This year, I’d rather trade having a birthday cake and presents at home for the opportunity to go to Winterthur to see “With Cunning Needle: Four Centuries of Embroidery.” Running from September 3, 2011 to January 8, 2012, the exhibit will feature the Plimoth Jacket, the Stuart-style embroidered lady’s waistcoat that more than 300 people recently recreated using a waistcoat in the Victoria & Albert Museum’s collection as their guide. The jacket will help tell the story of how needlework is created, from pattern book designs and silk skeins to embroidery techniques evident in historic textiles and works of art. To complement the exhibit, a needlework conference is being held in October. “The Ephemera of Fabrics” will be the exhibit at the Winterthur Library, featuring fashion plates, textile labels, ribbon and fabric samples, textile and clothing advertising ephemera, and a lace sample book.
When I discovered that Tricia Wilson Nguyen of Thistle Threads (and the talented person behind the Plimoth Jacket project) designed and is selling a needlework kit to raise funds for the exhibit, I mailed my check right away. My new project arrived today!
The “Tulip Slip” kit is based on a 17th century tent-stitch “slip” from a private collection. Popular with Elizabethan embroiders (including Mary Queen of Scots), slips are motifs worked in cross stitch or tent stitch on linen, appliquéd to a velvet background and then couched around the outside with a cord. The original tulip slip was worked on 20-count linen with silk threads; it was taken from its original deteriorated velvet, remounted and sold as an antique with three more slips from the same curtain.
I’ll work my new project on linen with soie d’alger silk threads. To transform it into a velvet pincushion, I’ll use a piece of real silk velvet, gilt Grecian twist for the edging, a red silk backing, and green silk gimp to edge the slip on the velvet. It is fancy!
As I’m working on my project, visit the Thistle Threads blog not only to see the finished Tulip Slip pincushion, but also to learn more about the Plimoth Jacket project.