Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Destiny....Foreordained..... Serendipity...Fate?
 All of these words come to mind when I think of how certain pieces in the collection have found me. Sometimes its just plain spooky. Instead of sharing what little I got accomplished on the casket this weekend, I thought I would share a couple if interesting projects with ya'll...   
I am getting into the annual Spring repack of the storage...and I have them out, so here they are.
First is this really great 18th c jacquard silk~ when I saw the picture above on eBay, I immediately went to my catalogue and flipped thru it....yes indeed.....I have a piece that matches this

 But how strange it is, that this first piece, shown above, I purchased in 2007. Seriously....2007.  Twelve years ago. And this other piece just happens along....well of course I had to have it

 As can be seen, it matches exactly~ and was cut from my larger piece, as the cut line matches up perfectly with both pieces.  At this rate...I don't think I will live long enough to sleuth out the entire gown....

 Which brings me to this piece of utterly charming wool challis. Isn't it just the best?  I always keep my eye out for early fabrics and was looking for something to redress an antique doll, when I found 'a' piece of this fabric. A salvedge width, by 39" long.  

 I asked the seller if they had any more, and why, yes, they did. They  had 2 more panels....which I was glad to purchase. A while later, they found another...and then a couple more.....and a few months later, they found a bodice that you see where I am going here????   A perfectly good, original, 1850s era gown was cut up to sell for doll clothes, which absolutely infuriates me. It's really no different than the 1840s quilt that I bought a few years ago, well, some while ago actually....square by blasted square....cut up by a seller on eBay.  WHY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   WHY???????????????????   I mean, yes, its theirs and they can do with what they choose...but good grief. Come on people.....  I bet if the seller of this gown, would have listed it as said gown, they would have got way more $$ for it, it would have remained intact, and they would not have had to waste time and energy cutting it into pieces......  All in all....I bought 6 salvedge width skirt panels...
  the complete inside skirt hem facing, seen above,

  and the bodice. I absolutely adore this fabric~ and thanks to a failed attempt at adding some kind of skirting to the bottom of the bodice, I will get a tiny smickrel to use for dollys. The rest, will be carefully restitched together. The beautiful tulip petal capped full pagoda sleeves are fully lined, front hand hammered hooks & eyes still attached.
Just a few hasty stitches in black cotton floss need be unpicked to get this girl back to her former self. The skirt panels at least were unpicked from each other, and not they just need to be restitched~ the hem edge is still intact, just needs the facing to be put this is one of my projects sitting here patiently waiting for some attention.
I beg of all my readers, to think twice before cutting an original garment~ there are so very few left, and so many wonderful reproduction fabrics available to use for modern sewing. There will always be a market for intact, original clothing and textiles, always.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Happy Saturday!

 A Most Perfect Daye
 The weather is gorgeous...its warm outside....I have my window open and was just starting my weekend stitching on my casket....when the post arrived. The glorious post! My box from Fortnum & Mason arrived from London with the new Easter Tea and County Biscuits. I just could not wait to brew a pot and I have to tell you, if you have never been to England, and want its equivalent in a cup of tea, the Easter Tea is it. Immediately it reminded me of the smell of Bath & the countryside....all the beautiful flower boxes, with a little of that briney sea air mixed in, its just perfect. 

Monday, March 18, 2019

Casket Progress

 Once Upon a Time.....on a Casket Far Far Away......
 Made a little progress on my casket this past week....a few min here and there can really add up. Played around with different bead colors and patterns on the all my little roof shingles made and attached.
 I have had several folks ask about how I made the turrets so will share that here, because I have seen on a number of caskets, different parts of feathers used & stitched over for various effects.  Oh I could have just padded up the turrets with felt, but I wanted to use one of my favorite turkey's feathers, to make him a forever part of my casket
The veins are stripped from the center quill, and then it is cut to shape with a razor. I chose a spot on the quill that was the right size diameter, and curve, for my turrets

 A section of quill was cut out, and because I need two matching size, I then cut this in half lengthwise.  Large game birds' quills are nice and thick, and would have been readily available to a 17th c stitcher.
 It kind of looks like a fingernail here...

But it makes a pretty good fit, as you can see.

 Before twilling I drilled it with 3 holes for attaching it to the castle with.

The tower windows are metal beads that I cut open and flattened into the right shape and stitched on, so still beads. It could be better, but I am happy enough with it to get to move on to the next weekend...I can't wait!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Waste Not, Want Not

Au Natural
 I am still getting caught back up from my classes at Colonial Williamsburg, but was really, really looking forward to stitching on my casket panels alllllll day Sunday. Of coarse, as usual lately,  that didn't happen. A neighbor asked if I wanted some porcupines he had recently dispatched, and hello....yes I wanted them!  I do not believe in waste of any sort. We are a hunting family, and hunt for our food, only for food, but I don't just dress out the meat of an elk, antelope, deer or whatever....and then throw away the rest.  That's not how I was raised, and not how I raise my children. We have utmost respect for an animal who has given their life for us, and try an use as much as we can, the hair, the hide, antlers if there are any, and bones....what is left gets put out on our property for the forrest animals to have. The same goes for found animals....and yes, I have been known to stop and get different things off the road. Such is life. Anyways, I ended up spending the entire day Sunday stripping guard hair and quills from porcupines. I took the opportunity to show the girls how to do it, and yes, we said a little prayer of thanks to the Great Spirit for all he has provided us and the porcupines' sacrifice.  The guard hairs, shown below, are used for making Native American headdresses~
  I may end up using some in my stitching, but will probably save these for trading at Indian Market down in Santa Fe
  So many quills, and fine tiny ones like I like to use. I am planning a large project on birch bark with moose hair and quills that these will be used on.  I love to use natural things in my embroidery~ which is right in line with 17th c embroiderers. They used what they could find, what they had on hand, especially for stumpwork, or raised work. Thin kid skin vellum was cut into strips and covered with silk to make the loupes seen in cartouche borders, all sorts of feather products were used~ the 'fluffy' parts to embroider or couch onto the surface (peacock hurl was a common one), the quills were stripped, scraped and cut down to make all sorts of shapes to pad up embroidery....natural pearls, gemstones, and shells, were all stitched to the surface. Wood, bone and ivory were carved and used for faces and hands.  I have some teensie weensie quills, as in less than 1/2" total length, I am planning to use for a special little critter on my silk casket.

  I have been trying to work on the castle a little each day...sometimes maybe on 5 or 10 minutes...but it all adds up and I am now up to the roof, which currently, I am making the shingles for

Here are 3 pin'd on~ roof will be shades of lilac purple, with the traditional blue door as seen on the majority of 17th c castles in raised work. I have a seperate little blue door ready to go on for a little added dimension. I am using some of my turkey Mr.Giving's quills for the conical tower roofs...they should look pretty cool if they come out like I am hoping.

Saturday, March 09, 2019

Back Home from Williamsburg

Some Special Memories to Share~
  I am still trying to catch up from a fantabulous time teaching at Colonial Williamsburg.  The weather was beautiful as always~ so much warmer than here in Colorado. My most favorite thing about Colonial Williamsburg, are all the different Trades that are represented....and being able to observe the highly skilled tradespeople doing what they love to do. I could just stand and watch them all day if I had the time. Just look at the above quaint little building~ it's nestled in behind the Blacksmith. The Tinsmith Shop is an 'amazing' little place. There is so much crammed into this little building~
  It was closed the days I was at Williamsburg last year~ so I was super excited to find it can hear the little hammerings from across the yard.  One of the great things about the Tradespeople in Williamsburg, is their enthusiasm for what they do, and their willingness to share all they know to someone who is interested. I emphasize the willingness to share, because so many places one can find folks who demonstrate, but that is as far as it goes. A person can really learn alot from a trip thru Colonial Williamsburg.
  I fell in love with the coffeepot she is making here above~ soooo fascinating to watch, really really. It is a common saying in the 18th c, 'Men and women work and make with their hands....Ladies & Gentlemen are thinkers' .... I think definitely I would have been a woman, and not a Ladye.

  Another really unique and wonderful aspect of CW, is that one can purchase the items made in the Historic Trade Shops at the Prentis Store.  I brought home two very special things, the first was a scribe made at the Blacksmith that I will use out in the woodshop, and the other fantabulous treasure is a green enameled Tinderbox made at the Tinsmith

  Underneath the candle holder on the lid,  is a little compartment with a forged steel striker and 2 pieces of flint....which provide  the sparks to start a fire. This little tray can be lifted out....

  and underneath of it, a charcloth and tinder is held~ all the tools one needs to start a fire right here in this perfectly made tin tinderbox! I love it

  I was also lucky to catch a dying session at the Weaver's on one of my lunch hours~ there is something so relaxing and comforting about watching the wool change colors~ its magical
 And a LOT of hard work dying wool. Cochineal and Indigo were in the dye pots today, along with some other 18thc period correct dyestuffs~ I think there was some Brazilwood and maybe some Annatto seeds. The colors that can be had are really beautiful, and brighter than one would think
  All of these colors were dyed with natural dyes there at the Weavers. I am pretty sure "Organic Fiber Dyeing, The Colonial Williamsburg Method" is still available on their website, or Amazon~ its got great recipes in it that I am planning on trying on some silk here pretty soon.

And my most precious treasures....these little skeins of  wool that were dyed at the Weaver's~ arent they just beautiful? They have been made, sheep to what you see here, at Colonial Williamsburg from Leicester Longwool sheep's wool~ sheared, spun and then dyed. The yellow I believe was dyed with Fustic, the orangy one with Madder root. The purple and pinks, Brazilwood and Cochineal, the browns are Walnut, the 2 brighter blues are Indigo, and the duller two to the left are a combination of Walnut and do I know for sure??? Because they are nice enough to write it on the little labels for me. I think something special is in order for these....I am trying to decide between a pinball....or a dollys pocket....or maybe a bedrug for Princess Holley's bed....