Tagged ‘Crafts Center’


November 18th, 2008 by Jill Hall

Justin has been weaving in the Crafts Center a day or two a week. Last week he was making the warp for a second weaving project; the first one is already off the loom. In the second photo you can see the giant-sized warping board he was using. I’ll get you some pictures of Justin making the warp over the next few days.

Today I have pictures of Justin and Marilyn, the Crafts Center Gift Shop Manager, holding up the first piece of yardage, a striped worsted. He made about 5 yards in what seemed like no time at all.

I’m sorry this is not a great picture of Justin; ironic since he is such an excellent photographer. However, he couldn’t be taking this one and in it at the same time.

Dye Days

August 1st, 2008 by Jill Hall

To answer Robbin’s question, there will Not be plaited braid stitch instructions in the needle-gold thread kit, so go ahead and order Linda’s from Calico Crossroads. There’s a link in the upper right portion of the blog home page. Go to her searchable catalog and look for plaited braid stitch. That should bring up the $6 + shipping packet of full-color instructions. If you have any trouble you can email Linda through the contact page on her website.

Thanks for the note about the comment box being overrun by text. Unfortunately we’re between Webmanagers right now; I sent Rich a note about it on his last day. I don’t think he laughed, but only because he’s not that kind of person. He did say that issue was already on the list for the interim guy to work on, but I have a feeling the interim guy had a lot more on the list….cross your fingers that another talented webmanager wants to work here and we find him/her soon.

Looks cushy, but hot, hot, hot - dyeing outside the Crafts Center, July, 2008.Here are two tantalizing pictures of the excellent stuff Penny, Emily, Lacey, and two volunteers from the Landmark program did here on Tuesday and Wednesday. I know Pen, Emily, and Lacey want to blog about the whole experience, so I hopefully won’t be treading on their toes by posting these two. The first is their cushy setup outside the Crafts Center. Chairs! And a tent! It looks comfy, but it was scorching hot those two days.

The second is some yarn gently simmering in madder, I think. Yarn in the dyepot and flip-flops!

They all had an excellent time, worked really hard but said it didn’t feel like work; the visitors loved it, the other Crafts Center artisans loved it, and Penny’s so pleased she’s already talking about doing it again in September. That much makes it a ringing success. But they also got loads of gorgeous yarn out of the deal, and that’s just gravy. They all three looked really tired on Thursday, though.

Putting it all together

July 27th, 2008 by Jill Hall

There’s not a great deal going on with the jacket this month. I decided a while ago to not schedule any work sessions in July, and it turns out that was a very good idea.

I have been spending Sundays in the Crafts Center working on the jacket, but today family concerns prevented me; Emily stepped up on short notice and covered my commitments to the site and the jacket. Thanks, Emily.

Aside from embroidering whenever possible, I’m also working on the mock-up of the jacket. By working on, I mean cutting out a model from the same linen and a similar but commercially woven silk. I wrote to Susan North for advice on the making up, and she wrote back with some notes based on her examinations of the Laton jacket as well as others in the V&A collection.

The two most significant points in my opinion are that several different techniques seem to have been used on both the Laton jacket and the others, and that these different techniques don’t seem to be standard from one jacket to the other. In other words (because those ones were pretty opaque) 17th-century tailors of embroidered jackets seem to have used a variety of methods unsystematically. Good news for me, then, as I’ve got precedent for doing what works.

I’ll keep you posted, of course, but if I’m this nervous about working on the mock-up, how will I feel about sewing the actual thing? At least that will be worth taking pictures of – plain linen and plain white silk make a very boring photo.

Search the Collections

July 24th, 2008 by Jill Hall

Hi everyone, I haven’t dropped off the face of the earth. Husband Away turned into Husband Home but with Appendicitis. He no longer has appendicitis, no longer has an appendix even, but I’ve been a little preoccupied. Distracted. Frazzled, as a co-worker so eloquently put it this morning. And then last night we had the Thunderstorms. Thou shalt not fire up the computer during a violent thunderstorm.

Anyway, Jill H (the lace making Jill H, as opposed to me, the non-lace making Jill H) asked about finding 1359-1900. The key is to search the V&A collections. You can’t use the search function in the upper right hand corner of their website. That searches for things like exhibits and lectures and new books. You have to click the ‘collections’ option (other options on that page are exhibits, things to do, your visit, support us, contact us, etc.). Once in the collections section, you have choices of which collection to look at. There is also a ‘search the collections’ box. It’s the top left section. Click on that and you get a screen with a search box on the left. Continue to ignore the search box in the upper right. It does not love you.

The search box you want says ‘all fields’ above it, and below there are two buttons: clear field and search. Put ’1359-1900′ in this search box and click search. This will get you the embroidery-pattern jacket. If you instead put in ‘Laton jacket’ you will get the garment-and-lace-pattern jacket. Have fun!

Emily and Lacey have been exceedingly busy while I’ve been frazzling. Lacey has made three pairs of canvas breeches and is working on her fourth. She’s also knitting mittens. Emily is making a gown for a small child who soon will be volunteering in the English Village. She’s also making a green canvas suit for one of the interpretive artisans. Emily left me a note saying that yesterday’s late-afternoon fitting with him went “swimmingly. He says the fabric is the same color as his truck. I’m assuming this is a good thing.” Hope so. Penny is taking a well-deserved looong weekend. When she comes back Monday she and Emily and Lacey will be preparing for a two-day dye fest. On Tuesday and Wednesday of next week they’ll be dyeing wool yarn with natural dyes outside the Crafts Center. I’m so excited about this, I can’t wait. If you’re in the neighborhood, come see.

And Superhuman Eyesight

July 14th, 2008 by Jill Hall

Tonight, Tricia’s Trellis Stitch Directions

The other thing visitors to the Crafts Center often say to me is, “you must have really good eyes.” Umm, no, actually. My eyesight is so poor that whenever I order new glasses the technician delicately suggests I go for the ultralight lenses “so they won’t look so thick.” I think my glasses correct my vision to almost – but not quite – 20/20.

Many people use magnifying lenses to work on the jacket. Good light plus my almost-coke-bottle glasses work fine for me. One thing I wonder, though, and seems to me true, can you train your eyes like your other muscles? When I first tried this work I had more of a hard time than I’m having now, after several months of practice. Can your eyes get used to seeing fine work like your arms can get used to picking up heavy bundles?

Colleen asked in the comments why I scheduled the Symposium to conflict with Rosh Hashanah. Not on purpose, but not completely unaware either. We had to schedule around other events at Plimoth, staying aware of (and avoiding) high visitation periods, and try to take advantage of hotel availability. We also tried hard to avoid known needlework events at other museums. Plus early autumn is a very pleasant time of year to visit Plymouth. I know we’re going to lose potential attendees because of the holiday and because we’re scheduled opposite a conference on furnishing fabrics at (I think) Colonial Williamsburg that same weekend. Sorry. ETA: The dates have been changed. The Symposium no longer conflicts with Rosh Hashanah. Please note the NEW dates are 24-27 September. jmh

Extraordinary Patience

July 12th, 2008 by Jill Hall

I’m going to re-post Tricia’s excellent stitch instructions, in the downloadable pdfs that she has made available for the good of this project and the spread of embroidery knowledge. Please let me know if they don’t work for you, I’m trying a new way to do this. Here’s the first – detached buttonhole needlelace directions.

For the past two Sundays I have worked on the jacket (right front) in the Crafts Center. In the Crafts Center, modern artisans demonstrate 17th-century trades while creating artifacts for use on our sites or for sale in the museum’s gift shop. I’ve been so deep in this project for getting on two years now that it is very refreshing to show and talk about it with people who have never heard of this adventure before. Not to mention what a treat it is to have an entire day just to embroider and talk about one of my favorite subjects.

It is interesting, though, and I’m sure you’ve heard it too; many people remark that I must have a great deal of patience, or at least much more patience than they. The real truth, I think, is that everyone has something they do that others would find tedious or irksome or downright crazy-making. I know there are people who own long-haired pets and comb and/or brush them daily. And enjoy it. Amazing, and inconceivable to me. Yet I’ll sit still for hours making tiny loops and knots in fine thread, taking seven hours to cover maybe 4 square inches. Go figure.

I’ll be embroidering the jacket in the Crafts Center on Sunday July 20, Sunday July 27, and Sunday August 3. If you’re in the area, stop by and say hello.

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.

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.

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