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!