Saturday, August 18, 2018

SassyJacks, Nicola and Esther Benson

This post begins with an apology--my body is back in Nashville but my head and my heart are still in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina and at SassyJacks.  AppleJack and I have spent the last few days enjoying the mountains and taking a class with Nicola Parkman at SassyJacks in Weaverville, North Carolina.  If you haven't been to SassyJacks, what are you waiting for?  Go!  The linens, oh the linens:  Lakeside, Weeks, R & R, Silkweavers, you name the linen, the color, or the count and Kimberly Young, the proprietress of SassyJacks has it.  Fibers, again, name the color or manufacturer and your needs can be met.

If anyone is looking for linen for the Sarah Braizear 1829 sampler, SassyJacks has an abundance and the linen is beautiful!

SassyJacks is currently located at 30 Main Street Weaverville, North Carolina.  Weaverville is just north of Asheville, North Carolina.  Walking or driving through the town I was quickly reminded of Mayberry, Aunt Bee, and Andy Taylor because Weaverville has all the quaint charm of small town America.  People stop their cars and allow you to cross the street and shop owners keep water outside their shops for the people who are walking with their dogs.  The photo above is the future home of SassyJacks.  This is the Zebulon Baird House built in 1878 and is currently being restored by Kimberly and her husband Everett.  Isn't it fabulous?

This is the back or ell of the house.  There are great plans for this porch:  teas, receptions, stitch-ins.  And one day, there will be a carriage house which will serve as a classroom and gathering place for stitchers.

Back to Weaverville, this is a photo I took one day while I was walking to lunch.  Weaverville has many artisans and eateries.  In a future SassyJacks newsletter, appropriately called Jack's Journal, Kimberly and Jack are going on a walking tour of the cafe's, coffee shops, bakeries, restaurants, food trucks and eateries of Weaverville.  When you go to Weaverville be sure to check out the Creperie & Cafe, you will not be disappointed.  On the corner next to SassyJacks is a bakery called Well Bred Bakery and Cafe, Travel and Leisure magazine has discovered them, whatever you select, your tastebuds will be satisfied.

This is Nicola Parkman, Hands Across the Seas Samplers beginning her talk and instructions on stitching the Esther Benson sampler.  Nicola does extensive research on each sampler she releases and shares the stitchers story.  Don't we all want to know more about the sampler and the person who stitched the sampler?  Nicola's enthusiasm and passion for needlework is contagious.

Esther Benson 1739, the reproduction.  Esther doesn't disappoint with her version of Adam and Eve and the Tree of Knowledge.  Check out the moon and the sun--easy to fall hard for them.  Esther didn't leave anyone guessing with her name, the year she stitched her sampler and where she lived.  The reproduction is stitched on Lakeside Linen vintage meadow rue and the fibers are Au Vue A Sore.

On our way to Weaverville, AppleJack and I took time to enjoy and hike a stretch of the Appalachian Trail.

If you look closely at the sign, it says Spring Creek Tavern.  Yes, Spring Creek is a real place.  It is part of the Appalachian Trail and where my Great Grandmother Sarah Miranda and Great Great Grandmother Anna Elizabeth were born.

Walks in the cool mountain air, reconnecting with my roots, delicious crepes, SassyJacks, Nicola, the Baird House, Esther Benson--I have new found energy!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Finishing Fool

Two Red Houses (copyright 2003)
Little House Needleworks (Diane Williams)
Mystery Stash Linen (30 count overdyed with walnut?)
DMC fibers

Two Red Houses is stitched and at the framers.  I waved a white flag when I entered the framing shop.  I was afraid when the framer saw the one inch margin and how poorly the needlework had been centered on the fabric, she would send me and my red houses home.  

Land of Liberty
With Thy Needle and Thread (Brenda Gervais)
Mystery Linen (I think this is a scrap of Birds of a Feather)
NPI silks

For years Betty Mansfield finished my needlework.  She did an excellent job!  I always told her she made my needlework look good.  I am not a finisher.  I am learning, I watch a lot of tutorials, I make many mistakes, I need to improve,   Land of Liberty was not fully finished in time for July 4th 2018 but will celebrate Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

Summer & Winter Book No 90
The Prairie Schooler 
More Mystery Linen
NPI Fibers

Every year I promise myself I am going to add more seasonal smalls.  The year comes and goes and there are no smalls stitched.  This has been the year.  There is a turkey in the Spring & Fall Book No 91 which I hope to stitch and have finished for Thanksgiving (the overlooked holiday).

Spring Stitching Box
La D Da 2017
Tomorrow's Heirloom Kit

My first time sewing chenille.  It's not as difficult as I thought.  Watching tutorials helped.  Lady Dot has some great trims, if you haven't ordered or used her trims give her a try.  Adding crushed walnut shells can be tricky and messy.

Blackbird Designs
Loose Feathers Pattern #20
Necessity box and Strawberry
Mystery Stash Line
Sullivans fiber

I stitched this strawberry in preparation for a strawberry finishing class Linda Stoltz (Erica Michaels) was teaching.  It was a great class--Linda was so very kind and patient to answer questions and share many ideas for topping the berries.  Linda has many great berry designs.  Sheep roving is my favorite stuffing material.  This was my first time stitching with Sullivans--I love the color but the fiber is very flat and that I don't like.

There are more items in my "to be finished pile."
1.  Bindings on three quilts
2.  Assembly on the Stacy Nash Rose Garden Basket
3.  Hem stitching a sampler
4.  Stitching the cartouche on a Stacy Nash piece, which I hope to finish into a journal.  

All American Finn copyright 2014)
Threadwork Primitives (Nan Lewis)
32 ct Dove Gray overdyed with walnut
Gentle Art--Barn Gray
NPI Chinese Red

The summer heat has taken its toil on my stitching mojo.  Am currently stitching All American Finn by Threadwork Primitives (Nan Lewis).  It is a very whimsical piece.  While shopping at Ye Old Mercantile, I found a bread board which I thought I would use to mount the finished piece.

Saturday, July 14, 2018


Little House Needleworks (Diane Williams)
Two Red Houses Copyright 2003
Mystery Stash Linen (Overdyed with walnut stain?)
DMC Fibers
(My framer is going to hate me for the margins)

AppleJack and I took a road trip last week and there was catching up and shopping but not much stitching.  Was it a hot Fourth of July?  I can't say driving west in 95 degree heat is my cup of tea.  It rained on Friday and the rain brought much needed relief from the temperature and humidity.  Progress is being made on Two Red Houses--three fences, two saltbox houses, one tree and almost one-half of the alphabet.  Do I see a finish in the near future?

One of the first things I do when traveling is look for needlework/quilt/wool shops.  Yes a 50 mile radius is considered "within the area."  There are TWO wonderful needlework shops within the 50 mile radius parameter.  The shops are The Stitcher's Garden in Conway, Arkansas and Shepherd's Needle in Little Rock, Arkansas.  Both shops are filled with so much goodness and both are E*X*P*A*N*D*I*NG.  Isn't that the best news?  In this age when LNS/brick and mortar shops are closing exponentially, it was a shot of encouragement to see TWO needlework shops growing and doubling their retail space.  The Shepherd's Needle was preparing for a two day workshop with Shawn Williams from Threads that Bind.  Shawn was teaching a workshop on July 25th and July 26th and a second workshop on July 27th and 28th.  Darn, due to poor planning on my part, I missed her workshop two years in a row.  If you are in the Little Rock/Conway Arkansas area, plan a visit to these wonderful shops--linens, walls of fibers, models, the latest releases, and all the things--you will be so happy you took the time.

So what did I purchase?

Plum Street Sampler (Paulette Stewart)
Sheep Heap
36 count PTP (Picture This Plus) Oaken

Sarah Jane Grant 1845 Deconstructed
Summer House Stitch Works (Beth Ann Seal)
36 count vintage pear Lakeside
This was released at the Nashville Needlework Market in Nashville.  This linen is awesome, I see more of it in my future.

Mary Barres Sampler 328 x 355
Stacy Nash
36 count Weeks Dye Works Parchment
Mary Barres is a big girl--another beautiful linen.
See that label on the linen?  The shop owner has written the count, manufacturer and name of the linen. She also included the name of the design, thread count and size of the piece of linen.  This is such a nice touch.  

A Sampler Study 1802 Sampler Reproduction
The Primitive Hare (Isabella Abbiati)
40 Count Olde Massachusetts linen

40 count is not one of my favorites.  However, it is a lighter piece of linen, I am hoping it will be easier to see.  When framing this piece, The Primitive Hare had used a piece of lace at the top of the house--I thought this was a cool idea and I happened to have a piece of lace in my stash.

TWO expanding needlework shops made for a great (hot) road trip. Neither one of these shops know me from Adams house cat, if you are in the area--treat yourself, you will be so happy you did.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Sampler Sunday: Two Red Houses

Little House Needleworks (Diane Williams)
Two Red Houses Copyright 2003
Mystery Stash Linen (overdyed with walnut stain?)
DMC Fibers

The other day I was searching for something in my stash and I came across this red saltbox house.  I looked at it and it spoke to my stitching heart and I asked myself why I had sat it aside and maybe it was time to give it some love and stitching attention.

It didn't take me long to figure out why I had abandoned this piece.  It is not centered on the fabric and I clearly did not use my corner gauge for measuring.

There is barely one inch of fabric on the left side of the fabric and will be about three-four inches of fabric on the left hand side.  After a consultation with my framer, who is a miracle worker, says it can be salvaged.  Thank goodness I like my needlework framed tight.

The other reason this piece was set aside is because it is stitched with two strands of fiber.  While the coverage is nice with very little shine through, I do not enjoy stitching with two threads.  I am constantly asking myself if my threads are railroad (lying side by side).

I seldom use needle minders, but this little Stitch Dot made by Needle Nannies has been very useful.

One of the changes I am considering is changing the checkerboard underneath the alphabet to a grass stitch using a scotch stitch.  AppleJack had not seen the photo and asked where does the grass go?  Since I am not a big fan of the checkerboard and with AppleJack's question, I see grass in this samplers future.

Two red houses:  simple, primitive, timeless saltbox houses, I'm glad this small sampler is finally getting the love and attention it deserves.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Still Spring

Churn Dash (set on point)
Jo's Little Women's Club 2017
Fabric by Fig Tree

The calendar says summer begins June 21 which means there are a few remaining days of spring, the temperature gauge says summer is already here with temps in the high eighties and nearing ninety.  Let's don't even speak of the humidity.  This churn dash quilt is one I started last year, I wanted to add more spring seasonal.  The green color reminds me of new grass and leaves, the yellow is the color of daffodils and forsythia and red are the tulips.  Oh those miniatures they are such foolers--their diminutive size  is misleading, I allowed my quilting ambitions to overload my quilting skills.  I thought the quilt would be much more interesting if set on point.  The quilt is approximately 18" x 18."

Last Saturday (June 9) Linda Stoltz (Erica Michaels), taught a strawberry finishing class.  Learning to  make/finish strawberries has been on my bucket list for a long time!  Linda gave great instructions and shared tons of ideas.  All those scraps of wool, lace, pins and  charms will be used in embellishing strawberries.  These are my practice berries made from left over toile fabric.

The raised bed garden is growing and blooming.  Due to a late spring with unusually cold temps, the garden was not planted until the first weekend of May.  AppleJack and I are hopeful for a late harvest.  The very hot days require constant watering which gives us an opportunity to check on the progress and for any potential damaging insects.

At the back of our property line are two long perennial borders.  Each time we look out the window, the day lilies and coneflowers make us smile.  Oh,  there is also an abundance of weeds--I consider it good exercise, the sunshine and fresh air are a welcome change from staying indoors.  AppleJack and I consider the beauty of these flowers our reward for working in the garden.

Miss Oak Leaf Hydrangea's blooms are beginning to turn.  Isn't she a show stopper?

The blooms on the day lilies this year are huge and vibrant.

Stacy Nash
Rose Garden Sewing Basket
from the 2017 Nashville Needlework Market

Three of the four panels for Stacy Nash's Rose Garden Sewing Basket are stitched, panel #4 is in my hoop.  Another nice addition for my spring seasonal.  For me, spring is always a sign of renewal, hope and potential.  Pulling weeds, struggling with the mathematics of setting a quilt on point and stabbing away at flower panels for a sewing basket are gentle reminders of the beauty of spring.  

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

May, Where did you go?

May has come and gone in a blur, we skipped spring and went from spring  (wet and cold) to summer (hot and wet).

AppleJack and I spent many of our May days building this raised garden bed.  Tomatoes, peppers, basil and cucumber is what is planted.  We are hoping this will be a three season gardening bed.

Our tomatoes are looking happier and healthier being planted.  By the way anyone who uses the term dirt cheap hasn't purchased any dirt lately.

Miss Oak Leaf Hydrangea is ready to show her stuff.

After I get the dirt cleaned out from my fingernails, I have been stitching some patriotic stitches.

Hope to have this stitched in time for Flag Day and July 4th.

While on a fabric search, I found this cat fabric and decided it would be a good project bag.

AppleJack and I took a rain break from gardening and went to the Middle TN Fiber Festival.  Isn't this a handsome guy?  With those horns, I want to be his friend.

My churn dash squares have moved from storage to WIP's--two more squares to make and then setting them on point.

Strawberry finishing class two weeks (June 9th) at Linda's house--found some great wool at the fiber festival to use for stuffing.

AppleJack is giving me the stink eye to let me know it is time to put on my gardening clothes and pull weeds and spread mulch. 

Monday, May 7, 2018

Much Ado

Time is precious and each day I remind myself to use my time wisely.  I blink and the day/week/month is gone and I ask myself "what did you accomplish?"  In no particular order here is my accounting.

Emma Lerch 1843--her meadow/hay field is finished!  Only Emma knows the real truth about her very large meadow and here are my thoughts:  She lost her pattern book for the animals which were supposed to be stitched, she ran out of time or threads and just wanted to complete the project.  Emma's meadow just about got the best of me.  Derby Day (May 5) which was very wet and rainy in Nashville, I put needle and floss to linen and finished the meadow.  At the end, I think my eyes were crossed and my butt was numb and I was well into a second skein of floss.  There is still much to be stitched on Emma and am hopeful for a May 18 finishing date.

My hourglass Jo Morton table runner has been one of my most frustrating and challenging projects.
  • I wanted to make more of the hourglass blocks, but did not have any more light fabric
  • There was not enough fabric for the setting blocks and fabric had to substituted
  • With five rows, I could not decide on placement so I ripped and sewed
Our inspiration bed for square foot gardening

Nashville, like most areas of the country has had a very late, cool, wet spring.  Cold temps killed off my early blooming daffodils,  a late frost killed the dogwood blooms and a hard cold rain knocked the blooms off of my peonies.  Gardening keeps me humble and reminds me daily I am not in control.  Last year we went to the Urban Gardening Festival at Ellington Agricultural Center.  There were many Metro Davidson County Master Gardeners on hand to answer questions and share ideas.  We left the event inspired and confident we would build our own tin man and raised garden beds.  Our garden bed is about 2/3 of the way toward being completed (we are still moving soil).  Best get this task completed else there will be no tomatoes, basil, peppers or any other produce.

FlossTube has replaced television watching.  Gosh, there are so many FlossTubers full of inspiration, ideas and finished projects.  When my motivation is low, I find a FlossTuber to excite me about stitching.  May has been all about Stitch Maynia!  When it comes to Stitch Maynia, I am in awe and a complete coward.  The thought of starting 18 or 31 or whatever number of new projects in one month makes my eye twitch and my head spin!  Kudos to those who participate in Stitch Maynia and thank you for sharing your selection and self guidelines.  So many wonderful designs, fabrics and fibers are being brought out of stashes and started.  One idea for Stitch Maynia which I really like was incorporating WIP's into Maynia.  Stitch Maynia did motivate me to visit my stash and choose 18 projects which I would like to start.
  • Welcome Spring With Thy Needle and Thread/Brenda Gervais
  • O' Tannenbaum With Thy Needle and Thread/Brenda Gervais
  • Summer in Baltimore With Thy Needle and Thread/Brenda Gervais
  • Quaker Handework With Thy Needle and Thread/Brenda Gervais
  • Theodore Animal Crackers Stacy Nash Primitives
  • Mary's Garden Needle Book and Fob Stacy Nash  Primitives
  • Gardener Sewing Roll Stacy Nash Primitives
  • A Sampler Study The Primitive Hare/Isabella Maria Grazia
  • Home for the Holidays stockings Blackbird Designs/Barb and Alma
  • Bittersweet Gathering drum Scattered Seed Samplers/Tammy Black
  • Thomas the Turkey Notforgotten Farm/Lori Brechlin
  • Flag Folk Notforgotten Farm/Lori Brechlin
  • Eagle, Turkey and Pig Prairie Schooler
  • Land that I Love La D Da/Lori Markovic
  • Pennsylvania Franktur Plum Street Samplers/Paulette Stewart
  • Anna Grater 1812 The Scarlett House/Tonya Brockmeyer
  • On Stoneware Street The Scarlett House/Tonya Brockmeyer
  • Lincoln Home 1860 Sampler Chessie and Me/Linda Lautenschl√§ger
  • Common Thread Stitcher's Mat Threadwork Primitives/Nan Lewis
  • All American Finn Threadwork Primitives/Nan Lewis
  • Olga's Tart Plum Street Samplers/Paulette Stewart
  • Jenny Bean for the Parlor Shakespeare's Peddler/Theresa Venette
  • Elizabeth Furness Hands Across the Sea/Nicola Parkman
My list is ever evolving.  Just to be clear, I am not participating in Stitch Maynia, I am too much of a coward  to start this many projects in one month.  It was a fun jaunt through my stash looking at designs and thinking about fabrics and fibers.

The postman has been delivering some very special things.  Have you seen the Hands Across the Sea 2018 Queen of the May sampler, Sarah Braizear?  Sarah's border is just over the top beautiful.  Nicola's chart is also over the top, forty-four pages of history about English monarchs with illustrations and a thread guide.  The postman also delivered some bee skip scissors holders and a sheep holder for my cameo punch needle.  I have a watchful eye because Maggie Bonanomi's new book, Pure and Simple should be arriving any day.

Lastly, Nicola Parkman is returning to SassyJacks in August to teach one of her samplers, Esther Benson--it has an Adam and Eve!  Yes, I have mailed my registration deposit and AppleJack and I are making plans to spend time in the beautiful Smoky Mountains and BlueRidge Parkway.

There is my accounting.  If Grandmother Bessie were here I think she would say:  "I believe you have enough to do to keep you out of trouble. "