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When I was 'prenticed in Plimoth...

Holy cow.  Second verse, better than the first.  Plimoth was great.  This time I brought offerings; linen lacing cords for Jill (head of the wardrobe department), and copies of various sketches and patterns for Tricia (who was nice enough to like the ones I showed her last time).

But holy cow, people, my brain... my brain... so much information!  You have to understand, they're not just making a pretty jacket; they're making a 17th century jacket - the research into the whole thing is phenomenal, and I am in awe.

I also have a total girl crush on Tricia, but I'm managing to cope.  We got to see the research progress on the shaped spangles for the lace, and they're not just making oval spangles, they're going to museums, checking out spangles, looking at them under a microscpe, and finding out not only what they're made of, but exactly how thin they are, how they're punched, what they were punched against, and how the holes were made.  It's fascinating stuff, and y'all should read all about it on their blog: http://www.plimoth.org/embroidery-blog/.

I have promised to shill the project to you all as a part of continuing to work on it, so here goes:

If you want to get involved, you can.  There's work for embroiderers and lace-makers, and if you have any skill in either, please, please, PLEASE write to them (contact info is on the site) and get a sample kit.  You'll work the kit, keep part as a souvenir, and send back the other part so they can see what level you're at.  Half the cost of the kit goes towards funding the project (this is a really big thing for them), and half towards materials, and you can buy a sampler kit even if you can't come up and work.

There are multiple sessions, so you can arrange to come up when it's convenient for you ( pinkleader and I are looking at January), and there is absolutely no reason to feel intimidated by the prospect (I'll admit, I was pretty nervous the first time, but everyone is so friendly!).  The food is great, you get a discount at the gift shops, free admission to the site, and a chance to work with the most fabulous threads, including some that haven't been made for centuries.

The more people that show interest, the more likely we are to persuade the manufacturers of these special threads that there's a real market out there for specialty materials.  This means that we could all be working with the right threads, and not having to compromise with modern substitutes if we don't want to.  Plus, these threads are gorgeous - I want spools and spools of the stuff to work with (it's glittery in a completely un-cheap way). 

In addition, Tricia is really interested in more cross-pollination of ideas between the SCA/historic community and the modern embroidery community - we don't communicate much, but there's a lot of potential crossover interest, and stuff to learn on either side (for instance, I had a great time chatting about the guild structure involved in producing work like this in 17th century England).  You need have no fear of being looked down on because you're SCA (if that's something you worry about).  The chance is here to be part of something really special, so if you're on the fence about it, or unsure if you're good enough, take the plunge and go for it!

Just for reference, if you do any kind of embroidery and can read instructions, many of the stitches are very easy to pick up; I had only really done blackwork, but they put me onto reverse chain and detatched buttonhole stitch, and I loved it (I'm apparently the only person that actually likes doing the endless four-colour trefoil leaves that are all over the pattern).  Get the sampler, or if you can't afford it, but want to participate, do up a sampler of your own using the stitch instructions on the blog, and send it in (of course, buying the sampler means they get a bit more money, but it's not a deal-breaker in the least).  

By the way, I'm in the powerpoint presentation Tricia gives on the research and progress on the jacket - I squeed when my picture appeared.  They've been really nice to me, and continue to assure me that my information on how I tracked my time on my jacket has been really useful.  It makes me feel like a teeny-tiny low grade celebrity, and I love it, because I'm a complete attention whore (and I don't care who knows it).

But back to benefits of participating!  You'll get talks on interesting things, tours of the wardrobe department and curatorial collection, samples of things to take home, neat stuff, and more food than you can shake a stick at.  You'll get to meet some fascinating people, learn some amazing things, pick up new skills, work with beautiful materials, and you might even get to see me as I stitch yet another trefoil leaf (you also might learn some colourful new words if I get the thread accidentally knotted).

Come on up; you won't regret it.  :)

All this talk of embroidery reminds me that I do actually know what my next embroidery project will be - I committed to doing the SCA demo at Maryland Sheep and Wool next May, and I'll be working on an embroidered bedspread in green wool on linen cotton (shhh!  Can't afford a bedspread-sized chunk of linen twill) twill.  I know the piece I'll be working from, but I still have to chart it out (not to mention buying the materials).  It is nominally crewel-work, but late 16th/early 17th century crewel-work, which ends up being remarkably similar to silk embroidery, but done in wool (wool-work is more common for household furnishings, but there is one 17th century jacket in the V&A that is done in monochrome red wool, and is very pretty).  A couple of the stitches I have learned up at Plimoth will be invaluable as I work this new project.  I'm quite excited, now that I've remembered.  I love having something new to work on.


( 53 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )
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Oct. 23rd, 2007 12:19 pm (UTC)
I think I might try...
The blog entry talking about the kits is here: http://www.plimoth.org/embroidery-blog/index.php?mode=viewid&post_id=66 for those who are interested. I believe I will send for one. After all, one can't have too many projects, right? =)
Oct. 23rd, 2007 12:49 pm (UTC)
Re: I think I might try...
Absolutely! Even if you decide not to go up (or simply can't make it), you'll have supported the project, and will have a cool sampler project!
Re: I think I might try... - lorebubeck - Oct. 23rd, 2007 02:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 23rd, 2007 01:06 pm (UTC)
Hee! Evil plan part one is working!

Jill, Tricia, and Wendy would *lovelovelove* to have you come up - especially since this work was done by men exclusively in the 17th century! And it's fun! No Roombas!
(no subject) - damedini - Oct. 23rd, 2007 02:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 23rd, 2007 01:39 pm (UTC)
Saw Gen's Pictures
They look so great! Glad you had such a good time!
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 23rd, 2007 02:48 pm (UTC)
If you buy a kit, half the money goes to the project, so you'll be helping out!
Oct. 23rd, 2007 01:41 pm (UTC)
Kewl. I may have to put that on my Christmas list. OK, so, the chances of my wandering down there from Michigan for four days are pretty slim. But I'd like to try out the sampler and give them a little boost at the same time.
Oct. 23rd, 2007 01:50 pm (UTC)
I've always wanted to pick up embroidery, but never had a particular project that fired me up.

I've done a bit of cross stitch in my modern life - would this be too advanced for a beginning embroiderer?
Oct. 23rd, 2007 02:17 pm (UTC)
Not at all! The most I had done before this was basic hand sewing needlework, some seam finishing, and some couching. If you are detailed with a needle in any format, you can do this. And you can download and print the instructions to give it a try before committing to the project.
(no subject) - attack_laurel - Oct. 23rd, 2007 02:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 23rd, 2007 02:07 pm (UTC)
My problem is I can never decide on just one project to work on, I always have two or three in the pipeline. Then there are the I-need-it-now costume pieces, or I get arm-twisted into wrangling another period community theater project.

I am so looking forward to January. I figure it will be the closest thing to working in a period embroidery workshop I will ever get to experience.

TNW's research for the Plimoth project is AWESOME! She did some indepth analysis on gold thread for the lace too. Can I join your girl crush :)?
Oct. 23rd, 2007 02:20 pm (UTC)
As someone who has an insane pile of unfinished projects, one of the best parts of this that I love is that I don't need to plan. I just practice the stitches, show up, and am directed to a "paint-by-numbers" instruction set and often even given invaluable advice. Seriously, this is the perfect project for those who need a break from the unfinished pile since all the planning is done for you.
(no subject) - grnvixen - Oct. 23rd, 2007 02:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - attack_laurel - Oct. 23rd, 2007 02:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 23rd, 2007 02:08 pm (UTC)
What sort of linen twill would be appropriate for your bedspread?
I have a bit of a white linen satin that's been sitting in my fabric bin for a while and trying to find a use for it.
Oct. 23rd, 2007 02:52 pm (UTC)
The kind of twill that is used forcrewel embroidery - I ended up buying eight yards of cotton, since it was within my price range. Bedspreads are big! :)

But thanks for the offer - use it on something nice for yourself.
Oct. 23rd, 2007 02:10 pm (UTC)
I R A Lemming...
I just called and ordered a sample kit over the phone. Yay! What a nice lady.

The EK Knitters are in the process of setting up a glove and hose knitting deal with Plimoth Plantation, not quite as spiffy as doing cool embroidery, however.

Seeing as how I'm not far from there, I should be able to show up for some of the stitching sessions.

*squeeeeeeeee* I love this stuff!
Oct. 23rd, 2007 02:31 pm (UTC)
Re: I R A Lemming...
"The EK Knitters are in the process of setting up a glove and hose knitting deal with Plimoth Plantation"

Oh, I would love to know more about that. I think I need to get in touch with some EK knitters.
Re: I R A Lemming... - hugh_mannity - Oct. 23rd, 2007 02:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: I R A Lemming... - attack_laurel - Oct. 23rd, 2007 02:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: I R A Lemming... - valkyr8 - Oct. 23rd, 2007 03:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 23rd, 2007 02:36 pm (UTC)
Earlier embroidery blog
My apprentice sister in Drachenwald set up a embroidery blog with a fellow artisan to track the progress of a wall hanging that they are jointly working on. Their goal is to make one large, labor intensive project per year. I think they have expanded it to every other year.

For those who have interest in earlier embroidery this may be right up your alley.

Here is the link for the blog of the embroiderers in Drachenwald.
Oct. 23rd, 2007 02:36 pm (UTC)
I'm really intrigued - what threads are they using that aren't available any more? I posted a comment on their blog as well.
Oct. 23rd, 2007 02:58 pm (UTC)
They are currently using a silk gilt twist that is silt thread wrapped around silk of various colours in such a way that it doesn't bunch up or move differently from the silk underneath - Tricia even had examples of ones she'd tried to make herself (she knows how to twist thread fro embroidery), and how it didn't work - and it's a real specialty thread. They'll also be looking at some special gilt threads, I believe.

There's all sorts of scholarship going on around the silks - they think the state of the threads, and some other stuff they've learned but haven't put into practice yet, suggests that the embroiderers knew how to twist their own custom threads for the work - essentially, buying the filament silk from the silk merchants, then twisting combinations of gilts and colours to create the perfect threads for their task. *very* cool stuff. :)
(no subject) - oakenking - Oct. 23rd, 2007 03:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 23rd, 2007 02:37 pm (UTC)
Thank you for posting the information and letting us know how we can participate. I think I'll contact them. Sounds like fun, and we get to be part of an incredibly learning experience.
Oct. 23rd, 2007 02:45 pm (UTC)
When in January are you thinking of going up?
Oct. 23rd, 2007 03:00 pm (UTC)
We haven't decided for sure yet - it will depend on various factors. It will also not be the last time we go up. :) I'm determined to learn to work the gilt threads so I can participate with the goldwork, too. And then there's working spangles!

...but for the moment, I'm happy to fill in leaves. I don't mind doing the scut work while other people work on the fun flowers. :)
(no subject) - ladygriele - Oct. 23rd, 2007 03:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 23rd, 2007 02:46 pm (UTC)
I don't have the money to send for a sample kit at the moment but I'd be interested in the lacemaking. I want to send an email saying "attack_laurel said to contact you but I don't know your mundane last name. Who should I say steered me their way?
Oct. 23rd, 2007 03:00 pm (UTC)
Laura Mellin. :) They know me there. (Hee!)
(no subject) - attack_laurel - Oct. 23rd, 2007 03:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - attack_laurel - Oct. 23rd, 2007 03:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
Thanks - orlacarey - Oct. 23rd, 2007 03:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - orlacarey - Oct. 23rd, 2007 06:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
Lace kits - (Anonymous) - Oct. 23rd, 2007 10:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Lace kits - attack_laurel - Oct. 23rd, 2007 10:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Lace kits - orlacarey - Oct. 24th, 2007 02:31 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Lace kits -- threads - (Anonymous) - Oct. 24th, 2007 05:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Lace kits -- threads - orlacarey - Oct. 24th, 2007 05:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lorebubeck - Oct. 23rd, 2007 03:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - attack_laurel - Oct. 23rd, 2007 03:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 23rd, 2007 03:41 pm (UTC)
I am weakening - we have so many expenses with the trip coming up in *gack* 10 days. I can't justify very much. But it sounds so wonderful. Maybe it will *be* my Christmas list. Must suggest to baron_rorik And a trip to work on the jacket is seductive as well.
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