January, 2008

More Thanks

January 31st, 2008 by Jill Hall

WendyYesterday, when I mentioned the Textile Conservation Fund and thanked the Mayflower Sampler Guild for their donation, I neglected to thank the Fund’s godmother. Wendy of Wee Works and Tokens & Trifles not only suggested that we establish a fund for the conservation of Plimoth’s samplers, she pretty much insisted on it. It wasn’t that I didn’t think it was a good idea, or didn’t want to encourage donations to support these textile treasures, there was just so much to do and things kept falling off the bottom of the list. But thanks to Wendy’s persistence, we have a fund, and it has been kicked off handsomely.

The whole stocking-knitting phenomenon gets chalked up to Wendy’s credit, too. She saw the awesome potential of this blog long before I realized it, and prodded me to ask for needed knitting volunteers here. So far we’ve sent out over 40 kits for gloves and stockings, and I just got another volunteer offer today.

Wendy does more than have good ideas, though. Here she is embroidering during one of our lightly attended sessions around the holidays. She did the very first blue strawberry flower the other week, too. She pinch-hits for Tricia as coordinator and trouble-shooter during sessions, and she’s taught a lovely commemorative needlebook stitching project to each session’s embroiderers (she designed it, too).

Thanks, Wendy.

This project has a life of its own, as I’ve said many a time before, and it’s been making friends not only for itself but for me too. I’m pretty lucky to be along for the ride.

Thank You

January 30th, 2008 by Jill Hall

Today Plimoth Plantation’s Textile Conservation Fund received a very generous donation from the Mayflower Sampler Guild. The guild’s donation will support the conservation of the “EC” sampler, dated 1660. In this picture, Tricia and Wendy are drooling over I mean examining “EC”. It’s a fantastic sampler, and includes both whitework and colored silk embroidery. Anyone may contribute to the Textile Conservation Fund by sending a contribution clearly marked ‘for textile conservation fund’ to Plimoth Plantation, care of Kim Corben, PO Box 1620 Plymouth MA 02362.

Sincere thanks on behalf of EC to the Mayflower Sampler Guild for helping her into a more comfortable and secure condition.

Lots going on …

January 27th, 2008 by Jill Hall

around here.

Thanks, Jen, for offering to check your photos to see if you saw blue “strawberry” flowers on coives at the MFA when you were here. I’d appreciate the info.

I think Lauren, mj, and others may well be right on with the thoughts about symbolism in the embroidery. It will be fun to look up those references, but I bet we’ll never really know.

I’m also glad to see embroiderers of all ages participating, and hopefully some not-yet-embroiderers will be moved to try it out – whether this style or another.Kris working

The exhibit that the jacket will be an honored part of is scheduled to open in May, 2009. When we began we were working with an opening date of summer, 2008 (gasp!) but other elements, like funding, didn’t move along on that schedule. Honestly, I’m just as glad; trying to build an ambitious clothing & accessories-heavy exhibit while making the jacket was not an appetizing prospect. That’s partly why we’ve maintained the original production schedule for the jacket despite the change in the exhibit opening – this way the jacket will be safely finished before we start work on the exhibit….

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, yesterday Wendy joined Kris, Heather, Shaina, and Emily (our winter intern) in the embroidery “studio.” Apparently they had a giggle-filled day, which makes me wonder just what they were up to!

opening the Eliza sampler

They all joined Karin in the collections storage room to see the samplers. Joining the two 17th century samplers is an early 18th century one which was embroidered by a descendant of one of the Mayflower passengers.

removing the nails from the Eliza samplerTwo of the photos (all courtesy of Wendy again today) show Karin opening the frame of the 18th century sampler (but those fingers look like Shaina’s).

Wendy writes:

This is becoming more interesting by the moment, the colors, the genealogy and the fact that she was stitched to very BAD cardboard ( fortunately not glued as Karin had feared)– she seemed to breathe a sigh of relief when she was opened. A very interesting tale indeed and one we will spin out for you over the course of the next few months! Stay tuned for our surprises!

The first picture shows Kris embroidering. Today, Kris and Heather were going to work until late afternoon, then find Heather some real New England seafood for supper. Instead, they packed up by 10 AM and headed out to beat the snow. The SNOW. This makes THREE sessions shortened by weather. Yes, I am taking it personally. Enough already. I have a deadline here!

Speaking of, I’m working on planning sessions in April, May and June. Stay tuned for exact dates. They’ll all be Friday to Monday weekends, as that has proved by far the most popular configuration. By then there’ll be no snow to deal with. I hope.

Thistle while you work

January 25th, 2008 by Jill Hall

Kris’ hands

Kris and Heather are embroidering to close out the week. Those are Kris’ hands. Heather’s working on a thistle. Thank you, Wendy, for the photos and for the title for today’s post. Yesterday we walked to the 1627 Village in the freezing cold and gathering clouds (seems it only snows around here when we’ve got a session on) to look around a bit.

Heather’s thistles

One of the week-old kids (goat baby) poked his nose out of the shelter to see us, but the newer babies were kept in by the careful mamas. Rose the heifer demanded to have her chin scratched. Tom took some time out of thatching the roof of the newest 1627 house to talk about whether old embroiderers wore eyeglasses (in the 17th century he meant, and no, we don’t know) and a little about how we decide where to put the houses in the Village. Then we stopped in at the wardrobe office to look at some of the mended clothes.

Tomorrow Karin will show Heather and Kris the three samplers in the Plimoth originals collection. Yes, I’ve only talked about two before. We have another, which in my 17th century near-sightednessI didn’t “count”. It’s dated 1808 or 1809 and apparently is a pretty nice early 19th century example. When I started here in 1988 it was hanging in one of the offices of the administration building. D’you believe that?

Samples received: from Deborah P and Angel A

and the first lace sample from Devon T! Wow – that was extremely fast!

AND yesterday I mailed out 21 more kits for stockings and gloves, thank you to all the knitters who have volunteered.

Strawberry Flower

January 24th, 2008 by Jill Hall

another strawberry flowerHere’s a picture of Wendy’s completed strawberry flower.

I don’t know why the strawberry flowers are blue; and not even pale blue, but BLUE.

Strawberry flowers now are white.

Heehee…another reason to like this blog program – I can put more than one category on a post!

Odds & Ends

January 23rd, 2008 by Jill Hall

At a session earlier this month, Abigail from MA brought a masterpiece of needle tatting for us to admire. Here’s a picture. I don’t know how to tat, so if I dare try to explain I’ll get myself in trouble, like the time with the bobbin lace. I do know that “regular” tatting uses a shuttle with a bobbin for the thread, and needle tatting uses a needle to make the knots. That’s the extent of my knowledge.baby cap

But isn’t this beautiful? We were at a loss as to how to photograph it, but fortunately we found a willing (mostly) baby.

Embroidery is progressing this week. Catherine and Deb left today, on to more adventures in the storage rooms of the Museum of Fine Arts. Melanie Anne also left today, back to Maine for a while. Kris and Heather arrived this morning so work continued uninterrupted. With all the colors at our disposal (even more of the green silk #325, yay Tricia for bringing it) it seems like the embroidery is just growing on its own. Tricia and I figure we’re about half way done with the embroidery. Not bad, considering we began last June. Still, I’d like to keep up the pace.

honeysuckleWould you like to join us this winter? We have room in two Friday to Monday sessions – February 8 – 11 and February 29 – March 3. Email me at jhall@plimoth.org and let me know.

Oooh. I just noticed Rich has built my categories. That popping noise is my excuse not to go back and recategorize, evaporating. Back to the salt mines.

Penny discovered that if you try to view archived entries in Internet Explorer, it will only show you one page per month (not all the entries). This doesn’t seem to be a problem in Firefox. I bet that’s another thing that can and eventually will be fixed.

Categories AND Tags

January 22nd, 2008 by Jill Hall

Seems I misunderstood, and then misinformed you. I CAN have categories, but it isn’t a simple matter of Rich “importing” them from the old program. He has to build them from scratch, which he will, and then I have to go back and manually categorize all the old entries.monogram detail

In the meantime, let me share with you some pictures of the 19th century shirt Catherine K brought for show & tell. Hopefully, I’ll put up details of the monogram and cuff. Catherine’s been sleuthing trying to figure out which ancestor owned the shirt. It’s definitely a shirt (man’s garment) not a shift/smock (woman’s garment) but the initials don’t match her family. The ‘S’ matches the maiden surname of a 2 or 3x grandmother, but why would a man’s shirt have her maiden initial? If artifacts could talk…

cuff detail

And let’s try something else. I’ll try putting in a picture of Deb’s shawl. I think the name of the pattern is Wing of the Moth. It’s just lovely. Let’s press our luck and try a side shawl view, shall we?

Although the whole recategorizing process sounds suspiciously like housework (which I avoid if at all possible) I promise to chip away at it, restoring the ability to find back entries by those old categories.

See you soon.

Working Away

January 20th, 2008 by Jill Hall

wendyWe started another session this morning. Here are a few pictures of the embroiderers.

strawberry flowerWendy’s embroidering today, doing the very first of the strawberry blossoms. They’re blue, for some reason, and the petals are tiny and fussy.

Catherine KHere ‘s a picture of Catherine K from Kansas. She’s the Catherine from the lace committee, and has been hugely helpful in developing the instructions for the lace sample kits.


Here’s a picture of Deb, also from Kansas. She and Catherine traveled together. Deb brought an awesome lace shawl for show & tell. I took some pictures, but I’m still working on uploading them. Some go and some don’t.

Overall, though, I’m liking this program. The answer to the categories question is that we won’t have categories anymore, but we’ll have something better. I can “tag” each entry with as many subjects as necessary. If you search the blog for, say, lace, or spangles, or stitches, then every blog entry with that tag will come up. It’s better, because I often talk about more than one thing per entry, and the old system allowed only one category per entry. But I have to go back and tag the old entries. I’m working on it. Thanks for your patience. Oh, and Go Pats.

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