Monthly Archives: July 2015

Sweet pea profusion

A gentle stroll around the garden and I return with a full bunch of frilly scented sweet peas. They have been flowering for over a month now, and the more you pick the more you get. Yesterday’s heavy rain seems to have given them  fresh impetus, and I have two vases full on the window sill, wafting their scent towards me as I write this.

Sweet peas are definitely flower of the month, and here is my Weavers Flower Journal stitched piece for July. I think my  embroidered attempt is far too sparse – the reality is so much more abundant ( and fragrant!)

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Threads from the past

On another day during our recent visit to the North West we braved a very narrow road onto a remote fell north of Sedbergh. There, un-signposted, watched over by a couple of old yew trees and some ancient gravestones, was a blue plaque set onto a rock. This is known as George Fox’s pulpit, where the founder of Quakerism preached outdoors in 1652 to many “seekers” drawn from the area.

I have already  described and written about previous generations of my family in Ireland who were part of the Quaker movement, so it was fascinating to discover that some of my Westmoreland ancestors, the Rouths, were also early followers of George Fox’s ideas.  I will write more on my Family History Blog “Among the Branches” in due course!

Back in Kendal we then visited the Quaker Tapestry Museum, which brought together my interest in Quaker history and my love of stitch. Copyright rules mean I won’t reproduce the images here in full, but they can be viewed on the website. Do have a look! They are a wonderful tribute to the power of the needle in creative hands, to record the past and inspire future generations.

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Here are photos of some bookmarks I bought showing some small parts of the tapestry panels. The feet are those of George Fox, preaching on Firbank Fell.  The one about co-operation is a reference to Quaker activities in the Peace movement worldwide, and comes from an Aesop’s fable. I used to have a version of this on my wall when I was a teenager. The other bookmark is a reference to prominent prison reformer and Quaker, Elizabeth Fry, who organised the provision of a bag of sewing items and fabrics to every woman in convict ships bound for Australia.

Wensleydale weavers, cheese, beer and ancestors

Over the last couple of days we have been exploring eastern Cumbria and on into the western Yorkshire Dales. Sedbergh nestles below beautiful Howgill Fell, and has a some lovely quirky shops, including a craft workshop run by a local co-operative of crafters. I treated myself to an interesting circular weaving kit from The Threshing Barn and had a wander around the nearby restored mill at Farfield with its collection of artists’ studios, textile exhibitions and weaving looms.

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Then we drove on through lovely scenery to Hawes in the heart of Wensleydale. It was market day and tourists and bikers out in force. We did a quick trip round the cheese factory, great selection and plenty of free tasting! But the nearby Gayle had a different kind of attraction for me. Along a narrow lane I found a tiny burial ground and the graves of several generations of my Allen ancestors, including my 4x, 5x, and 6x great grandparents. They were all part of an obscure group of dissenters called Sandemanians in the 18th and 19th century, and so were buried together next to their meeting house. I will write more on my family history blog when I’ve sorted out who they all are! The bridge and river at Gayle feel timeless, and there are some very old cottages nearby, which would have been around when my ancestors lived here.

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Back in Hawes we bought some of the local beer from an interestingly named shop. The Allen family is still very much in evidence it seems!

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