Tagged ‘coif’


October 17th, 2008 by Tricia

The panel at the Embroiderers’ Guild has often been referred to in some texts as a coif. The confusion may have occurred because the dimensions (width and height) are similar to many coifs. But it is a panel. We took a look at the edges and it was obvious that the piece was in its entirety and not cut from something larger. The small amount of linen around it had either nail marks or holes from being stretched on a frame. There was an embroidered stem stitch outline around the four sides and the embroidery appropriately started or ended at the boundaries if the motif was cut by the boundary.

Other details that are different from the jacket: there are less flowers, only nine types instead of the 11 borage being repeated twice) of the jacket. (I had to read this twice, my brain doesn’t move as fast as Tricia’s. The jacket master repeat is 3 x 4, therefore 12 motifs, but there are two borage so only 11 different motifs.) The borage and strawberries are missing. The blue and red flowers (carnation, gillyflower, or cornflower?) on the pieces are different between the two pieces, but not much different in terms of tracing. Just embroidered differently.

The calyx of the foxglove is stitched in silk and not gold. There is a different technique used for the detached pea pod parts, detached buttonhole in silver strip wrapped silk on the jacket and silk buttonhole over a gold thread (return) for the panel. The roses have an extra set of detached petals. Some of the thistles have an extra layer of detached buttonhole. The coiling stem is also a different stitch. On the jacket it is plaited braid whereas on the panel the stitch is ladder with wheat sheath. This stitch is much slower to work than plaited braid and done in two passes. Overall, the panel has a higher level of detail work which is absent from the jacket.



October 3rd, 2008 by Jill Hall

Last winter, Catherine and Deb from Kansas came out to Plymouth to embroider bearing gifts of coffee and chocolate. This September they came again, bringing more chocolate (bless them) and a friend! Catherine and Deb had been trying to persuade Sandye to come out to Plymouth and exercise her considerable embroidery skill on the jacket, but, well, we all know the gravitational pull of our usual orbit can be pretty strong. This time,they contacted Sandye’s husband and explained the situation. He responded by making Sandye a plane reservation and then telling her to sort out the rest of the arrangements. How great is that?

Sandye brought treasures to share with us. First is a favor she made for her husband to carry. They are members of the Society for Creative Anachronism, as are many of our embroidery volunteers. The first picture is Sandye holding up her work, the second is a close up. She said that she has often been asked why she made him such a lovely favor to carry, wouldn’t it get ruined? She says, I know how to make another. And after hearing about his supportive attitude towards her avocation, I bet we all agree he totally deserves pretties.

Sandye really likes snails. Do you see how the coiling vine is the snail’s shell? It’s subtle, and so pleasing because you have to discover it. She said she used up leftovers from other projects on this.

Here is a coif she embroidered. There are many motifs on it, including a snail which isn’t visible from this angle.

The last piece was a gift to Sandye from Catherine. In the SCA it is an honor and an achievement to receive a laurel (or is always plural?), and it sounds like it can also be a grand party! Catherine made this for Sandye for Sandye’s laurel award.  See the snail?

(SCA members, did I mess that up completely? Straighten me out.)


September 2nd, 2008 by Jill Hall

We have a phrase here, that describes the state of being prepared to receive museum visitors – camera-ready. Often the interpreters will head down to work on the Village site in the morning not quite entirely dressed. They’ve got clothes on, period clothes even, but maybe they’re not buttoned, maybe the women’s hair isn’t tied up, maybe they haven’t removed eyeglasses or nose rings, maybe they’re carrying a Dunkin’ Donuts cup.

Sometimes, we have a film or photo crew on the site before 9:00 and everyone needs to show up “camera-ready.” In that case there’ll be a big note in the Carriage House letting everyone know that.

Here Rebecca is technically camera-ready, but she still needs a couple of items to be really done.

Emily and Lacey

June 3rd, 2008 by Jill Hall

Lacey signing away the rights to her image.Here, as promised, are our summer interns.

The first one is of Lacey signing away her photo rights. Actually, she’s giving me permission to post her photo on the blog. This fall she will be a junior at the University of Mary Washington in Fredricksburg, Virginia. The next picture shows Lacey working on her first project, hand sewing a coif. She’s stitching the casing for the drawstring.Lacey sews the casing on a coif.

Turns out Emily isn’t the girl she used to be. She added this awesome, and totally topic-appropriate, tattoo. She’s ironing some fabric for a lining for a sailor’s cassock she’s making. Emily will also be a junior this fall, at Bennington College, in Bennington, Vermont.

Emily’s not the same girl we knew.I’m delighted to welcome Emily back, and to have Lacey with us for the summer. Stay tuned for their projects and progress.

The Lackey’s Leaf*

February 10th, 2008 by Jill Hall


Lace sample arrived today from Robbin.

Today Emily embroidered on the jacket. The first thing she did was a pink bud, shown here next to someone else’s leaf. The top corner shows a little of Wendy’s pansy. This bud is on the lower left corner of the back of the jacket.

leafNext she did a whole leaf on the coif. Here’s a picture of Emily pointing to the leaf. The photo on the left is Emily’s leaf. Hers is the dark green single leaf on the left, above the pink bud.

Here’s Emily working on the leaf.

This is her last week working with us, then she has to go back to school. We’ll miss her.

*Now we’re all teasing Emily.

Tracing the Coif & Forehead Cloth

July 8th, 2007 by Jill Hall

Tricia continues the story of how the embroidery pattern was transferred to the pattern pieces and the decisions that needed to be made along the way.

As we talked about previously in the blog, we decided to add a matching coif and forehead cloth to this mad project. Since we didn’t have a piece to use as a model, we used the pattern for one that Plimoth has made many times. (Jill here. We chose one of our several coif patterns, different sizes and slightly different shapes, all copied from original 17th-century coifs.) Then the question was how to orient the pattern. After examining many pictures of historical coifs, I noted that the majority of them do not have any symmetrical patterns. They all seem to cut a pattern out of the master without regard for left or right. From our ‘dead bird’ episode, you will know that I was too wrapped up in symmetry to note which side was up or down on the coif and got going the wrong way and seemed to kill a few birdies in the process. After we discovered my mistake (which was immortalized in a nasty photo of me on-line), we wondered if any care was made to line up the pattern on the seam line that goes atop the head. Our conclusion from viewing photos was that there wasn’t a great deal of fussiness going on in the 17th century, so we barreled ahead with live birds a second time.

For the forehead cloth, a similar viewing of historical photos revealed a similar disregard for symmetry. But the 90 degree point of the cloth was the ‘up’ on the pattern.


Day Three

June 22nd, 2007 by Jill Hall

…was a long one, and eventful and productive. I got home late, although that wasn’t the reason for no blog entry. The thunderstorm I whirled home in was; I thought it unwise to turn on the computer. I think it’s going to take me a few days to catch you up on what’s been going on.

First, let’s go back to Day One, specifically to the Dead Bird conversation. I was in it, so no pictures, but Robbin cleverly caught the whole thing. Here I am, feeling awful about having to break the news to Tricia that her design is upside down. She’s got the reference books out, attempting to convince us all that it’s fine and she doesn’t need to trash two or three hours of work. Wendy’s trying to be diplomatic.

Seeing is believing as they say, so we taped the paper together in order to demonstrate how a coif sits on your head (sort of). Wouldn’t she make a sweet colonist? Thanks so much for these pictures, Robbin.

Day Three (yesterday, Thursday) was busy. The Needle Arts Studio crew started filming in the 1627 English Village shortly after 9:00 AM, then to the Wampanoag Homesite to capture some images of Native women making traditional textiles. They got a lovely shot of milkweed plants, an important source of fiber for cordage and textiles, in the foreground, and a woman working in the background.

Then to Accomack, to interview Tricia about the project and get some pictures of the work, and of Kris’ hands executing detached buttonhole stitch. That was a bonus; we didn’t think we’d have time or the proper equipment to capture that. The filming wrapped up shortly after 2:00.

Below is another picture from Robbin, of Tricia explaining the plan for tackling this project.

Later, the participants were treated to a presentation on the history of Thanksgiving – the holiday and the food – by Plimoth Plantation’s Foodways Historian Kathleen Curtin. After asking everyone to name their special, traditional Thanksgiving dishes, she explained how and when each was added to the menu and how the food reflected the changing nature of the holiday. You can get the same entertaining presentation of the food and the history in Kathleen’s book, Giving Thanks.

Next Kathleen and I went to scout our next location. Remember the One Big Glitch, having to move shop from Accomack to make room for a previously booked event? We were able to reserve another space on the grounds, but when we went to see if there were sufficient tables and chairs (there were) we discovered that it was just too warm to be comfortable for embroidering.

After a hasty conference, we decided to move to the Wardrobe Department’s workshop. I had thoughtfully invited several of the museum’s interns (read: willing helpers) to join us for supper, and after plying them with Marcia’s yummy food they swiftly and efficiently helped us transfer embroidery frames, floor stands, lamps & magnifiers, and all the food service supplies to the Wardrobe office. Thank you, Laura, Kate, Kassie, Mirelle, and Jessy and Ryan, who arrived too late for supper but were bribed — I mean thanked — with dessert for their help.

We spilled out of the Wardrobe office, occupying nearly the whole building (thanks to our co-workers for their hospitality!). The lighting and layout of the Wardrobe office proved very suitable for about four or five embroiderers. This was a happy discovery, as a few local embroiderers are interested in volunteering a day here and there rather than coming for three or four days together. Now I know we can accommodate an embroiderer or two in the office on occasion.

After The Move we repaired to the Crafts Center for a presentation by Peter Follansbee, joiner and historian, on 17th century furniture, the craft of the joiner, and the process of historical research. And a few comments on how lots of birds feed upside down and if its feet were on a branch maybe it wasn’t dead…. Peter’s conversation was thoroughly enjoyed and, if we didn’t need to walk back before night fell completely, we would have kept him longer.

Thus endeth Day Three. I did manage to take a few pictures today, which I will share with you tomorrow night, the computer and camera being willing. I’ll also mention our special guests, and maybe have some pictures of them, if Tricia has a chance to send them over.

We got a new comment from Crystal, who is both sharp-eyed and curious:

Since the majority of the embroidery is being done with one strand of the soie perlee, how will you be handling the parts that are embroidered with two or more colours mixed (such as on some of the butterfly wings and some parts of the leaves).
If I recall, I remember seeing a blue/white/gold and some green/yellow blends.

And some pink and white. Glad you asked. Tricia’s been conducting some research and development (how can I get this effect? Try this? No? Try something else?) and will post about her results soon.

Day Two

June 20th, 2007 by Jill Hall

Day Two is in the books. I’m amazed at how quickly some of the stitching is going; one embroiderer has completed everything that can be done on her frame (it was one of the smaller ones, but still!). Some parts can’t be worked until the threads arrive, and all the goldwork has to wait till last. So she’s sharing a frame – two people working on opposite ends of one of the larger frames. I’ll try to get a picture of that tomorrow.

A huge thank you goes to Tricia Wilson Nguyen, Wendy White, and Justyna Teverovsky of Tokens and Trifles for donating kits for this sweet needlebook to all the stitchers. This project was designed by Wendy using motifs adapted from one of Plimoth Plantation’s samplers, which we’ll see Friday.

Another huge thank you goes to Ann Blalock of Coats & Clark, for donating the threads for the kits, and supporting embroidery outreach in general. Tokens and Trifles plans to donate kits for all the stitching sessions, ‘personalized’ with the dates of each session, as you can see on the back here.

Thank you doesn’t even approach what is due Kathy and Laura. Wendy nicknamed Laura ‘our girl Friday’ because she’s everywhere something needs to be done. This whole week would be impossible without Laura’s good humor and willing hands and Kathy’s quiet attention to every detail.

Here are a few pictures of the progressing embroidery. My photography doesn’t do them justice. The bits of embroidery look like little jewels on the mostly-still-black-and-white pieces. Every day there are more jewels. The stitchers are now working mostly on their own, giving Tricia time to trace off a right-side-up coif pattern, and transfer it to linen. No silly paper hats today.

Wendy and Kris bagged the next batch of kits, which are waiting for one more element and then should go out Monday.

I have been taking notes on what’s working schedule-wise. I’m thinking next time we’ll have to build in a time for show & tell. Several people have brought in original embroidered pieces or latest new creations for us all to admire during breaks.

I spent quite a bit of time walking around in the humidity, planning tomorrow’s Needle Arts Studio filming. It should be a great show. I’ll post the airdate when we know it. Likely it will air in early 2008.

See you tomorrow.

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