Saturday, January 16, 2010

Testing threads for the coif

Our next meeting, Tuesday, January 19, 2010, will be the beginning of our Agecroft Hall outreach program. We will be practicing reverse chain and detatached buttonhole stitch and starting on the first coif.

The coifs we are making for Agecroft Hall will be worn during interpretive programs held during hot, humid Virginia summers, so we need to use materials that can be washed if necessary. So thread testing was in order, and it also did duty as detatched buttonhole practice and ease of motif stitching testing. Gilt Sylke Twist and real gold thread were out because of washing and expense.

This pomegranate was done in cotton perle 5 and while it fills nicely, it is just too thick - the detatched buttonhole doesn't look quite right. The gold is Nordic Gold very fine - a gold braid - and it isn't shiny enough. But the French knot center seems good in concept. It will add some variety. We really wanted this motif on the coif since there are pomegranates on the coif and a purse in the Agecroft Hall collection, plus in the plaster decoration in the dining room.

This cornflower is done in cotton perle 8. Better than the 5, but still too bulky. The gold is faux gold from Thistle Threads and it works up easily and looks very good
This carnation tested a few things. The pink and white are two strands of silk floss. The dark pink is the detatched buttonhole and seems a bit sparse. The light pink and white are trellis stitch and it is alot of work to fill with plus it doesn't seem to really add anything, plus it is hard IMHO. The green is 3 strands of cotton floss, which fills nicely but doesn't have the sheen of the silk. The gold is the Nordic Gold again, just not shiny enough.
Here is the Soie Perlee and faux gold. We sort of knew this would be our choice, but we had to see for sure. The petals of the rose are nicely filled and even and shiny - all in all, a wonderful thread to work with (but don't use too long a piece or it will unravel). The gold on the strawberry is really lovely in person. There was no green silk to test with yet, so the leaf is an overdyed cotton floss from Catherine Jordan. The center of the rose is a spiral trellis, which is easier to do that the regular trellis and the look is worth it.

The pattern we decided on was 'Mary', made by Laura Mellin and purchased from Reconstructing History. But several of the motifs were complex and since this is our first try at this sort of thing, a few easier motifs were in order. The replacement motifs are based on a couple from the Plimoth Jacket and a couple from the demi-lune purse in the Agecroft Hall collection. They will appear on the blog as we get going.

The test colours have come in from Hedgehog Handworks (they are having a sale until the end of the month). Not only do we need to decide on which colours to use for each motif, but we also need to measure how much for a motif and then calculate our final amounts to order.