Christmas is coming… Lace making tutor Jean Leader shares some of her festive crafty ideas…
Although Christmas is nearly three months away, I’ve already been asked about suitably festive patterns for bobbin lace to hang on the tree or use on cards. It’s a long time since I made my first lace ornament for our tree — a little green Christmas tree decorated with coloured beads inside a ring. At a lace course I was given an anonymous page with three patterns, one for the tree and two others for a candle and a star. I made all three and when they were finished attached each one to a bangle ready to hang on our tree (the original tree in a ring went missing a few years ago and for its replacement I used fabric stiffener to give it more body instead of a ring).
Tree, candle, star lace patterns
Since then I have built up quite a collection of Christmas patterns, some I’ve found in magazine or books, and others I have designed myself. I try to come up with at least one new pattern every year but I’m still thinking about something for this year and I still have plenty of time!
festive lace creations
If you’ve never made bobbin lace you may be wondering if you’d be able to make any of these. The answer is a very definite YES. The twisted spirals can be made by complete beginners and even the little tree would be possible — it’s made with finer thread which means there are more stitches (think 2-ply versus double knitting) but they are the same stitches. In case you’re wondering the spirals are made flat, then wound round a pencil wrapped in cling film (to keep the pencil clean) and painted with stiffener. Once they’re dry take out the pencil and hang them on the tree!
If you’re new to bobbin lace making I can bring what you’ll need to get going (pillow, bobbins, thread etc) — please just let the folk at Gartmore House know in advance.
On the other hand if you’d prefer to work on something other than Christmas decorations then please also get in touch. I’ll be happy to help if you have any questions. For further information on lace making courses, see our website or simply pick up the phone and give us a call on 01877 382991. Our next course before Christmas starts 9 November 2018. Find out more about tutor Jean Leader, visit https://www.jeanleader.net/
Sewing holidays are quite new at Gartmore House, but everyone who has come so far has loved them! Its such a treat to come to a wonderful place, be able to sew all day for 4 full days, be fed and treated as very special guests and not have to make the beds, think about dinner, or walk the dogs!
Our sewing holidays suit most sewers and will especially suit you if you are confident about using your sewing machine. You will pick up wee sewing tips as you go through each day and you will learn new techniques as well.
On the ‘Understanding and Fitting Patterns’ holiday, we spend a lot of time actually finding out all about the pattern – what’s in it and what information it is giving us. It’s amazing how much we don’t know about the pattern and even the pattern envelope. You’ll also learn how to take body measurements and then choose the correct size of pattern to cut before you even begin sewing. Everyone agrees that this is incredibly useful and informative.
By the end of the holiday, you should have made a toile or a practice dress/top in calico or some other practice material that you bring along, learned all about fitting it on you – with the help of everyone else on the course – and made your pattern adjustments. Many of you will manage to finish sewing your final dress/top before you leave.
The ‘Trousers’ week is great! How many times do we wish we could get a perfectly fitting pair of trousers and better still, MAKE the perfect pair of trousers. This is the holiday for you! You’ll get to grips with the pattern and hopefully really understand all about fitting those trousers. Crotch depths and crotch rise and all the terms used about trousers can be so confusing but we get them sorted out during this week, having lots of fun and laughs whilst we do it!
Speed tailoring a jacket
Other holidays that are planned include Speed Tailoring a Jacket. This holiday will suit intermediate and confident sewers to get the best from the holiday. It takes 3 full days to make a wonderful jacket for an experienced sewer but this course will get you to the point where you can take your jacket home and finish your hems and buttonholes etc. Its amazingly satisfying to fit and make your own jackets!
Each workshop will accommodate everyone who comes and Gill will work with all of you individually, ensuring that you get the best of attention and help when you need it. You will learn lots of sewing tips from Gill and from each other and your sewing knowledge and confidence will grow considerably. Hopefully you will go home ready to start a new project knowing that you will be able to finish it and be proud to wear it! Other sewing topics can be included in a holiday – just get in touch and let us know what you want to learn.
Knitting and Crochet breaks are one of the most popular crafting holidays here at Gartmore House. Tutor Samira Hill explains a bit more about what you can expect from a rewarding escape to rural Scotland, where you’ll get to grips with knitting needles and crochet hooks:
Our retreats are the perfect choice for a relaxing, creative and inspiring holiday, based around your favourite hobby! Have you got a project that has been hiding in your bag for ages, but you can’t find the time to finish it? Have you a pattern that you would love to get on with, but need help with it? Or are you a complete beginner who would you like to learn something new?
If so, you’ll find a wide selection of knitting and crochet workshops available, and you’ll choose which of these to work on ahead of your break (see course info for example workshops). During your time at Gartmore House you’ll be working on your chosen topic with me, Samira. The activities and workshops are designed to suit absolutely everyone, encompassing all abilities and levels of experience; there is no prior knowledge of a technique or topic required for those who would like to learn to knit, crochet, and learn Tunisian Crochet. For those with some experience in knitting, there are a lot of new techniques to explore, such as Brioche knitting, Entrelac knitting, Fair Isle, sock knitting, cables etc… For those with some knowledge of crochet, there are also some fun techniques to practice colour work stitches, texture stitches and crochet cables… As well as Tunisian Crochet!
I’ve designed each of the workshops so that by the end of your crafting holiday, you will have one or a few finished items to show off the new skills you have learnt. What’s more, you will have acquired a strong understanding of your new techniques, so that you can carry on exploring further on your own with confidence.
The workshops are suggestions only; I’m always on hand to help you with any topic or project that you would like to work on! The activity weeks are a great opportunity to relax, explore the peaceful surroundings of Gartmore Estate, indulge in the delicious food on offer, and enjoy friendly and inspiring crafty chats by the fire… and naturally the simple pleasure of working with your hands – knitting and crocheting all day of course!
There is so much that goes on during an activity holiday at Gartmore House. We have put together an example activity holiday schedule, so you know what to expect when you arrive and over the next few days of your residential course. Sunday/Day 1 16:00Arrive and settle in. Tea and coffee available with a selection of home baking. You could use your free time to go for a walk along one of the area’s scenic routes, or take a wander up to Gartmore village, where there is a handy community-owned shop and friendly pub. 18:00 Welcome talk in the lounge. A member of our friendly team will give you a brief welcome talk. This is also an opportunity to get to know your tutor and other guests on your activity holiday. 18:30 Dinner time! Our fabulous chefs will make you a scrumptious 3 course dinner to start your week on a high. There is a set menu every day which offers 3 options for you to choose from. Example dinner mains include: Roast Loin of Pork, Pan-fried Fillet of Salmon or Sweet Potato and Chick Pea Curry. Please note: we will always cater to any dietary requirements we have been made aware of in advance. 21:00 Tea/coffee in lounge. Enjoy some down-time in the lounge, before the next busy day ahead.
Delicious dinner at Gartmore House
Monday/Day 2 08:30Breakfast. Get your day off to the best start with our wholesome cooked Scottish breakfast, made by our chefs using local produce. 10:00 Course begins (course will run until 4pm). Now the fun starts! You will get cracking on your projects for the week under the guidance of our expert tutors. For example on the Felting Holiday, previous guests have made hats, mittens or boots. 11:00 Tea/coffee break. Enjoy a little break with some tea/coffee and home baking. 13:00 Lunch. Enjoy a delicious homemade 2 course lunch and take a well-deserved break from the morning’s activities. An example lunch time menu is soup and a baked potato with filling. 15:30 Tea/coffee break. Time for an afternoon tea/coffee break, with some delicious home baking. 18:30 Dinner. Another freshly made 3 course dinner will be served. Further dinner menu examples include Tomato & Mozzarella Salad with balsamic glaze, Braised Beef and Sticky Toffee Pudding for dessert. 21:00 Tea/coffee in the lounge. A chance to chat and reflect on the day’s events.
Tuesday/Day 3 08:30 Breakfast. Another freshly made, traditional Scottish breakfast. 10:00 Course begins (course will run until 4pm). Another day to work on and progress with your projects. On a Photography Holiday for example, previous breaks have taken a trip to Loch Katrine to capture landscapes and water movement. 11:00 Tea/coffee break. Take a short break from your projects, and relax with a tea/coffee and cake. 13:00 Lunch. Another 2 course lunch will be served. An example of lunches includes soup and sandwiches. 15:00 Tea/coffee break. Time for some afternoon tea along with a selection of cakes. 18:30 Dinner. Our dinner menus vary daily, however another sample menu that you may be of your choice is: Trio of Melon Salad, Vegetable Kiev and Eton Mess. 21:00 Tea/coffee in the lounge before bed.
Double or Twin bedroom
Wednesday/Day 4 08:30 Breakfast. 10:00 Course begins. A further opportunity to progress on you projects. On a Watercolour Painting Holiday for example, you may work on your paintings in the studio or outdoors, weather permitting. 10:45 Tea/coffee break. Enjoy your morning tea/coffee break with another one of our chef’s mouth-watering cakes/tray bakes. 12:30 Lunch. An earlier lunch today as you will get the opportunity to go on a day trip later on. 13:30 Day trip. As you’ve been hard at work all week, we offer a complimentary day trip to either go and visit the Woollen Mill in Aberfoyle, or take a cruise on Loch Katrine. 15:30 Tea/coffee break. Return from your day trip to some light cakes and a tea or coffee. 18:30 Dinner. Once again, you will get to make 3 choices from our set menu of the day. More examples include: Breaded Brie Wedges, Breaded Haddock Fillet & Fresh Fruit Salad. 21:00 Tea/coffee in the lounge.
Thursday/Day 5 08:30 Breakfast. Once again a delicious full cooked Scottish breakfast. 10:00 Course begins (course will run until 4pm). This is your final day to work on your projects with the help of your tutor. On previous Knitting & Crochet Holidays, for example, guests have worked on a range of different knitting/crochet including: Tunisian crochet, brioche knitting, Aran Cables knitting or sock knitting. 11:00 Tea/coffee break. Again, with some home baking. 13:00 Lunch. Another 2 course lunch for you to enjoy. 15:30 Tea/coffee break. Your final afternoon tea break. 19:00 Dinner. A celebratory dinner will take place on the final night in our Cayzer room. This is a great opportunity to reflect on your week with your fellow guests. This will be followed by some entertainment in the lounge. We often have Scottish folk singer Gary Spiers come along, so make sure you’re in good voice if you want to join in! 21:00 Tea/coffee in the lounge.
Rainbows dyeing wool
Friday/Day 6 08:30 Breakfast. A traditional Scottish breakfast to finish your week. 10:00 Departure. We offer a complimentary drop off service back to Stirling train station on the day of departure. Please note: For weekend breaks the courses will run from 4pm on Friday, until 4pm on Sunday.
To enquire about any of our courses or to book, please visit our website www.gartmorehouse.com or give us a call on 01877 382991.
Happy National Sock Day. Here at Gartmore, we love Knitting and sock crafting and knitting is something we love to do with our guests. The rhythmic, repetitive motion of knitting has the same benefits to your mind and body as a meditation session, except you get a lovely pair of super cosy socks to enjoy at the end. With our Scottish Winter, keeping cosy is essential. There is not much more comforting than sitting by our open fire in winter knits, admiring the beautiful Scottish scenery.
Here are a couple of images of the socks and booties we have enjoyed knitting during our activity breaks at Gartmore House.
Why not post a sock selfie and let us see what you are wearing today for #NationalSockDay.
Gartmore House offer knitting and crochet activity breaks for both beginners and seasoned professionals. Teacher Samira Hill offers exciting workshops, suitable for all abilities. Whether you would like to learn to knit, improve your knitting skills or learn some new knitting techniques, there will definitely be something for you. Book this activity break here.