HNW - Messy wrongsides

Linn Skinner skinner02 at sprynet.com
Tue Apr 7 09:13:58 PDT 1998


Hi Jacquie:

What an interesting theory of yours.  I would be most appreciative of a
reference to the textiles you were looking at.  I've never approached it
from the end being worst sort of view.  Very possible I would say.

The shop things I have looked are mostly sweet bags, partlets, stomachers,
ecclesiastic embroidery, table rugs, borders, heraldic items (seal bags,
etc.) and slips for application to grounds.  In all of these the workers
would take fibers from side to side quite happily with the front looking
fine.  This issue with shops then is just as now.  What is the cost per unit
to produce and what is the price for sale.  The net profit was the
motivating factor I do believe.  Seldom were shop bits made on commission,
but on spec (so to speak).

The home bits (coifs, shirts, samplers, etc.) were made with the luxury of
time as well as the thought of conserving materials I believe.

It is interesting to note that some friends and I were going through the
frames at the V&A a few months ago saying "shop" and "home" when looking at
embroidery.  We came to the conclusion that the difference was often not the
quality of work (on the front) but that the domestic embroidery had "soul"
that still speaks to us today.

Linn
- -----Original Message-----
From: Jacquie Samples <jacquie-samples at uiowa.edu>
To: H-Needlework at Ansteorra.ORG <H-Needlework at Ansteorra.ORG>
Cc: Jacquie-Samples at uiowa.edu <Jacquie-Samples at uiowa.edu>
Date: Tuesday, April 07, 1998 7:36 AM
Subject: Re: HNW - Messy wrongsides


>At 05:21 PM 4/6/98 -0700, Linn Skinner wrote:
>Linn,
>A friend of mine and I were talking about this yesterday and came with an
>interesting theory and I was interested in your opinion.  We thought it
>might come down to finances and deadlines.  People who were embroidering at
>home probably had less money and resources, so they had to be neat to
>conserve their precious silks and linens, etc.  Professional embroiderers,
>although I'm sure they also were interested in getting the most from their
>materials, were working more from deadline perspective, so that as the
>deadline neared, the neatness on the back became less of a concern.  The
>few pieces (and/or photos thereof) that I've seen that were worked in a
>shop, seem to be fairly neat toward the top and middle, but rather messy
>toward the bottom.  The pieces I've looked at weren't samplers, but pieces
>of garments, I think. I don't have the book with me. The one I'm
>specifically thinking of could have been made to decorate a wall or cushion
>or something like that.
>
>Any comments?
>
>Jacquie
>
>
>>Jacquie:
>>
>>I've looked at a fair number of "backsides" in museums and they fall into
>>two categories (1) articles done in workshops under economic pressures of
>>time are seldom neat.  If you don't trip on the loops you are lucky  (2)
>>articles stitched at home are far neater and in the 17th century when band
>>samplers became the vogue, the double-running designs that were seldom
>>(unless at cuff or collar) done reversible when used on costume, were
>>beginning to be nearly always reversible when stitched on samplers.  With
a
>>caveat however.  The 17th century samplers have a good many more "double"
or
>>compensating stitches than we would consider appropriate today in order to
>>achieve reversibility.
>>
>>Linn
>>
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