My maternal grandmother, who came from the old country, tried to teach me all the needle skills every housewife had to know: sewing, darning, crochet, and embroidery. I deeply regret to say that none of the training took. Except for embroidery. I loved it and embroidered all kinds of things: pillowcases and my clothes and handkerchiefs and any bit of cloth I could make pictures in silk thread on. But then other occupations needing my hands--like writing--occupied more and more of my time. I haven't embroidered in years, except in fiction, and I miss my silks and my needles and hoops.
So I was enthralled by the embroidery I saw at Colonial Williamsburg. They embroidered everything, we were told, from head to toe, hat to shoes.
The silk work bag above is a beautiful example. As Susan mentioned in the comments to my post about riding habits, one rarely sees the ladies of CW without their work bags. When they sat waiting for an event, or talking to their friends, they were usually doing some sort of needlework. Susan theorizes that the work bag served a function similar to the cell phone: It makes a girl look like she’s got something to do, especially when she’s alone.
There’s a big difference in how we use history. But we’re equally nuts about it. To us, the everyday details of life in the past are things to talk about, ponder, make fun of -- much in the way normal people talk about their favorite reality show.
We talk about who’s wearing what and who’s sleeping with whom. We try to sort out rumor or myth from fact. We thought there must be at least three other people out there who think history’s fascinating and fun, too. This blog is for them.