Friday, August 04, 2006

We’re off, again!

This afternoon, we are heading back to Historic Murphy’s Landing, our home for six years, my work home for nine years, Norm’s for six. This time we will be volunteers.

This weekend is “Woodworking Weekend” at Murphy’s – Blacksmith Tom (you met him in Decorah) will be there in his woodworking mode; he is the one who started this and hopes to build it to be a huge meeting of woodworkers all over the area.

Tom is an artist and can put his hand to any medium and do well. The furniture that he has built for his home is breathtaking. And I have seen carvings that are out of this world!

I am taking my spinning wheel because I was asked to demonstrate, as well. I am also taking my newly-found “Redwork” embroidery. This is an old art, as is “Blackwork” and “Whitework.” (Please note: pictures are from the web, not my own. I promise a picture of my first finished Redwork when it is done!)

Blackwork is as old as the 16th century and there are patterns copied from originals in museums. It was called “Spanish Worke” because it was introduced at the same time that Catherine of Aragon came to England to marry Henry VIII’s older brother, Arthur. Traditionally, it was silk on linen. This style was used extensively on articles of clothing.

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I saw some beautiful Whitework in the Versterheim museum in Decorah last week. There were some beautiful samples done by Norwegian immigrants in the 19th century. Whitework was first noticed in the German States in the 13th and 14th centuries. Traditionally, it was linen on linen. This style was used, in the beginning, in alter cloths and other church related articles. It was not until much later that secular subjects were used.

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Redwork was popular in the later 19th century. Victorian ladies were willing to pay extra for a rich Turkey Red, which was colorfast, unlike the other dyes in use. Another reason for the choice was that Turkey Red was the only floss available in cotton. Other colored threads were in silk. Magazines sold subscriptions on the weight of free patterns that were included. There were little saw-toothed edged wheels to roll the pattern on with the use of carbon paper. (These edged wheels are still being sold for the same use today!) In the 1870s iron-on patterns were developed, making it much easier to copy patterns. This style is done on muslin with cotton threads. Children, toys, flowers and animals were popular. Most patterns were the simple back-stitch, or outline, stitch.

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I had begun doing Redwork several years ago, but my hands were giving me trouble (due, mostly, to 30+ years of spinning) and I had degenerative arthritis in my thumb. I had two surgeries on my right thumb (first one was a failure), so it has taken this long for my hand to be strong enough to actually be able to do fine embroidery again (I will never crochet or tat again, but that’s another story).

So, to make a long story short, I will be spinning and embroidering this weekend at Murphy’s Landing while Norm does his spoons – which he seems to be addicted to. I will take pictures of the crafters and the residents of the village.

It looks to be a beautiful weekend; you have a beautiful day and weekend.


Kati said...

Have a great weekend!!! And thanks for showing the lovely pictures, can't wait to see pics of your redwork skills.

happyowl said...

Have a great time at Murphy's landing. I have always wanted to try blackworking,etc but haven't had the time. Can't wait to see all the pics.

Brightest blessings


Candy Duell said...

Have a great weekend Connie I hope you got to see all of your friends and the weather holds out for you. The redwork looks very intresting!

Leslie Shelor said...

Wow, what a history lesson! Love the embroidery; the contrast of stitchery on white is always beautiful!