Sunday, January 29, 2017

Carolyn's Amazing Poem Holder

Inspiration drawing from early publication
I can't tell you how excited I was to open Carolyn Webb's entry in the 17th Century Traditional ‘Casket Toy’ Category and was happy to award it 1st place in that category.  When I put up pictures of the 'missing' toy I was really hoping that someone who make one (before I could!).   

Inspiration - Carolyn Webb

My piece contains both lacet braid and expanded gilt check. It is about 6 inches tall and 2.25 inches across and fits laying down in my casket.  I want to make a number of extra toys to fit in my casket. The tape measure toy in your July 27th, 2016 post caught my eye and I decided that it would be perfect to stretch my skills a bit and have some fun. I adapted it so that it became “ A Partridge in a Pear Tree”. It has a number of moveable forms and treasures that wiggle when the tape is pulled out and rolled back in.  (Ed. Note:  Go to her blog to see it move!)

Technique Used - Carolyn Webb

Carolyn's Interpretation!
I made the Partridge by twisting brass wire to create the form, wrapping it with cotton and then silk and wool thread. The final layer is expanded check purl with a core of peacock feather. The tail is peacock feathers and the wings are dyed silk ribbon with couched #4 gilt smooth passing thread. The butterfly uses lacet that has the edges whip stitched together and is outlined with Cordon. The body is made of antique green beads that have a red center and the antenna is one of the flower stamens from the frostings box. I wrapped wire with silk threads and then later bent them to create the roots and branches of the “tree”. The brown roots and the trunk are shades of brown silk but the multi-colored branches started with white silk thread that I dyed in rainbow shades after it was wrapped. The pears are needlelace with silk over a paper fruit form and wool felt. The acorn tops are gilt and the nut is wrapped wool felt. The leaves are needlelace with a wire edge. The small colored berries are silk wrapped beads. From the second row of branches are hung small treasures that a girl might have been able to collect. They include a garnet bead, a tiny bell, a black glass bead, a blue chevron trade bead, a pearl and a bit of coral. The tape measure in inclosed in a walnut shell that has a slit in the side and is covered with needlelace.

The tape is silk ribbon that is dyed the color of parchment and is marked in nails and portions of a yard. John Taylor wrote the verse that is written on the tape. It is part of The Praise of the Needle that notes: Flowers, Plants, and Fishes, Beasts, Birds, Flyes & Bees, Hils, Dales, Plaines, Pastures, Skies, Seas, Rivers, Trees: there’s nothing neere at hand or farthest sought, But with the Needle may be shap’d and wrought. The wires for the branches were curled, the partridge and butterfly were attached, then the pears, acorns, leaves and berries were placed on the curled branches. The tape was sewn to the trunk, then the wires were inserted through the walnut shell and then shaped to form the roots. When the beads at the end of the tape measure are pulled, the whole tree rotates and all of the fruit and treasures wiggle and twirl


  1. Stunning and magical toy, what a delight!

  2. Pictures do not do it justice. I have seen this toy and it is absolutely amazing.