Crafting in History

dyed skeins

Yesterday, we headed into Bristol to the M Shed. I’d spotted in the Primary Times magazine that they had a medieval craft exhibition. History and craft rolled into one sounded like a good event.

medieval spinning

They had spinning, weaving and dyeing exhibits. There was a room where children could have a medieval hair do, dress up and have a photo taken sitting on a throne.  Another room for making medieval themed crafts. Each of these rooms had queues, so we opted out.

medieval dye

I really wanted to see the craft exhibits.


I was struck that all the objects were very familiar to me. I spin and knit, so we do have spinning paraphernalia in the house. The carding brushes, the niddy-noddies (I love that name!) and the drop spindles (above), for example, are objects that my children recognize. AJ even has a knitting fork and a cord maker like the ones in the photo below.medieval weaving

Producing yarn is now mechanised to meet the demand of our consumer-hungry society, but for the home crafter, the tools stay pretty much the same. If I want to convert a sheep’s fleece into yarn, I use the same tools. Admittedly, I’d opt to use my spinning wheel, which, from what I read, was more common in the late medieval period, but there are plenty of people who use drop spindles.

medieval finished products

I would have liked to stay longer and find out more about the dyeing process. The colours were amazing. My fingers were itching to make something with all the fabulous fibre.

spun silk

The children were keen to head off and see the rest of the M shed exhibitions. Turns out that climbing onto the double decker bus was more of a draw to them. Not something that we have at home!

Before leaving, we stopped at the medieval music stand. Along with pipes and fiddles, they had a lap harp. AJ, our harpist, had a go. Instead of using your finger tips, you pluck the metal strings with your finger nails. She said that it felt awkward.

medieval harp

While we were in Bristol, the children were keen to see their Morphs at Aardman Animations. They were thrilled to find them by the door. Ready to greet everyone.

finding morphs

The M Shed exhibition was free, as is most of the M Shed. They do suggest a £2 donation.

14 thoughts on “Crafting in History

  • Friday 21 February, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    Lovely photos!
    that looks like a fascinating visit.. :0)

    • Saturday 22 February, 2014 at 12:42 am

      I’d loved to have spent longer. Irresistible for a fibre fanatic.

  • Monday 24 February, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    oh wow!!! what an amazing outing!! thank you for sharing so many photos!! i drooled over each and every one!

    • Tuesday 25 February, 2014 at 11:22 am

      Irresistible colours. Couldn’t help wondering what I would make!

  • Wednesday 26 February, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Thank you ever so much for linking up wtih Share With Me. What a fantastic post. My mom would love to go to a place like this. She is craft crazy, I only wish I was crafty. i try to be all the time, but my mother is so much better. I am taking lessons! 😉 Great photos too! Glad to get to know more about you and your lovely blog, to which now I can learn more crafts from! Thank you!!!!

    • Wednesday 26 February, 2014 at 2:55 pm

      Good to meet you too!

  • Wednesday 26 February, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    That looks fascinating! Great photos of all the spinning tools and yarn. Lovely that your kids found their morphs 🙂

    • Thursday 27 February, 2014 at 11:02 am

      Sharing photo credit with middle daughter this time, which I think is a first!

  • Wednesday 26 February, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    Oh wow – this looks like a fabulous day out. We have family in Bristol so I’ll definitely mention to them. #ShareWithMe

    • Thursday 27 February, 2014 at 11:04 am

      It makes a good day out, when coupled with one of the other local castles. Hope they enjoy it.

  • Wednesday 26 February, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    This looks a fabulous trip out, absolutely fascinating.

    • Thursday 27 February, 2014 at 11:06 am

      Love history outings!

  • Sunday 2 March, 2014 at 11:49 am

    How interesting, my kids love all things history!! popping over from #sharewithme

    • Sunday 2 March, 2014 at 4:45 pm

      It was interesting. 🙂

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