Thursday, December 31, 2015

Colonial Stitching in Williamsburg

Last week, I (Teri) took you on a tour of the wreaths which decorated Colonial Williamsburg. This wreath on the left, full of bows and spools, sets the stage for today's stops along the cobbled road. This week, I'd like to show you the many stitching-related gems I encountered during our walk. Enjoy!
Our first stop was in the Prentis Store, which sells wares made by the trades- and craftspeople of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Just inside the door was this display, at which I lingered for quite a while. Of course, I bought a few skeins of wool. 

Hats, hair, woven fabrics, yarn, baskets...

Don't you just love these brilliant colors of yarn?

Warm colors...
...and cool colors.

As we were walking, we saw these ladies making buttons. I was intrigued, and I asked if I could watch and take a few photos. They kindly obliged, and told me how they were making the buttons, using simple sewing thread and a buttonhole stitch.

The button in the foreground, as the ladies stitch.

Such fine work!

These kits were found in one of the merchant's shops, introducing a variety of crafts.

Further down the road, the Mary Dickinson Shop—the Historic Millinery—had shelves of kits for embroidery, samplers, pockets,  cord-making, and books about tatting.

And beneath the kits was fabric sold by the yard. So many temptations!

They sold a different kind of hand-crafted button than what the ladies were making earlier.

The Weaving, Spinning & Dyeing building was across the street, adorned with a swag bedecked with spools, woven material, and skeins of yard. 

These young ladies were teaching the young man how to make a pocket. He was turning the edge down around the rectangle of fabric and using a backstitch to secure the edge. He had been stitching all day and was on the last edge. I was amazed by his tiny perfect stitches and had to ask how he had managed to get such small stitches in such perfect uniform size. He used a stab stitch method of backstitching, with perfect results. Such patience he had! I was impressed, indeed.

So, today I thought it might be fun to try to make one of those buttons I watched the ladies make and decided to give it a try. I was somewhat surprised by how easy it was. Of course, the fact that I used a perle cotton #8, rather than sewing thread, may have helped to ease the job. Here are my results. 

1. I wrapped the thread around a pencil to get the base shape of my button.

2. I secured the loops of thread by tying them.

3. I went around the loops, securing them with a simple buttonhole stitch.

4. I pulled each stitch tightly, and made sure they were close together.

It seemed a bit unruly at first, but the loops stayed in place as I went around the circle.

5. When I got halfway around, I took the thread across to the other side and caught the stitches on the back of the button. Then I took a few buttonhole stitches on the center thread to get back to the other side again. At this point, I just continued doing the buttonhole stitch the rest of the way around, ending it by taking the thread through a few stitches on the back. 

My finished colonial-style button, made with thread. 

Wouldn't it be fun to play with different sizes of buttons, with various threads? Perhaps adding some fun, decorative stitches around the outside, or even beads, could make some great crazy quilt embellishments. My thanks to these lovely ladies who taught me what they were doing. What a fun job they have!

Happy New Year!! We wish you many blessings in the coming year. May your days be full of stitching and beautiful stories that you create through your needles' eyes.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Colonial Christmas

Last week, I (Teri) spent the week in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. One of the highlights of the week was strolling down the brick sidewalks, enjoying the beautiful home decorations and wreaths. I thought you might like to see some of them, so I'd like to invite you to talk a walk down the street with me. 

Everything used was natural: feathers, fruit, seashells, wheat, seed pods, nuts. Each home had a wreath, as well as the colonial establishments. Often, the wreaths reflected something about building it decorated.

The Apothecary worked here. Nested within the seashells are vials of botanicals used for healing.

I loved this creative "pineapple"!

As you can imagine, the milliner worked in this building.

Ice skating, anyone?

And a happy Hanukkah!

I love my coffee, so I thought this one was a lot of fun!

This one makes me hungry.

At the barber and wigmaker's establishment, you'll see a comb tucked in the wreath, but don't miss the curls on either side.

Kara and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for joining us on our journey this past year. We appreciate you, our readers, and we wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!