Sunday, October 26, 2014

Online Exhibit: From Baby Caps to Mourning Rings

If you have been in or around Boston this month, you have likely heard about the time capsule in the lion's head on the Old State House. The Old State House is the oldest surviving public building in Boston. It was built in 1713 as the seat of Royal government. It was the site of the Boston Massacre, which helped incite the colonists against the British and lead to the American Revolution. Although the loin and unicorn adorning its front were symbols of the British Empire, they were preserved even after the King was ousted from the former colonies.


The Old State House is currently undergoing preservation, and the lion and unicorn taken down for conservation. A1901 newspaper article alluded to the fact that a time capsule had been placed in the lion's head the last time the animals were conserved and that article was just proved correct. Earlier this month, conservators removed a lead box from the head. It is filled with books, newspapers and letters from local politicians. A full list and a glimpse of the contents is available here. When the lion goes back up on the State House, a new time capsule will be inside.


The Old State House is owned by the Bostonian Society, a private organization "...dedicated to studying, and preserving Boston’s uniquely important history, embodied in materials, records, and structures such as the Old State House, and in sharing an understanding of the revolutionary ideas born here." Because the Old State House is on the Freedom Trail, they get millions of visitors each year and they do a nice job of interpreting Boston's history.


Looking for information about the lion's head time capsule, I was recently on their web site and discovered a lovely exhibit of Boston artifacts titled, From Baby Caps to Mourning Rings: The Material Culture of Boston's 18th-Century Girls and Women. It is a collection of intimate objects owned by women during the Revolution, including caps, dresses and school girl embroideries among other artifacts. The exhibit is set up around a clock face symbolizing both the hours of the day and a single lifespan. I suggest that you begin at 7 o'clock and work you way around the face of the clock. Some of the embroideries are simply stunning. The baby caps and the embroidered map of Boston were my favorites. I was grateful that it was easy to enlarge the photos and that when enlarged they were so crisp.


There is just enough text to wet an appetite to learn more about Revolutionary life and it makes me want to know what else may be in Bostonian Society's holdings. Although I worked right next door when I was with the National Park Service in Boston (you can see the brown NPS sign to the left of the Old State House in the photo) I assumed wrongly that the collection was mostly political papers. I'm thrilled that they are sharing these treasures over the internet and I think you will be too.

Photo from:



Sunday, October 19, 2014

Crazy quilt block finished!

It has taken more than a year, but my first crazy quilt block is done. I learned a lot working on this--making my first ribbon flowers, trying to build up beaded coral, experimenting with buttonholed herringbone stitch, and learning about crazy piecing. It was a great experiment, although my stitching isn't necessarily the best; I was too eager to get on to the next motif!

New from the last time I featured this block are the two dragon flies, the herringbone seam stitch, the beaded flowers, and the finished seaweed around the crab. When I return to Denver, I will make it into a purse.

I noticed that my block is quite mangled from all the stitching. Good thing I left some extra fabric so that I can cut it square again. I hope that my next project can help learn how to control my tension a little more.


Next month I will make 4 new hexagonal blocks. My plan is to make them in summer, winter, autumn and spring themes and make a pillow with them when I am done. Although I can't often go to my crazy quilt group due to my travel schedule, they are starting to stitch from Foolproof Crazy Quilting by Jennifer Clouston and I will stitch along. I was a bit resistant to the idea of using a stitch guide for my embellishments, but the project is a learning piece and there should be enough creativity in the interpretation of the motifs to make it satisfying. I'm itching to get started. I wish I had a sewing machine in Rhode Island! Since they will be taking 2 months for each block, I should be able to keep up and share my work when I am in Denver. I am looking forward to the new challenge.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Wedding wreath in pink

Last week I showed you EdMar's Wedding Wreath done in their suggested color scheme, today I am showing you the same pattern in pinks and creams to match my cousin's wedding colors. This one took me 6 days, and approximately 16 hours to stitch.

I've included my color pallet below:

  • Leaves and branches: Iris 167
  • Fine growth: Glory 167
  • Maria's Rose: Lola 018
  • Bullion Rose: Lola 229
  • Peach Blossom: Nova 000 & Lola 135
  • Cast-on Rose: Lola 169
  • Japanese Violet: Lola 135
  • Geron Daisy: Lola 233 & Lola 229

I used Lola for the French knot centers of the peach blossoms and daisy and added pearls to the Japanese Violets. In addition I used 4 colors of size 11 seed beads--pink, silver, white and clear to add a little sparkle to the pattern. I think my cousin will love it.

Which do you like better? The classic white, or the color version?


Sunday, October 5, 2014

A New England Wedding

Last weekend was my husband's youngest son's wedding. We had a glorious New England Indian summer day, with temperatures in the high 70s. Perfect for a wedding on the lawn overlooking the salt marsh. Kyle and Kristen were married by Roger's eldest son, Ben, and I kept from crying at the sweetness of his words only by reminding myself that my mascara wasn't waterproof.

The reception was in an old stone barn on the Crane Estate--low key, yet quite beautiful, with good food, family, and lots of dancing. You couldn't ask for a better function.

My husband with his brothers and nephew.


And although my wedding gift to them wasn't quite done, it was at the framer's with a promise to expedite the process. And here it is all framed up and ready to present to them--a Brazilian wedding sampler all in neutrals.

The pattern is called "Wedding Wreath" from EdMar and is deceptively simple. In fact, it would be a wonderful beginner piece because it uses only eight basic stitches. This one is completed following the recommended thread colors, but I have seen it done in purples. I am almost done stitching another for my cousin in pinks to match her wedding colors. I'll show you next week.

In the meantime, I hope Kyle and Kristen enjoy their wedding sampler and have many happy decades ahead of them.