Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Silver threads and golden needles...

Old clothes, writing and reading...y'all didn't like that title, so...

Well, I'm looking for something positive after that ad experience. I decided to visit textiles and then inspire myself to be off job-hunting or making again.

I found this great collection of Revolution websites from Spring Harbor Middle School in Madison, Wisconsin just now.

I clicked on Needles and Textile arts to discover these great quilts. The first one from 1760 is especially gorgeous to me. We kind of create that look with the matelesse in jacquard weaving. I think it is so important to recall how difficult it was to create these items in the 1700s.

First every single yarn had to be spun by hand or with a spinning wheel. Can you imagine?? Here is an experiment for kids. Get REAL cotton balls from the drugstore. Pull just a few fibers out and twist them. Gently pull some more and twist. Repeat just a few fibers at a time and see how long the cotton yarn from one cotton ball can be. Then think about how weak it is and how much twist is really necessary to make a satisfactory yarn and how many yarns go in the vertical direction and how many need to go in the horizontal direction... You get the picture.

Fabric was precious. If you read wills from the time period, you will discover that clothing was even passed down in the will as important as land or gold.

Then, I clicked on African-Americans in the Revolution and was delighted to come to the resource from UNC-TV.

Back to the Wisconsin Middle School. So many great ideas in this collection of websites. Yesterday, we discussed our event in October here in our town. We are inviting teachers and the superintendent of schools here to a meeting to show them the concept and ask for feedback that fits in their lesson plans. This Wisconsin website will be a great jumping off point for me.

Did you know the Library of Congress has a Today in History site? This links to a letter from Charles Lee in Charleston to George Washington July 1, 1776. It's difficult to read the image, but he speaks of a ship and dropping its anchor. I'm going to search around and see what else there is about this letter on the web. Surely, all these things are transcribed by now??? I see from this website above that Charles Lee was some kind of character to put it politely and he married a Mohawk woman. Bless her heart.

There letters are so valuable and so interesting if you know the context of the situation. Unfortunately, the ability to read them is passing in our next generation.

When I was teaching I inserted myself in a note-passing adventure of some of my high school students around a science table. I looked down at the note and back up at the students who instead of being mortified at being caught, looked up innocently and expectedly. It was then I realized the note was a beautiful, heart-felt love letter to the girl there, but written in script in long-hand and NONE of those kids could decipher the writing! They only print in school these days. They don't learn to really write with a pen. They do type well, but geez....

Which brings me to paper. Paper is like cloth in that it takes a while to make it. The most exact textiles used were the paper-maker's felt. I noticed a sign that during the revolution, a paper mill was established in Hillsboro in 1777 to counter the shortage caused by the war. I'd like to know more about that. Paper and forestry and textiles go hand in hand so NC should have quite an interest in it.

By the way, Happy Canada Day!! Beware the geese.


ICT said...

Study your resume carefully so that you'll be able to backup your claims to your various skills and abilities. Be logical in answering questions and apply common sense.

Donna said...

HUmmm... what is this? Already done.