27 June, 2012

Sprang Research On-line

Well, I haven't done any more sprang, yet.

I toyed with the idea of taking Sarah Goslee's (a.k.a. Phiala) tablet weaving and sprang class at the Peters Valley craft centre, a class which starts in a couple of days.

Then I plunged into a little online research.  If you judge by the Weaver's Hand website, there are three known sprang instructors: Sarah Goslee, Carol James, and Blue van der Zwan-Deen (Den Blauwen Swaen).

I saw a reproduction of Admiral Lord Nelson's purse on Carol James' August 17, 2011 blog post, "Sprang is Here" then a similar item labled as a reproduction tobacco pouch on van der Zwan-Deen's website on the page about her teacher Ms. Bos.  I'd recently read a decade-out-of-print map book of Virginia, looking for things to do, and noticed a tobacco and textile museum.  The very place you'd find a sprang tobacco pouch, I thought.  The museum no longer operates, sadly.  So I turned to Colonial Williamsburg's website and found stocking purses in their online Historic Threads exhibit.

A stocking purse is the same type of bag as Nelson's purse and the tobacco bag.  It works with a nifty closure of a sliding ring that will make sense when you see it, low tech and yet brilliant.  The bag's structure is distinctive compared to other purses in the series, exactly like a limp stocking without shaping.  The earliest is worked in sprang, and then there are others worked in knitting, crochet, and netting of some kind.  The knitting is knitted lace that resembles the pattern of holes in the sprang version.  I must try working sprang with holes soon.

I suppose the stocking purse is the reason for the expression "sock away your money."


  1. Anonymous27 June, 2012

    I believe that the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller has a couple of purses currently on display. They have an exhibit of "accessories" and I believe that these would be the "miser purses".

  2. thanks for your tip! The online Historic Threads exhibit mentioned above is, according to Colonial Williamsburg's website, drawn from their "Fashion Accessories from Head to Toe: 1600 to 1840" exhibit currently at the Dewitt Wallace Decorative Arts museum, as well as from a past exhibit from 2002.

    (Dewitt Wallace museum is in the same building as the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art museum, sorry for the quibble.)

    I have been to the exhibit but was focused on the Jerusalem garter, and unfortunately can't remember what purses were there, sprang or otherwise. So I will have to visit again!

    Right, the museum website says another name for stocking purse was miser's purse. What a name.


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