Tagged ‘Carli’

Notes from the Front

November 26th, 2008 by Jill Hall

Over the past few weeks several new blogs have linked to us – welcome! And thanks for helping to spread the word about this project.

Over this weekend I got the chance to work on the gold embroidery – wheee! I was the beneficiary of a personal tutorial from Wendy, which was awesome, because I’d really been struggling to understand the stitch diagrams. It is sooo confusing in the pictures, especially the starting maneuvers. Basically she sat next to me and my doodle cloth saying, come up here; down there; up here; down there. Yes, there. Really.

Across the table Debbie and Carli were smiling, because the beginning really doesn’t look like anything, and because it took even them several coils before they could start without checking the directions. Which made me feel better.

This is the little bit I managed to get accomplished, after what felt like a long time. Everyone else is going much more quickly.

The gold is interesting to work with, in a way it is much sturdier than the GST. It is also quieter; the GST is almost corrugated and it makes a thrrrrp noise as you pull it through the linen, because of the difference between the silk and the place where the gold wraps it. The gold passing thread is evenly covered so it passes smoothly and quietly. We’re using the hand made Japanese needles with it, which helps make a large enough hole in the linen for the gold to pass through, and also is gentler on the gold at the eye. Eventually the gold breaks there, though, and you have to cut and re-thread, but we’re finding it happens less than with the GST. And if you bite the very edge of the end you’re threading, just to crimp the gold, it will thread more easily and help it last longer before raveling.

Also, the gold passing (GP) is sturdy enough to pick out and reuse, more than once even, if necessary (ask me how I know). And, because it is stiff, you can feel right away if you’ve got a bump or a kink on the back. With the GST it happens often enough that you don’t find that snarl on the back till you turn the piece over to fasten the end. Grrr.

The suggested thread with which to practice the plaited braid is Kreinik #8; Debbie reports that using the high luster version is easier because it is stiffer. She feels that the blue is the most workable, but the universal opinion is that anything other than the gold passing is a poor substitute. This stitch demands to be worked with the real stuff, and this gold demands to stitch the plaited braid. It is harder to stitch even the reverse chain coils with the gold passing, because it is almost too stiff to make those small bends.

I know, you would work with the GP if you could get your hands on some, and it isn’t really fair of me to mention how nicely it makes a plaited braid. Several people have asked about buying a gold work kit, or just a spool of the GP. We’re holding off for right now, until we’re absolutely sure we have enough to accomplish the jacket, before we release any. I know we could sell this and buy more, but if there’s any kind of hold-up in the manufacturing or shipping (and I can imagine several scenarios with scarcely any effort) it would delay the jacket’s completion, and we can’t have that. As soon as we can let some go, we absolutely will.

Backs!

November 25th, 2008 by Jill Hall

Wendy sent this post and the photos:

Over the weekend  there was much discussion about the recent request  to see the “Backs”.   We were a group of mixed reactions because  there are many stitchers whose reverse side of their work is as beautiful as the front and then there are those of us who will show you our reverse sides only under duress. In the end after lots of laughter and jokes about “backsides”  we agreed that  you should see them, so here are two of the pieces for your viewing pleasure.

Among the things we’ve learned  about reverse sides are that it is really important to make sure the silk work ends( the parts done with the silk perle)  are very securely  wrapped and tucked in on the reverse side otherwise the GST and  even the GP ( gold passing) because they have ribs will catch even a hair of the silk and pull it through to the front- requiring some fiddling to  get the ends back to the back or trimmed. Sometimes because of the friction in a neighboring area  the slippery silk perle seems to have a mind of its own and  sort of unwraps out of its spot  and then the only way to fix it is to make a noose to  try and capture the errant end ( about a half inch)  and snug it back into place.

Donating

November 12th, 2008 by Jill Hall

Thanks to Debbie A who reminded me to post a note about how to make a donation to support Plimoth Plantation in general or the jacket project in particular. And thanks to Lois, who saw in a recent post that we were accepting donations and wrote to ask me how to go about it. Here’s the scoop:

Please make out your check to “Plimoth Plantation” and direct it to:

Kim Corben, Development Department

Plimoth Plantation

PO Box 1620

Plymouth, MA 02362

If you’d like to support a particular project or function, please be sure to write on your check (memo line) “embroidered jacket” (for this project – it will buy the last supplies we need and support the exhibit that will go with the jacket), “colonial wardrobe” (this would support all our work of dressing the first-person interpreters, like buying cloth and buttons and shoes), or “textile conservation fund” which is dedicated to preserving Plimoth’s three samplers (two 17th-century and one 19th-century) and any other historic textiles the museum may acquire.

Any undesignated contributions will go into the general operating fund, which is also good; that pays the electric bill, among other things.

Here’s a picture for today. Embroidery volunteer Carli brought this to show & tell last session, which started on Halloween. It is her own design. She was strongly encouraged to write up the directions, both because everyone wanted to make one and because it uses GST – click on the image to enlarge, and look for the sparkle!

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.

All that Glitters

November 5th, 2008 by Jill Hall

really IS gold, in this case.

The gold thread for the coiling vines is real gold, and, like the gilt sylke twist, was purpose-made for this project by Bill Barnes of Golden Threads in the UK. It is a gold wire wrapped around two ends of yellow silk thread. I know the next question is whether any is available for sale, and the answer is, maybe. Right now we’re tracking how much thread it takes to embroider the coils and counting spools of thread. If there’s any left over, it will certainly be made available. If there isn’t, and there is huge demand, well, look what happened with the GST. Every time I check, new colors have been added to the line, and two sessions ago there was great excitement when Tricia brought out spools for sale. Not one person around the table said “I want this color”, or “I’d like to have this one”; it was all “I need this one. And this one. And … this one.”

So.

This past weekend’s experiment was exceedingly successful. Judy, who worked mostly at Tricia’s last week, arrived on Friday not babbling incoherently from too much gold work. She was still smiling and stitching and enjoying. Lyn J from Canada, Debbie A and Carli D from the NYC area all stepped up to the guinea pig table and took instruction from Tricia before practicing, comparing, and practicing some more.

Debbie reported that the gold is Not a pain to work with, in fact it is quite durable. She used one length for practice and was able to pick out mistakes several times and reuse the same length without trouble. The end you have to thread through the needle frays a bit, but Wendy reports that if you chew on it a little you can shape it up to re-thread.

Even after four days of coiling vine after coiling vine, Lyn, Carli and Debbie were still enjoying the work. I asked them if it seemed to take forever, because just watching them, to me, it seemed to go much more quickly than I’d thought (feared). They said that in the working it seemed to go slowly, but whenever they sat back to look, more was done than they expected, and less time expired. Lyn claimed to be Princess Slow-poke, but she accomplished several coils and none of the rest of us thought she was going slowly. I think she’s just accustomed to working more quickly than most and so this felt slow.

Here are pictures of Debbie and Carli’s pieces. Lyn was working well past the final bell on Monday, and Wendy didn’t remember to photograph her piece before we put it away. We will take a photo to post on Thursday, when we’re taking some studio photos of individual motifs. I think Carli was working on the right front and Debbie on the back.

Do you want to work some of the coiling vines? Our test group did so well we’re going to do it again. If you’re free the weekend of 11/21-24 (this is the weekend BEFORE Thanksgiving – I offered to run a session over Thanksgiving, pointing out that Pen and I will be here anyway, but got no takers), either have practiced the plaited braid according to Leon Conrad’s instructions as amplified and illustrated by Linda Connors, and are willing to work on matching gauge and stitch density, send me a note jhall@plimoth.org We can take 3-4 people to work vines, and a couple more to work silk or GST on the coif & forehead cloth.

We are “pushing” the jacket to completion this winter, in time for display at the beginning of May. I am worried about the winter weather too, look at last year! but look for more sessions in January and February. If you want to suggest dates, send me a note.

In addition to the gold workers, we had three lace makers this weekend. Sue, Linda and Colleen nearly finished the last short piece – the second cuff, as well as the long piece. Colleen also managed to do some embroidery on the coif. There are two new plans afoot – to develop some patterns for white lace to adorn the smocks, coifs, cuffs, and collars of certain characters on our living history sites, and to develop a smaller spangled lace suitable for trimming the coif and forehead cloth. If you’re a lacer and weren’t interested in working metal but might want to do some white lace, let me know and I’ll keep you apprised of progress.

I don’t have much news on the symposium, mostly because I’ve been focusing on getting the interpreters what they need to finish the season. I have a couple of firm commitments from speakers, one probable yes, and I have to get back to the couple I haven’t heard from; the biggest news is that the registration will open first to those who have worked on the piece. They’ll get a 5-week headstart to register and then we will open the registration to everyone. We plan to start this in December, and of course news will appear here and in an email blast to the stitchers/lacers. SO please update your contact information. I know there are some who have changed email/moved etc since coming. If you know someone in that situation, please ask him/her to contact us in order to stay informed. You can update by sending me or Kathy an email or calling 508-746-1622 X 8248 (Penny), X 8119 (me), or X 8114 (Kathy).

All Lace All the Time

October 1st, 2008 by Jill Hall

The September 26-29 session had the largest attendance since our first session in June, 2007. This session also had a really impressive show & tell on Saturday afternoon.

Today I’ll share Carolyn H’s treasures. First, though, some photos of Carolyn’s protegees. She’s evangelizing bobbin lace, and encouraging newbies to try. My daughter Lilia is only too happy to learn, and this is actually the second time Carolyn has helped her to make lace. I think bobbin lace tools and materials will be coming to our house soon.

Norma also did some, but we didn’t get a photo. And here’s Carli making some lace too. Wendy was jokingly teasing Carli about getting back to real work, and Carolyn was threatening to convert all the embroiderers. That’s Cheryl in the background, stitching detached butterfly wings on the cozy couch.

Carolyn brought some beautiful and poignant treasures to share. Here she is with a lace fan that she made and that her late daughter carried at her wedding. Behind her you can see one of the pieces of the jacket that was retired from service this weekend; nothing remains to do on it except the gold work and the bird.

Here’s a lovely piece of lace with a ladybug motif.

Carolyn introduced us to the joy of collecting bobbins. Apparently there are many different kinds of bobbin lace and each kind or style has a different kind of bobbins. We all know that the toys I mean tools are at least half the fun of a needlework technique.

Some have beads (called spangles, just to make things confusing with the teardrop shaped metal tags), some are made of hollow glass, some are beautiful exotic wood, you get the idea. Here are few in my hand, the left hand one is possibly what bobbins looked like in the early 17th century. As Carolyn said, there’s really very little evidence to go on.

This is possibly the most precious needlework ever. Carolyn’s daughter, who passed away about four years ago, started this piece. Carolyn was nervous about working on it because, as she said, it was very different from anything I’d ever done before. But I managed, OK, I think. She’s too modest. I couldn’t tell where Caroline left off and Carolyn picked it up. What a beautiful gift to her daughter’s memory, to finish this piece despite being nervous about the techniques. I was so glad she brought it to share.

Carolyn brought a present for the Wardrobe Department today. She gave us a copy of Le Pompe, 1559: Patterns for Venetian bobbin lace by Santina Levey and Patricia Payne. When we’re done with the jacket lace, which is getting closer and closer; already 80 inches of the “long piece,” both wings, and almost all of one cuff are completed, she’s planning to turn her attention to some simple white lace for the period clothing of our interpreters. This book will help.

Carli’s Needlebook

September 17th, 2008 by Jill Hall

Since the very first embroidery session, Tokens & Trifles has been donating a small commemorative needlework project designed by Wendy White to each new embroiderer. The back of the needlebook, which is stitched on Thistle Threads’ perforated card with cotton floss, has the date of the session the embroiderer attended. Many participants have completed their needlebooks; our 2007 summer intern, Laura, stitched hers as her very first needlework project.

Carli was here for the first time two weeks ago, and this time she brought her completed needlebook for show & tell. Carli didn’t just stitch as written, though, she made improvements. First off she chose different, more vibrant colors. You all know how different the same design in a different colorway can be.

She was afraid she’d smash up the corners of the perforated card, carrying it around with her, so she decided to protect them with – - detached buttonhole stitch. Yes, really.

There is no end to the ingenuity, creativity and ambition of needleworkers.

For Susan, who wrote in the comments asking about stitching on the ‘oes’: yes, thank heaven, we can carry the thread. They are sewn on with a fine silk, and it doesn’t show. I’m so relieved – tying off each and every oe would have been a nightmare.

(There is, however, an end to my patience with this program. I’m having a lot of trouble with the newest version of WordPress; anyone out there know how to wrap text? What am I missing? Send me a note at jhall@plimoth.org if you can help. I have tried the WP documentation page, but I’m not finding the secret key.)

August Show & Tell

August 28th, 2008 by Jill Hall

Here are a few more treats Carli brought for us to see.

She makes both knitted lace and bobbin lace. The knitted lace is draped across the small pieced and appliqued quilt she made – entirely by hand – for her grandfather.

The bobbin lace she “just learned to make in March, so this is all I’ve done.” Hmm. Seems like a lot of lace to me.

© 2003-2011 Plimoth Plantation. All rights reserved.

Plimoth Plantation is a not-for-profit 501 (c)3 organization, supported by admissions, grants, members, volunteers, and generous contributors.