Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Ex Cathedra

definition: with the full authority of office [literally ‘from the chair’] – and a cathedral is the principal church of a diocese [containing the Bishop’s Throne]

Two Cathedral things around here this week - Cathedral Window – a type of patchwork [see The Custards for other beauteous examples] Thinking about this term at Sewing Club, I made this CW pincushion to show the girls- so they all decided to make soft toys instead!


Then, there was the awful earthquake in New Zealand in Feb 2011, Christchurch Cathedral spire collapsed – bringing down the bells

christchurch spire

christchurch bells

This week, thirteen damaged bells, weighing a massive six tonnes have arrived back at the John Taylor Bell Foundry, fifteen miles up the road from here in Loughborough, to see what can be done [and assess them for insurance purposes]

christchurch bells loughborough

The bells were made there, back in 1978, and shipped out to NZ. They are valued at one quarter of a million pounds. The foundry still has the original profiles, and could re-create exact replicas. There has been a bell foundry in Leicestershire since the mid 1300’s – so if anybody knows how to put things right, this company does!

I may be a nonconformist – but I love the sound of Church bells, and the peculiarly English custom of ‘change ringing’ [that’s probably because it is all about mathematical patterns] I do hope the bells can be restored/recreated, and will again ring out on the other side of the world [where the faithful are currently planning a temporary Cardboard Cathedral]


  1. I love that pincushion Angela - did your friends that they were a bit tricky to make? I think pincushions are a great 'starter' make if you are new to it and hope that they give it a go in the end!
    All the best with the bells - nothing quite as evocative of my childhood as that sound
    Best wishes

  2. I love your cathedral window patchwork - it has always looked fearsomely complicated to me!

    Pomona x

  3. The pincushion is really beautiful, Angela. I love to hear church bells but we don't have them here so I got quite teary last year when I visited the church (where Chris and I were married) for morning worship and heard the bells ringing.
    Jane x
    PS Thank you for your kind words on Savannah's blog.

  4. I totally agree about the church bells - my uncle John has a real passion for ringing and has been a bell ringer in his local church for over 50 years! He goes on bell-ringing holidays too. I had a go when I was a teenager, but found it too worrying, thinking about letting go of the rope. Uncle John has books with all the changes in them as numbers and I found it fascinating to sit and look at all the patterns of numbers when I visited him as a child.

  5. Thanks for the comments.
    The Cathedral Window patchwork is OK once you get your head round the technique. I think the girls just wanted to make teddies this term!!

    Fascinated to read about Morgan's Uncle John's book!

  6. you would have thought they would have a place in New Zealand to repair the bells. They are worth a lot of money aren't they?

    Love your pin cushions, very pretty,


    1. There are not that many bell foundries around. I am still irritated that this year's Olympic Bell was cast in Holland, when the Loughborough foundry could have done it!!

  7. I have never tried the Cathedral Window patch - it's very lovely and intricate-looking.

    Seeing the bells made me think of "The Nine Tailors" by Dorothy L. Sayers - one of my very favorite novels. Have you read it? All that I know of change-ringing I learned from that book.

    I do hope the Christchurch bells can be successfully restored or re-cast.

    1. I LOVE '9 Tailors' and am reminded of it whenever we drive through the Fenland to Cornerstones.

    2. There are change ringing knitting patterns! Cant link on phone, will do later. Lynn P

  8. Here you are: http://www.nagcr.org/articles/2009/09/knitting-change-ringing-methods.html

    Lynn P

    1. Lynn, you are fabulous! only YOU could find me such a delight! That is up there with Cat Bordhi's Moebius Knitting.

      Thank you!!

  9. Just read the comment above- they made it in Holland?????! For shame on them! Your cushion is beautiful! I love hearing about the craft of British makers!

  10. There are still minor earthquakes and aftershocks still happening in Christchurch. They are looking to demolish the rest of the cathedral, but have come up against stiff opposition from the locals. Great to see the bells are in safe foundry hands.

  11. Earthquakes are still rattling Christchurch, council wants to demolish the cathedral and replace with a cardboard cathedral until funds are available for a more solid stucture... I wonder how long that will take, as there are still families living in damaged houses two years after the event.
    Kiwi Fi

  12. I confess I had not realised you were still experiencing tremors.
    I think it is important to re-house families before rebuilding cathedrals.
    Even if they replace the bells, they will not be able to re-hang them until they have a new, solid structure in place. Years away, i guess...

    But thank you so much for adding a NZ perspective to this post!


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