Tagged ‘gilt sylke twist’


July 8th, 2008 by Jill Hall
  • We entered the dog days not long ago, and I can really feel it. The heat isn’t oppressive, but it is humid, the air quality is sub-par, and I’m suffering from embroidery craving. All I want to do is work on that right front piece, the one that’s less done than all the other pieces because it languished for months in an impossibly wide frame. It’s been re-framed and is marginally easier to work, and I want to stitch a columbine. And a pansy. And a few butterflies. Maybe some honeysuckle buds or a pink split by a gusset. But not the worms. I bear them a grudge for not being what I thought they were. Bah.
  • Gilt Sylke Twist is noisy. It’s thinner than the soie perlee, but because of the gold wire wrapping it’s almost ribbed. The first time I pulled it through the linen I gasped at the noise. The more experienced stitchers in the room chuckled, oh, yes, it IS noisy. After you work with it a while you forget, mesmerized by its beauty.
  • Thanks for the note about the symposium, Cate. We’ll be holding all the events at Plimoth, and the capacity is about 200. Which seems like not a lot unless you’re actually planning it and still aren’t sure if anyone will come. Then it seems like quite a lot indeed. Those dates are 24-27 September, 2009.
  • Lacey’s experience with the hot dog buns rang a bell for lots of transplanted New Englanders who miss the familiar buns of their youth. Isn’t it funny what you miss? Years and years ago I spent a year in England and missed Oreos. Like crazy. When I can have them any time I almost never do. And yes, I’m sure while there I saw The Jacket at the V&A, but alas I had no idea how important it would become in my life and so wasted the chance to really SEE it.
  • Who doesn’t want to come to Plymouth in August? Carolyn W has a free weekend and will be coming to make lace 22 – 24 August (Fri – Sun) so we decided to make a party of it and invite everyone. Have a few days? Want to come to the sea? Actually, by that time it usually isn’t so hot and humid anymore. And, at least we won’t have to worry about having to cancel for snow, like last winter. email me jhall@plimoth.org
  • The credit for the plaited braid stitch illustrations in Plimoth’s embroidered coif kit belongs to Oliver Kline and Joanna Kline Cadorette. I heard from Joanna that she drew the initial sketches and her father cleaned them up on the computer and made them all nice and easy to understand. Thank you, Mr. Kline.

More Hands

March 26th, 2008 by Jill Hall

Alex’s peapod.

On February 29, our intern Alex worked on the jacket for the first time. Here are her hands stitching a peapod.

Myrna working reverse chain outline pansy.At that session we also had another new embroiderer, Myrna. Melanie Anne decided that the state of Maine was under-represented among the embroidery corps, so she persuaded her friend to come down with her. Myrna is pretty new to this type of embroidery so she practiced for the morning and then worked reverse chain outlines.

The last picture for today is of Melanie Anne stitching a thistle top in Gilt Sylke Twist bisse.

Melanie Anne working a thistle in Gilt Sylke Twist.

The office was a little beehive today, with five volunteers joining us. The hand sewing on three shirts was finished plus part of a fourth was done; a great deal of stab-stitching on a pair of breeches and a cassock was also accomplished. Meredith spent part of her birthday volunteering; we wish her many happy returns of the day. I got a phone lesson from Rich on managing the new forum, and Robbin volunteered to help moderate, which offer I immediately and gratefully accepted. Welcome to everyone who signed up, and if you haven’t checked it out yet, please go see.


March 10th, 2008 by Jill Hall

May be sent to

Plimoth Plantation

c/o Kim Corben, Development

PO Box 1620

Plymouth, MA 02362

Please write on your check or enclose with your contribution a note saying:

“Restricted to Embroidered Jacket Project” or something to that effect.

And thank you so much for asking!

Cheryl asked how much we need. I will sweep together the estimates and let you know in dollars, but here’s a list of expenses.

Every time we have an embroidery session we need to buy food supplies. It is most cost effective, not to mention most delicious to have Marcia cooking for us, we spend much less than if we bought food through a restaurant, but depending on number of participants and number of days we need $200-400.

We need to buy some supplies for the lace making; pins, prickers, cards for the prickings and some other things.

We need to buy the silver and gold for the teardrop spangles.

We need to buy the gold and silver threads for the lace.

We’ll need more GST, especially the first three colors – bisse, carnation and redde.

These are just materials costs; I’ll have to look up the figures on what we allowed (in the grant application) for a hired embroideress for the vines. Plus, I’m sure I’m forgetting something….

Ah, yes, I was just reminded about buying the sequins, the little round bits that’ll be sewn onto the cloth itself. (These were and, I think, still are made by coiling a wire and smacking it sharply to flatten it, Susan. The teardrop ones, though, were punched out of a flat piece of metal, almost a metal ribbon. The historic spangles themselves told us, by the striations visible at high magnification, by the ‘burls’ on the edges of the spangle and the edge of the hole, and by the irregular spangles, the ones punched too close to the edge of the ribbon or too close to their neighbor spangle. That’s the abridged version, but more will be coming soon, and with photos.)

Tricia has promised more blogs, including instructions for the plaited braid stitch and more on the teardrop spangle quest. I have on hand a few more blogs written by Wendy on spangle history, teardrop and other shapes, and I will start with those tomorrow, hopefully.

See you then.

The Nightcap and Horse Trading

March 4th, 2008 by Tricia

Tricia writes tonight:

nightcapTo answer the questions posed by Jill’s blog last night, here is the Glittering Nightcap. Remember back when I wrote about the development of Gilt Sylke Twist and mentioned “horse trading’? Well the Nightcap was part of that deal. To make sure that we could get the thread made, I offered to design a teaching piece and several kits/magazine projects that would use the thread so the volume of thread would be enough to get it off the ground. The Nightcap is the first of these projects. It used every one of the eight colors made (that is the seven for the jacket and a purple). It was taught three weeks ago at A Gathering of Embroiderers in Williamsburg. Thirty lucky and trusting ladies took the class and were able to get some gilt sylke twist. I say trusting because they all signed up for the class sight unseen as the project was finished only a few days ahead of time. Normally I don’t cut it so tight, but since the thread didn’t come until a month ahead, I had to embroider around the clock to get it done.tiger

The nightcap is about 50% sized and fits over a needlework tools etui pyramid made from silk. It was fun to see the gold thread added to the gilt sylke twist and see how they play off each other. I add a few extra fun pictures here of a ‘family member’ wearing the cap before the last side seam was finished. My two sons also wore it to model for mommy. These embroideries were originally stitched with these threads to ‘move’ and so it was fun to see how they looked when worn.

So if you hear a rumor that ‘someone’ has some GST, you know how. I was honoring my horse trading agreement!


Jill here. Not only did Tricia use all the colors of GST, she also twisted two colors of thread together to transition between green and yellow in some of the leaves. This project is just too beautiful.

Dates Added

July 13th, 2007 by Jill Hall

It’s been pretty hot and humid here in southeastern Massachusetts, and it feels like everything has sloooowed down accordingly. As a consequence, there isn’t a great deal to report.

The frames are slumbering quietly behind the office door, each one neatly encased in its canvas bag.

On the way from England is some special “sparkle” thread. This sort of silk was used extensively on the jackets and other embroidered items in the early 1600s, but has been unavailable for decades, if not centuries. Tricia, armed with her formidable powers of persuasion and the fact that, if developed, we’d be instantly buying enough to make it worthwhile to produce, convinced one of the Artisan Manufacturers she mentioned yesterday to bring it back into production. I hope I’ve piqued your curiosity. That’s all I’ll say here, except that if the customs agents are benevolent the thread will be debuting during the August stitching session. I know Tricia is planning a blog entry describing the research, development and testing process, along with some photos.

I mentioned the log sheets that Tricia created to enable us track the exact amount of time spent and thread used for each motif. The other day Tricia whipped them out and did a quick bit of math to figure out how many stitching hours our June session yielded, and what sort of pace that worked out to.

We’ve decided to add two small sessions, one in November and another in early December, intimate gatherings, 6 stitchers maximum. Are you interested? We can set the dates to be most convenient to those who are able to come. Email me with your availability.

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