Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Stitch a Sinking Ship? Sounds like a good idea!

The Sea Venture - The Offending Spot was in the
vine crosshatching
If you watched the video on the design of the jacket, you may have caught Brenda explaining how they replaced the figures inside the foliage on the V&A jacket they were using with motifs that were related to the colonies.  One of those was a picture of the Sea Venture sinking.  The Sea Venture is also thought to have been the inspiration for Shakespeare's play The Tempest.  The ship sank (by running aground) on July 25, 1609 off Bermuda to save the passengers who were in a sinking vessel (it had 9 feet of water in the hull already from the storm).

Well, I was able to go to Williamsburg in February for an event and we carved out time to join Brenda and her crew embroidering on the jacket.  That was the day that they had the back all laced up and it needed to be started!  About 12 of us from our party descended on the pieces to put our mark on them.  I was particularly interested in working on the piece as a volunteer after being part of the lead team on the Plimoth Jacket.  Brenda and I had talked about how we had organized our workroom and discussed how she was going to accelerate to get the jacket done in such a short time.  One of her techniques would be to run the workroom more hours in the day and all days of the week, plus put up to three people on a frame at the same time.  This is something we hadn't done until we were placing spangles on the Plimoth Jacket.  Having to work with others on a frame was a technique absolutely done in the 17th century and I wanted to try it!

So on the back was the motif of the Sea Venture sinking.  I love ships and so thought I would start that motif.

A sinking ship.

"Out Damn'd Spot, out I say!" - Lady Macbeth
Well, I think I took only three stitches and I unknowingly had pricked my finger and did the traditional stitcher's addition of DNA to the project!  I was horrified.  I managed never to bleed on the Plimoth Jacket and yet had just come in and done that to the Jamestown jacket!  OH NO.  Well, as the group who was working with me on the back watched (in amusement to my extreme discomfort) I tried the
traditional fixes to no avail.  So…. it was time to embroider like mad to cover it up.  And it worked.  PHEW.  And yes, I did own up to it.  Wendy White always wanted to investigate the DNA from licking thread ends to thread them as a technique to look at how many people worked on pieces when we mused about that question.

Brenda laughing at my 'situation'.
So someday my DNA will be found on two jackets and some researcher will be pretty darn confused.


  1. You've done a wonderful job! It was fun to stitch with you!

  2. I bled on the jacket too and was also horrified! I was able to get it out using the "traditional methods," but still showed Brenda in case the spot reappeared somehow. I'll bet there's lots of DNA on the jacket. Brenda did an amazing job of getting this project done!!!

  3. Tricia,
    Over the last couple of years I've read quite a bit about the embroidery projects you've been involved in without actually realising that you were a common thread - the Plimoth jacket and the stump work boxes. What you say about the production of threads is alarming - even Gutermann no longer produce some of the threads I used to use (and still have). I made my own Elizabethan jacket when I was 18 which is nothing like as glorious as yours. In the heat of youthful enthusiasm I did many things that were wrong - used no hoop, so the gold threads are slack and wavy, drew the occasional design in biro, etc., etc. Where yours would be couture, mine would be lower middle class aspirational. I'd love you to have a look at it on my blog http://www.addisonembroideryatthevicarage.co.uk/2012/11/03/embroidered-elizabethan-jacket-the-flowers/
    Thanks for being so inspirational and best wishes,
    Mary Addison