Tagged ‘Marcia’

Thanksgiving 2008

November 27th, 2008 by Jill Hall

You may remember from last year that part of my Thanksgiving tradition is helping Die get into her Victorian dress for Plimoth’s 1863 dinners.

This year Die has a new outfit. Doesn’t she look great? There was less for me to do – no lacing the  black cord through the button shanks – but more time to admire. There’s one more Victorian dinner tomorrow afternoon so she’ll get to wear it again.

I don’t know why the thumbnail photo is not centered, but if you click on it you’ll get the whole image.

The next picture is the dessert table in the interpreters’ lounge. It’s a potluck meal with the main parts supplied by the foodways department and the sides and desserts by everybody. I especially love Marcia’s apples and cheddar side dish (of course it’d be a Marcia dish) and look forward to it every year.

If you closed your eyes in the lounge, you’d never know you weren’t home; people are sipping coffee, sampling dessert and discussing whether the Pats can get to the Super Bowl without Brady (even odds, which is better than you’d have gotten in the lounge a few weeks ago).

After a week of colder-than-normal temperatures, the Thanksgiving weather gods were kind and we had a mild day for our visitors to enjoy the outdoor sites. There was so much activity in the 1627 Village this year that I didn’t get to the Wampanoag Homesite. There were two 1627-style church services, Native men visiting Edward Winslow, and a staged fight between two colonists over a girl. They were fighting over Lydia Hickes (Whitney) who is getting married to one of the pugilists on Saturday (pretend wedding). This is the event for which I promised the pink waistcoat. Whitney checked on it this lunchtime. It’ll be done. I finished the stab-stitching today and I only have a couple of hours worth of buttonholes and buttons left to do. Apparently the other colonist (also a single man) made a comment about Lydia, which led to the wrestling match. I especially enjoyed the scolding they got from Captain Standish, who marched down the hill to break up the fight. (“Pick up your hats, Pick up your teeth, Stand up like men and don’t let me catch you at this again.” They were suitably cowed.

All in all, a good day. I hope yours was as well.

I’ll be posting new blogs as usual for the next couple of weeks, then every other day starting December 10th through the New Year, but will be taking some vacation from the office around the holidays. If you need to get in touch please leave a message in the comments or send a note to my home email jillmariehall@gmail.com

Manic … Saturday?

September 30th, 2008 by Jill Hall

Saturday morning I was the hostess on duty for the embroidery session. I’ve done this before. I can make coffee, set out Marcia’s yummy snacks, open the office door so everyone can find the frame they’ve been working on. Well. This past Saturday, the Stars were aligned in Klutz.

I was running a few minutes late, which my loving family and friends will tell you is pretty much my usual operation procedure. I’ve come to accept this as a character flaw. Anyway, I thought, it’s grey and drizzly, I’ll get there before any of the embroiderers, they’ll be lingering over coffee . . . not so much. At 8:37 half a dozen cheerful volunteers were standing out front, enjoying the fact that it wasn’t pouring cats and dogs. They all were very forgiving of my lateness, trooped in and got right to work.

I set off to make coffee, but the water cooler was out of water. I’ve loaded the 5-gallon bottles onto the cooler loads of times, but today it just . . . got away from me. I dropped the whole thing, and as I scrambled to pick it up before it glugged over the whole floor, it bounced and the bottom broke right out. Glug, glug, glug.

This is a coffee-drinking group, so I left the water on the floor (couldn’t really hurt anything) for the moment, grabbed another 5-gallon jug, proceeded to spill about another gallon trying to tip it into the cooler, but did manage not to drop it. I poured out a pitcher of water, squelched out to the coffee maker, pour, scoop, turn on.

After a hurried search, I determined that there is no mop in this building. Mop handle, mop bucket, no mop head. Makes sense, who wants a dirty damp mop stinking up a closet? But a mop would’ve helped. I threw an armful of rags onto the fairly deep puddle, poured some milk into the carafe – what is that smell? Whew! The milk’s gone off. ‘Kay. Marcia called to let me know that she had to go out but the breakfast snack was on the table in the kitchen, which gave me the opportunity to ask if we may we have some milk, please? Yay. Marcia to the rescue, sent up milk with the really fabulous berry coffee cake.

Check the coffee. Why is there only a half pot? Yikes! the grounds overflowed, the basket is full of water and grounds, the pot is full of grounds. OK. Try the big coffeemaker in the kitchen. Pour the water, measure the coffee – here’s Marie!

Marie is one of our child volunteers. She had made previous arrangements to come up this morning to find some warmer clothes to take her through the autumn. I forgot. Set her up looking for wool stockings (thanks, volunteer knitters!) and then shoes that’ll fit with them.

Back to pick up the wet rags – wait! This pot is done, but still only half full. Grrrr. This is one of those pots where you put in water and it pushes out the water that was put in last time, which is already hot. Coffee faster. Unless there’s not enough water in from last time, which was what happened here. Put a little more water in. Panic. People want coffee. Put more water in. A little more. Ah, here it comes. Full pot – fuller pot – STOP! Switch pots. Taste coffee. This is acceptable. Leave the coffeemaker with a second pot to catch the overflow, leave the wet rags for now – set out coffee, the milk from Marcia, open the coffee cake, announce coffee’s ready! Wait, who is that?

Oh, no, is it 9:45 already? Again, previously made arrangements to meet with Vicki, newest Colonial Interpreter. Vicki was coming this morning to pick up her period clothes, get a little intro-to-period-plain-sewing lesson, and ask any questions about clothing in New Plymouth that came up during her pre-site training, pick out a hat, just odds & ends, but still, requires some brain power, which seemed to be in pretty short supply with me at the time.

OK. Get Vicki started, say goodbye to Melinda, answer the phone, PHONE? WHO IS CALLING ME ON A SATURDAY?

Things started to settle down about 11:30. By noon Vicki was dressed and heading to the Carriage House for lunch, Marie and her warmer clothes were long gone, the phone had stopped, the embroiderers were happily caffeinated and snacked and back to the frames, I was sipping my third cup of coffee (if you pour it and forget about it for a half hour you can then drink it pretty fast), the rags were halfway through the wash and the kitchen floor, which gets washed pretty often but still was no worse off for having had several gallons of water sloshed across it and then wiped up.

No, strangely enough, I didn’t think to take any pictures. You’ll just have to imagine it.

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.

Just Text

May 21st, 2008 by Jill Hall

I think my home computer is looking for a little (hopefully little) monetary expression of our affection. It’s refusing to open or edit pictures, or just about anything else that requires any thought. Maybe its jealous of all the time I’ve been spending with the laptop at work.

At any rate, instead of pretty pictures tonight we have just text. The end of the May session went fine, as I found out yesterday, except for my brain cramp regarding notifying Marcia about allergies. Sunday’s lunch covered just about every allergy possible but thankfully everyone realized it in time and there were no trips to the ER. Luckily there were some super-yummy leftovers that stepped in to cover my mistake.

Saturday night Laura and I had a hugely profitable discussion about construction techniques for the eventual sewing-together part of the jacket project, ably assisted by Robbin and Jen who quickly hunted up every photo we wanted to look at.

Kris A came in on Monday after five days in a Japanese embroidery class, and continued to work on the jacket Tuesday and Wednesday. Yesterday I asked her if she wasn’t tired of embroidering. “This is what I do,” she replied “well, what I’d do all the time if I could, anyway.” Yep, the whole eating and sleeping thing wicked gets in the way of my fiber time too. Pictures tomorrow.

Setting Up and Stitching

April 2nd, 2008 by Jill Hall

This is Tricia’s third and final installment on a day in the life of a jacket embroiderer.

Tricia adjusting the floor frame.Once people are settled in and feel more comfortable, we get their frames into a stitching station. Here you see me helping my mom set a frame in a floor stand. There weren’t any stands available that are perfect for this work, so we are using these. We have to put shims in and tighten the lug nuts well. wendy chairSome people, like Wendy here, prefer to work in the hand in a more comfortable chair. I prefer the wonderful leather couch that is in the room too. The wardrobe department has wonderful light. Lamps aren’t even needed.

Choosing a worm.Here I am working with Ellen who wanted to stitch a worm. We have out the piece she will work on and the book of pictures. We are looking at the picture to determine what color that particular worm was and if we can see it exactly on the jacket. We found it – light blue was the decision – and Ellen went off to work on it.

Not all our time is spent stitching. We have to eat too. A lovely lunch was provided yet again by Marcia for us. We ate that day pretty fast so I could give a lecture on the project and historical background to the stitchers. We always try to find some fun things like this to interject into the weekend. Every weekend is different as whatever we have just learned is being discussed in the room and added to by the participants. Sometimes ITricia’s “how we got here” lecture. lecture, there is always some show and tell, or maybe our current status on research of the materials or prototypes we have to show each other. I find that really fun. We always try to have Karin, the collections curator, take the new stitchers down into the collection storage to show them the samplers that Plimoth owns. They are wonderful. As you have read in the blog, they also need serious conservation. Karin giving a collections tour to new stitchers.We show the participants the samplers to help get the word out about the conservation fund. Stitchers can be a generous lot. *see my note below – jmh

Here you see Karin talking about the objects in the storage area and my mom looking at a 19th century sampler by a Standish descendant. Very pretty. The collection is a hike from the Wardrobe department, a chance to stretch the legs and get a little fresh air. When the plantation is open, and you are walking around like this, you NEVER know what you will see. One day I was talking to a stitcher outside and two of the Native staff from the Wampanoag homesite were coming off break, dressed in traditional skins. It was fun to stand there and talk to them about the embroidery project and look at their own embellished clothing (what there was of it). Another day, we were embroidering and a colonial interpreter on lunch came into the department asking loudly “does anyone know how to use a fax machine???” We busted up into laughter. Stitchers often take five and go off to see the artisans in the Craft Center and to partake of the goodies in the gift shop there. Of course, a full show and tell is required once they return with their goodies so the rest of us make sure we don’t miss an opportunity for new stash.Examining the Eliza Standish sampler.


*Tricia scooped me a tiny bit, but I will soon be posting about two very generous donations which will make the conservation of one of these samplers – the “EC” – a reality.

Friday Morning

February 8th, 2008 by Jill Hall

Karen asked, in a comment on The Spangle Quest post, whether a blog or list on this blog can be set up for the lacemakers to get together. I have absolutely no idea whether that can be done; I’ve asked Rich. He’ll know.

doodledThis morning the embroiderers gathered in Accomack to begin another session of work on the jacket. I have a picture of, from left, Susan, Tanya, Cheryl and Melanie warming up with doodle cloths while (in the second picture) Wendy carefully considers which motifs should be the next ones worked. Here she’s surrounded by sleeve parts. You can really see how much progress is being made. Sure, there are still big white gaps, but there are more colored bits, and by Monday there’ll be more yet.wendychose

Yesterday, Penny let me know that since October we’ve sent out 84 knitting kits. That’s a phenomenal response to our call for volunteer knitters, and I greatly appreciate each and every knitter’s contribution. Rosemary came to stitch today and brought a completed pair of green gloves. She also brought one completed purple glove; the second will be done soon. In addition to Rosemary’s, we’ve already received 4 other pairs of gloves and at least 6 pairs of stockings. That’s some quick knitting.

It’s not all work, of course. We eat, too. Here are Tanya, Susan, Chris and Cheryl admiring Marcia’s work. Today we had sauerbraten meatballs with sour cream rolls and “embroidery ladies apple pudding.” I wonder if Marcia is now inventing new recipes just for us. This was special yummy, like a deluxe apple crisp.

The next embroidery session is scheduled for Friday February 29 – Monday March 3. I have a few people signed up. If you’d like to join the party, email me at jhall@plimoth.org

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