Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Delaware Trip Finale

We are now bringing you to the end of our trip. We thank you all for being armchair travelers over several installments of our blog. We hope to bring you on many more journeys in the future.
Picture courtesy of Barbara Rombold-Gillies

So we are now at Saturday the final day of the Winterthur Needlework Conference.  Truly if you are ever able to treat yourself to a trip, the events at Winterthur as at many of the museums are wonderful. The only problem we have is we want more time! Even another half day would be great so that there can be more time during the event built in to actually visit with the other attendees.  There is so much to share of what you are learning and hearing as well as just catching up with people you haven't see since the last event in many cases!  Also we never seem to have enough time to truly see the exhibits at the museum because we are taking advantage of all they are offering. Now I can hear you all saying, why didn't you plan an extra day there during your visit. Yes, we can do that part, but the time with other attendees is more difficult. So if you are listening museums give us more time, also time to shop! They have the most wonderful stores, and it's not just because they had special products we designed for them for this event.  They had so many things we wanted to buy! But I ran out of time and was almost late to my tiny turtle class.  So they didn't get as much money as I might have been tempted to leave behind.  Ok, off my soapbox of the more time to visit message and on to the end of the event and the other wonderful speakers and classes we were treated too.

Saturday morning Karen Hearn, Curator of 16th and 17th century British Art, at the Tate Britain in London spoke on, "Wrought with Flowers and Leaves: Embroidery in Tudor and Early Stuart Portraits."  

Many portraits of the period were shown featuring exquisite clothing that featured embroidery and black-work details. Gold paint was used to show gold threads of the embroidery in the portraits.  Was it to make embroidery look like embroidery or to look like actual plant-life?  The shading of the flora and fauna in the use of brushstrokes that looked so much like long and short embroidery stitches of some of the paintings were so beautiful.  Such skill was shown in the details.

Detail of Jane Seymour portrait Hans Holbein

William Kentish Barnes, introduced as Bill Barnes, Golden Threads Brimstone Cottage, Proprietor, East Sussex, UK. Spoke on Goldwork: Its History, Development and Use in the Modern World.

This gentleman was fascinating and we were so disappointed that they ran out of time to actually finish his talk. He just had so much to say. There is such a history to this trade.  He also had such a sense of that English humor, it sometimes took a moment to know he was joking with you.  Mr. Barnes is the gentleman who Trisha has worked with to create so many of the special threads not only for the jacket project, but many of her historical projects, so that the stitcher today can use threads as close as possible to the ones used historically for the same purpose.  They also were selling some of these special threads in the gift shops. I know I brought home a few of these pieces of candy, as I like to call my threads, but I haven't had a chance to try them out yet.

We were told about the drawing process of how these threads are created. Pulling the thread through the various size holes or drawing it through as is where that term comes from;  how silver wire was covered with gold leaf to keep the cost down;  how the industry has changed through the years and the causes of that and why it is no longer produced in that manner by most.  You never know how much history there is on an area such as this until you meet someone who has been through so many changes and worked in it for so many years, sadly seeing it becoming a lost art.

Nicole Belolan, Ph D student, Program in the History of American Civilization, University of Delaware spoke on, "The Blood of Murdered Time: Connoisseurship and Context of Ann Warder's Berlin Work Collection."

Nicole put together her talk from a group of materials in the Winterthur collection.  This article was published in the winter 2011 publication from Winterthur so you can access it there if you are interested. There were 95 Berlin patterns in the collection, silk on linen sampler, thread on winders, bible prayer book that was embroidered, receipt book for knitting, crocheting and other needlework, needle-book, chatelaine...it began with a letter asking for a slipper pattern in 1859.

Berlin work slippers in the Old Sacramento Living History Museum

It discusses the use of needlework by a chronically ill women that allowed her to not only fill her time but to enrich her life and reach out to family and friends through her needlework. To read more on this fascinating subject, see this article by Nicole Belolan on the Decorative Arts Trust website.

The last speaker before moving on to our afternoon classes was Dr. Lynn Hulse, FSA, Tutor in Contextual Studies and Former Archivist of the Royal School of Needlework: Editor of Text, the Journal of the Textile Society.  She spoke on, "The Late 19th Century Revival of Crewel Work in the Jacobean Style."  

The Royal School of Needlework was founded in 1872. Dr. Hulse's talk took us through a bit of the history of the school and the studio work performed there. Some of the pieces shown were that of Lady Carew. She was taught to embroider at the Royal School. 1899 seemed the beginning of her work with the studio, by Dec. 1920 there were 19 panels, 32 chairs and a settee cover were completed. 


After 20 years of stitching in the Jacobean style, they turned toward the Chinese style. Also shown were 23 panels that had been donated to Griton college in 1922. The pieces were designed by the RSN studio being run by Mary Eleanor (Nellie) Whichelo, and were a modern interpretation of the 17th century Tree of Life Design. 

A peek into the RSN Handbook of Embroidery 1880 showed split and stem stitches used for outline, long and short stitches, feather stitch and French knots.  Techniques changed as the years progressed from block shading to more subtle shading.

A book is due out this year on the Lady Carew Embroideries, which were absolutely exquisite. We will have to keep our eyes open for this!  For a look at what the RSN is up to these days, follow this link, or sign up for their newsletter.  Or, if you get the chance, arrange for a visit to their workrooms  in Hampton Court Palace - with such surroundings, no wonder they can do such beautiful work!

After we once again filled ourselves with delicious food and treats at the luncheon provided to attendees we headed as I mentioned very quickly to the other gift shop before meeting for our last class of the conference. 

Julie and I took the "Tiny Turtle Thimble Pouch" class from Wendy White.  Tiny is tiny and oh so cute! Wendy showed us many visuals of other little critters that are made in similar methods that she has studied in her research in preparing this piece as she visited collections in various museums.  Our poor turtles didn't get very far along as we tried to work with the fine silk thread, that kept shredding in our ever so rough and dry hands.  With all the work we do with paper, our hands are not friendly to the fine fibers. But we will just have to bathe ourselves in lotion before we truly get started on this piece. Believe me, it will be awhile before it comes to it's turn in the line up. But oh is it a cutie and Wendy was a delightful teacher.  She is so patient and took her time with each student, working at their pace and level of proficiency to help them achieve this project.  If you are in a guild and have not had her for a teacher, treat yourself and book a class. She showed us some of her class sample models and there are so many clever pieces.

Sunday would be our last day in the area and we gathered with our friends from Canada and Oregon once again to visit two last locations. 

Patty Hrynenko met us at the Gloucester County Historical Society for our personal tour of their collection. Patty gave us a tour of the home and history of the Historical Society before sharing her sampler room with us.  Her enthusiasm for the samplers was infectious!

Image courtesy of Barbara Rombold-Gillies

We learned about the Cross and Bible Door that we see on many homes of this period. They were to ward off evil, and the linked article at the historic houses blog illustrates how they got their name.   Patty has been instrumental in doing much research into many of the pieces of needlework that are kept in their collection. She has also reproduced several of them into charts that come complete with the history of the girl and her family that Patty has found.  One of the girls Patty shared with us was Lucy Hugg, who created her sampler at the age of 10 in 1806.  She married Charles Hopkins at the Huggs Tavern and was related to Betsy Ross. We all thought the little paper piece stitched with the words "Scratch My Back" was cute, especially when we learned it was a striker for lighting a match. Get it? The striker on the back to scratch with the match to light it! 

Last stop of the trip was at Historic Odessa, we were shown through three of the homes one of which we received a hearth cooking demonstration and were treated to tasting the special recipe as well.  

Image courtesy of Barbara Rombold-Gillies

The Corbett family were Quakers, three times they were written out of the church! Once for liquor, one for dancing and another time for having slaves. They needed slaves to work the orchards of peaches that they grew.  They were good Quakers in the sense that they had no portraits done. 

One Sampler we viewed:

18 Mary P Corbet's Work 23
Short is our longest day of life,
And soon its prospect ends
Yet on that day uncertain date
Eternity depends

Some of the children went to Westtown school.

The other home we toured was the Wilson Warner house.  Here we viewed a silk embroidery by Ann Jeffries a Wilson daughter, from the Falwell school in Philadelphia or possibly a school in Delaware, still to be determined.

There were several other samplers and embroidery pieces we viewed at these homes as well.

The recipe for Charlotte at the hearth cooking demonstration was delicious and ours was made with apples.  You can stew any kind of fruit and season it in the way you like it best. Ours was seasoned with cinnamon and sugar.  We learned that the blue wrapper that the sugar cones came in during the time period of these homes was used as blue dye when they wanted to make blue cloth. Nothing was ever wasted and this is a perfect example of this.  The recipe calls for soaking a some slices of bread in butter, put them while hot, in the bottom and around the sides of a dish which has been rubbed with butter.  Put your fruit in and lay slices of bread prepared in the same manner on top.  Bake a few minutes, turn carefully into another dish and sprinkle with powdered sugar and glaze with a salamander.  Not a salamander from the creek, a salamander from the kitchen is a metal spatula heated, that you put on top of the Charlotte to melt the sugar that's been sprinkled into a glaze. Similar to how they finish a Creme Brule these days.  Instead of using a burner from the fireplace, which are some coals piled together on the hearth, hence "Hearth Cooking" which is what you would place your Dutch oven on to cook your Charlotte, I will try this recipe in my modern oven, but I think I might just try a salamander! 

If you'd like to try it, the original, historic recipe includes baking in the hot coals of a fireplace in a Dutch Oven - and we've found this one from the Food Network where a historic enactor shows how it's done:

1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoons mace
5 Granny Smith apples, pared, cored and sliced thin
3 fresh lemons, zested
6 tablespoons butter, cold
1 stick butter, melted
1 loaf French bread shredded into crumbs, reserve 1 cup

In a bowl, add brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and mace. Mix together. Reserve 1 cup of mixture to be used for topping.  In a separate bowl, mix together apples and lemon zest.  Cover the bottom of Dutch oven pan with bread crumbs and bits of butter. Layer bottom with some sliced apples and brown sugar with a few pats of butter on top. Repeat with another layer until the pan is filled.  For the top layer, combine reserved cup of bread crumbs, melted butter and 1 cup reserved mixture. Sprinkle on top and top with more butter. Bake for 30 minutes until the golden brown.
They are not using a salamander on theirs - if you'd like to do that (or put it under the broiler), add a thin layer of brown sugar to the top after baking, then broil it to crisp it up.

We thank again all of the wonderful curators and volunteers who helped to make our journey through these special collections such a wonderful experience.  Remember if you are traveling, you just might plan ahead and see if there are needlework collections at any of the areas you will be visiting. But you must plan ahead to make arrangements and appointments as most collections are not on view for the public.  Special consideration and scheduling are needed. But it is well worth the effort.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Things That Go Bump in the Night!

From goulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night
Good Lord, deliver us!

Before we get into today's post, we have what we think is wonderful news!  In fact, this is so exciting to us, we have had to sit on our hands to stop typing it into an earlier post.  We waited until it was official, but now it is, and we're so very happy!  We met our friend, Joanne Lukacher, at a sampler seminar she was responsible for organizing at Vassar College quite a few years ago now.  Since then, she has been writing a book on the Norfolk Samplers - a collection of samplers from Norwich, England and environs.  These samplers span about 100 years and have a definite stylistic theme.  This blog post by Joanne on the Hudson Valley Sampler Guild blog gives you a great introduction to the topic.  We knew that Joanne was looking for a publisher, and as we talked with others to try to help her find the right publisher, it became obvious what we wanted to do.  In the Company of Friends will be publishing this major work!  We are ... excited, nervous, happy, shocked, joyous and amazed!  This is such a grand adventure and we can't think of a better person to undertake it with than Joanne.  Look for the book in the fall of this year - and now, we'd best get our noses back to the grindstone... 

Here in Seattle we are having another forced "Snow Day".  For several days we have been dodging snowflakes, and today the "Big One" hit! When it snows here in Seattle life comes to a standstill, we just are not equipped to handle this winter white stuff and today it is really trying the patience of the road crews and our local politicians in charge of keeping life going to some degree.  But the news force are having a big day of it! Non-stop news of this car sliding here and this amount of snow there and a photo of this dog in how much snow! ? !  The rest of the country must just shake their heads and wonder at us. But those that are smart are tucked in with their stitching, reading, quilting, family games or watching some old movies, maybe some with "Things That Go Bump In The Night" in them. I know my family has enjoyed all of the above through the last few days.  So grab a cup of tea, hot chocolate or whatever your drink of choice is and come along with our newest addition to the Dark Alphabet Julie has designed for you.

No we're not talking about Julie or I getting up in the middle of the night to use the loo! But I am sure we do bump around a bit and maybe if there were small children about they could be frightened by the sounds! Ok, that is not where we are going with this.

Things that go bump in the night, meaning frightening but imagined supernatural events.

The earliest known example of the phrase in print is in the 1918 in the Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies: 
"To a people ... who ... believe in genii, ghosts, goblins, and those terrific things that 'go bump in the night', protective charms are eagerly sought for."
That usage suggests that the author expected his readers to be familiar with the phrase. Around the same time the phrase was incorporated into a prayer:

From goulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night
Good Lord, deliver us!

This was recorded in The Cornish and West Country Litany, 1926, but it quite likely to be much earlier.  

When the Whole Earth Was Overrun with Ghosts   
Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes
Wherein our Savior's birth is celebrated,
The bird of dawning singeth all night long:
And then, they say, no spirit dare stir abroad;
The nights are wholesome; then no planets strike,
No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,
So hallowed and so gracious is the time.
So have I heard and do in part believe it.
--Horatio.   [Hamlet, act 1, scene 1]

This excerpt from D. L. Ashliman's Index of Folklore and Mythology Electronic Texts explains it very well indeed:

Grose observes, too, that those born on Christmas Day cannot see spirits; which is another incontrovertible fact.

What a happiness this must have been seventy or eighty years ago and upwards, to those chosen few who had the good luck to be born on the eve of this festival of all festivals; when the whole earth was so overrun with ghosts, boggles, bloody-bones, spirits, demons, ignis fatui, brownies, bugbears, black dogs, specters, shellycoats, scarecrows, witches, wizards, barguests, Robin-Goodfellows, hags, night-bats, scrags, breaknecks, fantasms, hobgoblins, hobhoulards, boggy-boes, dobbies, hob-thrusts, fetches, kelpies, warlocks, mock-beggars, mum-pokers, Jemmy-burties, urchins, satyrs, pans, fauns, sirens, tritons, centaurs, calcars, nymphs, imps, incubuses, spoorns, men-in-the-oak, hell-wains, fire-drakes, kit-a-can-sticks, Tom-tumblers, melch-dicks, larrs, kitty-witches, hobby-lanthorns, Dick-a-Tuesdays, Elf-fires, Gyl-burnt-tales, knockers, elves, rawheads, Meg-with-the-wads, old-shocks, ouphs, pad-foots, pixies, pictrees, giants, dwarfs, Tom-pokers, tutgots, snapdragons, sprets, spunks, conjurers, thurses, spurns, tantarrabobs, swaithes, tints, tod-lowries, Jack-in-the-Wads, mormos, changelings, redcaps, yeth-hounds, colt-pixies, Tom-thumbs, black-bugs, boggarts, scar-bugs, shag-foals, hodge-pochers, hob-thrushes, bugs, bull-beggars, bygorns, bolls, caddies, bomen, brags, wraiths, waffs, flay-boggarts, fiends, gallytrots, imps, gytrashes, patches, hob-and-lanthorns, gringes, boguests, bonelesses, Peg-powlers, pucks, fays, kidnappers, gallybeggars, hudskins, nickers, madcaps, trolls, robinets, friars' lanthorns, silkies, cauld-lads, death-hearses, goblins, hob-headlesses, bugaboos, kows, or cowes, nickies, nacks [necks], waiths, miffies, buckies, ghouls, sylphs, guests, swarths, freiths, freits, gy-carlins [Gyre-carling], pigmies, chittifaces, nixies, Jinny-burnt-tails, dudmen, hell-hounds, dopple-gangers, boggleboes, bogies, redmen, portunes, grants, hobbits, hobgoblins, brown-men, cowies, dunnies, wirrikows, alholdes, mannikins, follets, korreds, lubberkins, cluricauns, kobolds, leprechauns, kors, mares, korreds, puckles korigans, sylvans, succubuses, blackmen, shadows, banshees, lian-hanshees, clabbernappers, Gabriel-hounds, mawkins, doubles, corpse lights or candles, scrats, mahounds, trows, gnomes, sprites, fates, fiends, sibyls, nicknevins, whitewomen, fairies, thrummy-caps, cutties, and nisses, and apparitions of every shape, make, form, fashion, kind and description, that there was not a village in England that had not its own peculiar ghost. 
Nay, every lone tenement, castle, or mansion-house, which could boast of any antiquity had its bogle, its specter, or its knocker. The churches, churchyards, and crossroads were all haunted. Every green lane had its boulder-stone on which an apparition kept watch at night. Every common had its circle of fairies belonging to it. And there was scarcely a shepherd to be met with who had not seen a spirit!

More about the Night Before Christmas and Things That Go Bump in The Night http://www.huffingtonpost.com/varla-ventura/christmas-folklore_b_1159250.html

Newspaper articles regarding Things That Go Bump in The Night

What frightens you? What do you believe about the supernatural, unexplained events in our lives?  Since the beginning of time, people have tried to explain why this or that has occurred and yet we still wonder if it is or if it isn't!  It has given us much entertainment not only at Hallowe'en but on those dark winter nights as we (not I, but my family) surf the television to find something to make their heart race a bit faster.  Some entertain with a touch of comedy, others with such horror that nightmares occur.  Below we have a few selected versions of entertainment that have used our theme of Things That Go Bump In The Night. 

Gilbert O'sullivan even wrote a song that include "Things That Go Bump In The Night" in it's lyrics. Below is the first part of this song and you can see it performed by several artists.

Some people tell you you're better off dead Especially when you're in the very best of health Me I don't understand why Just like the din of those things that go bump in the night What does it matter Who really cares If you die tomorrow All you get are prayers If there's a God and there might Maybe he's in with those things that go bump in the night...

Video of Gilbert O'Sullivan song, Things That Go Bump in the Night

There is a different song, too, with Scooby Doo and  Things that Go Bump in the Night

Many pieces of art have been created with the theme of, Things That Go Bump in The Night.  Don't view these  at Deviant Art if you have nightmares easily!

And finally, there is a Murder Mystery to watch.

Turkish Stitch

Turkish Stitch also known at The Three Sided Stitch, Bermuda Faggoting, Lace,  and Point Turc.

It is considered  a surface stitch as well as a pulled stitch and was originally used to insert a tape of needle-made lace to fabric.   This stitch is worked as a backstitch and is reversible as each leg is worked twice serving as reinforcement as well. This stitch can create a nice dividing band for your samplers as well. 

A good example is found in The Red Book of Sampler Stitches by Eileen Bennett

Online, you can see this stitch at Arts and Designs  and at Needlework Tips and Techniques , both great internet resources for needlework stitches. 

You will see that the Turkish or three-sided stitch was used to mark the teeth on the "long-leggedy beastie".  It is easier to stitch the mouth first, then fill in around it with cross stitch for the beastie's body.

As always, click on the chart to go to the freebies page of our website to download the chart, or click on "Freebies" in the side bar.  Have fun, bwahahahaha.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

With Cunning Needle

We are finally there, we have reached Winterthur and the event "With Cunning Needle: Four centuries of Embroidery".  We are so excited as we have watched the progress of the jacket project on the blog The Embroiderer's Story.  As you will see if you visit the link, this wonderful exhibit is over tomorrow - so do hurry to see it if you can.

We gathered early in the morning to hear several people talk about "the jacket" and excitedly wondered when we would get to see it.

Winterthur speakers - photo courtesy of Barbara Rombold-Gillies

Our first speaker is Dr. Tricia Wilson Nguyen and her talk is entitled "The Plimoth Jacket: Listening to the Makers"

If you have ever been to one of Tricia's talks you know it is hard to keep up with your note taking.  Not only does she fly, because she has so much to get into the short time allotted which is never enough, but you get so entranced in the tale that you forget to write! So this is kind of what my notes look like for this talk.

- Final 27 motifs
- Plan for professional workshop
- Patterns from professional workshop are there clues that show certain pieces have come from the same professional workshops

So, hmmmm  - would you understand much of anything I took notes on at this talk? I do a bit, but you had to really be there to see the visuals and understand it all.   So we'll try to summarize a bit on what Tricia had to say.

She talked about the process of choosing the motifs for the embroidery, and how it was executed. One of their challenges was to have many, many embroiderers doing the work, and yet have it look cohesive.  After much study and experimentation, it actually became clear that the more different embroiderers there were, the more the work looked as though it came from one hand.  Now, she had X-rays of the embroidery and a very complicated model to explain this, but trust me - when you looked at the jacket, you didn't think - wow - I can see that people of all different abilities stitched on this.  Yet they did - everyone who wanted to stitch was allowed to - and it looks wonderful!  Tricia explained that professional embroidery studios in Elizabethan times used certain patterns available in broadsheets, and that you could trace certain patterns to certain embroidery workshops.

As she went on, Tricia began to talk of the threads used - how they heathered silks to shade between two colors, making a 2 ply, 2 color silk thread for this by making twisted thread themselves twisting from raw materials by splitting silk and twisting them together.  Some colors were blended,  then wrapped with metal threads, so workshops may have made their own threads as well as purchasing some. 

The metal for the threads was pure gold and silver, often from melted down coins.  There was also a lively second-hand trade to take the metal threads from old garments to return them to the "melting pot" (where the term comes from).  Clothing was pawned for the gold and silver threads.  A "Fripper" is one who dealt in "frippery" or metal lace - who melted it down for the gold or silver. Metal lace was actually coinage. The result of these pieces were to store value in them, to hold the silver and gold , the currency system of the day.  

This was all so fascinating that it left us wanting more.  Tricia suggested reading the book Renaissance Clothing and the Materials of Memory by Ann Rosalind Jones and Peter Stallybrass, about clothes remade and re-used.  

The next talk was by Jill Hall, the Co-Manager of the Jacket Project and Scholar of Historical Costume, Middleborough, MA.  Her talk was entitled " It's All About the Clothes"

Jill talked about placing the jacket in the context of the clothing of the period.   A book suggested by Jill is Dressing the Elite: Clothes in Early Modern England by Susan Vincent. Besides the history of costume she talked about linens laundered with things to give color, such as loden and saffron.  Clothing was primarily to protect from cold - cold was death in those days. But it also denoted your station in life.  Jill talked of clothing as a marker of gender and age, as well as status and position in society.

After this we enjoyed a break, where much to the men's dismay we took over all the restrooms available! The women, of course, outnumbered the men greatly!  During break we would dash around not only using the ladies' room, but trying to say hello to as many friends and acquaintances as we could before time was called to go back to our seats.  There is never enough time to visit and discuss all that we have just heard with one another. The days are too short when there is so much to enjoy.

Our next speaker was Dr. Susan Schoelwer, Curator, George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate, Museum & Gardens who gave a talk entitled, "From Old London to New London: Tracing Needlework Patterns and Skills in Early America"

She began by discussing Connecticut and the blossoming of needlework in the late 18th century vs. the earlier plainer needlework, bold floral motifs on decorated bed rugs, Norwich canvas work, band samplers and the Patten School Silk Embroideries.  

She said many of the patterns were shared by closely related women in the area.   Printed pattern books of the 17th century were also made use of.  There were also references to similar patterns found on plate glazes and headstones as well as the hand carved furniture designs from the Connecticut River Valley.
Charity was a popular story in the central medallion on many of the pictorial scenes worked at the Patten School.  It is questioned whether 17th century pieces of embroidery survived to be examples for the later embroideries, or whether heritage needlework, through family network and kinship traditions were a way of passing on the patterns and skills.

The last speaker of the day before lunch was Pam Parmal, Curator of Textile and Fashion Arts, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.  Her talk entitled, " Artful Adornments: The Embroidered Accessories of Eighteenth-Century Boston Schoolgirls"

She discussed many of the schools and the work there. My notes fail me as I must have been suffering from lack of nourishment by now! I think I was on overload and entranced with listening to the speakers, as my notes became less and less. Hopefully some of the photos we have to share with you from the exhibit will make up for this lack of information.

So we lined up for lunch and shared a delicious meal with many new friends.  Of course there were treats to give us some sugar to encourage our attention for the afternoon.

After lunch it was off in many directions as we headed to our workshops and tours. 

My first was, "A Tisket a Tasket, Who Made the Casket" with Dr. Tricia Wilson Nguyan.  I do have several pages of notes on this, but I must just say that it was a whirlwind tour of her research on caskets and the information she is finding that has lead her to some new discoveries of how the caskets were made and the materials used.  I especially enjoyed the beautiful papers lining the boxes, and how maybe the real source for the boxes was book binders as opposed to cabinet makers for at least some of the parts of the casket. She not only had slides to share, but several real caskets to peer into and even touch! 
Martha Edlin's casket in the V&A

Tricia is leading classes in casket making currently on her web-site and they sound quite fascinating. I only wish I magically had more hours in the day so that I could take this project on! She is having many of the materials created for this project and I think we will all enjoy the journey that several stitchers are taking with her in creating their own caskets.  The current class is full, but she is taking names for a subsequent class.  If enough people are interested, she may be able to have the supplies manufactured to make a second set of caskets.

Another V&A Casket

My next stop before the reception was a viewing of "My Favorite Things" with Linda Eaton, Curator Winterthur.  She pulled a variety of items that are some of her favorites from the collections for us to see up close and personal and she told us a little about them.  

Winterhtur reception courtesy of Barbara Rombold-Gillies

 Time for the reception, but hey I haven't seen the exhibit yet or the jacket in person! So I dashed up the stairs and pretty much had the gallery to myself as the others sipped wine and appetizers and visited some more.  I knew I didn't have to worry about nourishment, we had a group dinner planned afterwards at a local restaurant with several friends from far and wide.  
If only we could all try it on, the jacket that is. It is so beautiful and one wonders what it must be like to actually wear something this splendid. Well if you look closely, you can see I took a chance and had a photo taken wearing it ! What do you think? 

Day one of the symposium and I am out of breath and saturated with so many wonderful thoughts of beautiful needlework.  Tomorrow there is more! 

Several of our photos are courtesy of our friend and travel-companion, Barbara Rombold-Gillies, who takes much better "people pictures" than we do!  Her blog, 1thread also shows some of her wonderful photos from this trip.

This week is your last chance to join us with our Tokens of Friendship subscription.  We'll stop taking orders after January 15th!  We are cooking up some lovely things for you - you love surprises don't you?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

We Have a Winner!

We want to wish you and yours the happiest of New Years!  Let 2012 be the year we find peace,  happiness in simple things and generosity of spirit.  Life is precious and we need to appreciate every moment. Let us resolve to be the best that we can be, to support one another, to rise quickly to forgiveness and understanding, and to choose friendship over rivalry.  This will make us all winners this year!

We also want to congratulate Sandra H. Ball - the winner of our New Year's giveaway!  Sandra, please contact us at inthecompanyoffriends@gmail.com to claim your prize!  We used a random number generator to choose the winner - we wish each of you could win - and hopefully, as we go along this year, there will be more giveaways and freebies that will help us all to feel like winners!  Sandra has won a set of Mademoiselle's Peacock Accoutrements.  We hope you enjoy them, Sandra!  

Thank you to everyone who took the time and effort to write a comment, not only for this giveaway, but to any posts this past year.  We read each one and treasure your support and friendship!  We hope you will continue to join us each week as we find new and exciting things to blog about, news to share with you all, and hopefully, a little fun along the way. 

Remember, there's still time to get in on our latest adventure - the Tokens of Friendship Subscription program.  Who wouldn't love to find a gift in the mail every few months for a whole year?

Happy New Year to all!

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