Busy Conference Season

Well that month flew by! In October I attended no less than three conferences! The first was the annual meeting of the New York Association of European Historians held in Albany. It was great to reconnect with friends and engage in conversations about the state of the field of history in NY academia, as well as people’s interesting presentations. Bonus to that weekend was the gorgeous drive through the Adirondack Mountains while the leaves were turning color!

Then I was off to the embroidery conference at Winterthur Museum, which was amazing! More friendly people with a shared interest and a schedule packed with wonderful speakers. My days also included workshops – a tour of their rare book collection (which of course led to talking about pattern books!), a visit to the conservation lab to hear about how they assess and prepare embroidered textiles for display, and two days with Tricia of Thistle Threads getting personalized instruction on the needlelace portion of a sampler kit some of us bought. Doesn’t look like the kit is on her website, but if you aren’t familiar with the hard-to-come-by historical threads and supplies that she makes available, check it out.

Last weekend was the biennial symposium of the Textile Society of America in Savannah, Georgia. Four intense days of talks, gallery tours, walks about town, and a market dedicated to textile arts and education. Amongst the almost 400 attendees from around the world, there were curators from major museums, professors, artists, students, authors, activists… such a knowledgable, talented, giving, and diverse group. I made new friends! My panel was Saturday morning at the super early hour of 8am. Even so, it was well attended (there was a five-track schedule), people were generous with their feedback, and I feel good about it!

The other thing that made October so busy was writing fellowship applications and a research proposal for an early application to a PhD program that I am super hopeful about. I’m catching my breath for a few days and then NaNoWriMo will be starting! A group of us are committing to writing our theses for the event. Yikes! Lots of writing ahead! Clear the decks! 😀


Nice Reviews!

Oh look! An age hasn’t passed since my last update! 😀 I just received the latest issue of the Costume Society Newsletter for Autumn 2016, and the two students who attended as Bursary winners wrote summaries of their experiences of the Manchester conference. They both included nice reviews of my talk!

The advice I had received … was to be open to every single talk; that titles in my programme could not be used to judge the lecture that would follow. This was much needed advice, as previously I had not seen the interest in Early Modern Needlework Pattern Books: Designs for Democracy, or in The Rise of the Fashionable Mass Produced Blouse: 1914-1918, design manufacture and consumption. Yet both of these held my fascination till the end. I saw their impact on the world around them and the people’s lives in which they were entwined. The speakers of both these lectures must be thanked and congratulated, as they were incredibly engaging and informative.

Thanks, Lily Batsford! I’m glad my genuine passion for my topic comes through when I share with others.

Ellie Birch wrote at length about how I confirmed aspects of her own dissertation on gender inequality in Early Modern Britain. She starts by saying that I gave “a fascinating talk on the topic of Early Modern Needlework Pattern Books: Designs for Democracy...” Thanks, Ellie! I wish we’d been able to talk more about our shared interest.

Best wishes to both of them in their studies, and I hope to see them next year!

Summer Update

A brief run-down of amazing events: I finished my first year of grad-school, the Versailles Ball was magical, I did research at the national library in Paris, I presented a successful conference paper in England for the Costume Society, I buzzed around the UK with my daughter seeing new sights and doing research, I received conference travel grants from the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women as well as my university, and there are exciting opportunities developing for my PhD! I’m feeling very relieved, hopeful, thankful, inspired, and TIRED.

Versailles 2016 dressed for a court ball

Versailles 2016 dressed for a court ball

Me with French & American friends

Me with French & American friends



I love talking about the pattern books!

I love talking about the pattern books! (photo by Shaun Cole)

Idyllic Suffolk County, England

Idyllic Suffolk County, England


Manchester, UK

Manchester, UK

Conferences in 2016

More amazing news today! I have been invited to speak at the annual conference of the UK Costume Society! I am so honored and excited! While we were living in Paris, I was lucky enough to attend two of their conferences. I met the most wonderful people and learned so much that really, it was there that the seed was planted to go back to school. It’s exciting to already have an opportunity to share back with the community that gave me so much encouragement. See you in Manchester!

Costume Society 2016

2015 Babel Conference

The Babel Conference Off the Books was amazing! The presentations that attended were thought-provoking and inspiring, and I really appreciated when the panel had planned a lot of time for discussion. My paper was on 16th-17th century needlework pattern books and how they were often destroyed in the process of using them. I got lots of supportive comments and heard that I even helped another scholar solve a mystery about the 16th c. editions of Chaucer books she was studying! It was a wonderful group of people in general, and I also enjoyed Toronto. Yay for new friends!


This picture was taken by someone who tweeted about my talk! photo cred @KristinNoone

Conferences Upcoming and CFPs

I completely missed writing a post for July! Granted, I was away for half the month to visit family, but still.

I’ve collected several conference notices of Calls For Papers (CFP). I’m wary of adding voluntary homework on top of starting my master’s program next month, but I guess that would be a good problem to have, right? As I evaluate each, I’m considering how my topic of Early Modern needlework and needlework pattern books could be interpreted through the lens of the conference theme. The exercise helps me expand my research scope by turning it upside down and looking at it from new angles.

So I guess August will be all about writing abstracts to submit to 2016 conferences, and also writing my short talk for the 2015 Babel Meeting! I’ll be presenting October 11th, Session 26 – Books in and of the World: Objects and Interfaces, at Toronto University. I’ll share images and research about how Early Modern needlework pattern books were created for destruction. In case you are interested in learning more, here is a link to the full program. Maybe I’ll see you there! Babel 2015 program

Changes, improvements, upgrades

My paper at the Medieval and Renaissance Forum was very well received! What a relief! I got great feedback and lots of encouragement to keep going with my research as well as pursuing higher academic degrees. Grad school here I come! I was also invited to share my paper at another conference in October! What a great start to my career as a scholar. In future updates to my website I plan to include a link to some of my written work.

In preparation for my big trip to London, I’ve had a couple of things on my mind. One is that I want to start preparing to raise my skill level as an embroiderer. I signed up for an online embroidery course with Mastered which looks like it will help me with breaking through some of my creative inhibitions. I also want to have a smashing good website before I go. Last week I participated in a webinar on website development with Mastered and Mr. X and was selected for one of the three case-studies. I got great feedback there too and you can see I took action on some of the suggestions by the changes I’ve made since the last time you were here. I have more in-store!


Conference speaker

I’ve been chosen to speak at the Plymouth University 35th Annual Medieval and Renaissance Forum in April! My topic is authorship of early modern embroidery pattern books and their audience with the resulting affect on society. I’m excited to write this paper and share!