Tuesday, December 30, 2008

How bout them Fabrics?

Woven Fabrics by Thistle Hill
CGP Teaching Collections
Sample 1

How long can you stare at two pieces of fabric? So far these two samples have taken me about 30
minutes with looking back and forth at Coverlet websites.
sem to be woven wool like we have seen in the collections and on the loom in the Farmers Museum
The top is plain weave or tabby of wool. I think it is undyed but it is very bright white.
The second pattern seems to be woven of wool as well but with a herringbone pattern. The fabric is an outlined checker board with indigo dyed ( or perhaps this is just made to look like it) border.
The fabric looks like it has more than one layer so I am going with a double layer construction but I also found a similar looking coverlet that described itself as the traditional tabby pattern.
Looking closely at both these samples I was thinking I would see a cotton wool combo but both weft and weave look like they are made of wool.

Thistle Hill
Historic Jean in Cotton and Wool

Wow I wish all items came with this information. While we are familiar with Anerica's Levi's
but the Thistle Hill Samples are a little more lively. I looked at a dark brown fabric with the 24/2 cottom warp that looks as if it runs at a diagonal to the fabric. It has a brown weft and may be an example of the classic Duck
or maybe it is just a simple brown.
The warp is cotton and the weft is dyed brown.

My Scarf

A Selection of wool and wool synthetic blends including my Cosby Sweater

I have never really owned a scarf. Being from Pensacola Fl. there was simply very little call for any kind of neck muffler. I got it at Target so before I pulled out my Loop I am thinking synthetic. I am also thinking machine made as we live in such times.
It is knit in loops and seems to be primarily Wool but also a synthetic. The grey portion of the sweater is wool I think but the brightly colored stripes are probably Nylon as most knitting or crochet is done with this type of thread.
There are two patterns that are on this scarf. At the end there seems to be thick ribs, Looks like a three knit one pearl pattern.Moving upwards into the first red horizontal stripe it goes to a knit pearl pattern . You can tell because the lines that look like vertical stripes are actually the little loops forming the rib are the knit and the horizontal looking lines are the pearl.

My wife’s sweater explains it all....

Learning The diffrence between Knit and Pearl

So I got my wife to more or less walk me through the whole knit pearl thing. And then I went digging through her closet to find something where I could see it all much better. I found a pink sweater that was 80% acrylic and 20% wool. So I looked at the fibers first. And they all look like wool. Acrylic can be made with the look of wool but it clearly tighter than and not as fuzzy as the real wool. I pulled out what I like to call my Cosby sweater to do a comparison and the Cosby fibers are much more wooly.

So the big revelation for me was that when you pearl on one side you knit on the other and what you choose to do will create the pattern. You can clearly make it out as most of her sweater is straight knit (vertical lines made of loops) and you flip it to find the horizontal pearl loops. It is so refreshing when I actually get it!

Sows Ear or Silk Purse?

Satin weave "Silk" bought in China

My Daughters have many pairs of silks. They were bartered for in Guang Zhou street corners and shop fronts. They span sizes from 12 months to about a size 6.The silks are actually traditional outfits that are worn on New Year’s or special occasions.The thing is silks are usually Satin not silk. Looking over the beautiful fabric it is not immediately evident, but the feel is not as soft as a silk garment.

I found a skirt of my wife’s that was almost 90% silk with just a bit of spandex. Looking at these two under the loop the red Satin “silk” looks like it is warp face, regular with an end every 8 spaces or lengths. The silk/spandex looks like a knit pattern to me.

My wife's silk and Spandex. My 100% Silk tie.

I pulled out my one 100% silk tie and it looks very much like a knit because I can see ribbing and almost the weave of the peal in-between but on closer inspection I believe the tie is woven. In a traditional tabby because the weave is just SO tight.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Who to pick?

A collection of Samplers:

So I was intrigued but Cindy mentioning that young ladies may have used the sampler as a means of showing off their homemaking skills with intent at attracting husbands. So I went through a box and chose two as if they were possible mates and one because of its age.

Let’s start with the oldest one.


This is a small nearly square piece of linen cloth that is about seven by seven inches.

It begins with the alphabet in capital letters and then goes into the lower case followed by numbers 1-10 the ten being represented by a 0.

It seems the name Polly has lost a part of the y so Polly looks like Poll/ and her last name is Berolon?

Her city is listed as Richmond and the year 1797. I guessing this is Richmond, Virginia. For all I know there could be a Richmond, NY but I am guessing it is the later.

I am thinking this is an early sampler of a very young girl because there are no specialized pictures, shapes or poems on this piece and it is small. I know that early pattern books would have been expensive so perhaps this is an attempt at creating a practice pattern.

The threads are light green, a brownish copper and black.

Now Sarah Woods looks to be a catch. This is a larger sampler. With a repeated alphabet pattern at the top with chains, zig zags and Grecian looking trim between the other letters and numbers.

Where as the Poll/ sampler was done with simple x patterns of embroidery this is much more complex. The vines, the fruits, and the numbers are all stitched in multiple xs and the various patterns separating the letters are thicker and more ornate.

The parameter of the piece is done in olive thread and the length has two blue threads that run it and the bottom and top have simple running stitches to hem it.

Sarah is clearly more adept at Poll/. She is spiritual, fastidious and dedicated. Plus Sarah is my favorite name, so my matrimonial leanings’ are for Sarah at this point

Now we get to Cornelia Pratt. I was drawn to the work. It is colorful and ambitious but a little messy and less precise than Sarah’s. Perhaps a free spirit?

Only problem, she is age 9; this is listed next to her name along with the year of 1819, which has her being born in 1800.

The threads are brightly colored so it is silk. Blue, green, bight blues and am lively type color for the main vase.

So thankfully for Cornelia, she is too young to wed and has more time for practice. I will have to go with Sarah.

The "Willa" and "Mollie" Bonnets


These bonnets are also from the recent donation to the collection and made the keep it pile upstairs.

I was initially drawn to the bonnet as it made me think of my daughters. One seemed slightly larger than the other and more ornate and one was plainer.

The one I decided to focus on we will call the “Willa” Bonnet.

This is the smaller of the two. It is made of linen and has a scalloped stitched hem and kind of a front mantle which is attached to the part that would fit the skull.

It is gathered where the two pieces are joined to make the bonnet and the interior seems to have some sort of messy running stitches that gather the two pieces of fabric together. The ties for the bonnet are thin strips that looked to be hand sewn to the bottom in a whip stitch.

I think the garment is hand sewn. I was going back and forth but I believe these bonnets would have been worn early to mid 19th century and the interior stitching again looks loose or messy. There are kind of large running stitches done over one another repeatedly to gather the garment together and attach the two pieces.

The one I focused on is slightly a different design from the “Mollie”

The Mollie is a whole piece that has some beautiful embrodiery with eyelets that give it a lacy look around the face

The “Willa” has what I termed the mantle which almost acts like flaps which would have been nice for keeping dust and glares out of the face during work. The Mollie has no such Mantle and its frilliness seems to suggest a bed time bonnet used more for sleep and a warm head than keeping hair flies and dirt out of the face.

Looking around on-line I did come across one pattern that looks very close to these bonnets. But they are the last quarter of the 18th century.

The embrodiery on the Mollie, and some of the other stitching looks machine done. I think the Willa is older than the Mollie. It may even be 18th century, and perhaps the later is 19th.

Purple Dress

12/5/2008 2:11 PM

Dress: N-228-45

This is an A- line dress with a high collar fringed with Lace. The sleeves are short and are also adorned or fringed with Lace.

The Color is a bright purple that has held up well in some places but this dress looks as was well worn or poorly cared for.

The waist is very high; it is just under the breast. There are vertical stripes of white `silk thread that run the length of the dress.

The dress is lined with a coper colored linen lining.

There is much evidence of hand stitching on the interior work and at the hems, which in not surprising as many garments are still hemmed today, and this dress may have been altered and passed around.

Initially, judging from the high empire style waist I think that this is a dress from the early 19th century, but in looking at it a second time and comparing with some other examples fro m class the waist is high but not exactly empire height.

The vertical stripes are beautifully straight and the stitched on the entire exterior of the garment seems to be machine made. This would place the garment in the second half of the 19th century.

This dress looks as if it would have been a fancier dress for a middle class woman. The high sleeves would keep you from getting messy while working but I think that this would have been a dressy garment as it is composed of silk. The linen lining and short sleeves also seem to suggest that it would be worn in a warmer time of year.

There are copper stains covering the dress that at first I thought ay be an inherent vice resulting from the dye but it may be water damages as it covers some of the white thread as well.

The one cool thing I found was a picture of similar fasteners that ran the back of the dress that suggest that it was Empire Revival in the 1890s.

Newly Aquired but soon to be discarded Quilt

12/3/2008 2:00 PM

Quilt: Pieced and appliqué.

This quilt is a piece that has actually been donated and added to the discard pile recently at ISF.

Beautiful repeat pattern of suns- - I saw several other examples in the quilt data base called "Compass Stars" or "Sunburst" that were similar but in looking through New York and 19th century quilts I didn't find any that I could tell had these intricate pieced circles.

This quilt is composed of many fabrics of bright colors and complex printed fabrics. It must be later than 1856 because the color range is so bright and varied. Looks to be machine printed.

The primary fabric is cotton.

The construction of the quilt is amazing. There are seven repeated circles upon the width and eight along the length.

Initially I thought each circle may have been cut from the cloth which surrounds it with the sun and diamond rays applique on top. In looking at, it is very hard to imagine that circles were cut them the strips that surround it were affixed to match it. On closer inspection you can see that each diamond and triangle in the quilt is actually an individual but and hand sown.

There are some small oval shapes from the many different types of cloth that had been used and they reverse appliqué.

This must have been a well loved well used quilt. The cotton had at one time been white but it has yellowed almost to a light Brown. The ends where it has been hemmed with Fabric have begun to wear and expose the white underneath.

Such extensive sewing may have been shared by a group, but there is so much consistent in the sewing, the shapes and the patterns that it leads me to believe that one person must have sewn this quilt.

The circles are generally 10 inches across but some are a bit smaller in diameter.

So this whole thing is an appliqué quilt and then pieced together.

I have spent a long time on The New York Beauties Wiki looking for a similar pieced quilt. While I can’t really find a matching pattern, I do see that is impressive as this one is it pails to some others!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008



ISF 3:00 10/22/2008

N.52.569Ok so looks like a NYSHA collection item from 1952 five hundred and sixty-ninth object? Hope I have that correct. It seems to have a baby’s toy here or recreation device. It is listed as a jumping chair. You have a plank attached to what looks like a chair base with four spindles coming out of it that connect with a ring at the top that would be used to enclose the child. To of the spindles look hand turned as the have sort of oval shapes in the center. The other three seem to be hand carved pegs. They are of various thickness.

The plank goes down to a spring that it is connected to by a horse head on the top that is fixed to the top of the wood by a series of screws. They look machine made from the head but there is one of the threading so I am unsure.

The head has a metal base that protrudes past the end of the plank and there is a lip of metal that has a bolt that has an eye hole on the bottom that is connected to a spring underneath. The spring is attached to a bracket that is affixed to two planks that are radiating out from it at about a 35-45 degree angle. There is a thin plank that connects the other radiating planks that has another bracket that has feet connecting it to the upper bouncy plank. Back to the spring: the bolt that has the eye running through it is fastened with a wing nut. How old are wing nuts?The wood has a light brown stain. The grain is even and there aren’t those wavy patterns you would see in pine.

The angles and shaping of the wood seem to be having done by hand tools? They seem to lack a consistency. I don’t see any sign of the sanding marks we saw in class.

The ring that would have held the child in is grooved at the base that looks hand carved. The ring seems to be out of a plank with a circle cut in the center. It is warped or perhaps it has been cut or shaped unevenly?

I think the outer edges have been carved against the grain. I seem to be able to see wave shaped lines and some horizontal markings as you would see at the end of a 2 x 4.

I wish I knew more about metal because I think that may tell me more about the age. Dangerous children’s toys have been a staple up to the 1950’s.

Some of the metal hardware, bolts and screws could have been made in a machine but the horse head an I-bolt look like they were certainly hand made. There is at once delicacy but generalness to the horse shape that suggests a hand touch. It lacks the kind of exactness you would find in a factory.The springs individual coils seem to vary in thickness and the metal brackets also look like the vary at the bases, lacking uniformity. I think this was made out of WTF wood around WTF time. It looks like it is for an infant of maybe 8 months or older.

The care given to the needed metal mechanism must suggest that this was not a toy that a common person would have. Someone spent a good deal of time fashioning the horse head, spring and various metal parts.

The wooden “safety” ring at the top also is very impressive. It is clearly meant to keep the little one at bay so Mom can rest as it joyfully bops up and down via the spring. It is one tight spring and you would need a healthy baby to make that thing jump.I think this is a toy of a well to do family that has the notion of play for its child. This must be mid 19th century and reflects a care for the very young and a realization that providing amusement while giving mom a free hand is a good thing. Mid to late 19th century would feed into the labor saving craze Mom would need. Instead of baby on hip, she bounces joyfully as Mom works her labor saving washing machine or handles her new hot irons…


Fenimore-one hundred seventy-six forty eighth item.

First thing I notice is what an odd shape. Looks like a wooden canteen or hand bag. The top seems to be all one piece. The wood has beautiful sweeping waves and those oval eyes on the lid. The little valley in the top has a groove that runs in it and it is like little fingers on either end or a carved half tube or bracket that some hand wove chord runs through. This is a darker brown than the jumpy toy.

When worked apart the stain is almost black and it looks as though a chisel was used to carve out the interior shapes of carrier.Inside was a piece of yellowing paper (wood pulp?) That says under arm pouch. I wonder if they burnt out the interior with hot stones or with burning sticks. This was done with Native American Canoes and bowls.

The bottom piece is perhaps a different kind of wood? The graining looks like etching and it doesn’t have the same swirls. The stain seems lighter but I wonder if that is the different kind of wood taking the stain in a different fashion?

The woods I could find to compare with were things like rosewood or mahogony but they don't make sense for a utilitarian item like this, although that may put in in the 18th century. It could be maple because it does have some of that burl look to it.The chord is affixed at the bottom by four holes, 2 on either side with the chord looping through one side, and another side has a loop of fiber that the chord is connected to.I think this may be an item of a man? It seems masculine in its creation and lacks the softness that a woman would want in a carrier? I think it could be for tobacco or powder for a gun? Probably designed to keep something dry. If this is authentic I would expect it to be something a hunter or someone out in the wilderness would use so maybe late 18th century?

Some New Looks at Wood

So I was going to begin this entire project with looking at the dresser I have owned since childhood. Interesting that I am finishing, rather than starting it with it. But that is me: Mr. Un conventional.
So I am going to NOT start with the childhood dresser but a 21st century piece of furniture in a classic Mission style.
So I will begin with the wood on top. Looks to be oak. It is very heavy and has a broad distinct grain. Looking closer under the loop you can almost see the pours of the wood. This is all made with machine and they would have used router to place the grooves in the faces and it looks to be machine sanded.Looking inside at the drawers we can see that of course they are not stained. I can put mu nail into it with some ease. The regular vertical lines, the softness tell me this must be pine. The joint is a dido or lap. Even in the back it lacks any dove tailing and it is reinforced with some cheap little nails that look to be shot in with a nail gun at angels.Looking at the thin piece on the back, it is white, and soft and marks easily. It also looks to be pine.

The Wardrobe

Cedar is of course supposed to keep your linens safe. Moths were never a big problem in Florida, and very few things were made of wool.

The top is constructed of tounge and groove but is beginning to come apart.

This wardrobe is one of those pieces of furniture that is inherited and you never know what to do with. t was supposedly hand made by my wife's great grandfather. A favorite tale is that it once held a jar of Buffalo Head Nickels that an unscrupulous in-law was purported to have stolen that created a family rift.The outside seems to be knotty pine. You can clearly see the knots over the entire thing. This lets you know that this is not ancient or old wood pine because no one would have wanted the knots to show. I think this was made as a wedding present and given to Great Mom in the 40's.On the interior are sheets of Cedar. The smell is still very crisp and the color is still that sort of rich burgundy brown.The top of the wardrobe is constructed with tongue and groove planks. There is a tiered molded look around the top. I would think that judging from the consistency of the grooves around the molding at the top and around the bottom that this was machine milled. The joints are beginning to come apart after so many years of living in non-air-conditioned homes in Florida and then when upgrading to central heat and air, they suffered several moves. We have a mate to this one downstairs that actually is held together with some clothes line at its base because it has cracked up the back. Much of the wood used for this wardrobe is very thin. This is surprising as it makes it delicate by nature. We continue to use it for storage and hope that it will give us a few more years of life!




Genre Still life Box

Der Patient. A Patient

N255.42 FH302 Box 2C


Thick paper with no notable laid lines. Close inspection that almost pocked or frosted look of wove paper. Seems to be a higher quality rag paper or linen base.

Horrible Image of rich guy dead with a doctor taking his pulse –disinterested woman looks on beyond them. The man is in repose in a wing back chair. He is in a dressing gown.

There is no plate mark on this print. Using the loop I find clear markings that look to me like the markings from pastel colors.

I am throwing out Intaglio process.

The print seems to have three colors.

Blue: In the Doctor’s Coat, the sleeves of the stiff, the collar and the design on his house coat.

There is green in the woman’s head scarf and his John Lennon spectacles have that green tint in the lenses. This is a comical grizzly scene.

There is a red in the woman's dress as well. This gives me three colors.

It must be a chromolithograph. It has the three colors, the grease crayon marks.

I am curious hat we can take away from this print. I think it is for an audience who will not settle for black and white. The grim scene is one of irony or ridiculousness and may be making commentary about the medical profession of the time. The style of print points past the 1820’s as this became more common as the printing from the stone was an easier more frequent process.

Afternoon Train to Springfield

FH302 Bx 2c NNoe78

This is clearly wood pulp paper. It is browning and flaking, It is on a cardboard backing. There is a plate mark and this print of a train was taken from a daguerreotype. T

This was printed in Van Benthuysen Printing House, 1874.

This is an engraving. It has the tell tale strong lines and sharp definition.

FH 302 Drawer S


Lithograph of a Birdseye view. No plate mark and there is a blue tint. On Otsego Lake and in the sky.

Shows Cooperstown from the Vantage Point of Mount Vision. Interesting to see how much land is free from trees. The Village looks larger than today.

Notes: 1862 M. DEV. Martin in the Clerks office of the district Office of New York State.

The grease crayon marks and lack of plate mark demonstrate that it is a lithograph and the blue wash is the sign that it is a tinted Lithograph.

This demonstrates that Cooperstown has been a vacation spot for many many years. The suggestion of leisure in a Serene setting is clear. Everything is kind of jam packed

N. 319. S9

Amazing print of Cooper House, Otsego Lake

S.E. Crittenden proportion is listed at bottom

Thick Laid Paper folio size.

Hotel Gazette and Travelers Monitor Broadway NY: Print House?

Intaglio Print with clear distinct lines and black ink.

Print has clear and distinct lines, Very strange layout of the village. I think we are looking at Pioneer Street and Cooper Park. There is a steam ship on the lake and a gas lamp in one of the avenues that looks like a giant park that surrounds the structure. The clothes of the people look Victorian, and the buildings are Italianate.

Scenes of baseball, camping, strolling are all in close proximity to the parks surrounding this large print. It must be a travel Poster or advertisement for the region.

J.H. Sharp Etchings FH 302 Beautiful renderings of Native Americans etched and printed on ground paper. Sharp signs all the Etchings and lists names of the sitters:

Running Horse-Taos

Standing Deer-Taos

There are plate marks and light and shadow are created with the etching needle. These prints are lively in a way that no others are. The form seems to capture the subjects particularly well.

The paper seems to be woven and of good quality.

Sixth Commandment

Found in “Spiritual” box

Wall Paper

Wall Paper


Dimmick: 10:00-11:00

Ceiling: Parlor

Clearly Continuous roll in Japanese style of paper. The colors reflect the browns and maroons that are indicative of this style of paper. The interpretive signage offers that the papers are reflective of the 1870’s but there seems to be almost a metallic look to the paper and it seems to almost have a texture.

On the Walls: there ate three separate panels the wall looks art and craft to me. On the bottom of the wall are butterflies and dragonflies. There is faux Asian lattice work that borders it, with the same olive and gold colors. There is a blue grey pattern of swirls in the background.

The paper must be of high quality as there is limited browning. There is little peeling or flaking. There is evidence of loss of color due to water damage on the walls

Upstairs in Moore11:10-12:30

Outer layers remind me of what I saw in Dimmick. the colors and lines seem to suggest a similar pattern and paper-Machine Made paper. The flaking allows some inspection to determine that is woven and better than the earlier quality papers.

The under layers are various qualities of paper. The earliest seem to be a cheaper variety as it is browning and crinkling. The paper goes from block printing on the bottom to at least two types of paper that look like they are machine painted to me.

East Wall features a block printed pattern with a finial and a diamond shape in the center of two less than symbols with dots on the inside of the angels. The paper looks like it is machine printed.

Moore Front sitting Room. Paper looks hand ground under close inspection but it is really hard to tell. The paper is in single sheets and is block printed with distemper paint. I can’t tell what kind of paper as it is on the wall.

Around the mantle e see the Greek border that is characteristic of the mid 19th century and you can see it repeated throughout the house around the accents and woodwork.

On the North wall you can find places where the paper has been attached. I think this is just evidence of long sheets that are connected with hide glue.

Looking at both of these homes tell us a great deal about he people of the 19th century

It is clear that the fundamentals of color line shape and movement were important to the everyday aesthetic sensibilities to the 19th century home.

The layer upon layer that reveal the latest development in printing and changing qualities of paper show that updates occurred frequently in the home, and paper was the chosen medium for adorning the walls.

I really appreciate the beautiful way the Moore house has been done to show this off. Just as people enjoy home improvement television and design shows no, people ere clearly passionate about the ways the decorated their home in this time period.