October 31, 2014

Rumpelstiltskin Accessories

First of all, Happy Halloween!  I do hope you're all having a sugary-sweet, spooktacular day!

Actress Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch of the West
(Image via: http://www.buzzfeed.com/tommywes/the-hollywood-magic-behind-the-wizard-of-oz)

Today, I just have a quick update on my Rumpelstiltskin inspired Regency Halloween costume: accessory time!  

The first item on my agenda was a ruffly chemisette.  The body pieces sort of started out as those included in the Sense & Sensibility Regency Underthings Pattern...however, from there, I just made it up.  And, it seemed to work as I am rather pleased with the finished product!  Made from plain white cotton (actually the fabric intended for a mock up, but I rather liked the stark contrast with the black and gold of the dress).    

Next, I wanted some kind of fancy, braided updo after stumbling upon this Renaissance hairpiece:

(Image via: http://en.dawanda.com/product/16756154-Renaissance-Gothic-Mittelalter-Frisur-Haarteil#product_gallery)

I started by making a base "crown" from plastic boning and bias tape.  Then, I went to the local Sally's Beauty Supply and bought a couple of packages of extremely long, loose, fake hair, each around two dollars.  What a frustrating(!) mess working with all that fake hair turned out to be...So I decided to make it simple and attempt an easier hairstyle like this one:

(Image via: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/404409241512043078/)

I attempted to weave a net like the one above out of smaller braids; however, that plan proved much too difficult as the fake hair decided to be nothing but uncooperative.  So, remembering this intricate Elizabethan hairstyle (picture below), I decided to add a velvet puff to the hairband instead of a woven net.

(Image via: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/404409241510213295/)

Finally, this is the hairpiece/turban thingy that I came up with:

What fun, I am excited for the trick-or-treaters tonight and will be on the porch spinning straw into gold on my drop spindle...stay tuned for full costume photos and have a Happy Halloween!

October 29, 2014

When I Was an 1855 Seminary Teacher...

"A people without the knowledge of their past history, 
origin and culture is like a tree without roots."
~Marcus Garvey

This past Columbus Day was the last day of the regular season at the Genesee Country Museum, so this post is quite overdue...In other words, yippee, I survived my first season as an interpreter!  In fact, my lead gave me a terrific evaluation that ended with "all in all she has done extremely well this season, and I look forward to her future involvement here in the village if that is in her plans."  (Um...yes, yes, YES - I totally want to interpret again next year!!)

First, I want to shout out a huge thank you to all of my fellow seminarians, coworkers & Ward-Hovey staff for making it such a terrific first season!!  The museum is the best place I have ever had the privilege of working at with the kindest people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing!  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

In addition to my internship this season, I had the privilege of interpreting in the Romulus Female Seminary, a private school for girls founded in 1855,  on alternating "A" weekends.  The museum "interpreters" help bring the museum to life - dressed in period correct clothing, we are stationed in the various historical building to help bridge the past to the present.  We take the place of a stationary exhibit, engaging visitors in discussion about various historical topics related to the aspects of 19th century life represented in our respective buildings.  For instance, some of the main themes of the seminary are discussing the history of the building itself, 19th century education and the everyday life of a female student who may have attended the seminary in 1855.

I definitely had an overall positive experience - loving all of the different museum events I had the chance to work (1812 & Civil War weekend, felting during the Fiddler's Fair & Fiber Fest, running a calling card activity during Laura Ingalls Wilder Weekend, and so many more), all of the interesting stories and tidbits from visitors and all of the "pop quizzes" I gave my "students."  Not only is the history of the building and 19th century education fascinating, but the interactive environment of the seminary really adds another positive dynamic to the visitors’ living history museum stay.  There was nothing better than having a classroom full of children eager to try out the old fashioned ink pens and slates!  I really had a lot of fun with the "teacher"role quizzing them on the curriculum they may have learned in 1855 by asking what they study at their schools’ today.  And, honestly, I learned just as much (and so much more) from the guests this season as I hope they learned from me!

Now, having been an 1855 seminary teacher for the summer, it's time for a history lesson...

Early Beginnings for Female Education:  

(Image via: https://yesteryearsnews.wordpress.com/2009/03/11/a-common-substantive-of-the-masculine-gender/)

Just around the turn of the 19th century, private "select" schools emerged in upstate New York to offer girls opportunities in higher education.  These private academies were only established in part to give wealthy girls equivalent educations to their male counterparts; and more so to meet the concerns of churches that young ladies would be properly instructed to lead morally upright lives within their homes, and within this so called cult of domesticity.  By the mid-19th century, the focus of education came to reflect an expanding economic front in commerce and manufacturing.  Schools were instructed to promote practical and useful knowledge, as well as the much valued areas of classical learning.

The Romulus Female Seminary: 

The Romulus Female Seminary was founded in 1855 and built on what is now known as Cayuga Street by the grocer, Enos Smith Vail.  In fact, ironically, the only particular student that we know attended this particular seminary was Vail's son, James, who served as both the janitor and bell ringer while he received his education here (a fact I make sure the young gentlemen visitors hear before they run out of the "girls'" school).  Two of the most common questions referring to the building I received were does "seminary" refer to priests and was this a boarding school.  First, I assure them that "seminary" in this case refers to a school of higher learning (training female priests would be much too radical for 1855!) and, second, this school was purposefully established in Romulusville so that the girls would not have to be sent away to board.

(Image via: http://backroadstraveller.blogspot.com/2014/06/the-romulus-female-seminary.html

Built towards the end of the Greek Revival period, the school's architecture models the basic elements of the style with two square columns supporting a wide portico and pediment.  The inside features a washroom to the right, cloak room to the left and spacious classroom.  The outhouse is around the back.  In 1883, however, the seminary closed, most likely due to financial problems with the dawning of free, public, high school educations.  The building was then purchased by the Presbyterian Church of Romulus and converted into its chapel.  (And, one of my most memorable visitors this season said she actually remembered having her girl scout meetings and Sunday school in this building!)

There is also an interesting article here discussing further what became of the building after the school closed: http://www.co.seneca.ny.us/history/The%20Romulus%20Female%20Seminary.pdf

More recently, the building was acquired and moved to its current site in 1969-1970.  In fact, in 2009, the museum received two large grants that allowed it to transform the previous stationary exhibit into the interactive space proudly used for educational programs today.  Changes, based off extensive research of typical 1850s seminaries, were made including returning the chimney and cylinder stove back to their original location in the center of the room, removing the door at the rear of the building, adding a raised platform for the teacher, and refurnishing the building with reproductions based off 1850s models.

Basics of Student Lives & School Operations:

The Romulus Female Seminary served as a day school for perhaps twenty girls, educating them in the manners and mores of proper society as well as offering aspects of classical education.  Tuition was charged by the semester, with extra fees (an additional eight dollars) for specific courses like the finer arts and music.  At eight dollars a semester, three semesters a year, the expenses added up quickly.  Families not only had to afford the monetary cost, but spare the extra pair of hands at home; thus, these students would be from upper and middle class homes and were not needed as labor.  Few students completed their educations, as they were of marriage age and good breeding, though some could have attended college to become teachers.

The many rules and regulations of the Romulus Female Seminary that governed the lives of students inside and outside of the building.  Make sure to read number 21 - a favorite with many of the visiting teachers, students not so much...

It is assumed that the teachers of this seminary were single, young women with degrees from "normal schools," schools that were specifically established to train teachers, or high school diplomas from similar academies.  The typical annual salary for a teacher was two-hundred dollars a year and they required boarding provisions.  According to census data, in 1860, Etta Hocomb, 19 years of age, served as the teacher at the Romulus seminary and boarded with the 79-year-old farmer, Thomas Biscay, and his wife, Hanna.  Likewise, in 1870, Clara Note, 18 years of age, was the teacher and boarded with the Swarthout family.  

Mid-19th Century Curriculum:

The specific curriculum that was offered at the Romulus Female Seminary is unknown; however, we interpret a general curriculum that was typical of other mid-19th century female seminaries.  Quite comparable to the modern high school curriculum, students received a rather progressive, well-rounded, liberal arts education.  The basic courses of classical learning included: history (ancient & modern), philosophy, logic, physiology, geography, math (simple arithmetic, algebra, geometry & trigonometry), and English (grammar, literature, rhetoric, writing, spelling, elocution and penmanship).  Languages, such as French and Latin, the most popular, as well as Greek, German, Italian and Spanish, were taught along with sciences like chemistry and astronomy.  Religion - Biblical history, theology, morality and spirituality - was strongly emphasized and influenced curriculum.

Finer arts like music, often piano, guitar and voice lessons, were offered as well as classes in character development and deportment.  Women, surprisingly, often had more of an academic background before branching off into the "Belles Lettres," receiving instruction in drawing, painting, fancy needlework and embroidery.  Daily exercise such as walking outside and dancing were also required.  Together, instruction in these various accomplishments would make a young lady more proper, desirable and, ultimately, marriageable in the eyes of high society.

The offered curriculum, as well as a view of one of the beautiful, hand-painted window shades.

Below is an excerpt from The Course of Study offered by the Rochester Seminary for Young Ladies:

Primary scholars will be taught the rudiments of Arithmetic, Geography, History of the United States, Reading, Writing and Spelling.  The following scheme gives a view of the studies of each year as pursued in regular order.  The Course may be varied, if desirable.  

First Year
First Half Term - Review of Modern Geography, Arithmetic, Ancient Geography, Physiology, Latin Grammar.
Second Half Term - Ancient History, Botany commenced, Algebra, Latin Reader.

Second Year
First Half Term - Ancient History completed, Rhetoric, Algebra completed.  English Grammar, Sacred History from the Bible.
Second Half Term - Modern History commenced, Geometry, a Modern Language, Astronomy.

Junior Year
First Half Term - Modern History, Geometry, Chemistry, a Modern Language or Latin.
Second Half Term - Geology, Moral Philosophy, Trigonometry, Ancient or Modern Language.

Senior Year
First Half Term - Geology, Moral Philosophy, Trigonometry, Ancient or Modern Language.
Second Half Term - Mental Philosophy, Butler's Analogy, General Literature, and review of other studies in connection with English Composition.

Current Display Features:  The major furnishings of the Romulus Female Seminary include the reproduction student benches and desks, each equipped with slates and soapstone pieces (a mineral substituted for chalk that wielders often use and we prefer because it lasts longer, feels nicer, and comes without the residue.)

We also are supplied with plenty of paper, ink and calligraphy pens to encourage visitors to try their hands at our fancy script alphabet!  In the mid-1800s, children as young as age five would have begun learning cursive in their one room school houses, while many of my school age scholars have never written in cursive before.  (All season long, many parents stated their displeasure at cursive having been removed from their children's curriculum.)

The cylinder stove, located in the center of the room, kept students from freezing during the cold, harsh, upstate New York winters.  Only the best writers would have occupied the desks closest to the stove to keep their ink from freezing (now how's that for motivation...)

Another highlight of the building is the square grand piano, or pianoforte, made of rosewood, cast iron legs and ivory keys.  It is playable and many accomplished pianists graced us with their talents this season!

You can not have a school without proper teaching equipment - a chalkboard, various maps (including a period correct map of the State, two of the country and one of the world), and a well stocked science department with plenty of shells, fossils, plants and stuffed birds to study.  

A world map depicting British trade routes and possessions - my personal favorite
as it is the only map I've ever seen with the Americas on the left side. 

The thirty star flag of time & an early 19th century map of the United States.

The classroom "pets" - a Wardian Case, named for the gent who invented it, or, as it is better known, a terrarium.  Inside, an oyster plant, strawberry begonia, snake's tongue and ivy called this self-sufficient environment home.  On the floor next to the case stands a mother of a thousand plant that bloomed all summer long.

The class vasculum, often mistaken for its later use as a lunchbox, which would have been
filled with water and used to transport live botanical specimens for further study.

And, finally, of course, the antique teacher's desk with a teacher prepared and ready for her next class of young scholars!

Dressed in my best schoolmarm attire.
The view from the teacher's desk.

Helpful Links Referenced:

October 27, 2014

Rumpelstiltskin Progress Report

The idea for a Rumpelstiltskin inspired  Regency dress took flight and after four days of sewing, the dress is finished!  I am very pleased with how the dress turned out, especially because a majority of it is hand sewn, skills I have been practicing throughout my internship.

The first part I took on was the bodice.  I adapted a previous attempt at draping for the pattern and set straight to work assembling a basic square neckline bodice, flat lined with black cotton.  I then folded over and whip stitched the back opening and applied hook and eye tape (reused from another costume).  On the bottom edge, I added a 1" band to serve as both a decorative band and a way to hide the skirt attachment.

Making the sleeves was a process of trial and error.  The long sleeve was simple and straightforward - just a basic straight sleeve shape with plenty of gathering at the shoulder.  However, the short, decorative sleeve puff was a nightmare because cheap polyester chiffon is a very, very unfriendly material.  Most of it had to be sewn by hand, though I did use the machine to do the gathering (make sure to securely knot the ends!) and hemming (I found that fray check was too messy for this project).

Side view of gathered sleeve.

So if you ever find yourself having to work with chiffon, here are my tips & tricks:
  1. Have plenty of material, extra is even better!  It took nearly a yard and a half for those sleeves and several do-overs...
  2. Cut all pieces single layer, chiffon tends to move as you cut.  You'll end up with two different shaped pieces if you try double layers.  
  3. Best trick: iron and spray starch each piece before sewing.  The result is amazing!  It makes the fabric less slippery and gives it the texture of organza, which is a lot easier to work with.   
  4. Use this method to narrow hem chiffon by machine - it will save you hours of frustration!  Tutorial found here: http://thehabygoddess.blogspot.com/2013/02/tutorial-how-to-hem-chiffon-and-other.html

Inside sleeve detail.

Trimming also was a process full of many trials and attempts.  After trying several different designs, I finally settled on just sewing tabs around the edge, tacking pretty buttons on the centers and binding the edge with black cotton bias tape.

Original design. 

Finished design front.

Finished design back.

The second part I tackled was the skirt.  Easy peasy compared the the first part - I just ripped two panels for a total 90" circumference, seamed and flat felled them and stitched on a 3" black cotton hem facing.  Then, I narrow hemmed an opening, and balanced the skirt with full gathers in the back and tiny pleats in the front.

Hem facing detail.

After binding the skirt with 1" bias tape, I securely whip stitched it onto the inside of the bodice.  And, ta da, a finished Rumpelstiltskin Regency dress!

Overlapping closure detail.

A view of the "gown guts"

Finished in time for and first worn during the annual trick or treat in the village event - which, by the way, was a whole candy bucket of fun!  The three of us painted children's faces and hands non-stop from noon to four...and, last I heard, the count for the event was 1500+ visitors (and I'm pretty sure we painted each one of their faces)!

Couldn't resist, Hello Kitty is just so cute!

Next on the sewing list: accessories to finish my costume...

October 21, 2014

Regency Meet Rumpelstiltskin

"Round about, round about,
    Lo and behold!
  Reel away, reel away,
    Straw into gold!"
And round about the wheel went merrily; the work was quickly done, and the straw was all spun into gold.

~ Excerpt from Grimm's Fairy Tales translated by Marian Edwardes & 
Edgar Taylor, via Project Gutenburg

It's beginning to look a lot like Halloween everywhere you go...and it's time for another Halloween themed event!  With the 1848 ghost walk over and done with last Friday (costume still in progress, perhaps it could be used for next year's ghost walk), it's time to focus on the Trick or Treat event in the village this coming Sunday.  I've been signed up to do the face painting - this should be an adventure - and, of course I'll need a fun, child-friendly costume!

I've been mulling over several ideas...Rapunzel, Briar Rose, Little Red Riding Hood...and settled on the miller's daughter from Rumpelstiltskin!

Rumpelstiltskin spinning straw into gold.
An illustration from Paul O. Zelinsky's Rumpelstiltskin.
(Image via:  http://alvarson.tumblr.com/post/49049521047/fairytalemood-rumpelstiltskin-illustrated-by)

In the retold and illustrated version of the Grimm's classic fairy tale, Rumpelstiltskin by Paul O. Zelinsky, the miller's daughter is painted in rich, vibrant orange fabrics.  And, I had recently started a pumpkin colored Regency-ish dress - so the idea clicked and stuck!  I've always been a huge fan of Zelinsky's work - his illustrations are just so brilliant and lively.  (In fact, I've had the greatest pleasure of meeting him a couple of times and own just about every one of his books - signed too!)

The poor miller's daughter.
An illustration from Paul O. Zelinsky's Rumpelstiltskin.
(Image via:  http://alvarson.tumblr.com/post/49049521047/fairytalemood-rumpelstiltskin-illustrated-by)

While I'm not actually planning on doing a recreation of Zelinsky's portrayal of the miller's daughter, I'm not intending to create a period piece either.  Instead, this will just be a fun, Regency meet Rumpelstiltskin, Halloween costume!

Dress Inspiration:  A work in progress, the bodice is about half-way to completion and the skirt panels are ready to be gathered and attached.  Make sure to take a look at Katherine's fabulous Orange 1820s Dress of Doom, those sleeves(!), at her blog, The Fashionable Past.

Portrait of Varvara S. Dolgorukaya, painted by Henri-Fran├žois Riesener.
(Image via: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Varvara_Gagarina_Riesener.jpg)

Journal des Dames et des Modes, 1812.
(Image via: http://damesalamode.tumblr.com/post/12113743067/journal-des-dames-et-des-modes-1812-i-thought)

Dinner Dress from Jan. 1, 1825 World of Fashion.
(Image via: http://historicalsewing.com/a-gown-for-a-new-years-party)

Dress c.1823-1825.  McCord Museum.
(Image via: http://www.mccord-museum.qc.ca/scripts/large.php?accessnumber=M20555.1-2&Lang=1&imageID=301900

Accessory Inspiration:  It's going to be quite chilly, so for sure I'll need a chemisette!  Take a look at this stunning chemisette at Kleidung um 1800, one of my favorite costume blogs.

Chemisette c.1800-1820.  Snowshill Wade Costume Collection.
(Image via: http://www.nationaltrustcollections.org.uk/object/1349950)

Collar c.1807.  The Metropolitan Museum of Arts.
(Image via: http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/85338?rpp=60&pg=1&ao=on&ft=collar+1807&when=A.D.+1800-1900&pos=29)

Helpful Links Referenced: 

October 11, 2014

Pokeberries & Pumpkins

 Whenever I'm asked what college I'm at I say with a smile that I've decided to take a gap year to pursue my interests.  They usually then return the smile and reply that they or someone they know took a gap year to travel abroad and it changed their lives.  I feel more fortunate than words can convey.  I didn't have to travel any farther than my own backyard to have a life changing experience.  My internship at the Genesee Country Museum is really and truly the best thing I've ever had the privilege of doing!

I just submitted my couple page write up for week fourteen and I think it's time to give you all an update of what I've been doing there:

September 18, 2014:  I spend Thursdays in the costume shop with Bevin, Cheryl and Wilma and it has become a much-welcomed weekly habit.  In fact, Bevin mentioned that we are ahead of schedule on the Sophia Project, which is pleasing to hear.  This time, I spent the entire day practicing my hand sewing.  Both front openings of the wrapper needed to be turned under and whip stitched closed.  Lucky for me, I had cut the front edges along the selvage edge, just like the original, which made measuring and ironing much easier.  By the end of the day, both sides were neatly stitched and my finger was very grateful for using a thimble.

Making progress on the Sophia Project!

September 21, 2014:  I had the pleasure of joining craftsperson Ron T. again at Keiffer.  Not only do I enjoy Ron’s company, I look forward to a day full of his jokes that never fail to amuse...his remark on flax seeds and I quote: “from seed to shining sea,” a line he had been waiting to drop all week.

Unfortunately, the downpour and later threats of rain kept us indoors most of the day, giving me the chance to get acquainted with a great wheel again.  This time, I hand-carded the wool and spun on Ron’s personal walking wheel.  He also demonstrated a few more techniques like giving an extra twist to better control thickness and to keep the yarn from untwisting.  Later that afternoon, I evaluated his flax demonstration and the clarity of his outline for the symposium workshop, “beginnin’ to linen.”

September 25, 2014:  Taking a break from the Sophia project, Wilma put me to work on winter petticoats, a popular and much-needed item for the interpreters out in the village during the colder parts of the season.  While she finished a stack of red, flannel petticoats, I returned to the heavy-weight linen panels I tore for two warm petticoats one of the last times I was in costuming.  All morning, I worked on seaming the panels, hemming the plackets and creating waistbands out of strips of white linen.  In the afternoon, I employed the divide and conquer method, matching medians to evenly distribute fullness, to pleat both skirt lengths into their respective waistbands.  Once both petticoats were pinned in place, I used the machine to secure them; the fabric was so thick that I had to lift the presser foot each time I came to a pleat.  Finally, I finished the day with some hand-stitching, using a heavy-duty thread to whipstitch the waistbands closed.  

Note: Instead on an "experience day" this week, I picked up extra hours interpreting and teaching children 1855 script lessons in the Romulus Female Seminary.  In fact, we weekend interpreters were told that the museum broke a record this year with 1200 plus visitors during Smithsonian Day, the annual date that museums across the nation offer free admission!

October 2, 2014:  With the museum season coming to a close and preparations for the two last special event tours underway, the decision has been made to place the Sophia Project on hold for the rest of the month.  Instead, I will be spending my time in the costume shop helping Cheryl and Wilma prepare the interpreters for winter weather and the Yuletide tours.  This time, I was tasked with finishing the two linen petticoats I worked on last Thursday; both petticoats needed three inch hems.  All morning, I worked at the ironing board, measuring and ironing the half inch turned under and three inch hem.  Securing the hems by hand with an uneven running stitch then took the rest of the day.

October 4, 2014: The first day of the museum’s annual agricultural festival!  I was stationed at Kieffer to assist Ron and Dawn at the dye pots.  Most of the dyeing was done in the morning.  We had a few mordants, substances used to prepare yarn for color, cochineal dye, which produces vibrant pinks and purples, as well as Prussian blue dye heating over the fires.

Cochineal on the left & Prussian blue on the right.

Visitors and I alike were fascinated by the Prussian blue, created by a chemical reaction between potassium ferrocyanide and sulfuric acid.  At first a neon yellow-green, the dye faded with heat and time to a dark green and turned into the brilliant, Prussian blue color.

For the rest of the afternoon, Ron did his flax to linen thread demonstration, Dawn spun wool on her European castle wheel and I helped direct visitors to the table display.  On the table, we had a pumpkin filled with wool yarn soaking in poke berry juice and a dye pot with indigo leftover from the morning.

Our pot of green indigo.

Wool yarn skeins dyed with indigo.
(Image via: http://www.wildcolours.co.uk/html/indigo.html)

A popular 19th century source of blue, indigo is a dye extracted from the leaves of a tropical plant that are harvested in the second year, fermented and pressed into a cake.  And, as I found out, indigo actually dyes a dark green color that only turns blue when introduced to oxygen.  (Read more about indigo dye here: http://www.wildcolours.co.uk/html/indigo.html.) 

October 5, 2014:  Day two was of the agricultural festival!  And again I had the delightful opportunity to join Ron and Dawn for dyeing at Kieffer.  The morning brought tending to three fires and dye baths of a tin mordant and of Saxon blue dye.

We received varied results from the Saxon blue dye, a combination of indigo, sulfuric acid and chalk, because of differences in preparation, fiber content and troubles with unfreezing the solidified dye.  The two dyeing experts then spent the rest of the day attempting to reduce the color differences with an alum bath and overdyeing.  

For the rest of the afternoon, Ron did his flax demonstrations, Dawn knit and kept the fire burning, and I, recalling all that I learned from them yesterday, interpreted the table presentation.

These colorful bottles of mordants were part of the table display.

Mostly I discussed sources of 19th century reds as we had the pumpkin and pokeberry dye display as well as a bottle of cochineal.  I began by asking our young visitors if they had a large sum of money to afford cochineal - an expensive dye made from the female beetle that lives on prickly pear cactus.  Collected when dead, the beetles are crushed and used for bright pink and purple dyes.  (Did you know at one time Starbucks used cochineal as a dye in their strawberry frappuccinos?  Yum, it was banned after people heard their drinks contained crushed beetles...)  

Wool dyed with cochineal.
(Image via: http://www.cochinealdye.com/html/cochineal-extract_0.html)

All of the children shook their heads no, so I replied that their red clothes would have been died with madder root or with pokeberry juice.  To dye with pokeberries, the museum followed an original 19th century recipe.  Gather about a bushel of berries (very easy as they are a common weed around here), squish for the juice and strain out the seeds.  Then, hollow out a pumpkin, fill with pokeberry juice diluted with water and submerge your yarn.  Leave the wool in the pumpkin for 10 days, stirring daily to ensure even dyeing.

Dyeing with pokeberry juice in a pumpkin.

Poke berry plant & dyed yarn.  Do NOT try to make a snack out of pokeberries,
birds can eat them but they are poisonous to humans!

Why the pumpkin?  Probably the most asked question of the day - Ron suggested that, in addition to being an available vessel, the fermenting and tannin in the pumpkin may help the dye.  There is a great article in ALFAM's 2014 spring bulletin: "Pokeberries and Pumpkins" by Karen Cox (page 15) - so make sure to check it out!

All in all, another amazing experience that proves to me that I belong in a field where I can share a love for connecting the past with the present.

Helpful Links Referenced:

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