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January 2012

Craft Sessions

Posted by Sian Lile-Pastore on 30 January 2012

Socks in St Fagans:National History Museum. Photo by Amy Wheel

Detail of sock from the Museum's collection - photo by Amy Wheel

Detail of socks in the Museum's collection - photo by Amy Wheel

Detail of scarf (i think) from the Museum's collections, photo by Amy Wheel

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We have been running a quilt club for just over a year and we've got quite a group of regulars who turn up on the first Saturday every two months for some patchworking and a chat. There must be something quilty in the air for 2012, as last time we met the group had doubled in size with lots of lovely new patchworkers turning up.

Samantha Jenkins leads the patchworking and quilting and you can see some of her work hereshe is full of great ideas and can solve all your patchwork problems!

I thought it might be time to try out some different craft sessions aimed at adults, so much in the same way that quilting club is run (relaxed and informal but with someone there to help if you get stuck) we are going to be trying out some similar sessions providing you with the chance to knit, make rag rugs, do some simple printing by hand and embroidery. Please visit the 'what's on' part of our website for more information, and please remember to book as spaces are limited.

Just to give you a bit of an idea of what is happening... I will be running the printing session, and we'll be looking at some lovely 1950s designs to come up with printing ideas, making simple printing blocks out of softblock (like lino but better) and printing on paper and fabric. I have turned one of my prints into a fabric brooch, and they would also be lovely as part of a patchwork quilt.

Amy Wheel will be taking our knitting session and will be basing the workshop on some of the socks we have in the collection. Amy is a regular at our quilt club and is also a fabulous knitter and super lovely too, so this should be a fun session! If you know how to knit you could have a go at making a sock, and if you don't you can learn and make something based on the sock designs.

Jane Dorsett will be leading the rag rug making session, and she asks that you bring along a bag of clean unwanted clothes, apparently old T-shirts are great for the job.

Jane has run numerous rag rug sessions in schools, community groups and galleries and there is a lot of interest in this session already so book right away!

The embroidery sessions will be run by Becky Adams and she will be basing some of the designs on the needlecases that we have in our collections here at St Fagans: National History Museum.

Becky has previously worked in St Fagans: National History Museum on our Keepsakes project and has run numerous art and craft sessions for all ages as well as being a wonderful artist in her own right.

I've added some photos showing some patchwork made in quilt club. If you have a photo of your work in progress, please email me with it as it's great to see what everyone is making! My email address is

Here are the crafty dates for your diary. Booking is essential as spaces are limited, so please phone 029 2057 3414 to keep a space.

3 March 11am-12.30pm - Quilt Club

17 March 11am-12.30pm - Knitting

31 March 11am-12.30pm - Embroidery

14 April 11am-12.30pm - Printing

28 April 11am-12.30pm - Embroidery

12 May 10.30am-12.30pm - Rag Rugs

19 May 11am-12.30pm - Knitting

26 May 10.30am-12.30pm - Rag Rugs

7 July 11am-12.30pm - Quilt Club

1 Sept 11am-12.30pm - Quilt Club

3 Nov 11am-12.30pm - Quilt Club

All sessions are free and some materials are provided to get you started. If you are taking part in the rag rug sessions please bring along some old clothes or fabric.

Wild winter flowers

Posted by Danielle Cowell on 12 January 2012
Purple Ramping-Fumitory, out in bloom due to the unseasonally warm weather.
Daisies in December

You may remember our pictures of roses and daisies flowering in December?  Well, top botanist, Dr Tim Rich, who is based at Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales has looked much further into this strange occurence.

On new year's day he counted how many different types of plants were found to be flowering in the Winter. He found that the warm weather had allowed an amazing 63 wildflowers to bloom, which is much more than the normal average of 20-30 species. See the news reports below that explain the findings of his investigation.

Perhaps you could count the number of wild plants that are in flower around your school? If you do, please send me in some pictures. Meanwhile, I've had many reports from schools telling me that their daffodils and crocus are starting to grow!

Many thanks. Professor Plant.


BBC Breakfast this morning and BBC News live pieces all day today

Listen out for Tim Rich on BBC Radio Wales' Roy Noble Show at 3pm

BBC Radio 4 Today programme this morning - listen again

Western Mail

BBC Wales Online

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New year, new shoots!

Posted by Danielle Cowell on 6 January 2012
Pupils at Fulwood and Cadley Primary School
Daffodil shoot
Crocus shoot
Bulbs planted in Autumn 2011
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This year’s bulbs are taking advantage of the mild weather. I can't remember such a warm Christmas holiday, almost every day the temperature was 10 degrees!

Fulwood and Cadley Primary School have sent in some pictures and reported: "We were very excited when we visited our bulbs after the Christmas break. Some of them had grown and we could see small green shoots peeping through the soil."

My plants in Cardiff have begun to grow too, the daffodils are about 3cms tall and the crocus is just shooting through. If you’re not sure which is which please take a look at my pictures. This time last year there was very little sign of growth. 

The bulbs that I planted in autumn 2010 are really coming along now. The daffodils are about 20cms tall. I wonder how early they will flower.

What should schools be doing now? As usual you will need to keep your weather records but now the plants are starting to grow you need to watch them - to see when they flower. Please see Keeping flower records to know what to do. Teachers may find it useful to refer to the Teachers Notes 2011-12 which will point you in the direction of all the useful resources.

Big School's Bird Watch. Don't forget you can help the RSPB to count birds on in your own school grounds between the 16th and 30th of January 2012

Brush-up on your birds by watching our woodland wildcams - which view the woodland birds living at St Fagans: National History Museum.

Many Thanks, Professor Plant.

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