Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Remembrance Day 2015

Every year around November 19th, Gettysburg celebrates Remembrance Day. Abraham Lincoln dedicated the Gettysburg National Cemetery on November 19, 1863 with the Gettysburg Address; this date is technically called Dedication Day and the Gettysburg Address is read on that day. The Saturday of that week is Remembrance Day to honor the soldiers who died during the Civil War; this has occurred since 1863. The modern celebration weekend includes a parade, vendors and several balls.

This year I stayed in Gettysburg for the whole weekend at the Brick House Inn on Baltimore Street, right on the parade route. The Brick House consists of two houses actually. One built in the 1890s and another built in the 1830s and was there during the Battle of Gettysburg.

Civil War House

Our room was in the Civil War house; unfortunately, the inside of the house has been completely redone for bedrooms so very little of the original interior still exists. But our room was really nice and looked out over Baltimore St.

My husband came out for the event so this was nice for the two of us. He flew into BWI, so we didn't get to Gettysburg until around 4:00. He had never been to Gettysburg so I tried to introduce him to the various things I like about the town; the Inn was a good start. By the time we got checked in and settled in we were both starving. Getting into any of the main dining rooms was impossible at this late stage but we walked down to the Dobbin House and ate in the tavern.

We originally had not made any plans for Friday night; however, before the weekend I was able to get tickets for Joy Melcher's Remembrance Day Ball on Friday night. My husband only dresses out for the balls. This ball is held at the Eisenhower Hotel a bit out of town in a modern ballroom. The band was Beck's Philadelphia Brigade Band. It was the same band that played with the Chester County Choral Society at their CW 150th event. The only problem I find with Joy's balls is the way the dance master calls the dances. We are shown the dance, we are walked through the dance and then finally we get to dance; the majority of the time is getting to the dance rather than dancing.

Saturday was a  beautiful day. A bit chilly but not bone chilly cold as other years.I wore my very first conference dress and the paletot I bought from a friend and was plenty warm enough.

The breakfast at the Inn is amazing. It includes a dessert as well. Once breakfast was over we headed out to see the town and of course shop. My husband bought me some wonderful earrings.

As usual there were Confederate musicians playing on the square. These guys are really good.

We headed back to the Inn to secure seats on the porch for the parade. Along the way we met friends and invited them to join us at the Inn along with others also staying at the Brick House.

The Inn is a wonderful vantage point to watch the parade.

Additional parade photos can be seen here.

After the parade some of the us took a "pretty on the porch" photo.

Saturday night we attended the Remembrance Day Ball at the Lutheran Seminary Refectory.

This ball is hosted by Gettysburg Civil War Dance, Norma Calhoun and Wayne Belt. The proceeds from this ball go to the Land Conservancy of Adams County. This ball is smaller than most during the weekend; however, I really enjoyed this one. Period dress is not required. Smash the Windows played and was wonderful.The caller could be a bit gruff and a bit of a perfectionist. He walked us through some of the dances, but only once and then it was danced. There were several there who knew the dances and that really helped keep things going. They host dances in Fairfield on a regular basis to teach period dancing.

We finished our weekend in Gettysburg with lunch at Garryowen's, a visit to Needle and Thread (of course), the Visitor's Center, and a special drive through the battlefield with Don and Carolann Schmitt. We had a great weekend and were sorry to see it end.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Braid Work

My next Genteel Arts workshop was held in Hamden, Connecticut. I have a good friend that lives in Hamden so it was a must attend. This was a great class! Learned several techniques I wasn't familiar with.

Carolann started with a lecture with images of various uses of braid work as well as a display of originals. The following are all from the collection of Carolann Schmitt.

Carolann provided us with a kit that included all the threads, fabric, and paper we would need. Our handouts included braiding patterns. Also included with the kit were these really cool FriXion pens from Pilot. They erase with heat so can be used on most fabrics and the lines disappear when ironed.

The first project we worked on was braid work appropriate for cuffs and collars. We traced a pattern onto lightweight fabric using the FriXion pens.

We then filled the pattern using our sewing machines and different weights of thread.

When completed we ironed over the design to erase the tracing marks.

I really like the way this turns out. The little curly ques can prove to be a challenge, but I think with practice and a bit more patience I could do an acceptable job of this. 

The next project was a small pillow top or pin cushion. The tracing technique was using chalk and paper piercing.

After pricking the paper, it needs to be smoothed on the back side.

The pattern is then laid on the fabric and chalk powder is used to mark the pattern. Be sure to test any chalk you use to ensure it will brush away completely. We used cotton balls to gently brush the chalk over the design so it will transfer through the perforation onto the fabric. 

The rest of the work is done by hand. The pattern is filled in with cording sewn down with evenly spaced stitched. My thread broke during this part so my design is a bit cock-eyed.

Contrasting cording can be woven through the first cording to enhance the design.

The next process was using stitch and tear. We traced our pattern onto tracing paper and then pricked it as above. Rather than using chalk to make the pattern we sewed the paper directly on the fabric. This can be done by machine or by hand as in the project above. I chose to sew the cording down by hand.

We worked a little with satouche braiding as well.

And we learned to make twisted cording; unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of that.

This was a wonderful workshop! I learned so many new techniques, as embellishment was not a strong point for me. I hope to use some of these newly learned skills soon.