Sunday 30 June 2024

June roundup

June has been a rather slow month where sewing projects are concerned. However I am very happy to report that i completed both my challenges for June.

My June Chookshed challenge was to stitch the sashiko pattern I had been given a while back. I stitched the last bit, this morning. I enjoyed the embroidery and found it relaxing.

I haven't decided how I will use this piece but I know I want to incorporate it into a quilt at some point. The reason I wanted to work on the sashiko is that I have a Japanese panel that I want to make into a quilt and I plan to stitch some sashiko patterns in the sashing.

This project is still at the very early planning stage as I haven't made any decisions about final size, borders etc. I do like the planning stage.

My challenge for the One Monthly Goal this month was to add the Irish chain border to the Red manor house quilt top. I completed this even though I sewed one of the blocks the wrong way round. I have also added the next narrow border. The next round for this quilt is an applique round. I need to check I have enough backing fabric for the blocks.

I started making a Christmas angel but this project is in the early stages.

We went away to Somerset for the weekend and stayed at the Holcombe Inn. The food was fabulous.

This is in fact three trees not one. I was fascinated by the way the branches moved in the wind. 

Lots of lavender giving a beautiful aroma and really attracted the bees..

The flowers in the garden were lovely .

I love this old fashioned rose.

Whilst there we had a great visit to Stourhead house and gardens.

Back at home my son celebrated his 40th birthday on the 26 June and had a party yesterday evening. The weather was perfect, the BBQ was delicious and the company really enjoyable. It rounded off the month perfectly. I wonder what July will bring?

I'm linking this post with Dreamworthy Quilts for the Chookshed June Challenge round up and with Stories from the sewing room for  June OMG link up.

Take care 


Wednesday 26 June 2024

A walk in Stourhead gardens

n my last post I shared our visit to Stourhead House and today I'll share our walk around the gardens. The garden was designed by Henry Hoare II who was known as Henry the Magnificent. He had a large estate around the house and he wanted to create a personal landscape, taking inspiration from his travels around Europe.

During the 18th century many new plant species found their way to England and the garden was the perfect way to showcase plants and architecture he had seen on his tours. The garden was planted by a team of 50 gardeners and had many different species of trees In 1783 Sir Richard Colt Hoare inherited the estate and made many changes. These included planting about 90,000 trees and introduced rhododendrons. As we walked around the garden we got different views of the trees and structures. The walk was very calming and tranquil. On the walk up to the house we had gone through the stable yard where we found this beautiful horse made of willow.

We started our walk from the house and I wanted to see what it looked like from the back. As we walked around the side we saw the arched window from the library.

As we walked a little further you can see that the library is the height of the house and is on the one side of the house. I got distracted at this point by a robotic lawnmower happily cutting the grass by itself so we never walked completely round the house. I've come across a lot of robot vacuum cleaners but not a lawn mower. It was fun to watch for a few minutes.

We followed the path for the lakeside walk passing this lovely gnarly tree on the way.

As we followed the path that led downhill we got glimpses of the gardens attractions including the Temple of Apollo.

The colours of the rhododendrons were beautiful.


We reached the lake and enjoyed the views. There were a few ducks to see but not many.

We walked under this rock arch and headed towards the Grotto

The grotto was nice and cool, just what I needed having got quite warm walking in the sun.

In the centre of the grotto was this opening that framed the lake rather well.

and past that was another statue and cool water.

We had to ascend some very wet slippery steps to climb out of the grotto. From here we walked to the Gothic cottage also known as the watch cottage.

Here is the information about the cottage. Remember you can make it bigger by clicking on it.

A view that gives you a better idea of the size of the cottage.

Walking further round the lake we came to the Pantheon. Built in 1753-54 it was inspired by the Pantheon in Rome. Pantheon means a temple sacred to all the gods and the temple is filled with statues of deities.

I particularly liked the glass in the ceiling of the dome.

 From here we could see the Temple of Flora across the lake. This is dedicated to the Roman goddess of flowers and spring. This was the first building built in the garden by Henry Hoare II between 1744 and 1746. We didn't visit the Temple of Flora but we will do at some point in the future. There was still a lot left to see at Stourhead even though we spent the day there.

Walking across a bridge I stopped to take a photo of the waterlilies. Some were already in bloom but it was a still a little early for them.

Off on the side of the hill we could see a pretty waterfall.

Across the bridge I was able to get a photo of the Pantheon. I love the reflection.

We walked under these beautiful flowers. I can't remember what type of trees these were.

Although we had seen the temple of Apollo from the other side of the lake we weren't able to visit it as there was a wedding about to take place. Up to this point we hadn't been caught in any rain but just as the bride was arriving at the venue heavy rain fell for about a minute and a half leaving the guests sheltering under their umbrellas. We continued our walk into the village area past the Bristol Cross. It was originally erected in Bristol but was bought to Stourhead by Henry Hoare II in 1765 The cross depicts old English kings and queens in the stonework.

We decided to look round the church.

The altar was very plain and simple.

There was this pretty stained glass window.

and there were a lot of embroidered kneelers, all with a different design.

By this time it was almost closing time so we returned to our car for the drive back to our hotel. We really enjoyed our visit to the house and gardens. A great day out.

Take care


Monday 24 June 2024

Some hand stitching and a visit to Stourhead house.

Yesterday, Sunday I did some more hand stitching. I'm working on a piece of sashiko embroidery which I was given as a present a while ago and this month I challenged myself to complete it. I've done a lot of the stitching but there is still quite a bit to do. No problem as there are still 6 days left in June. I'm very pleased with how far I've got with this piece. As you can see I still have 3 strips on the right hand side to finish.

I have also been doing some knitting, just a few rows every day. If you follow my blog you may remember I pulled the knitting out as the tension wasn't right. The tension is now perfect having changed to a size bigger needles. I'm currently knitting the back of the jumper and although it has grown there is still a long way to go to finish this piece.

On the previous Saturday, whilst on our weekend away, and after one of the best nights sleep I've had in months, followed by a delicious breakfast, John and I headed out to visit Stourhead. In 1717 Henry Hoare 1 bought Stourton Manor. He then commissioned Scottish architect Colen Campbell to replace the existing building on the land with a completely new house that became known as Stourhead House. The house remained in the possession of the Hoare family until it was given to the National Trust in 1946. 

We started our visit by going round the ground floor rooms in the house that are open to the public. The rooms on the upper floor are used for other purposes including as a residence. I've pulled out some of the things I found that interested me. 

After the entrance hall which housed a good number of family portraits we entered a room set up for a quiet evening at home. The dress above is a reproduction of a wrapping gown. This would be worn by ladies in the afternoon or for an informal evening at home. It gives a more relaxed shape than the more formal gowns of the time and certainly must have been a lot more comfortable to wear. The wrapping gown would also be worn if family visitors came for dinner but never for formal occasions. The room contained furniture including a table that the lady of the house would use to write letters or complete her accounts.  The table in this room was known as a rent table. I could really do with a table with all those drawers.

Next we went into the library and this was a beautiful room. I was very taken with the carpet design. This is not the original carpet. The original was of this design and colour and when the National Trust needed to replace the carpet they went back to the original carpet makers and asked if they still had the design. Happily the answer was yes and the new carpet was made to the original design.

The library felt very calm and I could have enjoyed choosing a book and settling into an armchair to read. The collection of books in the library was amazing. 

This photo was taken into the sun but it does show the stained glass and the domed ceiling.

In the library there was this reproduction Edwardian bodice and skirt set from the early 20th century. The outfit produced an exaggerated silhouette, which was created by a corset known as an S bend which pushed back the rear and pushed forward the chest. Not my idea of fun. I'm so pleased I was born after the corset era! Alda, the wife of the last owner of the house continued wearing this style into her 80's long after it had gone out of fashion.

On the desk in the library I found this samovar and pretty china cup. The samovar, which means self brewer, was used to heat and boil water. I could do with a samovar on my desk at work.

From the library we went into a dining room which was set up for afternoon tea to celebrate a birthday. 

By the side of the plates were quotes from Augusta's diary. Augusta was the wife of the owner during Queen Victoria's reign. Her husband was a gambler and lost a lot of money and so many of the paintings and other treasures belonging to the family were sold to cover debts.

Augusta would have worn a dress like this one. The huge crinoline skirt was very fashionable in the mid Victorian era. During this period black also became a fashionable colour following the death of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's husband.

Having left the tea table behind we came across this sewing machine on a table by the stairs. It is very small compared to most modern sewing machines and would have just done straight stitch.

The sewing and mending would have been part of the jobs undertaken by the servants. This shows the clothes worn by a maid working in the house.

Also on display were a pair of Lady Hoare's knickers. Scroll down a little further and the next photo will explain why.

In many of the rooms there were curtains with beautiful embroidery.

I liked the still life explained in the information board below.

The embroidery looked amazing.

The final dress on display as we went round the house was in a totally different style and would be much more comfortable. This style developed into the regency style of clothing which gave more freedom of movement for the wearer.

There was so much more to see in the house but as I am walking round I find I can get a little overwhelmed by the amount of things to look at and the information. I will be making a return visit at some point as I know I missed a lot of beautiful things..

By the time we had visited the house we needed a cup of coffee before we walked round the gardens. I'll tell you about the gardens another day.

Take care