Of Interest:

Breast Cancer Ornament Ideas:
Having decided that we are going to stitch ornaments for EGA (be sure to have them to Bonnie by Oct. 1!) and our usual support of Breast Cancer through Attic Needlework's auction, it seemed appropriate to report on an article in the July/August issue of Needlepoint Now.

Beth Lebhar, the owner of Beth's Needlepoint Nook in Louisville, KY was thinking about what to do for a new ornament-of-the-month club when it came to her that she should create a fundraiser for breast cancer.  She chose the Breast Cancer Research Foundation to be the recipient of the donations raised because of their good track record of spending 91 cents out of every dollar on research and awareness.

Beth reached out to designers in the industry.  Some of the names you will recognize; others are up and coming.  Some folks were involved in creating the design, while others created the stitch guides.  Each ornament incorporates some pink, and has a pink ribbon somewhere on the design.  Designs range from Santa to a hummingbird to a cute mermaid.

If you are wondering what to stitch for your ornament for the Attic Needlework auction, check out this set of ornaments at www.bethsneedlepoint.com, as well as read the article about this project in the July/August issue of Needlepoint Now.  (Hint: one of the designs is included in the magazine!)

Historical Clothing on Turn:
After all the talk about Downton Abbey, and the exhibits based on it, yarns created, knit and crochet patterns created, and talk of the clothing, my historical television interest was again peaked by AMC's series Turn, which showcases the story of Washington's spies, the Culper Ring, during the Revolutionary War.  While I wondered about how true to history the series stayed, my eyes were drawn to the clothing of the characters.

When you look at the close ups of some of the characters, those of us interested in needlework and sewing will find our eyes drawn to the bright red of the British soldiers uniforms, the rich blue of the uniforms of the Continental Army and George Washington, and the detailing on them.  I can't speak to the accuracy of the clothing, but I was amazed by what it might have taken to create such garments back in the day.

Officers' jackets were not only amazing for their color, but also for the detailing around the lapels, as well as the amount of buttons, and the extraordinary buttonholes around them; buttonholes that were stitched with metallics and which had stitches easily a half inch or more bordering them.  Also, there were the incredible epaulets on the shoulders.  Most officers had gold metallic epaulets, although there was also some in silver.

Of course, the officers' clothing was not the only amazing costuming.  Ladies' garments were mind boggling.  Ladies of fine families, viewed at parties in fine society, wore gowns with ruched ribbon trims, lace, and bows, made from beautiful silks. Even the less fancy clothing of other women in the show, from common folk to a few slaves, were amazing to see, made from homespun fabrics with bits of detail on them.  Ladies going out of doors in the winter scenes, or when there was rain, had incredible hooded cloaks.  Having watched my best friend create a cloak for each of her daughters for a Renfaire, I appreciated that these cloaks were no mean feat.

As I looked at all of the costuming required for the show, I realized one thing.  Whether or not these costume were completely accurate, the effort that would have been required to make such clothing back in the late 1700's was major. Thread had to be spun and fabric had to be woven before ever a stitch could be taken to fashion a sleeve or a gusset.  I also realized the fancier dress items would have come at a dear price back then, and the fancier garments would absolutely be limited to the upper classes.  Small wonder that characters wore the same outfits day to day - there was mass created clothing to purchase in the 1770's.  Even officers would have to pay well for their uniforms in a British army where ranks were often purchased.

If you decide to watch Turn, enjoy the intrigue, enjoy the historical setting, but also stop to appreciate the efforts that the show's costumers put forth.  A stitcher's eyes will certainly view their efforts with much admiration.