On Saturday afternoon I wandered around the corner for a constitutional and happened upon a little corner of France here on the Eastern fringes of Bath.
Ooh la la! What a great poster!
The Bath Brocante is a new venture from antiques dealer Katherine Gilmore.
La Brocanteuse elle-même!
Katherine conceived this as a monthly outdoor event taking place during the relatively clement seasons of the British year. Brave Katherine! Happily, she brought rather a lot of jauntily buntinged canvas along with her too, though in the event the weather turned out to be surprisingly kind; it didn’t rain and was actually warm! So much so that Katherine hardly needed her beautifully embellished tweed jacket at all (which I had to take a close-up of because it was officially adorable and I am nothing if not fixated by such details, especially when they include Liberty fabric. Katherine is probably issuing a restraining order as I type…).
All the occasion needed was a little music – like this, perhaps (please be patient as it doesn’t play until 21 seconds in) — and maybe the relaxing clink or two from an adjacent boules game? I’m sure these could easily be arranged.
If you like what you see, The Bath Brocante series next year will run on the 2nd Saturday of the month (remember the formula, folks!) from May onwards. Do contact Katherine if you’re a French-inspired trader or maker interested in booking a 2012 stall. The brocante’s blog is over here, or you can email Katherine at this carefully disguised spam-defying email address: gilmorekatherine AT hotmail DOT com.
There’s a decided nip in the air these days which is driving me to winterise my wardrobe. The boots are back on, and I’ve ferreted out my trusty brown & cream window-pane check Harris tweed suit from the darker recesses of the cupboard.
Harris tweed, justly dubbed the champagne of fabrics, happens to be celebrating 100 years of its anti-counterfeit Orb trademark this year*. It has the distinction of being the only fabric in the world governed by its own Act of Parliament: the Harris Tweed Act 1993, stipulating that it must be handwoven on the island of Harris at the home of the weaver. In fact, it’s the only handwoven fabric produced in commercial quantities. This explains why it retails at a hefty £75 a metre.
100 years of the Harris Tweed orb mark
Expensive it may be, but it’ll probably outlive you. My Harris tweed suit came from Jigsaw about 15 years ago and has remained completely impervious to the elements, moths etc.
If you have a need for tweed, why not enjoy this footage of Glasgow’s first Tweed Ride which took place on 7th August? Don’t they look stylish?
Or, how about a map for the tweedophile in your life? Admittedly it’s of an area some distance from Harris. And the name ‘tweed’ doesn’t actually derive from the River Tweed at all, being an unfortunate nineteenth century misreading (allegedly by a London cloth merchant) of ‘tweel’, the Scottish for twill. Ah well. Close enough for rock ‘n’ roll.
1959 Bartholomew's map of Tweeddale
* for fellow nit-pickers, the orb trademark was granted in 1909, registered in 1910 and started being stamped on cloth in 1911.
If you get your hands on a copy of issue 2 of the magazine (it’s just now becoming available in the US and in Australia – I think) and are inspired to have a go at the strawberries, do share images of your creations. I’m getting such a buzz out of seeing what everyone’s made. Those tweed ones at the top in particular made my heart skip a beat. Keep ‘em coming!
After a small gap, here’s another scrap in my continuing series. This is from a 100% pure new wool Marks & Spencer skirt which I found in a charity shop. The picture doesn’t really do it justice as my flash was too harsh. I particularly like the look of this kind of flecked, pepper-and-salt, slightly slubby tweed. This one feels really lovely and soft too. The original garment is great for my upcycling purposes as it’s good and big. I thought it would make a nice cushion, or possibly two.
Was: M&S skirt
I’ve slung it through the wash, slightly unceremoniously, though it advises dry-cleaning only on the label. I don’t mind a little shrinkage. In fact, as a compulsive sweater-felter, I usually actively encourage things to shrink. Forgive the wonky picture above – I was in an unseemly rush.
Will be: cute rhino cushion
And here’s what I’m doing with it. This project is a cushion cover for a male relative who happens to adore rhinos. I’m aiming for something that sits on the cute spectrum yet is still acceptable to a young adult male. OK, cushion covers per se aren’t the obvious boy choice, but men need cushions too: desk chairs, bachelor-pad beds, leather swivel armchairs… Feel free to fill in the gaps. This critter has been cut from a felted sweater (another charity shop purchase). Can’t claim credit for his shape – he’s out there on the internet somewhere, copyright-free for the looking. I’ve yet to decide how I want his applique stitching to look.
But I know he wants this beady button eye: a reclaimed vintage mother-of-pearl button (one of my favourite types of button, but don’t get me started). It makes him look friendly enough and yet nobody’s fool either: just as any self-respecting rhino should look. He’s already very, very, very late, so I’d better crack on. Will try to remember to take pics of the finished article to show you. Thanks for looking!