Thursday, December 8, 2011

Philadelphia - 'Workt by Hand' Get together

I just spent 5 glorious days with Melissa, Sally and Alice in Philadelphia. Melissa relocated to Philly a few months ago and we thought this would be a wonderful place to gather to plan for our upcoming 8th annual 'Workt by Hand' retreat.Which is held in Tipp City, Ohio April 25-28, 2012. 
We spent the first couple of day planning for our retreat then we hit the road for a little fun.

 Saturday evening was spent in Elfreth's Alley in downtown Philly for the annual Deck the Ally. It was fun start to the Christmas season. The alley is our nations oldest residential street and the homes were open to the public.

Sunday we set off for Washington DC to visit the Textile Museum. What a treat! There was a fabulous African Kuba Cloth exhibit as well as a Repurposed exhibit. No photographs permitted but wonderful inspiration.

Monday off to Delaware to the Winterthur Museum. This wonderful estate was owned by the du Pont family and houses an outstanding collection of Americana. We first did the Christmas tour.

We then spent most of the afternoon in the museum absorbed in wonderful Southeast Pennsylvania painted furniture and four centuries of embroidery.

 The Plimoth Jacket was also on view in this exhibit. It is a fascinating project. I have included a little reading material for anyone who is not familiar with this project.

The Plimoth Jacket: A Paradise in Silk and Gold

On view in the With Cunning Needle exhibition 

beginning September 3, 2011

On loan to Winterthur from Plimoth Plantation, the Plimoth Jacket is not an exact reproduction. Rather, it was re-created from two examples in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. One was chosen for the cut and construction of the jacket and the other for the design of the embroidery. Both originals date to the 1620s.
In the 1600s this type of embroidery would have been done in professional workshops. The creation of the Plimoth Jacket has led to discoveries about the technology for making threads and spangles as well as about stitching techniques. The project has also resulted in important insights into 17th-century workshop practices, where large numbers of embroiderers (both highly skilled laborers and apprentices learning their trade) would work together to create expensive and decorative clothing like this.

The Plimoth Jacket Project
More than 300 people spent over 3,700 hours to create the Plimoth Jacket. Some worked on the silk embroidery and gold plaited braid, while others stitched on the “oes,” the term in use in the 1600s for the round sequins. The project was conceived and managed by Jill Hall, former head of the colonial wardrobe department at Plimoth Plantation. She was aided by a team of experts in embroidery, lace, metal-smithing, and weaving, including Dr. Tricia Wilson Nguyen, Wendy White, Carolyn Hastings, Mark Atchison, Justin Squizzero, and Denise Lebica.
The sewing, embroidery, and lace were all entirely done by hand. The lace spangles (the tear-drop shaped sequins hanging from the lace) were created using tools made specifically for the project. The tools and techniques replicate those from the 1600s. Even the lining was hand-woven and dyed with natural indigo.

I now have lots more inspiration for new quilts as well as embellishment. I hope these photographs inspire you to be creative. I travelled earlier this week from Philly to Portland to spend a little time with my youngest son Jason who just started Culinary School.
Take care


  1. Thank you for sharing all this beautiful information.
    I enjoy your blog and your site.
    Happy Holidays and take care!

  2. The Jacket is astounding! Thanks for sharing all these wonderful photos... my parents used to live in Wilmington, Delaware, so I visited Winterthur several times. Isn't it amazing? So much visual inspiration. Almost overload! I wish you a very happy New Year, Sue. I hope our paths will cross in 2012!