Sunday, January 22, 2012

Ben's Kite and Feather Stitch

January 17 was Ben Franklin's birthday in 1706 and reading some of his works kept me occupied most of one summer when I as an early teen.  Thoreau was another favorite from that time.   
With the feather stitch we were given this week I had to go in slightly different  direction as far as design.  I had found a wonderful outline of Franklin but it just did not lend itself to this stitch so I went with the story of his electricity experiment.  I used feather stitch for the kite tail and the tall grass.  The grass was fun since I didn't plan anything and just let it meander and sometimes overlap.  Everything else is back-stitched.  The threads are 2 strands of cotton DMC except for the white kite outline which is pearl cotton, the rod on the top of the kite which is silver metallic and the end of the string which is silk ribbon.
Ben's kite was made of silk because that would not conduct electricity and he attached a sharp pointed metal wire to the top to draw in the lightning.  The string for the kite was hemp which does conduct electricity and to this he tied a metal key.  Attached to the end of the hemp was another piece of silk so the electricity would not travel that far.  
After considerable time of waiting on a stormy day in June 1752 he finally saw that some loose threads of the hempen string were standing erect.  He immediately put his knuckle to the key and felt a very evident electric spark.  This led to many more experiments with electricity and its harnessing.  
A very interesting man was Ben Franklin, no wonder all the women adored him.
See all the other wonderful projects in our study group at Tuesday Stitchers.


jenclair said...

Great job! I love the way you take an idea and then just stitch it up!

Suztats said...

I like the way you've woven a little history into your stitches. Nicely done!

Susan said...

Thank you for sharing that information. I never knew how he kept from being harmed! I've always thought he was fascinating. Did you have a chance to see the Franklin exhibit that toured the country in 2006? A friend and I went to the original one in Philadelphia, which had some items from the estate which did not travel with the other things. It was so amazing to see so many parts of his life. He was truly a renaissance man in his interests!

Judy S. said...

Very interesting! Wherever did you find that tiny key?

ladyhawthorne said...

The key came from an extra goodie bag when I ordered some charms on Etsy. It is perfect isn't it?

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