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April 8th, 2008 by Jill Hall

Thanks for all your encouraging comments. I will photograph more motifs tomorrow at the office and post them.

About the plaited braid stitch, I know Tricia is working on a set of instructions with great photos that can be posted here and downloaded, like she did for all the other stitches we’ve been doing.

She and I are still thinking about how to marshal the troops to actually do the gold work. The plaited braid is one long motif, so to speak. Each pansy, or rose, or columbine is distinct and separate from every other pansy or rose or whatever. They don’t bump up next to each other, so variations in stitch tension or density don’t show so much. And in the originals we’ve looked at we saw differences like that in different motifs, so we’re not so worried about that. But the vines are like one continuous line. If we have very different hands working on the same sections it will show pretty dramatically.

I’m still hoping for some of our serious fund-raising efforts to result in a chunk of money so we can pay someone to do large sections of the vine, and fill in with volunteers, in such a way that the variety of hands is not so glaring. We do have some proposals out, and we’re working on another packet of materials to send to a bunch of different places, so keep your fingers crossed there.

Even if that happens, though, we’ll still need embroiderers, so don’t worry, you aren’t being put out of a job here. There’ll be miles of chain stitch gold work, little curlicues that spring seemingly randomly from the vine, plus top stitching on leaves that has to be done in gold, too.

We’re close to having another recreated thread to add to the jacket. Tricia did a gold thread series of blog posts a few weeks ago, and the end was that Bill Barns was going to do another sample of gold wrapped around silk, but this time use two ends of silk as the core rather than three, which would hopefully give Tricia the flexibility she was looking for. I haven’t heard that she’s got that sample yet, but we will of course post pictures as soon as she’s tested it.

I don’t know the answer to the question of how the acorn caps in yesterday’s picture were done; but I’ll send a note to Tricia to see if she knows.

Embroidery sample received today from Carolyn W. Also we’ve gotten more stockings! From Susan J, Sarah N, Susan Y, and Carol H. All absolutely lovely.

Tomorrow Penny will be attending the Weavers’ Guild of Boston’s meeting. The members of the WGB have, over decades, been willing hands, knitting and weaving for the living history program. Tomorrow Penny will see if anyone would like to take some stockings that need re-footing (old ones) or gloves to be re-fingered (also old).

Two spinners have volunteered to spin some combed top I had in the closet; I will be packaging that up and sending it out tomorrow, and we’ll see what we’ll see. I’m hoping for some hand spun worsted yarn that we can dye and knit into stockings at a gauge closer to the original 17th century stockings than our current pattern. The stockings on the Gunnister man, who was found preserved in a peat bog in Scotland, were about 7.5 sts/in. Gunnister man is no earlier than the last quarter of the 17th century, dated by coins in his (knitted!) pocket, but they are very close to our time period, close enough to be used as a model for the Plimoth colonists’ stockings.

I guess I still can run on, despite feeling like I’ve nothing new to say.

Pictures of motifs tomorrow, and thanks again for the help.

Gratitude, and a little Light Housekeeping

June 11th, 2007 by Jill Hall

First, the light housekeeping:

Reminders for the June stitchers:

  • If you have and are able to bring a magnifier and/or a lamp, please do. We’d appreciate it very much.
  • If you’d like a seat cushion and can bring one, please do.
  • Please avoid strong perfumes. One of our number is allergic.

Thank you.

A question was left in the comments (thank you, I love comments!), about whether a pdf of the ladder stitch with zigzag interlacing is or can be available. The answer is that Tricia is working on a book of goldwork stitches and this one and many of its relations will be included.

Alison’s sample arrived safely. No mail today, not sure why. Perhaps there’ll be a double batch tomorrow.

Now the gratitude:

An effort of this sort really relies on an extended network of people taking time from their regular duties to look up data, pull out samples, get permissions, find materials, and all sorts of things. We wanted to periodically acknowledge the growing army of behind-the-scenes individuals and institutions who have been working the help this project and its ‘extras’ become reality. Here is just the first installment of thank yous. Any omission is inadvertent, will be corrected, and is purely the result of our being overwhelmed at this point!It is fabulous to see how many people in this community are excited about the project and its potential to energize and expand on the historic needlework field.

Manufacturers and Distributors

Access Commodities – Lamora Haidar has been tireless in giving advice and helping us locate enough silk in particular dye lots for the jacket. In addition, she has supplied frames and is trying to revive a manufacturer of slate frames. And most importantly – she has invested in having a new line of threads fabricated by Golden Threads for the jacket and will make them available through distribution. We can’t thank Access Commodities enough for that type of support.

Zweigart USA – Jim and his staff have donated 7 yards of Kingston Linen to the project for the jacket and sample kits. They also worked tirelessly trying to get us the linen after it got delayed in customs.

Lakeside Linens – Pat was wonderful to take time from her day to help me locate who in the USA might have a secret stash of high quality linen that could be used if our linen didn’t make it out of customs. She suggested Dave at Norden was my best bet.

Norden Crafts – Dave and his staff located a few small pieces of Kingston Linen that allowed us to get started while we waited for our larger supply to get released from customs.

Golden Threads – Bill Barns has allowed us to bend his ear of dreams of metal threads of old. Then he made them! Bill is currently making a new line of just wonderful threads that will be distributed by Access Commodities. More in the blog later about these amazing recreations!

Benton and Johnson – Neil has also allowed me to pick his brain about gold threads and passed on much valuable information and samples. They are keeping us in gilt paillettes for the jacket.

Coats and Clark USA – Ann Blalock has supplied us with threads for educational programs at the Plantation to enhance the stitchers’ experience. They have also offered to help us with extending our programming to children around the USA.

Jill & Tricia

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