Archive for October, 2009


Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

England was at its best on this trip.  After visiting with Heidi and Raphael I took Eurostar through the chunnel to London.  I was then off to Winchester to visit friends – Margaret and Maureen.  We went to cathedrals, abbey's, pubs, and walked all over.EnglandOnTheDole

Margaret took me to St. Cross Abbey where we asked for "the dole".  You are given a piece of bread and a bit of beer.  This has been done for centuries.  Anyone who knocks on a door of an abbey and asks for the dole is given the above.

This is Margaret with our bread and beer.  I loved the mugs so much that I bought a couple for John and I.


We were very fortunate to be able to hear the choristers at Winchester Cathedral one evening for Even Song.  It was absolutely beautiful.  The pipe organ and the boys voices were breath taking to listen to.

EnglandWinchester After Maureen and I had attended Even Song we met Margaret and Pauline at a pub in Winchester.  Pauline drove in from the east coast of England.  The next day we all went to Torquay.  Me by train and the 3 of them by car.  I had already purchased my train ticket or I would have driven with them.

TorquayClass09 I love going to Sylvia's workshop in Torquay.  This was my 3rd year and they want me back next year!  I'm thrilled.

We made my Mikaela doll, but I had designed a new outfit for her for this class.  We all decided that 2 days was not enough.  Next year I'll teach a new doll and this time for 3 days.                            Torquay is on the Devonshire coast, which is considered England's Riviera.  It is a beautiful place.

While here Carl, Sylvia's husband, took me to an abbey where I was able to attend Vespers.  This time it was in Latin and the music sung by the monks. 


After Torquay I was off to another favorite place – Rainbow Silks in Great Missenden.  This was my 5th year coming to this fabulous shop.  I taught a 2-day silk doll class and a 1-day face class. 

Bohdanka and her husband came from Prague to take the class.  Bohdanka does beautiful machine stitching on her Bernina sewing machines.  She and I are both in love with our Bernina's.  The doll she is holding has a beautifully hand painted and stitched dress.  I wish I had gotten a close-up of the doll.


After my classes at Rainbow Silks I was off to Ally Pally for the Knitting & Stitching Show.  I met Penny, from South Australia and she and I took the Tube to Wood Green where Alexandra Palace is located.

Dale Rollerson of The Thread Studio had done a challenge that was featured at the show.  Penny did the beautiful reds and blues piece shown here.  Penny does beautiful embellishing.


Next I was on a train and off to Preston where Kathryn picked me up and then took me to the Blackpool Embroiderer's Guild meeting at which I was the guest speaker.  I had a blast with this group.  And, the talent!  These women really know how to create beautiful works of art.  I was thrilled that they wanted to see my dolls.

BlackpoolSandiDoll                                                                                                              &
#0160;                                                One of the members, Sandi, brought a doll she had made using techniques in my first book "Creative Cloth Doll Making".  The outfit is made from free motion lace work.  It is truly a work of art.

On the walls of the art center they meet at are other members works of art.  I could fill up pages and pages with all the photo's I took. 

Every time I go to England I learn so much and am inspired by all that I see.  Especially at the Knitting & Stitching Show and at the various classes I teach.


We had a few days to site see before I had to go up to Muncaster.  Kathryn, and her husband Andy, knew about my love of Tolkein.  They arranged for a special tour of Stoneyhurst.  This is the school that two of Tolkein's sons attended.  While visiting the boys he started writing "The Hobbit".  You can see where he got a lot of his inspiration from the surrounding areas.

The lady who took us around the school shared some amazing artifacts that the school owns.  One is Mary Queen of Scots prayer book that she took to the chopping block.  Poor thing.  Her prayer book is covered in velvet and is beautiful.  We also saw vestments dating back to Henry V, and a copy of a book of Shakespeare's plays with his hand written corrections inside. 

EnglandFobbles09AA Kathryn drove me to Muncaster and along the way we stopped in Lancaster at a factory that prints Liberty of London fabrics.  They have an outlet store and I bought heaps of beautiful Liberty fabrics.

I taught 3 days at Fobbles.  This is the perfect place for a workshop.  Like Sylvia's and Rainbow Silks their workshop area is well lit, large and airy.  Beverley renovated an old barn and turned it into a magical place.  Muncaster is in the north western part of England at the beginning of the lake district.  Sue is outside by the door to the shop with some of the dyed bodies drying in the sun.EnglandFobbles09a


After class one day Beverley took several of us to one of the lakes nearby.  The scenery is like nothing you expect in England. 

The picture shows from left to right – Beverley, owner of Fobbles; Jean, Claire and Pam.  We were all totally smitten.

England09TheLakes Beverley has asked me back for 2010.  We've set Sep. 24-26 for a 3 day workshop.  Details will be added early next year.