William Bradford and the Mayflower Pilgrims

December 21, 1620
William Bradford and the Mayflower Pilgrims land on what is now known as Plymouth Rock in Plymouth, Massachusetts

Here’s the needlework connection to this date:

Jacqueline Fee tells you about The Brewster Stocking from Plimoth Plantation:
“Alerted to the existence of one handknitted stocking in the textile collection of the Pilgrim Society in Plymouth, Massachusetts . . ., I immediately went to investigate. Thought to have belonged to Elder William Brewster (1567 (?)–1644), the stocking was worked in either England or Massachusetts between 1620 and 1640. Made of wool, it measures 26 inches (66.0 cm) high and would have been pulled up over the knee and secured with garters.” William Brewster, his wife, Mary, and two children were passengers on the Mayflower. To learn more about this amazing artifact, including details on the Circling Purls pattern from the original stocking, see Jacqueline’s article and project in the January/February 2010 issue of PieceWork.

Brewester Socks

Left: Jacqueline Fee’s contemporary Brewster socks (top) and her reproduction Brewster Stockings. Photograph by Joe Coca. Top Right: Photograph of a model of the ship the Mayflower at Pilgrim Hall. Circa 1905; A. S. Burbank. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C. (LC-USZ62-15183). Image courtesy of the Library of Congress. Lower Right: Jacqueline Fee’s sketch of the original Brewster stocking. Sketch courtesy of Jacqueline Fee.

If you are ever near Plimoth Plantation, a visit will be rewarding. This museum, started in 1947 by Henry Hornblower II with two cottages and a fort, has grown to include the Mayflower II, the English Village, the Wampanoag Homesite, visitor and craft centers, barns, and a grist mill. While the living history exhibits are closed for the season, there’s still much to see and do with special events, the Plimoth Knitters’ Club, and the Museum Shop. Visit www.plimoth.org/calendar.

Pilgrims, a voyage that changed so much, and knitting—that’s history, indeed.


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