Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Of Thanksgiving and Jackets

  We had a lovely Thanksgiving weekend, and I hope yours was also pleasant.  The Day was spent with family, overeating and conversing and watching a little football.
  Friday, Phil and I headed down to Winterthur Museum so I could view the With Cunning Needle exhibition which currently includes the Plimoth Jacket.  It's been at least 15 years since I was last there and the place has changed some, but it is still a beautiful estate with awesome gardens.  (Gardens, they call them- 1000 acres of trees, shrubs and water features as well as flowers and grasses.)
   The needlework exhibition was amazing.  The Jacket is set up on a mannequin in a lucite box at the entry of the exhibition rooms. It's possible to get quite close to the fabric.  I've been following the blog and reading some other blogs which discuss the making of the jacket, but even with photos, ...well.  The print medium just does not do this garment justice.  Many of the shapes are stitched with Gilt Sylke Twist, a thread developed for the jacket project.  In photos, this doesn't look very impressive.  It has just a hint of "not thread" to it from the gold metal. Up close and personal, the motifs stitched with this thread have a subtle shimmer of gold that adds depth and richness to the piece.  Bees, pea pods and flower petals are two-dimensional. The pea pods curl open to reveal tiny peas fashioned from spiraled gold thread.  I spent a good ten minutes examining the stitching on this lovely piece before I moved on to other items.
    Included among these were samplers dating back to the mid-17th century, an embroidered linen sailor's suit and duffel bag from the early 1800's,  counterpanes, side curtains, pockets and aprons.  There was a large rug loom set up near a display of wool and linen.  Nearby was a collection of linen garments which included a tiny baby bonnet made entirely of the finest linen I have ever seen.  I swear it must have been 200 threads/inch or finer.  The fabric looked like vellum, it was so sheer and so lacking in visible threads.  There was no embroidery on this cap at all; it was just a simple bonnet with a gathered self ruffle at the brim and fine linen ribbons at the chin.
   I'm hoping that Tricia Wilson Nguyen writes a book about the Plimoth Jacket, covering its inception, design, the interplay with various other crafts and suppliers, and its construction.  Much of this is on the blog, but some of the photos are now missing.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Oh, right...I have a blog

  Some days I wake up with a lousy attitude.  This was one of them and it hasn't been made any sweeter so far.
  I just phoned the doctor's office to make appointments for my husband and myself.  They have one of those automated answering machines that you have to sit and listen for 12 minutes before you actually get to the "make an appointment" menu.  Last time I phoned, selecting 1 or 2 put me through to a Real Person. Today, "it" asked for detailed information on why I wanted an appointment, including the time I want to come in.  Right.  As if I know when there is likely to be a time open.  *eyes rolling*
   So, enough of that.  Last month, I went to the annual SAGA convention and took a few classes.  For the first time since I started attending conventions, I finished one of the projects!  Not only did I finish it, I had it done BEFORE I came home.  This is the stitching equivalent of a Double Rainbow, my friends.  I'm now plodding along on another of the projects.  It's a size 2 dress which is smocked from shoulder to waist, so is going to take a tad bit longer than the small beaded emory bag.
  Convention was a blast.  I flew to San Francisco a few days in advance and stayed with a friend from my California chapter.  We drove down together, and the drive was quite interesting. We saw lots of (what we think were) almond trees, some olive trees and maybe nectarines.  We also saw a lot of dying trees and areas where fires had completely wiped out some orchards. Apparently, the California congress has diverted water away from agriculture so many areas no longer have irrigation.
   The convention was held at the Hyatt Regency Orange County which is located about 3/4 of a mile away from the gates of Disneyland.  My room faced the park so I got to see fireworks every night.
There were lots of nice restaurants within walking distance and because there were so many, there was rarely a wait to be seated.  This is important if you only have an hour for lunch or dinner.  It was also a smaller convention group than most- for some reason, east and southeast members shy away from Anaheim.   The smaller group just felt cozier.  I really enjoyed the week.
   Since then life has been mostly about going to the gym a few times a week and just putting one foot in front of the other.