Tagged ‘Carolyn’

Whitney’s waistcoat

November 23rd, 2008 by Jill Hall

I remembered to take a photo of the final fitting on Whitney’s new waistcoat. Whitney’s also wearing her brand-new petticoat, made by intern Arianna and volunteer Carolyn. This was taken on Friday, when this weekend’s embroiderers were already at work.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving Whitney will be the bride for a recreated wedding in the 1627 English Village. I’ve promised Whitney this new outfit in time for the wedding, but I’m trying to finish it in time for her to wear a couple of times this week. We’ll see. I’m also hoping to spend some time today practicing the plaited braid stitch so I can audition for embroidering the coils. Wish me luck!

Lace Answers

October 18th, 2008 by Tricia

When Jill emailed me questions about the Laton jacket, many of them focused on the lace details which were too hard to see from the photos taken outside the case. The lace was applied to the jacket later in
its life, but shows in the portrait and thus is contemporary. We know that it was added later because there are remnants of the silk ribbon ties sewn into the seam which was removed to add the lace.

One of the big questions was how the lace was started or ended. Was it folded back and by how much? The answer was surprising to me. There was no fold finishing or tacking of ends under the seams. The lace was cut and the pairs looked to be tied (I will let the lace experts look at the photos to confirm this) and then applied directly to the wings with that cut edge just hanging there. For the other pieces (cuffs and the one piece that runs all around the fronts, collar, and back edge), the lace comes back and meets itself and so
they tied the pairs of the opposite ends together. The join was in the ‘V’ opening in the sleeve for the cuff lace and the join was just under the right ear area of the collar for the largest piece.

The amazing thing was as crude as the joins were made, it took Susan and I awhile to locate them. Especially around the jacket edge. We had to turn the jacket around a bit to find it. Just goes to show that when there is so much going on visually, these rough spots just don’t show up!

I add a picture of our lace here to show an end. To me, this is very nicely finished compared to what I saw on the jacket – but again, I can’t wait to her Carolyn’s comments once she looks at the photos.


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.

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.


Never a Dull Moment

June 21st, 2008 by Jill Hall

FIRST: You didn’t miss anything, tatting has nothing to do with early 17th century fiber arts – Kate is just interested in almost ALL the fiber arts, whatever their origin. She doesn’t tat on site here, either as an interpreter or in the Crafts Center.

The day in pictures:

A beehive of activity.Here is the workroom, which is a beehive of activity, photo courtesy of Robbin.

The Mayflower Sampler Guild came this morning, partly to see the jacket work but especially to see the EC sampler, which they gave $1000 to help conserve. They really enjoyed their visit, but because I didn’t think to ask their permission, I can’t post the photos Robbin took. Five of them bought embroidery kits, and there’s talk of organizing a stitching session for them to come as a group. We’veLacey’s ambitious project. had a couple of sets of friends come together to stitch, and they (and we) have really enjoyed that. Don’t be scared, just sign up. Bring your sampler if you want help, and we’ll help you figure it out. I never did a bit of this kind of embroidery until last winter, and now I’m stitching the detached pieces that will be sewn over the pea pods. A little practice and you won’t want to stop.

Lacey took on a very ambitious project a couple of days ago. Beth, one of the interpreters in the 1627 English Village, needed her stays altered. The front cups weren’t comfortable for her, so Lacey took out the stitching, extended it to the top edge, and reboned the fronts. It was also too big around, so Lacey cut the back down, redid the boning and put in new grommets. It was ambitious because it all had to be done on Beth’s weekend; she needs to wear it tomorrow morning. And here it is finished!

First and only.Because it is our anniversary session, Marcia made us a special dessert. When I mentioned that, several people said, aren’t all her desserts special? How much more special does it get? This much specialer. It’s as delicious as it looks – chocolate ricotta cake, or as Marcia’s son-in-law calls it, cannoli cake.One year later.

And speaking of old friends, look who came today! Laura, “our girl Friday”, last year’s intern, without whom I never would have made it through last summer. It was so good to see her. The four of us here, Robbin, me, Wendy and Laura, were also here for the very first stitching session last summer. There will be no cake with a “2″ on it, believe me.

Laura’s first lace lesson.Laura got very interested in the bobbin lace, and here is Robbin giving her a first lesson on the starter pillow Carolyn has left here for that very purpose.

It was a good day.

A Wee Froggie

May 18th, 2008 by Jill Hall

Information sharing.Here are some pictures from Friday. Carolyn, Devon, Jill, Margaret and Tricia spent some time consulting, discussing, debating, as usually happens at the sessions. Get a bunch of people, all of them experts in one or another aspect of historic dress, embroidery, lace, etc, and watch the information bounce around, speculation, comparison of items examined; it’s great. And of course the laptops make the whole process much easier.

Margaret, in the foreground, is finishing a blue sweater for Carolyn’s new grandson, whoCarolyn and Margaret and the blue sweater. made his appearance in the world while Carolyn, Margaret and Devon were studying metal lace at the MET on May 9. Congratulations to the new parents and grandparents.

Mr Froggie the needle holder.Laura brought a special show & tell treat this time. She made a frog needle holder, modeled on and inspired by a couple of original (16th-17th century?) needlework novelties, one in the V&A, the other, I believe, in the Museum of London.

Is he not adorable? The legs are a large rectangle of detached buttonhole stitch which is then seamed up the back and stuffed. There are wires in the legs so he can be posed. The feet are also needlelace. She braided the drawstring and worked out how to thread it through accordion-style folds so that he would have a plump body when it was closed. She said that was actually one of the trickiest parts of the project.Frog mouth.

I realize now I should have put something in the photo for scale, but the whole frog will sit comfortably in the palm of your hand. You put your needle in his pink wool tongue. “Fatal levels of cuteness” indeed.

Spangle Making

April 17th, 2008 by Jill Hall

Mark in the Crafts Center.Last Friday the embroiderers at our April session got an unexpected treat – Mark was working in the Crafts Center making spangles. Lots of Mark’s work isn’t suitable to the Crafts Center, requiring a big fire like it does, but this work is great for that space.Mark in the Crafts Center cutting spangles.

Wendy and Tricia took photos and also video, I believe. Wendy sent me these photos.

The spangle maker’s work bench in the Crafts Center at Plimoth Plantation.Two tubes of the silver thread for the lace making arrived in the mail from Tricia this morning. Carolyn sent a note that she and Wendy will be down week after next to wind bobbins. Carolyn will finish off the wing piece that Bryce did, and start the next piece so Jill H can work when she comes in May.

Joann G’s embroidery sample arrived a couple of days ago and Kathy sent a big pile of embroidery kits out. Those of you who were waiting for kits, they’re on their way. I think that’s all the news for today.The Spangle Maker’s display.

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