt.
I am starting with the central motif and I have already realised how different it is from stitching on say cotton or linen fabric. To start with, it is not as easy to mark the design on the fabric. I have marked the whole design on the felt background all in one go, which I now realised was a mistake.
By the time I completed the center ring of leaves, most the rest of the design has rubbed off.
So  now I just refresh the outlines and draw the rest free hand as I go along. That is probably how the original wool embroideries were done anyway - freehand.
Also, stitching with on wool on wool, it is more difficult to keep to the line of design. I realised that I can't be as fussy as if I was embroidering with cotton or silk on linen. It is very different, one just has be more bold! 

©pleasureinstitching.blogspot co uk 2014

Sunday, 9 November 2014

St Germain quilt and 25 years of freedom

Last weekend I finished preparing 144 (+ few more, just in case) orange peel pieces for the inner border and started laying them out.

I am using various fabrics, mainly from my stash, to compliment the centre block, but also in keeping with the colorful Saint Germain part of Paris, after which this quilt is named. 

During the week I managed to stitch two shorter sides, using needleturn applique.

I have pinned the 3 sections (not yet pressed) onto a board, so you can get an idea how the centre of the quilt will look like.


I can not let this weekend pass without sharing a memory with you.

As you know, we are celebrating 25th anniversary of the fall of Berlin Wall, and the domino effect it had on the rest of Eastern Europe.

About 5 months after that I flew to Czechoslovakia (as it was still called) to visit my mum.
During the previous 20 years, whenever I crossed any East European border, I would feel apprehension, I always had a knot in my stomach, when stern looking and unfriendly border guards were inspecting my passport, noting my place of birth.
I always had a feeling of dread, that something terrible would happen and I would not be able to return to the West. Although British by then, I kept my dual nationality ( more for sentimental reasons than anything else), so I knew that they could be silly about it, if they wanted to.
Thankfully, they were too fed up and bored themselves to bother, and there were no computers in those days, so nothing could be found at the touch of the button, as it can be now.
So, arriving at Prague airport in 1990, I felt easy and confident, the knot in my stomach no longer there. I was just another tourist, looking forward to seeing the changes of last few months. 
 I presented my passport to a very smart looking Czech passport control officer, in his brand new uniform.
After seeing the same details in my passport, he looked up, smiled at me and said
"Welcome Home".

That is what the fall of Berlin Wall means to me.

© 2014 

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Wells - England's smallest city

I have been living in Somerset for more than 20 years, and I must admit that I take its beauty very much for granted now.
So it is good to remind myself now and then of all those beautiful places on my doorstep.
Just a few miles down the road is a small town, City of Wells.
Wells can call itself "City" because of its magnificent cathedral, which dates back to 12th century.
But the history of the town goes back a lot further. In Roman times there was a settlement here, most probably because of the springs (wells) that bubble up here and still can be found in the grounds of the Bishop's Palace and the Market Place; the water flows underground from the surrounding Mendip Hills.

The Wells Cathedral dominates the town view, it is a beautiful sight.

To read more about the Wells Cathedral, click on the link.

In the Cathedral garden stands an old Medlar tree.

Wells Town Hall in the Market Place.

The moat around the Bishop's Palace.

Some other Wells images.

And for you and me:

in a small courtyard you can find "Sew Vintage" - "An  emporium full of things to delight and inspire", quoting their website.
Recently moved to smaller premises next door, but still full of sewing notions, fabrics and knitting wool; great for buttons, ribbons, craft felts..........not just vintage.

And then there is Millie Moon - a haberdashery boutique, a sister to Frome and Bristol shops,

selling beautiful and tempting fabrics like " Miss Kate" by Moda.

I hope you have enjoyed today's walk.

And just for the purpose of this journal:
October was a crazy month weatherwise, with some rain and the occasional cold spell, but mainly unseasonably warm. In fact, we just had the warmest Halloween ever, around 21°C in our part of the country, even warmer in London!

© 2014

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