At home with an Edwardian Seamstress – a visit to Petworth Cottage Museum

Pet worth Cottage Museum

Tucked away among the Victorian Villas is the Petworth Cottage Museum, it was originally an Estate Cottage of the grand Petworth House – it has been restored to how it was back in the Edwardian period – around 1910 when seamstress, Mary Cummings rented the house.

Petworth Seamstress Cottage

You step into the garden and follow the path to the back of the house, into a lovely flower garden – the guide explained that Mary had an allotment so the garden was planted up with flowers.

You feel like a visitor at Peworth Seamstress cottage

I felt like a visitor stepping in to see an old friend, the attention to detail was delightful, even before we stepped inside, I relished the site of the mangle and the food safe hanging by the back door. We had to knock and were answered by a charming guide who happily answered my many questions.

scullery Petworth Cottage Museum

You step directly into the small scullery at the back, but it has the feel of a home rather than a museum and the tiny details abound for the visitor to discover.

scullery sink Petworth Cottage Museum

The lovely geraniums on the bright sunny window sill and the vegetables which have been left with the knife as if the lady of the house has just been interrupted by our arrival!

Petworth Cottage Museum

What a lovely eclectic mix of period items – you can just see the clothes horse with its drying sheets, the knives and the plate rack filled with mismatched crockery.

Petworth Cottage Museum

I love the soap dish with its scrubbing brush all ready to use

Petworth Cottage Museum

And the peg basket with wooden clothes pegs

towel on a roll Petworth Cottage Museum

I love the towel at the ready

medicine bottles Petworth Cottage Museum

The medicine cabinet is full of bottles and jars long before the NHS

kitchen Petworth Cottage Museum

There were all types of kitchen devices and gadgetry to feast on

Petworth Cottage Museum

Can you guess what this is?

egg separator Petworth Cottage Museum

an Egg Separator how useful is that?

Petworth Cottage Museum

Some of the devices include pamphlets and instructions

pantry Petworth Cottage Museum

To one side was a door, (that is Mr D escaping to the cellar) I marvelled at the use of space the shelves made use of every nook and cranny, and the preserves were all clearly labelled – I have always had a passion for pantries

Did you spot the green candle holder sitting on the jar?

Cellar Petworth Cottage Museum

The cellar was quite dark but the guide was able to light the original gas lamps and we were able to experience seeing by gas light. As it hissed we saw carpentry tools, a bicycle and a little paraffin heater. The light was not really bright but you could adjust it with the wick.  It was a bit eerie and I was glad to make our way back up the rickety stairs, where there were still wonders to see that I had missed on the climb down.

Parlour Petworth Cottage Museum

We were guided through the kitchen and into the parlour which was full of lots of details and objects including a pretty vase of flowers from the garden.

Games and amusements Petworth Cottage Museum

The Pollyphone was a very rare item it was cross between a music box and a gramophone there were many hand made items

canvass work Petworth Cottage Museum

Including this pretty canvas work cushion on one of the easy chairs by the fire

rag doll Petworth Cottage Museum

this sweet little rag doll had a seat of her own

peek into cupboards Petworth Cottage Museum

Open doors invited me to peek into cupboards (Mrs Cummings wasn’t looking!) the china here was beautiful is rare Petworth Cross China – locally made!

glowing range Petworth Cottage Museum

The range actually glowed, (it was lit by a red lamp) and it was lovely to see the little cakes ready to come out of the oven. There were several irons near the fire, because they lost then heat so quickly you would always have one warming up and one in use. Mrs Cummings must have done a lot of ironing, but then you need to when you sew!

Range Petworth Cottage Museum

What a huge kettle it must have been a huge effort to lift!

table laid for tea Petworth Cottage Museum

The table was all set for afternoon tea – with the sunshine flooding in it was all I could do to stop myself from taking a seat!

laid for tea Petworth Cottage Museum

I marvelled at the meticulous attention to detail as the kindly guide explained that the food items were all made by volunteers the cake and bread is made using salt rather than sugar so that it preserves it. Another small jar of flowers on the table really added to the beauty of the tea table and again helped me feel that I was visiting a home rather than a museum.

lace Petworth Cottage Museum

A sideboard drawer was slightly open to reveal a sumptuous collection of linen and lace.

stairs to the bedroom Petworth Cottage Museum

It was quite a little while before we headed upstairs but the guide did not hurry me

instead we talked about textiles and my interest in the museum because Mrs Cummings was a Seamstress.

Mrs Cunningham Petworth Cottage Museum

And here, at last is Mrs Cummings! Working away at her beautiful treadle sewing machine!

Petworth Cottage Museum

She is making a beautiful piece of delicate lace

Sewing room Petworth Cottage Museum

Again the details are captivating – sewing boxes, thread, darning tools

sewing supplies Petworth Cottage Museum

lace, buttons, pins and needles

shears and patterns Petworth Cottage Museum

her long shears hang on a hook just within reach

Seamstress Bill Petworth Cottage Museum

and an original bill for making a blouse! 6 shillings and 7 pence… not even Primark pay that!

needlework books Petworth Cottage Museum

pattern books and a needlework encyclopaedia

fashion magazine Petworth Cottage Museum

a Parisian Fashion Journal

crochet lace Petworth Cottage Museum

An example of filet crochet lace sits above the pattern book it came from. I am in awe of the skill of the maker, the stitches are so small. I was told many housewives earned extra incomes for their families by selling these lace items at markets -often by gaslight or candle light and I know now what that was like!

christening gown Petworth Cottage Museum

Unfortunately the mechanical age saw demand for home made lace decline, and the skills were almost lost but there are wonderful examples to see, like this beautiful Christening Gown.

crochet lace Petworth Cottage Museum

I have always wanted to try my hand at faggotting, the recent trend for lace on clothing means I have no excuse!

crochet lace pattern book Petworth Cottage Museum

I believe this is tatting – I saw examples of this at a textiles exhibition recently, one lady had been working on a piece for 5 years, but it was so beautiful and well worth the effort.

quilt Petworth Cottage Museum

This beautiful quilt was hanging on the back of a chair, the silk was so vivid after many years

knitting basket Petworth Cottage Museum

we headed to the bedroom and noticed a delightful knitting basket that I wanted to take home!

filet crochet bedspread Petworth Cottage Museum

The bedspread was also filet crochet, Mrs Cummings Pyjamas were laid out ready with another crochet pyjama case

pjs Petworth Cottage Museum

And a bed warmer all air the bed

bed warmer Petworth Cottage Museum

wash stand Petworth Cottage Museum

The wash stand, and the discrete bucket, (you saw the outhouse in the garden in the first picture)

alcove for a wardrobe Petworth Cottage Museum

hats and handbags

lace curtain Petworth Cottage Museum

little dressing table with curling irons

wash stand Petworth Cottage Museum

Such a pretty rose patterned dish and matching table runner in delicate cross stitch

filet lace Petworth Cottage Museum

What a beautiful lace panel along the fireplace. (I think they like Filet Crochet as much as I do!)

clothes Petworth Cottage Museum

no wardrobe just curtains and a towel rail but the clothes are neatly pressed

curtains Petworth Cottage Museum

The curtains matched at the window and they were so pretty I thought I would give you a closer peek at the pattern

bloomers Petworth Cottage Museum

And you thought French knickers were large! These were bloomers worn at the time! with the lovely guide holding them. She kindly brought many more textiles and lace to show me, when she discovered my passion for textiles

to the attic Petworth Cottage Museum

One more flight to the attic room past the wondrous wool coat

attic Petworth Cottage Museum

What a delightful room for a child – but that bed doesn’t look too comfortable

bedside reading Petworth Cottage Museum

there were some really lovely picture books

school slate Petworth Cottage Museum

as well as s school slate

crochet blanket Petworth Cottage Museum

I loved the round little crochet cover with its pretty lacy border which completes our little tour of the house.

If you are near Petworth do make a visit it really is a delightful place you can find more information about opening times here

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Book Review – Gifted Mags Kandis

Welcome dear reader….I have a rather large collection of crafting books – some of them could be described as Vintage my oldest sewing book goes back to 1934! It is getting a bit of struggle these days to find really unique ideas – I notice many of the crafting books have the same projects but slightly revamped, so it was a real pleasure to pick up this book and find something new. 
This felted mouse rest is delightfully done – filled with wheat and heated gently will give relief to a tired wrist. I love the apple like quality to this project – so fresh. 

I have never come across this idea before, knitted bangles that it made me want to shrink a jumper straight away! I love bangles but after a little while of wearing them and getting the clack clack clack every time I move my arm, I usually remove them long before the day is out. Somehow I think these just might last a little longer… and they may well manage to be a gift for someone! 
I have a large willow pattern teapot that I use first thing in the morning, I bought about 25 years ago!  Mr D and I need lots of strong breakfast tea to get us going in the morning – it makes a good two mugfuls and several refills of my delicate edwardian tea cup.  Since it is larger than usual it does not benefit from a tea cosy. Seeing this gorgeous simple design has inspired me to take up my needles – of course with my own unique twist! Will show you the finished result when its made! 
This book is well worth buying if you can get hold of it, a great addition to a crafter’s library.
ttfn… x 

Cable tied duo

I have completed my cable cushion! I love the texture that can be achieved by knitting, it is astounding just how many variations of pattern that can be made with two simple stitches. 
I used a very chunky yarn, in soft pale cream – it was satisfying as the knitting grows so quickly! I did not manage to copy the pattern, rather making my own using the technique. 
I chose to use crochet for the back as the tweed yarn was only two ply, I would still be knitting until next year it was so tiny! The effect of the two textures add interest. 
I always use a single crochet to stitch the cushion together, it makes a lovely edge and creates more of a contrast between the crochet back and the knitted front

As each stitch is worked together it makes the finish tidier. 
The button edging was created afterwards using crochet which handles buttonholes easier than knitting techniques. I also added a slight curve / frill to the edge. 
The crochet back is wider to create a pillowcase effect, folding over inside covering the cushion. 
While I enjoyed this project – I could not help but consider how expensive it is to knit or crochet, the wool was approximately £7 per ball! I used two balls for this project but fortunately I had the buttons in my own button box. 
So when I came across a cable scarf in a charity shop it gave me an idea…..
This cable cushion is made like a patchwork quilt with the cable squares rotated at 90 degrees. 
I zigzag stitched the edges to prevent the kitting from fraying and then used one longer piece as a flap for the back. 
I wanted a contrasting back re-using this old white jumper. The bottom edge meant I could use it for the opening – there was no need to hem the open edge. 
The back looks like this – and this cushion was made for £5. I love up cycling – it gives me a real thrill. 

A great source for cabling instructions and lots of knitting techniques can be found here

Just for the frill of it

There are times when I get a little carried away, this little tea cosy is a prime example! It is simply frilling! I wanted to learn several fringing techniques as well as creating gathers, so I thought this little project was a way of playing with the stitches and having something to show for all that hooking! 

 These lovely little loops make a nice fringe – yet are very simple to do. 

There are two layers of frills at the top, made with different lengths of stitch, double crochet and treble crochet. The white edge is a scallop shell stitch.

The second frill is a treble crochet, it creates a fan like effect, edged with another colour it separates the stitches even further. 

A little drawstring bow gathers the frills around the pot lid – a ribbon of crochet is made with a simple chain – threaded through treble crochet loops. 

There really is a tea pot under there! 
I know that it is totally OTT but there are times when a little frivolity doesn’t do any one any harm! 
….
Pattern is available free of charge if you fancy a frill of your own! 
just pop a comment on the blog. 

Cable tied!

Do not adjust your set, the picture is yellow! I print out my patterns in yellow to help me to read them, I am beginning to wonder though, if I might be a little number dyslexic! Pretty aren’t they? A friend of mine made each one in a lovely Aran wool and they inspired me so much I thought I might take up knitting needles again. 
When I was a child I was a fierce knitter, my barbie had the most elaborate fair isle jumpers imaginable – ok she was lucky that she did not have to move her arms, as they seemed to come up as fair isle straight jackets but I loved knitting. I would make complex patterns in my head, and stitch them out in my small scale of twenty or thirty stitches. 
One stumbling block to all knitting however, (no I won’t mention the toddler’s jumper I tried to knit after I was married, I think there was something wrong with my scale – I could produce a whole range in straight jacket knitwear, but there isn’t much call for that). I digress – my stumbling block was cabling, it looked too complex, confusing, I had seen people using short needles and could not make it out. However, inspired by the beautiful cabling in my friend’s cushion I vowed to give it a go. 
Several you tube videos later  (this one is very good) and a brief lesson from a 96 year old, I finally mastered the technique. 
This is an experimental piece, I wanted to play with the technique – changing the width of the cables from four stitches to two and creating a purl dip that you can see in the middle of the third section. I love cabling – it creates a whole different texture, one that I can hopefully explore successfully. 
I have experimented with increases and decreases, as well as twisting from the front, (knit row) to the back (purl) row. Now I have mustered the technique I hopefully picked up the needles for another great challenge – following a pattern. Hence the dyslexia, I try – I really do to follow someone’s instructions but I hit a blank – or it somehow doesn’t work. After a few rows of *following, going wrong, un picking, picking up – knitting* repeat * several times over, I picked up my crochet hook. 
I will show you how it grows until you see the finished article in the meantime see if you can guess what it is! 

Roses and tea

I find that wool shops can be like stepping into an artists palette, the colours and hues really do excite me. There seems to be an endless variety of textures as well as colours and after years of seeing haberdasheries and wool shops disappearing, the new wave of knitters and hookers has seen an upsurge in new wool varieties, merino and alpaca as well as denim, but I have a liking for cotton type wool and this is called baby bamboo.

Choosing colour is difficult for some people they are daunted by the sheer magnitude but I find if you look at a range you will find that the shades and colours have a harmony. Such was the case with this, there were a beautiful palette of the baby colours, blues, yellows as well as greens. The pink has come out in this picture a lot brighter than it is naturally it is lovely. Very soft to work with and gentle on the hands.

I have a sweet little tea pot, from Whittards, its lovely blue and white but was being swamped under tea cosies made for stouter pots! I felt it was small enough to practise on!

I wanted to learn to crochet but I have a terrible problem understanding practical things from books,  I wish I had let my Nan show me when she wanted to, she made the most wonderful bed covers using the granny square!

Since she could not show me, I did the next best thing and I took myself off to a local WI where a lovely lady kindly showed me the basics. I was then able to decipher the books and learn new stitches, but I still struggle to follow patterns!

So this is my little journey into playing with various stitches, made from two straight easy pieces of plain crochet and some practice frills. The roses were great fun, as usual I went off the pattern to create my own rose  but I was pleased with the results.

Crochet is so much more free form than knitting, you can make holes, add frills or simply pull and it will all come undone and you can start again. It really is the most forgiving wonderful craft.