Tagged ‘samplers’

Thank You Judy!

November 6th, 2008 by Tricia

We have to thank Judy Laning for her week of Indentured Servitude to the Jacket (or Waistcoat). We have given her a ‘certificate’ as the human who has worked the most plaited braid to my knowledge. Well, that title will last until at least Friday when the next Indentured Servant might upstage her. We will let you know on that.

Judy did beautiful work. She is looking a bit tired in this photo as it was about 11pm and we had handed out a bunch of candy and the house was buzzing with little kids with costumes on. Judy worked through the whole Halloween thing and had driven back from Plimoth where we had gotten a group working for the long weekend on plaited braid, handing down our experience from the week. We learned a lot from plowing through a bunch of plaited braid. Some of which I will have to do some detailed blogs on next week. We noted an important maneuver that allowed us to pick up incredible speed in working the stitch and gave me new insights on these gold stitches. Let me take a series of photos to try to illustrate this for you. When you work only a few inches for a sampler here and there – you never get proficient enough to make statements and conclusions.

I also learned an important thing. The indentured servant will go crazy after three straight days of working on plaited braid from 8am – 11pm. We took a mental health break on Thursday at lunch to see a bunch of samplers at Skinner that were being auctioned off. That was enough and then back to work!


Show and Tell August

August 17th, 2008 by Jill Hall

Betty-Anne, Rosemary and Abigail all brought lovely show and tell objects to the last session. Wendy kindly photographed for me, as I had very cleverly “lost” my camera in the trunk of my car. We missed getting a snapshot of Rosemary’s gorgeous Victorian style beaded scissors case, with the beaded fringe and beaded neck cord.

Here is a photo of some of Betty-Anne’s doll beds. She has made eight or nine of them illustrating different historic styles of bed hangings. She brought these two to show.

And this is Abigail’s blackwork truly-a-sampler. She adds to it as she finds designs she wants to record, has used at least one (the double acorn on a garment) and in working another discovered she never wants to use it again. That’s just how samplers were used in the early 17th century.

And here is a picture of Lacey modeling her Plimoth souvenir hat and holding the coveted Janet Arnold book. Lacey dyed the yarn with madder and Penny knit it for her. Turns out the Virginia girl collects winter hats. I’ve been told it gets cold in Virginia. Mmm-hmm. (Lacey spent ten years in Germany, where it really does get cold. We just like to tease her.)

Lacey headed home about a week ago, and we all miss her very much. She’s promised to come back for the exhibit opening in May. This is Emily’s last week with us and today she’s fighting off a cold and valiantly soldiering on with the green canvas suit. She’s determined to finish it before she has to go home. I’m not liking the empty nest.

Our next embroidery session starts Friday August 22. We’ll have several embroiderers and a lacer or two. There’s still room if you have some time, come and join us.

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.


May 13th, 2008 by Jill Hall

Susan D’s sample, all the way from Australia!Look what we got from Susan D in Australia! This is our very first sample received from Australia. I was so excited to see the return address on the package. Thanks, Susan, for sending it back. We’ll use your beautiful work in the exhibit (along with the other samples), so visitors can see the stitches up close, can see the backs, and can appreciate the extent of support and enthusiasm for the jacket project from stitchers all over the world. The returned samples really do contribute to the success of the project. Don’t feel that coming here to embroider is the only way to participate.

Susan’s whitework sampler.Susan sent a lovely note along with her sample. (And the notecard’s cover is a photo of a piece in the Royal School of Needlework’s collection, so that was a treat too!) She said she checks the blog regularly and enjoys the progress photos and the “show & tell” pieces from the embroiderers. She sent two photos of her work to share. With Penny’s help I managed to scan and resize them so I could post; they don’t zoom, though, unfortunately. The worm is Susan’s first attempt at Elizabethan Raised Embroidery. Thesusan’s sampler drawnwork sampler is a work-in-progress “the closest I am ever likely to come to making lace” Susan wrote. I don’t know what you think, but to me this IS lace, not so much close to making lace but actual lace.

This is another work in progress, “Sharon Cohen’s 17th century sampler (with modifications).” Your work is just beautiful.

Thank you so much for sharing these, Susan, and for supporting the jacket work in general. I feel so encouraged. Does anybody remember the children’s book Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel? Mike and his steam shovel, Marianne, work harder and faster when people are watching and encouraging them. I feel like that; this is a long project (!) and sometimes a little encouragement goes a long way. That, and knowing someone will notice if you slack off. . .

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!

The “EC” Sampler

April 16th, 2008 by Jill Hall

A few months ago I let you know that the Mayflower Sampler Guild donated $1000 to kick off our Textile Conservation Fund, with their donation earmarked for the conservation of the “EC 1664″ sampler in Plimoth’s collection.

Today I have some exciting news to share: The Swan Sampler Guild has donated $2500 to the same cause. (The above link is to their current newsletter, which has the announcement of the donation on page 2.)

EC sampler detailWe’re all delighted and most grateful for this generous gift. These two gifts should let us begin the conservation on this fantastic 17th century sampler right away. Karin Goldstein, Plimoth’s Curator of Original Objects (because we have a separate curator for reproduction artifacts) has been in touch with a conservator and is hoping to schedule the work very soon. I’ll keep you updated, of course.

Here are some photos of herself, in her as-yet-unconserved but still very much loved condition.

Detail of reverse of EC sampler.

Plimoth has owned this sampler since 1994 or 1995 (I can’t quite remember) and Karin and I have always wished we could do something with it. We’re both pretty attached to it; buying it at auction was one of the first things we did in our new (then) jobs. We bought it together, and were so giddy that we’d actually won that we forgot to go up to do whatever you do at the table in front after you’ve got the winning bid. It was the first and last thing I’ve ever bought at auction. We were pretty young and silly.

Anyway, we, and the EC, owe the current state of affairs directly to the jacket project. A rising tide lifts all boats as they say here by the ocean, and without the jacket project, and embroiderers traveling to Plymouth, and our wanting to show our guests a good time, and Karin being willing to trot the samplers and other needlework related treasures out for each new group, no one would yet know EC was there, or have gotten excited about preserving her, and we wouldn’t have received these wonderful donations. So there you are. Another success to chalk up to this superlative garment.

Thank you to all the members of the Swan Sampler Guild and the Mayflower Sampler Guild.

I can hardly believe that only a week ago I was searching around for blog topics. I’ve now got quite the list, and I’ll get back to current-status photos of the jacket pieces right quick.

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.

Embroidering Now and Then

March 21st, 2008 by Jill Hall

Tonight I have more pictures from the February 29th embroidery session.

Ellen ceylon stitching a worm with Gilt Sylke Twist.Here is Ellen working a ceylon stitch worm in Gilt Sylke Twist. I love the worms.

And here are Ellen and Wendy looking at two antique samplers Ellen brought for show &Wendy and Ellen admiring Ellen’s antique samplers. tell. The samplers belong to Ellen’s family, and within a few minutes Wendy had found genealogical info about one of the embroiderers on the internet.

We have room for a few more embroiderers and one lacer in the April 11 – 14 session. We’ll also be embroidering and making lace May 16 – 19. If you’d like to join us, please let me know.

Thanks, Cate, for the information on using wood basket staves as a baleen substitute. I think I will look into that a bit more.

We received two pair of gloves from Linda F recently, and a pair of blue stockings from Martha D.

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