Tagged ‘bobbin’

Small World

October 10th, 2008 by Jill Hall

I got a call today from one of the gift shop staff. There’s a lady here from Australia, and she wonders if it’s possible to see the jacket? This sort of thing is becoming more and more common, as more people find out about the jacket and of course want to see it. Work on the jacket happens almost completely behind the scenes. A few of us have done some embroidery in front of the public in the Crafts Center, but that is unusual and special. Many people who find out about the jacket here don’t realize the work isn’t ordinarily on display.

We try to accommodate these requests when they come up so I said I’d meet the Australian visitors in the Crafts Center. Because we’re behind the scenes we can’t just give museum guests directions to find us, they need an escort. And if you’re planning a visit to Plymouth particularly to see the jacket, please, please get in touch with me beforehand. There are days when no one is in the office, or times when we’re “in” but unavailable. You know where to find me.

Anyway, I met Mary and David from New South Wales and walked with them up to the office. Turns out that Mary didn’t know about the jacket before a day or two ago, when she was visiting the New Bedford Whaling Museum. Mary, a lace maker, was chatting with someone at the museum, staff or volunteer she wasn’t sure, about ivory bobbins for lace when that person, also a lace maker, told her about “what’s going on over at Plimoth.” Thank you to the anonymous lacer from New Bedford for spreading the word.

Mary told me about a lace teacher and researcher in Australia, Rosemary Shepherd, who is currently working on a book about metal laces. Definitely someone we’d like to get in touch with. It was a pleasant episode in a busy day, and another example of how this project is making connections among those who love historic dress and the techniques that created it all over the world.

Tricia did say that she got a photo of herself with the Embroiderers’ Guild panel and permission to post it, so we’ll see that at least. What a trip; I’m sure she’ll always remember this one.

Here’s a picture for today. This is the cover of Catherine’s workbox. There are all sorts of goodies inside, but this will whet your interest.

For the past few days Penny, Arianna, and Penny’s mom Betty have been preparing for a two-day dye demonstration that will happen outside the Crafts Center at Plimoth Plantation tomorrow and Sunday. They’ve been skeining, washing and mordanting, and preparing an indigo stock solution. Tomorrow will be the “hot” dyes, dyes that need to be heated to work, like madder and cochineal and fustic; Sunday will be the magic of indigo. I’ll take some pictures to share, and Penny and Arianna are planning to write about the experience. I promise no one’ll be wearing flip-flops this time.

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

Spangle Threading

September 4th, 2008 by Tricia

Having a ton of people working towards a common goal is really fun. Not something you often get in needlework which is usually a solitary activity. When we have work sessions, there is always something going on that you haven’t seen before and we are all whipping out camera to document the techniques we have developed or discovered. Here is one that we can share.

During the last session, Carolyn came up to prepare more bobbins with metal thread and spangles. We had a nice visit from Mark with more spangles, delivered in his classic rusty can again! We may have to make him some sort of silk fabric covered box to carry these amazing precious ‘gems’ so they come to us in a more proper manner. I am not sure that those who use the nails he makes show the same reverence for his work as us ‘spangle ladies’.

Instead of keeping the spangles loose in a jar, we keep them on safety pins. We put 25 on each pin so we can keep count of how many we have and have used without having to touch them. Even thought the ribbon was plaited with gold, it has been rolled and cut at the edges exposing the silver. When we want to put them on the metal thread, we put the end of the thread through a needle and can easily put the needle thorough 25 at once by holding the safety pin up. Once the pin is removed, they are on the gold thread and it can be wrapped around the bobbin. We use mini-hair clips to keep the bobbins from unwinding and creating a tangled mess.

Bring in the Cavalry!

August 10th, 2008 by Tricia

August 8 group.After spending all week here working on instructions and doingRewinding bobbins. experimental archeology, as Jill puts it, it was nice to have a crew come in to make a nice push on the pieces. We have seven people here today working on embroidery and lace. Speaking of the lace, Carolyn has come today to set more lace pieces up and rewind gold onto a bobbin that has run out. Here you see her preparing the bobbin before she will do some lace magic (to me at least) and add the end into the existing lace under work.

More than 40″ of lace!I had fun looking at the long piece on the pad that was alreadyProgress. finished – is it me or does the lace seem to go faster than the embroidery? She let me unroll it, almost 40″ done on this one piece already. Here you can see how lovely it is. I admit that I wrapped it around myself to see how pretty it was. It was. But that is as close as I am getting to wearing the jacket, it’s not my size.


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