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Thread: Bandages

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    New York

    Default How to Acheve a Supply of Period Lint

    Dear Sir:

    I would like to support your efforts to realistically and authentically portay a Confederate surgeon. If it is your desire to honor all our ancestors, educate the public and actually have the experience of assembling medical supplies as they did, I would strongly urge you to leave your dryer lint home.

    Picking lint is a very period occupation, and was extremely common, especially in the first years of the war. It is an easy activity to teach, and you can also enlist spectators in lint picking. At First Manassas, last summer we were given the opportunity to portray a Confederate field hospital in a historic home that was a field hospital during the battle. As noted, lint is most traditionally made of linen, but buying linen can be pricy, with yardage often above $10 a yard. We took a large number of four inch squares of muslin, and at every spare moment we would enlist people to unravel a square and align the threads into a small bundle, just as pictured in Mrs. Mescher's article.

    Civilian groups are often encouraging members to bring needlework to events -- for those members who don't yet know how to knit or crochet, or who don't like to do either, lint picking is a portable, easily taught, period craft. Spectators are fascinated, and surprisingly, children often love doing it.

    When we were doing third person interpretation at the historic house museum, as each group of spectators would come into the room we were using, we handed each a square, showed them what to do and got them all started as we then proceeded to tell them about the events that happened in there. We didn't ask them if they wanted to pick lint, we just handed out squares, demonstrated what to do and got to answering questions. Those who didn't want to, just handed back their unpicked squares as they left the room and we thanked them for coming. After three days of unending lint picking we had a sizable bundle of lint, which is destined for Surgeon Aycock's supply stash. It came home with me in the flurry of packing at the end of the event and will be forwarded this spring.

    Some would say that we farbed out by using muslin rather than linen, and they'd be right. But we brought to life a period civilian activity that many had read about, but very few had seen. Many spectators were thrilled to be given the opportunity to participate, including several descendents of the Lee family who thanked us with tears in their eyes. It was amazing to most parents how many children were completely fascinated by, and wanted to continue, picking lint. There were several meltdowns by the under five set when they had to leave -- we ended up giving away lint squares that the children could pick in the car later. And adolescents who entered the room with that martyred air of terminal boredom occassioned by being dragged to boring historic spots by their mortifyingly uncool parents would often silently accept a square, then proceed to become speed-pickers, often going through three or four squares in the time that their parents could pick one.

    I would strongly urge you to reach out to the civilian organizations in your area and see if they will provide you with a sporatic, but on-going supply of lint. They will be bringing a period activity to life, and you can benefit with the results.

    But please, as someone who wants to honor and commemorate the memory of the sacrifices that Confederate wives, mothers, sweethearts, sisters and daughters made for the Glorious Cause, I ask that you leave your modern dryer lint home. Don't try to explain in words while you unpack in person a pound of modern dryer lint that "this isn't exactly what they used." Spectators remember what they see much longer than what they are told. Show them real lint, prepared in a period manner, even if it's made of muslin rather than linen. You'll be amazed how impressed people can be by actually seeing the real stuff.

    Karin Timour
    Period Knitting -- Socks, Sleeping Hats, Balaclavas
    Atlantic Guard Soldiers' Aid Society

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Bald Knob, AR


    Excellent and well written, Karin. I am with you 100% about dyer lint and my limited writing skills left an insinuation that I would try that - totally not what I meant! I was simply drawing a simularity. Sorry about that! However, I do sincerely appreciate the heartfelt responce with a commitment to honor history as it is! I shall endeavor to live up to this challenge and to pass it on. One again, thanks for the excellent responce! Please keep them coming!

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    On The Road Again


    I agree with Karin that often the most cost-effective manner of producing high volumes of 'giveaway' squares is to use muslin.

    However, in certain parts of the country, estate sales are a gold mine. Well worn linen table cloths (often with cigarette holes from old ladies bridge games) can be had by the bundle for modest sums. Linen is easier to pick than cotton, so it's something worth watching for.

    Amazingly, I once picked up a stack of 2 dozen well worn white bridge cloths right off the dumpster at my country club.
    Terre Hood Biederman
    Yassir, I used to go by Mrs. Lawson
    Weaver, Spinster, Strong Fast Dyes
    Knitted Goods and yarns available

    Moderator, When I remember. We got Rules here!

    Did your sales post disappear? Try again. But read the rules first.
    Here they are:

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2012


    We use old sheets. Over the years we have donated our own and asked for donations from friends and relatives. Remnants from fabric stores are good too.
    Cut the material into strips (you can vary your width so you have different types of bandages for different wounds/areas of the body) and if you are using a standard bedsheet, you may want to cut the length in half. We usually get together in very early spring and have a bandage rolling party! It's helpful to put a tiny cut in the end of the bandage that you will start with, some people tie those two strips in a knot and some just leave the end cut, either way it helps you rip it longer to tie after you've applied.


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