Cumbria Crack

A stitch in time

Cumbria’s Museum of Military Life in Carlisle Castle are bringing the 100 Hearts, part of a nationwide programme to the Museum in January.

The exhibition “A Stitch in Time” will feature the 100 hearts and the Museum’s own collections focussing on the themes of recuperation, remembrance and repair and has been curated with Sara Dennis, a Royal School of Needlework Embroidery Tutor with long army connections.

During the war, pin cushions were made by wounded soldiers to send home to their loved ones. Known as ‘sweethearts,’ these moving mementos were made with love and proved to be excellent therapy for troops recovering from the horrors that they had experienced. Using a modern interpretation of the theme 100 hearts will be on display in Cumbria’s Museum of Military Life in Carlisle Castle from 21 January to 17 March 2019.

Initiated by SSAFA Wiltshire with The Royal School of Needlework, the hearts have been made employing a traditional method using just pins to create patterns and insignia on a fabric shapes. Many people and organisations were involved in the project, including Combat Stress and The Embroiderers’ Guild and Neil Stace. Alongside the 100 hearts will be the Museum’s own collection of embroidery made by soldiers.

The love heart pin cushions originate back to the Boer war, during WW1 they were given to injured soldiers to decorate whilst recuperating in hospitals in Northern France.  They were seen as romantic objects made with regimental felt, buttons and badges and would reflect things the soldier held close to his heart, often with the regimental insignia at the centre. They were also often decorated with poems and messages that were printed on small silk patches that came in cigarette packages with the soldier’s rations.

On Tuesday 12 February and just in time for Valentine’s Day, Lt. Col Neil Stace, finalist on the successful BBC programme Great British Sewing Bee will visit the Museum as part of their Tuesday Talks series. The talk entitled “Sewing on the Front Line” are on sale £5 in advance. Please book early to avoid disappointment. There will also be a number of workshops with Sara, giving you a chance to create your own pinned heart.

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