Tagged ‘pansy’


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.

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!

Tallying the Progress

April 14th, 2008 by Jill Hall

Today Wendy counted up the motifs that were done this weekend. I had high hopes for this session and I was not disappointed. There were many hands working and a great deal was accomplished:

blue worm16.5 worms. The plain worms, not the fancy worms. We don’t have directions for those yet. But the plain worms gave us plenty of head-scratching moments, as we tried to figure out what color each should be, comparing the photos of the original and the different pieces of the jacket. The half worm disappears into a seam, and it was the back half that was stitched, which led to some merriment. Oh, and Debbie thinks they’re actually slugs, since they have little feelers on they little heads. Are slugs ickier than worms?

completed pansy3.5 pansies. Pansies take a LONG time to work, and they’re not as spectacularly colored as the pansies I’m familiar with. Still very pretty, and after these 3.5 were done, there are not that many left.

pink and leaf2 whole pinks. Pinks, or carnations, and in the 1627 village gillyflowers (hence very popular with me). Also take a long time to do, and we’re almost done with them, too.

6 leaves, 1/2 a pea pod, 1/2 a rose hip, 1/2 a thistle calyx, 1/2 a honeysuckle, 1 set honeysuckle buds, and one little edge of a pea pod that vanished into a seam. It was just a tiny line, but it was fiddly to work since the way it was oriented meant a long column of one buttonhole stitch per row rather than one long row of stitches. Abigail did that one. Some of those half motifs were partially done at other sessions by other stitcher, some were the kind that disappear into seams or off the edges of the pieces.

thistle calyx and trefoilAND TWO of the dreaded trefoils. That’s a thistle in the bottom of that photo, with the calyx of course the green part below the blossom. Debbie did one of the trefoils and Linda did the other. Linda was with us only on Saturday.

Not to mention 9 lace motifs in only two days (that was Bryce, speed lacer.)

rose progress 2Here’s a picture of Wendy working that very first rose motif. She stayed late tonight to finish it, “so her boss won’t yell at her.” We’ll see what Tricia thinks of the result, maybe next time we can add another motif to our repertoire.

Thanks, everyone. I so enjoyed this weekend.

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.

Leap Day

March 2nd, 2008 by Jill Hall

buffetHere are more pictures from Friday. The first two show thebanquet transformation of the laundry room into a lunch room.

Remember how Beth said that some embroiderers knit? Here’s Rosemary with her first stocking (for us). She’s already knit two pairs of gloves, one larger and one smaller (the smaller ones fit me perfectly). This is the leg of a stocking and represents 17 hours of knitting.

RosemaryI think I mentioned how there was so much going on. Everywhere you looked, someone was busy working. Wendy was sitting at one end of the room. She was using the sunlight from the window to finish that pansy on the back of the jacket.


Behind Rosemary you can see Penny and Shaina working. They’re at the opposite end of the room from Wendy. Shaina’s working on entering the contact info for the last couple of dozen people who ordered embroidery or lace kits. Penny is mending some of the knitted items in preparation for the museum opening in just three weeks.

We’ve had an amazing response to the request for volunteer knitters. We’re now getting a couple finished items in the mail every week. We’re up to 13 pairs of stockings and 8 pairs of gloves. A few interpreters have come in to pick up their period clothing in preparation for opening, and have had the opportunity to choose a brand new pair of stockings and/or gloves to use for the season. It’s hard to explain just how happy a new pair of woolly stockings makes an interpreter, but there is a “happy stocking dance” that spontaneously happens when we take the lid off the stocking storage bin. Thank you to everyone who has been helping to make the happy stocking dance possible.

Guests for Lunch

February 9th, 2008 by Jill Hall


Today we had special guests join us for lunch. Jonny and Shelley spend much of their time caring for the rare breed animals in the 1627 English Village. That brief sentence doesn’t begin to capture all they do (I realize I say that often about the staff here, but it’s always true). They build and mend fences, feed and water, clean pens, train the cattle to walk and stand and greet visitors, and lots of other things. This session’s embroiderers enjoyed talking with them about their work but even better was petting Winter, a baby boy goat. That’s Shelley and Winter.

pansynumberthreeThere were frames enough for Wendy to stitch today. She’s working on the first pansy. Several motifs, pansies included, are not worked identically over the whole jacket. Some of the honeysuckle, for instance, are cream on the inner part of the petals and yellow on the outer parts; on some of them the colors are reversed. Tricia has identified at least four different ways pansies were worked on the jacket, and where on each piece the variations occur. Wendy was working a #3 pansy on the lower jacket back today.

Karin has been embroidering with us, too. Karin is the Curator of Originals for Plimoth Plantation, and has generously made time in her busy schedule to show each session’s embroiderers the samplers in the collection. Here she’s working trellis stitch butterfly bodies (striped!) on the coif. Thanks to Wendy again for all the photos. I left my camera on the computer desk at home. Karin

Believe it or not, we left tonight in the snow. I made sure everyone had the information to find out if Plimoth is closed tomorrow due to weather, but the meteorologists are promising these are just isolated snow showers with no appreciable accumulation. Is it any wonder I’m getting a little paranoid, though?

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