HNW - Sailor sewing in Piecework

CarolynKayta Barrows kayta at
Fri Mar 2 10:07:04 PST 2001

A while ago I posted a question about historical sailmaking sewing (and got
no replies).  Now Piecework magazine has an article about historical
sailor's needlework.  Does anyone else on this list do living history at a
primarily nautical site?  Does anyone on this list do sailor-related
historical needlework or macrame?

I volunteer at the Hyde Street Pier in San Francisco (part of the San
Francisco Maritime National Historical Park) where there are several
historical ships/boats afloat.  Some of our living history people are
'sailors', and one planned activity is sitting around on the deck of one of
the old ships, repairing a sail by hand.  

I am currently working on a mast bag' for use by those brave souls who
climb the masts of our historical ships and do repair and painting up
there.  It's a crash course in traditional sail making methods.  I'm
learning how to use a sewing 'palm'.  The park provides the materials and
lessons, and we provide the labour, for two such bags.  They keep the first
one for ship use, and we keep the second one for our own use as a ditty
bag.  I don't know if macrame on ship parts, or splicing rope, counts as
historical needlework exactly, but our old ships/boats need it so they
teach us how to do that too.  Some day I will make a 'knot board' with
examples of sailors' knots and macrame.

Our museum collection has several historical examples of sailor needlework
and macrame, as does the Columbia River museum in Astoria, Oregon (I
visited there last month).
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