of this collection were taken from the
Quilt History List and Vintage Fabrics on-line lists.
The name of the contributor follows the definition given.
Thank you all! Please send others you may know about to build the
DIED IN THE WOOL Dead wool is another name for pulled wool;
I believe pulled
replaced dead as a gentler description.
I figured everyone on this list would
dyed in the wool so didn't mention it. (Joan
As a spinner, I
have dyed in the wool, which is to say that I have dyed
fibers before they are spun into
the yarn. This process makes yarn
colored through the whole ply
instead of being "surface dyed" - hence if
you are a "dyed in the
wool" quiltmaker - you are a quiltmaker through
and through instead of a dead one!
Please pardon the mixed metaphor.
There is an earlier name for shoddy which is now a part of our everyday
language. During the middle ages in England one of the fine fairs looked
forward to each year was the one in St. Audrey's where merchants plied their
best cloth and later on other goods. As guilds increased and loom technology
improved, better local marketing options became available so persons did not
have to travel so far to sell or to buy. Thus St. Audrey's fair became a
site for junk
--poor quality cloth, then other cheap merchandise. Buzz word among
merchants to denote such poor cloth and other
goods sold atthat fair as well as other similar fairs was "it's a St.
Now, remember the English elision of words -- the town to our ears
would have been pronounced t'awdry which of course today is tawdry and
still conveys sleazy cheap.
Shoddy is also used to describe
remanufactured cloth that was made from
unraveling or tearing apart the
older cloth or garments and mixing the
fibers with other new fibers and
remanufacturing (spinning and weaving)
into new cloth. These were inferior
fabrics, materials, goods, stuffs -
hence shoddy came to mean poorly
made or of inferior quality. (Julia Zgliniec)
Its a shame also
that 'shoddy' came to mean low-grade goods, when it started
out as respectable re-cycling, the shredded fibers of old cloth being made
into a very firm and impervious fabric which I believe served
for soldiers and policemen’s uniforms here in the UK right up until the
advent of modern lightweight breathable and water repellent fabrics.
Burns did his excellent PBS series on the Civil War, one "fact"
that was reported was that the term shoddy came to mean poor quality
when war profiteering resulted in Union Army uniforms of such poor
quality that they literally fell apart when they were worn.
linen closet where the contents are rarely linen
heirloom denoting the
and value of woven fabric
flaxen-haired or towheaded
referring of course to the
color of flax
being on tenterhooks
suspense or under tension, from hooks on a tenter, used to stretch cloth
(Xenia Cord, the 4 above)
is fair to middling
middling being the highest grade of 9 grades of cotton;
middling being no. 5 and
the standard by which all
grades are measured
We have Lords
and Cardigan to thank for their fashion statements from their
regimental uniform designs made for the Crimean War which were and are the
raglan sleeve and cardigan jacket or neckline. (Joan Kiplinger)
get down to brass tacks" - In a mercantile store, there were
brass tacks placed along the edge of the wooden counter, on the clerk's side.
They were strategically placed at 0,1/4 yd, 1/2 yd, 3/4 yd and 1 yard or some
variation, more or less. When the lady was finished shopping for ribbon,
material, or trims, she said to the clerk "ok, let's get down to brass
your footing - from the
days when edgings, called footing, were attached to hems of long skirts and
petticoats to protect the fabric from both shoes and ground. When lifting
the skirt to step off a curb or
using the stairs for example, one needed to watch where one’s foot was placed
lest it catch on footing.
- women in general or
as in distaff side of the
Spinners should be familiar with this.
John D'Oyley who is credited
with making the first
fringed table napkin and which now refers to any small table covering.
(These three all by Joan Kiplinger)
a move on - When
Perkins discovered his lavender dye in 1856 it caused a sensation. The French
being French called the color mauve and thus it has been ever since. The color
sprouted everywhere from Queen Victoria's dress she wore to the Great Exhibition
of 1862 to penny postage stamps to even the London bobbies directing
loiterers to "get a mauve on."
(Natural Dyes and Home Dyeing by Rita Adrosko for the United States
National Museum of History and Technology, 1971, entered by Joan Kiplinger)
Originally applied to the annual allowance given to women
by their husbands
or guardians for the purchase of pins. In the nineteenth century
income earned from the sale of needlework became "pin money."
Americans relied on English imports of pins until the War of 1812
restricted imports making supplies scarce. During the war,
convicts at the Greenwich Village State Prison in New York City began
manufacturing pins under the direction of some English entrepreneurs. They continued production until the end of the war when imports resumed. In 1832 John J. Howe patented the first successful American pin machine
and twenty years later introduced a machine to
mount them in sheets for retail
(Kim Wulfert from
in Godey's Lady's Book and Magazine, January 1853.)
An earlier explanation
for pin money: As pins were homemade, there was often a scarcity and this drove
up prices. Many a feudal lord created or increased his serf's taxes so he could
afford money to pay for pins. To stem the hoarding and overindulgence of pins, a
law was passed in Britain in the late Middle Ages to allow pinmakers to sell
only on certain days of the year. This enabled the upper and lower-classes to
save and have enough pin money at market time. Once pins began to be mass
produced by machine, prices plummeted and pin money was devalued to mean a
wife's pocket money. Buttons
started to be used gradually on the aristocracy's clothes in the late 1200s and
by the 16th century all but replaced pins. (Joan Kiplinger- go to http://fabrics.net/joan101.asp
where Joan tells you more about about zippers, straight pins, buttons, snaps,
hooks& eyes and needles)