Monday, November 12, 2007

I Saw Three Ships

No, not those three ships, and no, it's not quite Christmas yet. We went to Jamestown last Saturday with a Smithsonian study tour. It was certainly more intense and educationally oriented than the average tour group, but still quite fun . We went first to Historic Jamestown, an active archeological site at the original landing and fort site. We got to stand literally inside the place where they were digging.
Check out the flint in the center of the photo. It was originally mined in Dover, England, and hauled onto the ships to be used for ballast during the voyage. Once in America, they were repurposed as wall-filler. Very frugal. I can dig that. (Hah! Archeology joke! Seriously, they were selling "I dig Jamestown" T-shirts.)

We then went to Jamestown Settlement, a life-sized living history recreation. They have full-size replicas of the Susan Constance, Godspeed, and Discovery too. The ships were much smaller than I thought. We went on board the Susan Constance and the living space they had for about 40 or so people is probably smaller than many American living rooms today. Can you imagine being trapped in your living room with 40 strangers for 4 months?


There was also a recreated Powhatan village. Unfortunately our tour went through after the dyeing-with-berries demo, but we got to see the results:
I think it's a plant fiber, and I don't think it's intended for clothing, since they seemed to wear mostly leather. On the whole, there wasn't much on textiles at either site. The original English settlers were all men, and even after the colony was more established (i.e. they weren't starving anymore and could start families), the colonists spent all their time on tobacco, using the profits to buy already prepared goods, like spun fiber and woven cloth from across the ocean. Though this was reflected in the exhibits, the gift shops had no problems with selling fiber related toys, like baby looms and drop spindles. I picked up a lucet.
It came with some ecru kitchen cotton, but I might try using some ribbon yarn instead. I don't like knitting with ribbon so much, though I've got a few skeins in my ever-growing stash.

3 comments:

~Tonia~ said...

Looks like a fun time. Lucets are fun to play with and are nice and small for easy travel.

Secret said...

Mia,

Looks like fun!

Jinann said...

What a fun trip! I love the color of the berry dyed yarn - it's "yummy"!