Archive for event

Meet the Empress

Posted in Embroidery, Needlework, out and about with tags , , , , , , , on March 17, 2019 by suetortoise

I’ve got some catching up to do. I’ve got several finished pieces to show you, but I shall talk about just two for now, and my trip to Stitching for Pleasure.

This is the stitched box I started a while back (here’s the first post I made on its progress). It took almost forever – all that metallic thread, very hard on the fingers! The last stitch went in just at the end of February. I call this one “Empress of Mars”.

Here’s a close up of the lid, to show off the texture and the central decoration. The pink cut-glass beads came from an old necklace. I attached them with strong thread, before hiding that with metallic thread on top.

On Friday, I went to Stitching For Pleasure at the NEC, once again meeting up with Rachel from Virtuosew Adventures, for a natter and a look around the stalls and the exhibitions. Rachel’s superb piece “Leaving the Tyne” was on show in the Embroiderers’ Guild display of their “100 Hearts”. I was pleased to see it was one of three given pride of place right at the front entrance.

On my wants list this year were some more colours of Gütermann Sulky Cotton 12 – which I found on the Barnyarns stand, Some Stef Francis Superfine silk thread from the Silk Mill stand, a couple of fat quarters from Bombay Stores, and some offcuts of evenweave from Fabric Flair which I think was on the Yorkshire Book Company stand. I was remarkably restrained and didn’t buy anything not on my list, this year, despite temptation. Although I did come home with a portable, rechargeable LED lamp. I was only intending to look at the different models this visit, but i made my mind up quite easily. I’ll talk about that on another post, as I haven’t yet tried it out properly. All in all, a very successful and enjoyable day out, but very tiring.

There’s nothing like a day spent looking at supplies and lovely finished pieces to get the old fingers itching to try things out. Needless to say, I ended up spending much of this weekend making yet another bookmark. This one is on a piece of 28 count cotton evenweave from my Fabric Flair purchases at the NEC. It’s printed with pale blue random ‘clouds’ and is stitched with one strand of a slightly darker blue stranded cotton (two strands for the buttonhole stitch edging). Stitches used include double cross, tiny eyelets, a big spider eyelet and something like a double leviathan stitch. I’m quite pleased with this one. I think it’s made something quite delicate out of a somewhat unprepossessing piece of fabric.


A Square with Four Sides

Posted in Music, out and about, shrewsbury with tags , , , , , , on August 28, 2010 by suetortoise

Ironmen 4
August Bank Holiday weekend, Shrewsbury Folk Festival is on. I am supposed to be busy packing my bags for my holiday and tidying the Tortoise Loft. (No more posts from me for a while, but watch out for pictures and a report when I get back in September.)

But knowing there was folk dancing going on in The Square, and that the sun was shining, I allowed myself one hour off, and took my camera with me.

The first of the four sides I saw were One Step Beyond, doing Appalachian step dancing. They moved fast, and it was hard to catch them on camera.
One Step Beyond 1
Next up, Crook Morris, a mixed morris side: white shirts and hankies, amazing hats and high-energy dancing.
Crook Morris 1
Two East Shropshire sides: The ladies of the Severn Gilders dance in clogs, while The Ironmen keep up the wild Border Morris tradition, with wooden staves, blackened faces and tatters.
Severn Gilders 2
Ironmen 3
Severn Gilders 4
The beautifully decorated Square makes a fine setting for morris dancing. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the hats from the hanging baskets!
Ironmen 5
And on that happy note, I’ll say farewell for now. See you back here in the second half of September, if I don’t see you in Melbourne.

Quantum Leap Takes Off

Posted in Darwin, out and about, review, shrewsbury with tags , , , , on October 9, 2009 by suetortoise

Leaping into the blue

Long awaited, delayed by difficulties, still standing in a bare building-site rather than the Geo Garden that will eventually surround it: Shrewsbury’s controversial Quantum Leap, the Charles Dawin Bicentenary Memorial sculpture, was officially inaugurated on Thursday the 8th of October, 2009. The area in front of the statue was jam-packed with people, the crowd spilling along the narrow footpath of the Smithfield Road almost to the Welsh Bridge. The late afternoon sun shone kindly on the warm-grey concrete of the curving, twisting structure. Darwin’s great-great-grandson, Randal Keynes, made the inaugural speech on behalf of the Darwin family. Finally a brass ensemble from Shrewsbury School played a fine fanfare, composed for the occasion by Ben Powell Davies, a student at the school.

A spendid fanfare

I have some more pictures in a set on Flickr.

Quantum Leap has been beset with problems. There were several unforseen difficulties with the site, and the original construction, built up from two sides, failed to meet correctly in the middle, needing to be partly dismantled and corrected. We don’t expect professional constructors to get things like this wrong, but Quantum Leap was a novel and daring project, almost an experiment in construction science. (Here’s my piece on the early stages of the construction.) And in the end, they got it right. I’m less happy about the thick concrete bases that have been added to the structure, particularly the one on the river side of the arch. Necessary, perhaps, but the bulky lumps anchor the piece rather too firmly to the ground: less an idea leaping into the air, more something struggling to escape. Maybe that is more symbolic of Darwin than we might think? His own doubts about how his thoughts and researches would be received, and the effect this would have on his family, held back the publication of The Origin of Species for many years.

To digress only slightly, I went to see the film Creation on Friday. It’s beautifully acted throughout, with the high standards of production one expects from BBC period drama, but Creation is more a film of a battle with emotion, doubts, ill-health and anguish than of science. I cried quite a lot. It’s worth seeing, but do take plenty of tissues and don’t expect to learn much about Darwin’s work beyond the most obvious.

Randal Keynes, delighted descendantThe film is based on the book Annie’s Box by Randal Keynes, who dedicated the Quantum Leap sculpture yesterday. Darwin worried that his ideas would be misunderstood, cause anger and and a storm of criticism he did not want to face. Quantum Leap has already attracted a fair amount of criticism, but we should give it time to mature — to be finished and then to mellow into its setting between the trees in the garden-to-be on the riverbank. I fancy that Shrewsbury will come first to accept and then to delight in its bold, curving, twisting shapes against the sky, once it has found its place among us.

(And of course people are worried that it will become a ‘Saturday-night climbing frame’ for young drunks, who will then fall into the river and drown or kill themselves by landing on stone. I must admit to thinking that anyone so doing might provide an excellent example of evolutionary principles in action.)

Give Quantum Leap and the Geo Garden by the river time to settle and to mature, and I think we will have something that Shrewsbury can be very proud of. Even when still surrounded by concrete dust and metal bariers, it makes a fine sight against the sky.

Quantum leap, grey curves

Goodbye Summer!

Posted in out and about, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on September 1, 2009 by suetortoise

Chinewrde Morris, still life

Well, there we had it: the last Bank Holiday before Christmas, and not much sunshine for it. I didn’t get to the Shrewsbury Folk Festival, due to lack of money, but I did get to see a little of the dancing in The Square on the Saturday.

Pig Dyke Molly, circle

This crazy bunch are Pig Dyke Molly, from the Cambridgeshire Fens. Spectacular costumes and make up – they looked good against the old buildings in High Street.

Pig Dyke Molly, Shrewsbury, 2009 1


This is Nodger, Pig Dyke’s mascot. A bit blurred as it was coming for me at the time!





Chinewrde Morris, Shrewsbury 2009

Chinewrde Morris Dancers are a ladies side. Clogs and bobbins. The come from Kenilworth. Lively dancing and a grand noise from their large band of musicians.

Chinewrde and Owen's Mansion

 What did you do on the last weekend in August?

A Free Show

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on August 15, 2009 by suetortoise

Shrewsbury Flower Show is a marvellous spectacle, but it’s an expensive day out. I’ve only been there when I’ve been lucky enough to be given a ticket. Fortunately, just living in Shrewsbury gives me a taste of the show for free.

Ironmongatorial splendour

Many shops have colourful window displays, but Birch’s at the bottom of Roushill really pulls out all the stops and covers all the walls. (And it’s a wonderful Aladdin’s cave of a shop – packed with things that you didn’t think you could still buy.)

Flower Show special

Victoria Quay in bloom



Loads of flowers everywhere in the town.

Here’s one of the approach roads to the Quarry Park, Victoria Quay.



Flower Show Fireworks 09
I’m lucky to have an attic flat which gives me a view of the grand firework display that ends the show on each of its two days. I can only see the higher rockets, but it’s free. (If the wind is in the right direction, I can hear the massed brass bands and male-voice choirs at the finale, too. I love the way the Welsh National Anthem is always twice as loud as God Save The Queen when the choirs sing.)

And being on the road from Shrewsbury Castle to the centre of town, the marching bands pass right  below my window. I could hear this band, but couldn’t see them. They were going at a quick march – I’d no time to raise the sash to set up a proper shot. So I waved the camera out of the top half of the window at arm’s length and hoped for the best.

There goes the band

Two years ago, I was given a ticket to the 120th Flower Show. Here is my set of pictures from that day on Flickr. 120 of them, of course.