Mary Wright Alsop's Needlecase
In March, I visited the Concord Museum to see their exhibit "Fresh Goods: Shopping for Clothing in a New England town, 1750-1900." It was there that I discovered two beautiful knit needlecases made by Mary Wright Alsop (1740-1829). As soon as I saw them, I knew that I would have to try my hand at reproducing them!
It turns out that Mary's style was very distinctive. Other examples of her work in Winterthur's collection show the consistency in the patterns and colorwork she used across her needlework.
Before I began knitting, I had to map out the designs on a chart. I assume that Mary's knowledge and repeated use of designs means that she did all this work by memory.
The problem I did encounter when finally began to knit was all of the tedious ends of silk that would eventually have to be woven in! Keeping the tension loose was also tricky, however one of the things I love about the original needlecase is that you can see we both had the same tension issue at the edges of the work.
As for the inside of the needlecase, I had to do a bit of guesswork, as I did not see the inside of the original. I used silk satin as the lining, along with red felt pieces for the needles--all very typical in other extant needlecases.