attack_laurel (attack_laurel) wrote,
attack_laurel
attack_laurel

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.
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