Tagged ‘columbine’


July 9th, 2008 by Jill Hall

Wendy stitched this borage as the model. She sent me a photo, labeling it “borage – done”. Which of course it is not. I’m trying to be careful about that now. Borage needs some black and white in the middle, and then the little spiky leaves done too.

But this is the big part, and for the next session (officially 8-11 August, but any time the week of the 4th can work as Tricia will be here working on GOLD) we’ll have borage directions. This is good, because in the master pattern borage is the only motif that repeats.

Borage by Wendy.It’s a three-across, four-down repeat, and borage appears in the middle of the top row and at the left end of the bottom row (as Tricia drew it – it’s a repeat so theoretically you could start anywhere and repeat outward). So twice as many borages, sort of. Lots of opportunity to use the spectacular dark blue gilt sylke twist. See you soon?

To address the questions in the comments about comparing the lace gold thread to the embroidery gold thread, and how the embroidery gold thread is made, and the needles, and that, we’ll have to wait till Tricia comes back from vacation and can let us know. I’d say maybe towards the end of next week? I know she’ll get us the information as soon as she can.

I think there will be plenty of goldwork to do aside from the coiling vines, too. I was thinking, the tops of the foxgloves and pea pods are gold. The vine has many curliques (which it may be should be worked as you come to them, but maybe they’re separate, I don’t know) which will be gold. Most of the leaves have gold veins. The rose, strawberry flower, pansy and honeysuckle all have gold centers. The straight lines that stick out of the columbine and honeysuckle blossoms might be gold. (No, I don’t mentally catalog the work left to do, over and over. Why do you ask?) So we may well have goldwork available to those who either don’t want to or can’t match the established stitch density of the plaited braid. All of which to say, don’t worry, there’s plenty work to go around.

The other day I heard from some embroiderers who hadn’t sent in a sample or signed up to stitch because they were nervous about having their work “judged”. We’re really not using the samples to judge, or to keep anyone away. No one’s been refused. The samples let us take advantage of everyone’s strongest skill, and give Wendy and Tricia a starting point for helping to improve everyone’s stitching. Even those very experienced with this kind of embroidery have reported that after a few pointers and two days of practice, their work has improved and they go faster. Several have called the embroidery weekends a kind of ‘master class’, with individual attention (Wendy & Tricia usually have 20-25 students in a class and here we never have more than 8) and lots of time to practice.

So don’t let that keep you away. Come stitch. This chance won’t be here much longer. I swear.

Emily’s Cassock

June 19th, 2008 by Jill Hall

Emily’s cassock

Here’s Emily’s first project this summer, a cassock for an interpreter portraying a sailor on Mayflower II.

When I sat back and looked at that sentence I realized I’ve opened the proverbial can of worms. What is a cassock? What makes this one particularly for a sailor? What is a non-sailor cassock? Where is Emily? Who is that behind the cassock?

Let me see what I can do. Cassock in the early 17th century seemed to refer to rather a lot of garments, including one that’s part of a priest’s vestments, something that soldiersEmily’s cassock other picture wore, and any of a number of loose upper-body garments that were as long as the hip or thigh or even the knee. These last ones were worn by working men and maybe sometimes women. More questions than answers there.

This sailor’s cassock is based on one in a woodcut by the 16th-century Italian Cesare Vecellio labeled “the English sailor.” As you can imagine, a picture with a label is a precious commodity in historical dress research. We happily make these for our Mayflower II sailors. Not-sailor cassocks are also loose-fitting upper body garments, but the sleeve is a uniform width from armhole to wrist, not wide at the armhole and narrow at the wrist as here. The non-sailor cassock, also called by the wardrobe department “landsmen’s cassocks” (totally modern nomenclature) does not flare at the waist and often has buttons at the neck. These are based on images from memorial brasses as reproduced in one of the Cunningtons’ books of costume (they did a bunch, father-daughter team; I think the one I’m remembering is their 16th century costume one).

And I tried for a week to get Emily, the cassock, and the camera all in the room at the same time while simultaneously remembering to take a photo and finally gave up in disgust. The sailor needs his cassock, and he’ll get it tomorrow morning. The cassock-holder is one of our soon-to-be child volunteer interpreters, in for a fitting today.

Regarding the comments – I’m with you, Margaret, on the not-seeing-the-columbine thing. For a minute I sort of thought if you turned the stitched one upside down….but no. I think that’s why I’m so fascinated with the columbine motifs.

Thanks, Marjorie, for the compliment on the Needle Arts article. It was all Cheryl’s (the author) good work. I saw it but didn’t have a chance to read it. Penny showed me the copy Cheryl asked the EGA to send us – it’s full of excellent pictures and hopefully it’ll encourage a few more people to join us in the stitching.


June 17th, 2008 by Jill Hall

purple and white columbineAlso blooming in my garden are two kinds of columbine. I see them as purple and purple & white, but the color of the plain ones could be called dark blue. They look dusty, but it’s pollen. The pollen this year seems to have been extremely heavy and when I took these photos it hadn’t rained for several days.

Gerard, whose 1633 Herball we consulted the other day about pinks, also has an entry forother view of columbine Columbine. He says that each sprig of the stalk brings forth “one floure with five little hollow hornes, as it were hanging forth, with small leaves standing upright, of the shape of little birds. These floures are of colour sometimes blew, at other times of a red or purple, often white, or of mixt colors, which to distinguish severally would be to smal purpose, being things so familiarly knowne to all.” The name columbine comes from the Latin word for dove, columba, and the OED says that the flower “has some resemblance to five pigeons clustered together.”

One purple columbineWhile I was taking the pictures last week I wondered if my columbines are modern hybrids, and they may be; they were here in the garden when we bought the house. But Gerard’s description and his engravings match my flowers pretty well, especially if you think the purple might be called blue.

In an email, Melinda asked if I was familiar with another 17th century herbal, one that has separate and detailed entries for gillyflowers, carnations and pinks.Stitched columbine motif. I’m not, in fact I didn’t recognize the name (and now can’t remember it), but I will definitely try to find a copy and I’ll let you know whatever of interest I turn up.

I think the stitched columbines are definitely of the “mixt colors” sort.


May 22nd, 2008 by Jill Hall

Stitched columbine motif.Here, courtesy of Wendy, is a photo of the stitched columbine motif. In my opinion, it is the wackiest of the motifs on the jacket. It sort of resembles a columbine to me, but not much. And it looks crazy. Several columbines were embroidered this session; Norma B from Connecticut stitched this one.

It not only has the first bit of green GST on the jacket, but it also has blue, and pink, and red GST, not to mention a little plain pink silk. It’s the kitchen sink motif.

Thank you

April 30th, 2008 by Jill Hall

to the Loudoun Sampler Guild! They sent a $250 donation to the Textile Conservation Fund!

This is even more wonderful when you know this story – the original estimate to conserve “EC” was about $3800. The Mayflower Sampler Guild donated $1000 specifically to conserve “EC” which kicked off the Textiles Conservation Fund shortly after the new year. Then, not too long after, the Swan Sampler Guild made their largest single donation yet – $2500 to conserve “EC”.

Karin was thinking that, even though the initial estimate was a little higher than we had in hand, we should just go ahead and “scrape up the leftover somewhere.” I seconded her thought and she made an appointment with a conservator.

And then this showed up, completely and totally out of the blue! And such a fortuitous amount, too. Thank you, thank you, Loudoun Sampler Guild!

Today we had our first UK stitcher on the jacket, and our second, and our third! Sarah, Susan and Anne are all here for Celebrations of Needlework in Nashua, NH this weekend. They came by, with stalwart stitcher and lacer Robbin for the day to stitch on the jacket and visit the shop. It was a pleasure to meet them all. I hope they have an excellent time this weekend and enjoy the stitching.

Tricia was here, too, and she brought new sets of directions for the instruction manuals – we now have directions for the strawberry flower and the rose, to go with the ones for the pansy we got last time. She’s working on the prototype for the columbine, which I’ve been fascinated with from the beginning – it may finally force me to try working with the GST just so I can work one!

Out of Service

April 12th, 2008 by Jill Hall

Today, one of the sleeve pieces went “out of service”. This is a good thing, not like when that happens to your TV. I am plenty excited.

Out of service means we’ve hit a point where we can’t do anything else on it, until either we get more instructions or more materials. This is the first large piece to go out of service. Before today only the gussets were out of service. All that’s left on them is the gold work, and we’re waiting for the next iteration of that thread for Tricia to test.

Left under sleeve out of service.Today Susan K finished the plain worms, and the only things left on this piece are 2 columbines, 2 1/2 borages, 1 1/2 birds, 3 butterfly wings, 1 “fancy worm”, and 1 1/2 roses. We’re waiting on directions from Tricia for these motifs: colors, stitches, direction of working, that sort of thing. So, OK, there’s still an awful lot to do here, not to mention the gold work and the oes. But let me enjoy the moment.

Wendy is even now working the prototype of the rose motif and taking detailed photos as she works which Tricia will magic into the awesome individual motif directions we have for the other motifs. Once we have those, we’ll bring this back to do the roses.

Did you catch that “fancy worm” comment? Most of the worms are simply done in ceylon stitch in either red or blue GST. The fancy worms are different, two colors and we haven’t quite determined the stitch yet. The term captured my imagination, though. FANCY WORMS. Is that an oxymoron or what?

I’m a little giddy, I actually worked two and a half leaves today, including one two-color leaf. Woo-hoo. I was working on the right side, which is in one of those huge, unwieldy frames. I stood to work on it, with the frame propped against the big cutting table. Tired now, but very pleased.

Bryce W was here for two days and has taken the first piece of lace as far as it can go. Turns out the 13″ piece for the wing needs 15 motifs and we strung only enough spangles for 13 motifs. Tomorrow Wendy will unwind some of the bobbins and add more spangles so when Carolyn next comes in she can finish off this piece and get the next one started. The lace is well and truly underway. No wonder I’m a little giddy.

Marilyn left a comment the other day, that when she got practiced at the trefoils she was able to do one in three hours. That is really zipping along, and part of the reason they’re called “dreaded trefoils”.

Hey, can anyone recommend a really sturdy needle threader? We keep busting the ones we have and can find. Any suggestions?

More tomorrow.

The Left Under Sleeve

April 10th, 2008 by Jill Hall

The left under sleeve as of April 10.Here’s the other half of the jacket’s left sleeve. You can see the concave curve at the top which goes under the armpit.

And a detail of foxgloves, showing the “speckling” which is done, as Kimberly mentioned, in running stitch. I agree, the GST doesn’t show up well in a still photo. It shows to best advantage when you move the frame slightly, letting the light, especially sunlight, play over it. Which makes sense, when you think of it being used on clothing, so the best effect is when the wearer moves and light, in that case probably candlelight or lamplight, plays over the surface, not only of the GST but also the sequins, the gold vines and the metal lace with the dangling spangles. Oh.Foxgloves, left under sleeve, April 10.

And here’s a motif photo, this is columbine. We’ve got a few columbines with just this blue bit in the middle done, Tricia has been working on directions for the rest, determining which stitches are used where. On more than one occasion we’ve found there was more going on with a motif than at first appeared, like when Tricia and Susan North found at least four different variations in how the pansy Left under sleeve columbine detail.motifs were worked.

Norma answered Carol’s question as to why the trefoils are “dreaded”. There are just so very many of them, and with the three leaves and the color changes they take a long time to do. That, and though no one has said so out loud they’re also done in plain silk, not the glamorous Gilt Sylke Twist. Poor trefoils.

Tricia is checking on how the acorn caps were made in that 17th-century raised-work picture. I’ll ask her to check her notes for the other elements, too, and she’ll give us a post with the answers.

We’ve added a couple of embroiderers for tomorrow. I’m delighted – the more the merrier, not to mention the more progress, but we may be a little cozy here in the Wardrobe office. Shaina and Penny have turned their excellent spatial-relations skills to how to arrange the room most efficiently, so we’ll be in good shape. I’ll remember to take photos.

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