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Wash Silks from Brainerd and Armstrong Company

Wash Silks from Brainerd and Armstrong Company

My friend Paula found an amazing box at a yard sale. I’m not much one for going to yard or garage sales as I don’t have the patience for it. But luckily Paula found a box of silk embroidery thread that must  have been from a retail establishment. Believe it or not, she paid a quarter (25 cents) for it.

It is from the Brainerd and Armstrong Company. After a little searching on Google, I found out that this company was in business in the late 1800’s until 1922 in New London, CT, USA. They made “wash silks”.

Wash silks were also called “society silks” and were used in silk art embroidery.

As you can see, the drawers are stuffed with little packets of thread. There are several different weights in a range of colors. I couldn’t resist and this box now belongs to me.

These packets have lots of information on the outside and are made specifically so the threads  won’t tangle.

Here’s just a few of the colors. Most are in the pink/red shades but there are lots of greens as well as some purples and blues. I found several books on archive.org that were published by Brainerd and Armstrong. The first book, Embroidery Lessons with Colored Studies gives projects to work and has very generalized instructions. The second book is a general look at silk, The Story of Silk and Embroidery. You can download these book for free and they are actually quite entertaining. I wouldn’t recommend them as a stitch guide as the instructions are vague but it’s well worth the time if you are at all interested in hand stitching.

I don’t think I will be able to make myself use these threads but we’ll see. It’s amazing that they are in such good condition. What do you think? Would you use the threads or save them?

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