‘blue silk lining’ Category

Visiting the Silk

January 5th, 2009 by Plimoth

Justin has been working on weaving the silk for the lining for weeks at Eaton Hill Textile Works. They started last year indigo dying the warp silk threads and setting up the loom. Before I go into the current progress, a few words about Eaton Hill Textile Works.  They are a small textile mill in the Green Mountains of Vermont specializing in 18th and 19th century weaving techniques.  Kate Smith both weaves custom fabrics for reproductions and period rooms and teaches a wide range of hand weaving and dying techniques.  If you have ever been interested in learning about weaving, you couldn’t find a more interesting spot to work in.  And in the tradition of all those who love handwork, the food is great also! I was served a rare treat when I visited this week – plum pudding.  YUM.

I wanted to let you see some of the fantastic fabrics that Kate has produced in her workshop, along with the range of naturally dyed fibers hanging in the workshop.  Just scrumptious!


June 10th, 2008 by Jill Hall

Calimanco and shuttle.Justin sent some pictures of the loom he’ll likely use to weave the silk lining. Right now this loom isDetail of Calimanco. holding some reproduction Calimanco, a worsted, satin woven wool textile produced mostly in Norwich, England in the 17th, 18th, and 19th century.

Kate and I used all natural dyes to obtain the brilliant shades that become that much brighter after the cloth is finished by hot pressing in the calendaring press.

Barn loom with string heddles.Here’s a link to a video on youtube of a Scottish woolen mill which includes someone making a warp which might help to explain the process.Barn loom.

It’s also a great example of people maintaining traditional workways and their local heritage. http://youtube.com/watch?v=8w4O1pSltcY This aspect of the work is the most important one to me in what I do at Plimoth Plantation and at Eaton Hill.

Blue Silk Lining II

June 9th, 2008 by Jill Hall

Justin “picking the cross” of the lining warp.Tonight I have more pictures of the blue silk lining, but right now the lining is still threads. Very fine threads, and lots of them. The first picture is “picking the cross.”

The second is of Justin putting the cross on the pegs of the warping board. Justin explained the importance of the cross, and maintaining it, in a previous post.Putting the cross on the warping board

Justin suggested that I post a copy of the paintings of the serge (kind of cloth) industry in Leiden “which are my all time favorites of textile production (and) show a fellow warping with a horizontal scarn behind the woman spinning.” These paintings are in the collection of the Lakenhal Museum in Leiden, the Netherlands. I did look to see if I could find any online, but had no luck. Posting copies of things not in the public domain zips you right to a lower circle of licensing-and-permission hell; I’m not going there. I’ll ask Justin if he can refer us to a print copy, if so I’ll post that information.

These are Justin’s thoughts about weaving this way:

NLThis process is the same way that weavers have been making warps since the 17th century. Producing cloth using these traditional methods is a lot of why I’m interested in textiles. Going through the same steps using the same tools as all of the people who’ve done it before makes me part of a real and viable tradition, and not part of an exhibition of so called ‘forgotten arts’. This spool was made and used in the 18th or early 19th century by ‘NL’. Although we don’t know who N.L. was, we are continuing to work the same way he did.The cross on the warping board.

I’ve heard similar sentiments from some of the embroiderers and lacers, but this was particularly nicely put. The last two pictures are of the cross on the board and the rest of the warp. Justin takes really nice pictures, in addition to all the other things he does well.The Rest of the Warp.

Blue Silk Jacket Lining

June 4th, 2008 by Jill Hall

This came from Justin today:

Here’s the latest jacket lining update-

scarn with blue silk on spoolsFirst off is a shot of the scarn holding all of those spools Kate and I have been winding. From here we’re able to warp nine ends at a time, not as many as we would have liked, but the skeins of silk were exceptionally difficult to work with. More on how the scarn works and how the warp is made in a minute.

Here’s Kate winding spools. We made the warp at the barn in Marshfield, Vermont where Kate and Eaton Hill Textiles is based. The ground level of the barn houses Kate’s dye studio where the silk was dyed, and the calendaring press for hot and cold pressing fabrics. Upstairs are a dozen looms and other equipment; antiqueKate from Eaton Hill Textiles winding spools for the blue silk lining. barn looms, small modern looms for tapes, two warping boards, several scarns, a great wheel, a quill wheel, a dobby loom with a jacquard head for pattern weaving, and too much more to mention.

Justin with warping board and scarn.Ok, back to the warping- Here you can see the warp running on the warping board to the left, and the spools held on the scarn on the right. The width of the board is six feet/two yards, so each horizontal pass adds two yards to the length of the warp. As you can see, the warp makes four passes and runs half a yard down to make the lower cross. Thus, the warp is eight and a half yards long. The jacket will require around six yards of finished cloth so why the extra? Some of this will be lost to the loom, and whatever is left over will be peace of mind. Better too much than too little especially on a project like this!

I’m going to attempt to explain how all of these threads are kept in order and become something useful. The scarn dividesJustin winding the warp for the blue silk. the spools into two sets, in our case vertically, left and right. When making a warp, each and every thread needs to be kept in its proper order, and this is done by crossing them while the warp is made. If you look at the picture, you’ll see that the top horizontal beam of the board has two additional pegs. Imagine that we’ve taken a single thread and tied it to the top left peg of the board, where the warp starts. That thread then passes over the top of the first of the two extra pegs, and under the second, before making the four passes down the board. Once at the bottom, the thread loops around the last peg and returns from the bottom back along the four passes to the top. At the two extra pegs, this thread now passes over the top of the second peg and under the bottom of the first peg. These two threads cross now at the pegs and when pulled off the board will stay in just the order they were put on in, since they can’t shift over each other and out of order with the cross in place.

Cat’s cradle.Now, if we were to progress in this manner, I would have to repeat this whole process over 1,100 times to create all of the individual threads needed in the warp. Thankfully, somebody, at least six or seven centuries ago, (probably longer), figured out that you don’t need to go through all of this trouble. By setting multiple spools on a scarn, you can warp multiple ends at the same time. We’re only using nine spools, but you could do as many as 48 with the scarn we are using. In this picture you can see how we pick the cross in all of these ends at once. It starts by splitting the ends vertically with the right arm and then holding that split with the let thumb. Now the right hand picks out every other thread by starting at the top right end. Under the first thread on the right, and picking the left thread, then under the second end down on the right and picking the second thread down on the left, all the way down. In the next picture, every other thread on the left has been picked through every other on the right and pulled to the side.

There are two more posts with pictures from Justin to come over the next couple of days. Thanks, Justin!

Justin working on the blue silk

May 7th, 2008 by Jill Hall

Bat head in detail.Here’s the second installment from Justin. The italics are quotes from Justin’s email.
Some more shots of the bat head on my wheel.

Swift on the woodbox, and bat head.Bat heads were the most common in New England before Minor’s, or the accelerating,bat-head-with-corn-husk.jpg head replaced them in the early 19th century to handle the newer, shorter fleeced breeds of sheep which were introduced following the revolution.

Spinning wheel.The plaited cornhusk bearings for the spindle are made from corn grown last year in the (1627 English) village.

Justin at work with wheel and swift.

Finally, a shot of yours truly in action. All of these pictures were taken at my house in Scituate, RI.

Thanks for the pictures and explanations, Justin. We’re looking forward to the next chapter.

The beginning of the lining

May 6th, 2008 by Jill Hall

This is the first email from Justin, the Village interpreter and weaver who is making the blue silk lining for the jacket in conjunction with Kate of Eaton Hill Textile Works.

Here are some pictures of the current progress on the silk lining. See yesterday’s entry for a picture of the sample. I knew it was fine, but Justin mentioned in this email that it is 80 epi (that’s ends, or threads, per inch). That’s some pretty sharp weaving, but as you’ll see from this entry, just as tricky is handling those fine threads through all the pre-weaving steps. The italics are quotes from Justin’s email.

Blue silk skein and spindles.This photo is a bundle of indigo dyed silk skeins and antique spools. I reeled the skeins from the cones on a long reel where we could wind several at a time. The skeins were tied, scoured, and then hand dyed in an indigo vat by Kate. After much fussing, the skeins were separated and dried.

Now they need to be spooled for warping. The next is a picture of the head of the greatSpindle head of Justin’s great wheel. wheel on which I’ll be spooling. The wheel is from the 18th century and has been passed down in my mother’s family from Hatfield, MA. It seems quite early based on the turnings, iron rings on the posts, wooden axle, and drawknife-worked wheel post.

Justin running the silk over a spindle onto the spool for winding.In this next picture, I’m using another spindle to run the silk over and onto the spool being wound, so as to prevent any cut fingers from the thread.

This last shot is of the swift and skein clamped to the woodbox andThe swift and the wheel. the wheel and spool beyond.

In addition to his interpreting and weaving skills, Justin’s a pretty nifty photographer. At least a couple of these, which he took at his home in Rhode Island, look like they were set up at a historic house museum for a magazine article.

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