Unbelievably, on September 26, I’m flying to England for 5 days to join the Lady Anne’s Needlework Retreat with Phillipa Turnbull! I am the luckiest person in the world!
You all know how much I admire Phillipa Turnbull and her work and how much I love her crewelwork designs and kits. She was my very first teacher and just today I’ve been stitching on the Leven’s Hall Pillowe, taking delight in a rarely used stitch called Raised Leaf. ( more about that later! )
You probably can imagine how excited I am and will understand how much I’m looking forward to sharing every single wonderful minute with all of you!
The needlework for this Retreat is based on the design on Lady Anne’s jacket, as seen in her portrait. We will create two versions of a vine and coil design from the jacket. Tuition with Phillipa and Meredith Willett will take place throughout the retreat. Guest tutors and lecturers play a pivotal role in our retreat. With Meredith, we will use gold and silk threads on a woven linen ground fabric. With Phillipa, we will embroider the same design in crewel work on Jacobean linen twill. With Jacqui Carey, we will learn Elizabethan stitches from her recent research. All of us will work with each tutor, exploring the technique in which that tutor specialises. Special permission to use this design has been received from the owner of Lady Anne`s original portrait, Lord Hothfield.
The beautiful woman you see in the portrait above is far more than a pretty face in a lovely dress; she was the redoubtable and determined Anne Clifford, countess of Pembroke, Dorset and Montgomery (1590-1676), who spent much of her life in a long and complex legal battle to obtain the rights to her inheritance. Her story is amazing and, having read the two books about her life, I cannot imagine the social and legal pressures she faced when fighting for her lands. For a short version of her story, visit the Lady Anne’s biography here
Here are the places I’ll be going and some of the wonderful things I’ll get to see and share with all of you!
After my flight through London to Leeds, an overnight in Leeds and a train ride, I will arrive in Appleby in Westmoreland. This is where we will be staying for the first three days.
During our time in Appleby in Westmoreland we will have three different classes, one with each tutor and talks from our very special teachers and lecturers: Jacqui Carey, from Devon, England, author of “Sweet Bags” and “Elizabethan Stitches”; Meredith Willett, from Kentucky, USA, Canvas Work & Needlepoint Specialist and of course, Phillipa Turnbull, from Appleby, England, Historic British Crewel Work Specialist.
On Sunday we all travel a short distance to Hutton-in-the-Forest for an Elizabethan Banquet with Lord and Lady Inglewood.
Hutton-in-the-Forest is an ancient Cumbrian house dating from c. 1350 when the Pele Tower was built as one of many pele towers built in Cumberland by wealthy families who were highly aware of the threat from the Scots to the north. The pele tower originally had a moat.
Above is the formal dining room in the house. I would be VERY surprised if we eat here, since the furniture is priceless, but I certainly am looking forward to seeing this stunning house and surrounding gardens!
The last evening that we are in Appleby we will get the opportunity to see Phillip’s own textile collection and have supper at Pembroke Hall. I’ve seen some of her collection at the Knitting and Stitching show and can’t wait to see the rest!
The next morning we travel to Holker Hall where we will have a private tour of the house, followed by lunch and ample time to explore the house and gardens.
Above is a photo of the Library at Holker Hall. The earliest records of a house on the present site of Holker Hall date back to the beginning of the sixteenth century. From then until the present day it has been the home of three families: Preston, Lowther and Cavendish. The Estate has never been bought or sold but has passed by inheritance through the family line, with each generation leaving its impression, either by planning and altering the landscape or by changing the house by adding, re-facing, embellishing or even rebuilding – as was necessary after the disastrous fire of 1871.
Mid-afternoon we travel to Ravenglass, a small coastal village in Cumbria. There we will settle into our new hotels and then go on to Muncaster Castle for a delightful evening. We begin with welcome drinks followed by dinner with the Pennington Family. After dinner we will hear a talk by Jacqui Hyman entitled “Travels Down the Silk Route with Phyllida’s Father”.
The next morning we return for three talks about the textile collection at Muncaster Castle: Jacqui Hyman on “The Silk Route Collection” ; Phillipa Turnbull on “The Muncaster Crewel Collection” and Meredith Willett on “Needlepoint Treasures”. Our heads full of knowledge, we have lunch followed by time to explore Muncaster Castle, gardens, World Owl Centre, church & shop.
During the early afternoon, during our exploring time, I am particularly looking forward to seeing the library at Muncaster Castle! In the later afternoon we will have a lecture from Jacqui Hyman on Egyptain Textiles and we have further classes with our tutors working on our embroidery projects. Then back to Ravenglass for dinner and a good night’s sleep!
The next morning we drive through the Scottish Borders to the Burrell Museum in Glasgow, which is where I must leave the retreat and return to real life.
There are a few people who I must thank in advance for giving me the opportunity to be take this trip where I can meet and learn from all these extraordinary people: Phillipa Turnbull, first foremost and forever, my Heads of School, Stephanie Jansen and Valerie Hardt (for giving me time off from teaching) and my husband who supports me 100% in everything stitch related.
And, of course, all of you dear readers, who give me the chance to share everything I have and will experience on my journey ever deeper into the world of embroidery.