I’ve just had a pretty successful day at Ilkley Flower Show. I only really discovered this show last year through one of our WI members, she mentioned they had a handicraft section and wanted more entries!
From my perspective as a competitor Ilkley is lovely, relaxed, friendly and much less hassle than bigger shows and Ilkley also has with better prizes! Entries are 50p, we have until 11am to drop entries off which is a nice, civilised time, the show is open from 2 til 4pm and then many of the classes are sponsored by a local business so an extra prize is awarded for 1st prize!
After my success last year with the handicrafts, I spread my wings a little this time to flower arranging! Now I’ve never been taught flower arranging,I’ve been to one workshop and a few Christmas demo’s with WI and that’s it, but I noticed last year that quite a few classes only had a few entries,so I may as well give it a go! Altogether I entered 11 different classes!
I dropped my entries off in good time and then walked up to visit my mum as her care home is only about 15 minutes walk from the centre of Ilkley. I joined her for lunch and then took her with me to look round the show, we had a lovely afternoon admiring all the entries.
Handicrafts first…I entered my flower lattice and Bertie the Blackbird in the embroidery class. I won first for my flower lattice, but nothing for Bertie!
For the cross-stitch class I entered my Lizzie Stitching Wallet and came third, happy with that as the one that won was a beautiful huge sampler!
My decorated wooden spoon came first…
…and my vintage silk sari top and skirt came second in the class for something made from another item.
I also made a cushion this week which I haven’t had chance to show you yet. One class was for a colourful cushion but patchwork was not allowed, which excluded my nice colourful Australian cushion. This was made from the embroidery started at a workshop at the Quilt Festival. I’ll write a fuller post about it later this week.
I entered my Kiama Beach sunrise in the photography class entitled ‘On the Edge’. I’m really proud of that photo and it fitted the title in so many ways…on the edge of the beach, the edge of a new day, spray on the edge of a wave, the edge of the world in Australia…so I have to admit I was a little disappointed that it didn’t even get commended. However I love it so much I’ve had an enlargement made so we can have it framed on the wall.
…and now for the flowers, I like flower arranging, but I’ve never been taught so I just sort of do my own thing, I like the more traditional look or a natural look with flowers. I had a practise run a couple of days before, though I had to be careful not to use up all my best flowers from the garden as there’s not that many at the moment! At least it gave me a bit of an idea of what would work and what wouldn’t.
A flower arrangement in a teacup…my first idea was to use a beautiful little coffee cup and saucer I have with violets on and fill it with violas, I had chatted to a WI friend about it who is very high up in the flower arranging world, she advised that the smaller the container the harder it is, I was also a bit concerned that they might get picky over coffee versus tea! I did try it but it didn’t work, so instead I used a pretty Port Merrion cup and saucer which also happens to have violets around the sides. I filled it with violas, erysium, small cotinus leaves, and veronica. I didn’t win anything but I was pleased with this one, it held it’s own in the competition!
A small jug of herbs, I didn’t expect to win anything here as I could see mine was nothing exciting, mine actually got disqualified for having non schedule items, I took herbs to be in the broad sense of the word, including all the traditional old herbal remedies which are listed in my herbal book, such as geranium, lamium, poppy, whereas I think they meant more culinary herbs, I’ll stick to those next time!
A Ladies corsage; I really didn’t hold out much hope with this one, I put it together this morning so the flowers would be as fresh as possible. I chose the best Lady Emma Hamilton rose I could find, plus a little bud. These are a lovely rich orange, so I also picked some purple veronica to tuck behind it. For foliage I used the little new leaves from the purple cotinus coggygria and one large leaf at the back. I thought this might be the bit that would mark it it down as I thought it might go limp before the judging. I bound the stems with florists tape but also covered that with embroidery ribbon. To my amazement I got second prize and a useful tip! The judge advised me to have the flowers in water for 24 hours before to make them more turgid.
Floating Flowers; This is the class that persuaded me last year that I really should try in the flower arranging classes! All I had to do was arrange some flower heads floating in a dish…even I could do that…I had a practice run first though! I found that a round Port Merrion pie dish worked best, if I wet the rim then petals overlapping the ring would stick to it and not float off! I did a circle of pink and purple geranium flowers with a circle of dark purple clematis next. In the middle I put a single beautiful mauve clematis. To make it pop a bit I added the tiny orange erysium flowers. I was pleased with the result and even more pleased when it won first!
So a successful day at the show…and even better I might have got another member for our Embroiderers Guild! When I went to collect my winning cards from the handicrafts a lady said ‘so you’re Margaret…’ apparently I’d pipped her at the post several times! We got chatting and she asked me if I was in an Embroiderers Guild, she is doing one of their on-line courses and it had been suggested that she may find the support of a EG useful. I told her how good Skipton was so hopefully she will come and join us!