October, 2007

Thanks to Cheryl

October 31st, 2007 by Jill Hall

Today’s post is a big thank you to Cheryl. Cheryl stayed late on the last day of October’s session helping Wendy and Lilia and me clean up and pack the car for the move back to the wardrobe office. There was a Red Sox game on that night, too. Thanks, Cheryl.

Here are Cheryl’s hands working on the first out-of-service frame of the project. This feels like big news to me. This frame has some of the gussets on it. The gussets are triangular shaped pattern pieces that get inserted into the hem of the jacket, increasing its circumference and giving it a peplum shape.

Each gusset has a thistle, a small amount of gold scrolling vine and a tiny bit of … something else at the top. We’re calling the something else a columbine, although you really have to stretch your imagination to see it. Anyway, only a tiny bit of pink appears at the top of these gussets, and Cheryl finished everything that can be done on this frame. The goldwork has to wait until the gold thread is made, and we want to do the sequins after the goldwork, so, out of service. Very exciting.

Not to worry, though, there is PLENTY to do on the other frames, and we have plans to adjust the work as we go on so we don’t have to reduce the number of embroiderers we can host at each session.

Speaking of sessions, though, the January 11-14 session is nearly full – 10 signed up already. That promises to be a fun weekend. Please, no snow.

My goblins are scampering around the neighborhood and I’m trying hard to keep my hands out of the candy bowl.

Happy treats and no tricks to you all tonight.

Food for Thought

October 30th, 2007 by Jill Hall
Some random pictures tonight and some food for thought.

Wendy took this first picture; she calls it ‘the hands of the hand photographer.’ Lilia is our youngest embroiderer at the sessions, although she isn’t working on the jacket. She’s been fetching and carrying, generally helping, has taken photos of all the embroiderers’ hands at work, and has been getting embroidery lessons from Wendy. We’ve already signed her up to stitch on some of the 2000+ sequins.

Here she has almost finished the keepsake needle book generously donated to each embroiderer, every session, by Tokens & Trifles. The motifs on the needle book are adapted from one of Plimoth Plantation’s 17th century samplers.

Then we have two photos of Carolyn’s oval lace pillow. She brought it for show & tell at the October session, when she came to have a lace strategy session with Robbin, Tricia, Wendy and me.

Lastly, something to think about. When I asked last session’s embroiderers what we (me, Plimoth Plantation, etc) could do to encourage more embroiderers to become involved in the project, one of the first answers was “mention the food.” Herewith, Marcia’s menu for the first day of the October session:

Morning snack: yogurt honey biscuits, ginger buns with cherry jam, orange marmalade, butter and/or cream cheese; fresh fruit (pineapple and grapes today).

Lunch: Chicken parmesan OR eggplant parmesan sandwiches, both on sour cream rolls; spinach curried salad; cranberry rum cake.

Afternoon snack: anise biscotti, coco-chewy scotch bars (these caused a small war when I brought a couple home); apple butter spice squares; orange chocolate drops.

Supper: Baked ham; Minnie’s Macaroni & Cheese (words cannot explain how good this is); herbed green beans; mini raised biscuits; chocolate moon pie.

Marcia’s meals and snacks have become legendary among the volunteer embroiderers, to the point where we are planning a collection of them. Wendy’s typing them up as we speak.

Two Loaras

October 29th, 2007 by Jill Hall

How cool is this? TWO Loara Standish samplers. Both Kimberly from PA and Lyn from Ontario stitched a reproduction of the reversible Loara Standish sampler which is in the collection of Pilgrim Hall Museum in Plymouth, MA.

They each chose slightly different colors and slightly different sizes. Lyn’s is on the left, Kimberly’s on the right. Lyn’s is bigger, Kimberly’s is brighter.

Lyn’s is hemmed, not framed. The second picture shows it folded over itself so you can see the back and the front. Kimberly’s is framed but there’s no back on the frame so you can turn it over and see the beauty.

Lyn also brought photos of her pilgrimage to Duxbury, MA – just a few miles north of Plymouth – where Loara Standish is buried. It was quite an odyssey, and she ran into a number of people (including me) who didn’t know there WAS still a marked Standish homestead site in Duxbury.

It was fun to see the photos as well as the samplers.


October 28th, 2007 by Jill Hall

Tonight’s guest embroiderer is Sharon H. Sharon is in the midst of a pharmaceutical degree program and took time out to visit us and work on the jacket.

The second picture shows Sharon’s hands at work.

The last picture shows some of Sharon’s embroidery and some of her lace treasures. The lace came from a friend, who had a big bag of it from a relative. The friend didn’t know what to do with it (seems amazing to those of us who love needlework, but it happens a lot) and Sharon stepped up to give it all a good home.

Has that ever happened to you? Once you get to be known as the knitter, or the needle worker, or the sewer in your circle of friends and family, do things, tools, supplies, treasures, just find you? It does to me.

Thanks for all the well wishes; I am feeling better.

I Love Show & Tell Day

October 27th, 2007 by Jill Hall

Here are Jen’s hands working, fastening some thread ends to the back of her work. These floor stands hold the frames acceptably well, but the frames are pretty big. Flipping the frames around in the stands has been a difficulty for most of the embroiderers. Here’s Jen’s blog. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a good picture of Jen herself, but I bet someone who did will send me one.

Jen is also a member of the SCA. Members of the Society for Creative Anachronism recreate the material culture of the middle ages, loosely defined as early as 600 AD up to 1600 AD, give or take on either end.

Like most hobbies, the more involved you get the more specialized tools, toys and equipment you want. Unlike other hobbies, though, in this one you often have to either make what you want yourself or barter with other members who have different skills.

That’s how Abigail got the green and gold gown she was trying on in an earlier post, another person made it for her. I’m sure others have some of her stunning embroidery.

Anyway, here’s some of Jen’s work. I was admiring especially the sprang bag (yellow) and the nalbinded footlets (brown) – two techniques I’ve read about but never seen in person.

Richard Rutt, in The History of Hand Knitting describes both sprang and nalbinding in the section titled “Structures readily confused with knitting”. Nalbinding involves making a looped fabric using a yarn and needle (the kind with an eye).

Sprang is much older than knitting, according to Rutt, and harder to pin down. Rutt quotes Peter Collingwood’s description in The Techniques of Sprang: “a method of making fabric by manipulating the parallel threads of a warp that is fixed at both ends.” Mmm-hmm. Makes an interesting bag, and Jen knows how to do it.

The blue and gold woven tape is card-woven. I know enough about card weaving to know that when you have the chevrons all going in the same direction like that the warps twist unmercifully.

The grey tape is also woven, but I can’t remember the particular technique.

The thin blue and yellow cord was made by finger-loop braiding.

I was admiring all her fiber arts skills, and Jen said, well, I thought to bring some of this stuff since I’m not so much with the embroidery. You know, I replied, after this you can’t say that anymore.

She’s been doing some beautiful work on the jacket, including with the gilt sylke twist thread, and you have to be good at working with the plain silk before Tricia moves you onto the sparkly stuff. Can’t be dissing your embroidery skills anymore.

Genuine antique needlework

October 26th, 2007 by Jill Hall

The other day I mentioned the antique needlework pieces Sharon from VA brought for show & tell.

Here they are.
First is a panel of flowers worked in queen stitch on a metal ground. My favorite kind of needlework is counted thread, and my favorite counted thread stitch is queen stitch. I may have a new favorite genre and stitch soon, though, I’m being introduced to so many new embroidery methods and other fiber techniques during these show & tell times.

Next up is the trim with a metal weft and sequins, although they didn’t come through very well in the photo.

Last is a flower, looks like on maybe a linen ground.
More pretties tomorrow.


October 25th, 2007 by Jill Hall

I maybe didn’t mention last night that stumpwork (Rosemary’s dragonfly) is 3-dimensional embroidery. It got that ugly name by accident, because sometimes the raised parts are worked over little bits of wood – stumps. Better name is raised work. So those wings are free from the cloth. The berry type things are really round. I need to get some digital photography lessons so these details show up better.

Here are more pretty pictures.  

Abigail is relatively local, and she was able to come once before. This time she brought some of her beautiful handwork again, including the coif she made from the Plimoth Plantation pattern. Last time someone asked me for a better shot of the rose motif, and here it is. Abigail said, and I feel exactly the same way, that we’d like to re-do that coif (the pattern, in my case) with the benefit of the knowledge we’ve already gained from the jacket project. But we wouldn’t be here without having been there.

Abigail is trying on a gown, made for her by a friend in the SCA – the Society for Creative Anachronism.

One of the awesome, excellent parts of doing this jacket is that we’ve been able to get together different groups of people who might not ordinarily meet, people interested in embroidery in general, people who do historical reenactments, people who make lace but not embroidery, people who make embroidery but not lace, older people, younger people. It’s been really rewarding.

So go check out the SCA website. This session we had five embroiderers from the SCA, and since Laura the Extreme Costumer put a note on her blog, I think we’ll be having more, which is all to the good. Go say hi to her, too. I linked her website and her blog – two different places. She’s got a staggering amount of information, fascinating, useful, curious.

Samples Received

October 24th, 2007 by Jill Hall

 I’ve been lax. Sorry everybody. 

Samples received from:
Tanya S
Susan K
Linda F
Kandy F
Cathy B 

If you requested to be signed up for a January session, consider yourself reserved a spot. I’m a little behind on sending out confirmations; I’ll get right on that as soon as I’m back in the office. 

This is an extra post; don’t miss the one with pretty pictures below.

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