Every year the Marlborough Branch of the Embroiderers Guild organise an outing, which I love to take part in. This year we were destined to go to Redditch to the Forge Mill needle museum. Its only about an hour away by coach and the journey was very pleasant. On arrival we were greeted with a piece of cake and tea..... and I warmed to the adventure immediately.
We were split into different groups and each group escorted by a gentleman guide. We were destined for the Scouring house! The strange smell of old oil and soot greeted us as we went into a very dingy workshop and the process of scouring the metal was explained to us. This is usually an end process, after the needles have been made.
Above a photo for the hessian and equipment used for scouring.
We then went for a most enlightening talk in another section of the museum and given a talk about Bordesley Abbey.. I was hooked.... absolutely fascinating. I just wished we had time to explore this Abbey more fully. Certainly justifies another visit.
The final part of the official tour took us to another workshop.. this is the start of the process, where the wire is made into needles, the dummy above is doing the pointing of the needles, and the only health and safety precautions are a scarf around his mouth. Apparently this was a highly paid part of the process as the men rarely survived beyond 35 years of age due to lung disease.
Unfortunately the talks had taken so long that we had little time to do justice to the Small Samurai Exhibition or the fantastic needle exhibition on the top floor. I did manage to purchase a postcard and some special needles. Time was short .... and before we knew it we were back on the coach ( travelling through some beautiful countryside) and at our 2nd destination..
We quickly arrived at the Jinny Ring Craft Centre.. the photos of glass baubles hanging from an artificial tree... very apt colours this year
After some lunch - we were not allowed to picnic in the grounds I sauntered into the garden and the views were magnificent.. enlarge the photo below and see if you can see the church.
I then had a wander around the craft studios, and chatted to a few of the crafts folk. My only purchase was some chocolates for himself. Hand made... they look wonderful, but I have not been offered any .....yet!
I really enjoyed my day out and would love to spend a lot more time at the needle Museum, I do not feel the same about the Jinny Ring... although the restaurant and grounds are really lovely, I think my expectations were higher for the crafts. These were very commercial units on the whole, and I know they are expensive to rent and so have to make money. I had hoped for more .... but enjoyed myself anyway. Would love to hear what others think.