Tagged ‘Margaret’

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.

Spin, Span, Spun

May 29th, 2008 by Jill Hall

We get COMMENTS! WHOO! I loves comments, yes I does.

Carolyn H wrote: Jill, Plimoth is so lucky to have this offer from Carol. (I think so too!) I think you’ll be so pleased at the durability of stockings knit from combed long wool. Some years ago I knit a pair of socks for my husband. He put a hole in the heel within a few months (I had used woolen spun Cheviot wool). I subseqeuntly combed some Cotswold long wool, and he has been wearing those socks for over ten years!! This is one of the wonderful things about this blog — chances to read and learn about all aspects of textiles at Plimoth! Thank you.

Thank me? Pfffft. Thank you. I love writing about stuff I love to write about.

Margaret wrote:
In your wildest dreams, did you ever imagine how exciting and interesting this blog would be? I feel humble and proud to have worked on the jacket and toured your costume studio last August. I can hardly wait to see what you do next.

It’s good to hear from you, Margaret. You should be proud, you do lovely work. This project seems to be inspiring a lot of humility and gratitude, though; I feel that every time I get to welcome generous talented embroiderers and lace makers to work on it, and even when I just get to talk about it. And, no, I had no wild blogging dreams, only nightmares where no one came.

Carol from the UK wrote with a technical question:

“two strands S spun and double plied Z”

Is this just another way of saying 2-ply or is this a different technique? I really appreciate all the information you are sharing with us. Yes, I already know a few of the things you write about but I am learning more all the time, and I thank you for it.

This has been an incredible journey, even for those like me who can only watch from the side lines.And before I even had a chance to see this, Kat had written in with the answer:

I’m so flattered that Jill put this up! (I maybe should have warned Kat that everything gets in the blog. Inquiring minds, you know.) I love to spin and this is just such a fun thing to do.

To clarify the “two strands, S spun, and double-plied Z” directions — wool that is S spun was spun on a wheel moving in the clockwise direction (clockwise from where the spinner sits). Wool that is Z spun is spun in a counterclockwise direction. To ply, you want to go in the opposite direction from how the strands were spun. If you ply in the same direction as the spin, you will get a really hard yarn!

The direction also has to do (historically, anyway) with the type of yarn being made. S spun for woolens; Z spun for worsteds. I always think of it in terms of: Woolen — carded — S spun/Worsted — combed — Z spun. Distinguishing between carding and combing is also a tip as to the breeds of wool being spun.

It would be interesting to see if silk responds differently to S or Z spin. An archaeologist friend sent me an article where a colleague of his proved that flax naturally spins in one direction, and hemp in the other. She was able to use the cordage impressions in pottery shards to determine what the clay had been wrapped with, which absolutely blows me away!

Kat, inquiring minds will also want the citation for the article, would you send it please, when you have a chance? Thanks.

And Melanie Anne connected the dots for us:

Ah, another instance of S and Z. In embroidery, we see the S and Z as the differentiation between the Stem Stitch and the Outline Stitch. Depending on the direction you make your stitch it creates a twisted border that makes an “S” or a “Z”. I can never remember which is which, but I believe the “S”tem stitch makes the S and the Outline stitch makes the Z. In practice, most people interchange them without differentiation- but technically there is a difference. This of course, is completely different than just using a stitch to outline something… but I digress… Now that I realize that yarn also has a directional “twist”…. does silk spinning also vary with the directional S & Z?

Yes, I believe that anything you spin, whatever fiber it is, fine like silk or coarse like rope, can either have a right-leaning or left-leaning twist, usually described as S/Z, or clockwise/counterclockwise. I remember seeing an article by Deb Pulliam in Piecework? Spin-Off? one of those magazines about spinning Z and plying S for crochet; that the natural motions of the crochet stitches tended to un-spin “usual” S-spun Z-plied yarn.

A Wee Froggie

May 18th, 2008 by Jill Hall

Information sharing.Here are some pictures from Friday. Carolyn, Devon, Jill, Margaret and Tricia spent some time consulting, discussing, debating, as usually happens at the sessions. Get a bunch of people, all of them experts in one or another aspect of historic dress, embroidery, lace, etc, and watch the information bounce around, speculation, comparison of items examined; it’s great. And of course the laptops make the whole process much easier.

Margaret, in the foreground, is finishing a blue sweater for Carolyn’s new grandson, whoCarolyn and Margaret and the blue sweater. made his appearance in the world while Carolyn, Margaret and Devon were studying metal lace at the MET on May 9. Congratulations to the new parents and grandparents.

Mr Froggie the needle holder.Laura brought a special show & tell treat this time. She made a frog needle holder, modeled on and inspired by a couple of original (16th-17th century?) needlework novelties, one in the V&A, the other, I believe, in the Museum of London.

Is he not adorable? The legs are a large rectangle of detached buttonhole stitch which is then seamed up the back and stuffed. There are wires in the legs so he can be posed. The feet are also needlelace. She braided the drawstring and worked out how to thread it through accordion-style folds so that he would have a plump body when it was closed. She said that was actually one of the trickiest parts of the project.Frog mouth.

I realize now I should have put something in the photo for scale, but the whole frog will sit comfortably in the palm of your hand. You put your needle in his pink wool tongue. “Fatal levels of cuteness” indeed.

Lace work

April 29th, 2008 by Jill Hall

Carolyn and Margaret make some calculations.Yesterday, Carolyn and her friend Margaret came to Plymouth to work on winding bobbins. I have lots of pictures.

Quite a lot of time was spent calculating how much thread should go onMore conferring and confirming before cutting. each pair of bobbins. I think lacers come from the same school as carpenters, the “measure twice cut once” school, or in this case, figure twice and double-check the calculations. So this part took a long time and was crucially important though maybe it didn’t make the most exciting photos.

Finding the middle and the end, and winding on.Then the interesting stuff started. Carolyn and Margaret measured quite long lengths of thread, found the center, and then wound each end onto a separate bobbin. This process involved long pieces of nearly invisible thread stretched across the room.

At one point I totally did not see the silver thread and nearly created aMargaret holds a bobbin. disaster by walking “through” it. No harm done, fortunately. Here are pictures of winding, and one of Margaret holding a wound bobbin with the tiny hair clip holding the metal thread securely.

Stringing the spangles.For one set of bobbins they had to string spangles on the thread. Mark left us a tin of about 160 spangles and they used them all, plus 40 of the 50 we had left over from last time.200 spangles.

Here is a picture of Carolyn stringing the spangles, shaking them down the thread to where they need to be (she very patiently did this three times till I could get a decent picture) and one of the loaded bobbins. That’s 100 spangles per bobbin.

Thanks to Carolyn and Margaret for their hard work. They’ll be back to set up the second lace pillow later this week.

Last week we received a beautiful pair of yellow knitted gloves from Megan D and an equally lovely pair of brown ones from Jessica S. Thank you both.

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