‘Products’ Category


November 29th, 2008 by Jill Hall

Colleen asked how we like the daylight lamps with the attached magnifying arms; her mother-in-law is interested in getting one. I’d like to hear from the embroiderers – I can’t remember where we got the lamps, but I can look. I’m pretty sure we bought what Tricia recommended. Personally, I like the daylight part, but can’t get used to the magnifying lenses. They’re on a separate arm from the light and I haven’t been able to coordinate working with it. What does everyone else think? Any recommendations? I’ve seen a whole variety of lamps and magnifiers brought to the sessions. Some clip to the frame, some are travel daylight lamps (I think I’d like one of those, so it could move from one chair to the other in the living room plus easily go to classes.) one sat right on the taught linen and was a light in a 3-sided box so the light shone very directly where needed.

Thanks to Debbie for this picture. I’m asking Wendy if my first plaited braid is up to snuff – fortunately the answer was yes. Working that stitch is actually fun – you do get a rhythm after a while, the needle finds the path, and you come to the end of the length of thread much too quickly. From how reluctantly the goldworkers put their needles down in the evening, it seems you come to the end of the day too quickly too. Which is probably why the gold is getting accomplished so speedily.

Slate Frames, again

November 17th, 2008 by Jill Hall

I posted Tricia’s note about slate frames here in July, 2008.

Check out the comments to that post for several ideas on where to get one.

Colleen asked, if she buys the Patterns of Fashion 4 book through the Plimoth mail order shop, will the proceeds go to the jacket? The answer is, not exactly. If you buy a lace or embroidery kit, $20 goes directly (do not pass “GO” . . . ) to the jacket project; same if you send a donation marked “jacket project”. All profits from the Retail division at Plimoth go into the general operating fund, which directly supports ALL Plimoth’s projects, the electric bill and interpreters’ shoes as well as the jacket project and the vet bill for the rare breeds, and . . .

Janet Arnold Rocks!

November 15th, 2008 by Tricia

I hadn’t been at Plimoth when the new Patterns of Fashion 4 preview was viewed and so was very excited today when my package came from Plimoth with my order (benefiting the jacket project – get yours now).

WOW. I am very grateful to Jenny Tiramani and Santina Levey for finishing this book for Janet and bringing this set of her research to our eyes. I have just finished my first totally absorbing poring over the contents. The pictures are stunning.

Janet Arnold was Joanna Hill’s advisor and Joanna has been conserving the EC sampler at Plimoth which the readers of the blog have generously made happen through their contributions. Joanna has told me numerous times how much she had wished that the publishers of Janet’s many volumes would have included color and large photographs of the objects. In her opinion “Queen Elizabeth’s Wardrobe Unlocked” would have made the most stunning coffee table book and an elaborate use of color would have lived up to the tremendous research that the volume contains. I agree. And Macmillian/QSM must have heard some of those rumblings. There are far more color photos and close ups than I would ever have expected in this book almost 1/2 the volume is color photographs. Kudos to them!

The book has something for everyone and covers those mysterious details that many of us have wondered about for a long time. There are close pictures of embroidery, lace, finishing details, ruffs, armatures, clothing, portraits, etc. I now totally understand how all those funny lace collars you see in so many portraits happened. If you have any of Janet’s publications in your library, you have to add this one to the mix. Just buy it, support the Jacket project, wrap it and put it under the Christmas tree marked “From Santa”. You will be glad you did.


Wow. That was faster delivery than I could have expected, even from our crack Retail Mail Order team. Thanks to everyone who has ordered, and enjoy!

Treats AND Good Works

November 10th, 2008 by Jill Hall

Have you heard that the new Janet Arnold book, Patterns of Fashion 4: The cut and construction of linen shirts, smocks, neckwear, headwear and accessories for men and women c.1540-1660 is finally really being released?

If you haven’t heard, take a deep breath.

Janet Arnold died unexpectedly in 1998, and since then the historic clothing world has periodically buzzed with rumors that her linen book would be out “soon”.

This time it isn’t a rumor. A review copy sits on the desk before me as I write, thanks to Susanna, our book buyer, and Karin, Plimoth’s library custodian, both of whom let me have first peek. Let me assure you, it has been worth the wait. Unlike the first 3 books in the Patterns of Fashion series, this one has color pictures. Black & white ones, too, but lots of color. This is excellent because many of the shirts, smocks, coifs, drawers, etc, have embroidery on them. In many cases the photos are clear enough to see the motifs; in others Janet has illustrated parts of repeating motifs or entire isolated ones. There is a wealth of detail about seam treatments and other construction details, and of course the patterns on graphed pages with Janet’s own invaluable notes. The interesting thing to me about this volume is that since she never finished it there are places where her guesses or questions to herself have been left in by Jenny Tiramani and Santina Levey, who organized the material and at last brought the book to publication.

Amazon is taking advance orders, but I have a BETTER deal for you — a chance to buy yourself a book you know you want AND support a very good cause all at the same time.

Right now Plimoth Plantation’s mail order department is taking orders for this book for $49.95 plus $8.95 shipping. The proceeds of these sales, as all retail sales at Plimoth, will directly support Plimoth’s programs. (So every time you buy some of those yummy chocolate covered cranberries, you’re helping put shoes on an interpreter, for instance.)

You can feel good knowing A) this awesome book is on it’s way to you and B) your money is going to a cause you support. We still need a few supplies to finish up the jacket, namely thread, sequins (oes), needles, plus we’re planning, and beginning to pay for, the exhibit that will go with the finished jacket – the mannequin upon which it will be mounted, the petticoat, the explanatory panels, the case to put it in, all those things that will make it possible for the public to see and experience this marvelous piece first hand – and will let us travel her to other museums and institutions so YOU can see her first hand.

To order, you can access the mail order gift shop through the website at www.plimoth.org You can also contact the retail department directly at 1-800-262-9356 X 8204 or X 8332 Nicole Hallahan is in charge of retail mail order and you can reach her at nhallahan@plimoth.org

I’d like to ask our regular readers from the SCA to please share this information with your fellows – I think many of them will want this book and might be glad to have their money to this excellent project rather than to a faceless megacorp.

The review copy was hijacked by us arrived in the office during the last embroidery session; in the photo from left that’s Carli, Debbie, me and Lyn admiring. It took a supreme effort to prevent myself from hogging the book in an unseemly fashion.

As always, thanks.

Repeat Repeat

September 12th, 2008 by Jill Hall

Carolyn left a detailed comment about working with the GST. I thought more people would find it here:

The main feature of the thread that I had to learn to deal with is similar to what the stitchers have noted: it is raspy when rubbed against other threads. This means that when tensioning, I had to be very careful to note if the GST got caught anywhere and had to fuss with it a bit more than some other threads. The positive side was that once in place, it did not move much because of the wire structure.
Another tensioning problem was that the silk stretched a bit more than the metal, so if pulling too hard the wire would break leaving an area of bare filament silk that “puffed” a bit if not twisted. These areas were not very noticable if in whole stitch cloth, but showed up more in half stitch or filling areas. Once I got used to it, though, I could avoid over-pulling and my rate of metal-popping went way down.
If the GST rubbed too much on the edge of a bobbin or hairclip (I used the same kind of small hair clip to hold the thread on the bobbin as is used for the metal threads, shown on an earlier blog entry) the wire would break, so I also learned to make sure I moved the rubbing spot often. Kind of like avoiding nerve wear in carpel tunnel syndrome!
I’ve now finished the Torchon square with the GST so can also comment on tying off with it. I used magic threads at the start, so just had to pull the GST through the loops. It was raspy, and in one case my magic thread broke because it was so much thinner and weaker. Overall, though, it was easy to manage the GST and the knots held well. I used a surgeon’s knot(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surgeon’s_knot) to make sure the silk held tight. The knot ends could be bent over to a spot on the back and stayed put because of the wire.
And the outcome? The colors are wonderful, the lace has some structure from the wire so I could see using it for flowers, leaves, etc in 3-D work, sort of a middle-ground between silk and actual metal wire. The gold is not obvious but adds another depth of sheen to the silk, and glimmers subtly in certain angles of light. I really like it and plan to use it for more lace pieces.

-Carolyn W


September 11th, 2008 by Tricia

I just had to add my two cents on this piece of ‘show and tell’ that Carolyn Wetzel brought in at the last session.  I had close-up pictures that I really wanted to post as they showed the gilt sylke twist used as bobbin lace.  It was very exciting to see her piece.  I had been thinking about begging someone to try it out.  Carolyn had a few comments on working with it from a ‘how-to’ point of view. I hope we can convince her to add her experience to the blog as a record.

There are others out there trying this thread for a number of other stitches and uses that were not historically found.  Please let us know what you are doing with it.  I can tell you that I made GST silk purl by hand about a month ago for a project I will be teaching.  I will try to post a picture of it soon.  Another very, very strange twist is that the thread is conductive.  Of course, if you wrap a copper-silver-gold wire around silk, it is basically an electrical wire.  My main occupation is in a field called electronic textiles which is now growing rapidly.  One of the big problems in that field is that all the yarns we use are gray (stainless steel or silver based).  The industry has been very excited by this GST development and many researchers are trying the thread to see what other textile processing techniques can be used without destroying the wire wrap.  I hope we can find some good ones, for both the historic and modern users will help provide a market to keep the thread alive.


Women at Sea and Treasure Boxes

September 6th, 2008 by Jill Hall

Wendy sent this entry:

Of the many things that happen during a session one of the most interesting is the general conversation, exchange of ideas, favorite books, food, movies and music. To continue the exchange and sharing here are a couple of things:
At the last session I mentioned several books that deal with the women who accompanied their husbands to sea and the life that they and their children led. It’s an eye opener to contemplate: a ships kitchen in a boiling sea, all the forks and spoons going overboard, dentistry and childbirth to name but a few issues and all while wearing a skirt and petticoats.

So for those that asked here are a few titles to look for:
Sail Away Ladies by Jim Coogan pub 2003
Hen Frigates by Joan Druett pub 1998
Captain’s Daughter, Coasterman’s Wife by Joan Druett pub 1995
Petticoat Whalers by Joan Druett pub 2001
Captain Ahab Had Wife: New England Women and the Whalefishery, 1720-1870 by Lisa Norling pub 2000

Who among us doesn’t look for new ways to store and keep tidy our stash of stitching supplies?
The boxes or “Thread Chests” we are using to store needles, silk perl and the GST have gotten quite a bit of attention and many questions regarding where to get them. Tricia found them and used one for a project she created called “Pandora’s Sewing Box” published in Just Cross Stitch magazine. They are the perfect solution for this project as well.
The one we use is called ”Travis” and is available from Creative Imaginations – www. CreativeImaginations.us
Here is the stock number and description – #16333 Travis Case-3 Tray Inserts
Here is the direct link to the page – http://www.creativeimaginations.us/store/16333.php

Dye Days

August 1st, 2008 by Jill Hall

To answer Robbin’s question, there will Not be plaited braid stitch instructions in the needle-gold thread kit, so go ahead and order Linda’s from Calico Crossroads. There’s a link in the upper right portion of the blog home page. Go to her searchable catalog and look for plaited braid stitch. That should bring up the $6 + shipping packet of full-color instructions. If you have any trouble you can email Linda through the contact page on her website.

Thanks for the note about the comment box being overrun by text. Unfortunately we’re between Webmanagers right now; I sent Rich a note about it on his last day. I don’t think he laughed, but only because he’s not that kind of person. He did say that issue was already on the list for the interim guy to work on, but I have a feeling the interim guy had a lot more on the list….cross your fingers that another talented webmanager wants to work here and we find him/her soon.

Looks cushy, but hot, hot, hot - dyeing outside the Crafts Center, July, 2008.Here are two tantalizing pictures of the excellent stuff Penny, Emily, Lacey, and two volunteers from the Landmark program did here on Tuesday and Wednesday. I know Pen, Emily, and Lacey want to blog about the whole experience, so I hopefully won’t be treading on their toes by posting these two. The first is their cushy setup outside the Crafts Center. Chairs! And a tent! It looks comfy, but it was scorching hot those two days.

The second is some yarn gently simmering in madder, I think. Yarn in the dyepot and flip-flops!

They all had an excellent time, worked really hard but said it didn’t feel like work; the visitors loved it, the other Crafts Center artisans loved it, and Penny’s so pleased she’s already talking about doing it again in September. That much makes it a ringing success. But they also got loads of gorgeous yarn out of the deal, and that’s just gravy. They all three looked really tired on Thursday, though.

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