Saturday, December 8, 2018

Justice for All

Justice for All
Blackbird Designs released 2002
40 count Old Massachusetts linen by The Primitive Hare
Needlepoint Ink Silk Williamsburg Blue Range 328 and Russet Red Range 209

Christmas is in sixteen days, most people are stitching beautiful Christmas pieces.  Me, I'm stitching patriotic pieces.  Last night I was watching one of my favorite Christmas movies:  Griswold Family Christmas.  At the end of the movie, Aunt Bethany begins singing the national anthem as Santa and the reindeer are catapulted into the sky.  I had myself a double good belly laugh:  laughing at the Griswold's singing the national anthem and me watching a Christmas movie and stitching a patriotic piece.  Does this mean I am becoming Aunt Bethany?  

Those Blackbird girls have been releasing winning designs for many years.  The font of the elongated letters was very appealing to me and the sampler gave me inspiration to stitch more of my family history.  The initials JSS are for my 5th Great Grandmother, Julianna Steinz Shultz and the year 1780 is the year of the Battle of King's Mountain.  The Battle of King's Mountain was a Revolutionary War battle and a turning point in the war for the American patriots.  

The Battle of King's Mountain
October 7, 1780

By the year 1780, the American Revolutionary War was well under way.  Great Grandparents, Johan Martin Shultz and Julianne Steinz Shultz may have thought that moving west from Pennsylvania into North Carolina might be a way of escaping the war.  

A few weeks before the Battle of King's Mountain, British Major Patrick Ferguson bluntly warned the local revolutionaries who lived in the Carolinas, that if they did not cease their rebellion, he would march over the mountains, hang their leaders, and lay waste their settlements with fire and sword.  This bold statement by Major Ferguson angered the colonists living in the Carolina's and they felt forced to defend themselves, their families and their homes.  

Colonel John Sevier learning that Grandfather Johan Martin was a (self-taught) surgeon, asked him to join his troops.  Colonel John Sevier and Colonel Isaac Shelby joined their troops together and rendezvoused at Sycamore Shoals (Tennessee) on September 25, 1780.  On that day, Sevier and Shelby arrived with 240 troops and joined Colonel Charles McDowell, who was already there with 160 North Carolina riflemen.  Colonel William Campbell joined the march with 400 Virginians.  

When the American revolutionaries arrived at Quaker Meadows in Burke County, North Carolina, they  were joined by Colonel Benjamin Cleveland and 350 North Carolinians. The Americans arrived at the foot of King's Mountain in the early afternoon of October 7, 1780.  They launched a four pronged attack with two columns on each side of the mountain led by Colonels Campbell and Sevier on the right and Shelby and Cleveland on the left.  Ferguson and his men were taken by surprise by the bold aggressiveness of the Overmountain Men.  Over the sound of the battle could be heard a shrill shriek from the silver whistle Ferguson used to direct his troops.  It was soon silenced, as Ferguson was killed while leading a desperate attack by a few of his men to break out of the mountaineer's cordon.  Captain Abraham DePeyster, the second in command of the British troops, almost immediately raised a white flag.  In an hour's time, Ferguson and 119 of his men had been killed, 123 wounded, and 664 captured.  The Americans had lost 28 killed and 62 wounded.  The victory at Kings Mountain demoralized the British.  No longer could the British depend on the Loyalists in the Carolina Piedmont.  King's Mountain was a turning point in the Revolutionary War, and on October 19, 1781, General Cornwalls surrendered at Yorktown.

The British had one doctor, Dr. Uzal Johnson and the colonists had Dr. Martin Shultz.  The problem was lack of supplies:  no medicine, no bandages, no splints.  Amputations were carried out with whisky and brute force.

"A terrible night followed the terrible day of the battle.  the cold was intense, and a strong wind swept across the mountain.  The wounded lay around where they had fallen, upon the bare ground, among the unburied dead, with no shelter but the grey sky above them.  There were no splints for their shattered limbs, no bandages for their flowing wounds, and only one surgeon among the entire two hundred and fifty."  Said one who witnessed it:  The scene was heart ending in the extreme--the groans of the dying and the constant cry of the wounded for water.  Taken from the notes of The Bear Guard of the Revolutions by James R. Gilmore page 261 and 262.

While Grandfather Johan Martin was away, with Colonel Sevier tending to the wounded, Grandmother Julianna was home in Tennessee with their children:  Valentine 18, David 16, John 11, Jacob 9, Marin 7, and Julia Ann 5.  I sincerely doubt if Grandmother Julianna had the time, energy, linen and threads to stitch a sampler.  This sampler is my way of honoring and remembering my Grandparents and the sacrifice they made for me.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

I've Been Framed!

The Dirty Brown Sampler (released in 2001)
Beside the Hearth by Janet Morse
Mystery Linen from stash
Needlepoint Ink Silk 587 Burnt Umber range
Gentle Arts Sampler Threads:  Gold Leaf, Mulberry, Forest Glade

Yes, I take ownership of not updating my blog since October 11.  Am always busy.  Busy does not mean the same thing as productive.  Book Festival,  football, election, trips to the apple orchard, walking, the passing of a friend and for good measure toss in everyday life events is what has been occupying my time.  Oh yes, throw in a couple of fun trips to the framer!  Aren't trips to the framer fun?  I can get lost looking at all the moldings and my head is spinning with visions of the finished product.  While my Dirty Brown Sampler was being framed, Rita, one of the stitch girls from the Homespun group was also having her Dirty Brown Sampler framed.  I think it was fun for the framer and her customers to see the framed samplers hanging side by side.  Two samplers stitched on different fabrics, framed differently and stitched by two different needleworkers.

Lydi Emaline Shults (Emma Lerch)
The Scarlet Letter
Mystery stash linen
A Ver A Soie fibers

Lydia Emaline Shults is a part of my family history.  Her story is rather sad.  She was born October 26, 1865 and was a baby and child during the reconstruction years following the end of the Civil War.  She married a minister and they had no children.  She died from consumption (tuberculous) most likely spread from her husband and his parishioners.  About those colors:  Lydia's crayon box was full of bright colors and she was not afraid to use them.  One of the stitch girls said she wolud glow in the night.  Yes, she just might which is okay with me.  It will be Lydia showing me the way.

All American Finn
Threadwork Primitives (Nan Lewis) released 2014
32 count dove gray linen overdyed with walnut stain
Gentle Arts Sampler Thread, Needlepoint Ink Silk, Sewing Notions Trip
Starfish from Michael's

AppleJacks' Granddaughter has transitioned her room from the pinks of a young girl to a beach theme of a teen.  I found the board at Michael's, AppleJack spray pained the board white and the framer added Finn, cording and the starfish.  A fun piece of whimsy.  My framer and I are calling it the Betty version of a Priscilla finish.

Justice for All
Blackbird Designs released in 2002
40 count Old Massachusetts linen by The Primitive Hare
Needlepoint Ink Silks Williamsburg Blue Range 328 and Russet Red Range 209

After finishing the Dirty Brown Sampler, I started Justice for All by Blackbird Designs which was released in 2002.  The weathering and distress of this linen fit my needs for more family history.  I will add the year 1780 which was the year my Grandfather Johan Martin Shultz joined Colonel John Sevier and his Over-the-Mountain men and defeated the British at the Battle of Kings Mountain during the Revolutionary War.  To my knowledge there is no surviving needlework from my Shultz/Shults family.  (I think they were to busy surviving the challenges of living on the unsettled frontier and caring for their family.). Once again, I did some research and will add Grandfather Martin and Grandmother Julianna's story to the back of this sampler.  A very quick stitch--love the long, tall, leggy letters of this sampler.  Have set a goal for myself to finish this sampler during the Thanksgiving holidays.  No Black Friday shopping for this girl, but I can be talked into shopping for moldings at the frame shop.

There are so many things in the stitching box sitting beside my stitching chair which I want to stitch.  The two samplers which seem to be calling my name the loudest is Sarah's House by Blackbird Designs released in 2012 and the Hospitality Sampler by Words of Praise which was released in 1970.  Thank you for asking, I do have some golden oldies in my stitch stash.  The verse on this sampler has always spoken to me:  Be not forgetful to entertain strangers;  for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.  

Thanksgiving plans include staying at home, cooking some family favorite recipes, planting daffodils for the spring, decorating for Christmas, morning walks, watching some SEC football and time in the Stitch Room!  No road trips, no trips to the malls for this girl.  Our Homespun group is going to do a July exchange and I have already started working on mine.  Thanks to Flosstube, I have some great ideas.

Thursday, October 11, 2018


The Dirty Brown Sampler (2001)
Beside the Hearth by Janet Morse
Mystery linen from stash
Needlepoint Ink Silk 587 Burnt Umber Range 2+ skeins
Gentle Arts Sampler Threads Gold Leaf, Mulberry, Forest Glade

This sampler has been in my stash for years!  Yes, Janet Morse released the design in 2001--seventeen years ago!  Both Debby and Rita from the Homespun group have stitched this sampler, there may be others in the group who have stitched the sampler just can't recall right now.

What is it about this sampler?  Is it the simplicity, the undulating border, or the cartouche?  Janet's alphabets are beautiful and stitching with just one color except for the cartouche adds a special touch.  If you are looking for a quick stitch--Dirty Brown Sampler is your girl.

You know my mantra:  finish a sampler, start a sampler.  Who is next?  There are several contenders:  Sally Spencer by Birds of a Feather, Anna Grater by The Scarlet House, and Justice for All by Blackbird Designs

In an attempt to rightsize my stash, I have been sorting, passing and prioritizing.  One of the things I have discovered in this process is the rediscovery of older charts in my stash which I really like and I keep asking myself why I have never stitched them.  It is hard for me to resist the call of new releases.

I am not sure how long Sally Spencer has been released, let's just say she is not one of the newer girls on the block.  Sally Spencer or Mustang Sally as she was nicknamed by Mischievous Stitches has beautiful colors and who can resist Sally's mantra:  Sooner Begun, Sooner Done.  This sounds like something Grandmother Bessie would have said to me in her very pragmatic voice,  (see #mustangsallysal on Instagram)

Anna Grater by The Scarlet House is another contender.  Anna Grater was a club project Tanya designed for the Sampler Club at Country Sampler.  Tanya released Anna at the 2018 Nashville Needlework market and Lynette at Homesteading on the Homefront floss tube also did a SAL with Anna.  (see #annagratersal n Instagram)

Contender #3 is Justice for All by the Blackbird Girls which was released in 2002--another colder design and perfect for all the red, white and blue at my house.  I found some 36 count Patriot's Brew linen by R & R Reproductions and some NPI Williamsburg Blue in my stash.  Seems all the elements are coming together for this sampler.  Am thinking of changing the date to 1780 (the Battle of Kings Mountain) and adding the initials JSS for Grandmother Julianna Stentz Shultz.  I will add Grandfather Johan Martin's story and his contribution at the Battle of Kings Mountain and attach to the back of the sampler.  The alphabet on this sampler just sang to my heart, there are only two colors in this sampler.  (I think Emma Lerch wore me out with all the greens she used in her sampler)

Finish a sampler, start a sampler!

Friday, September 28, 2018

Finish a sampler, start a sampler

Emma Lerch (aka Lydia Emaline Shults)
Scarlet Letter
Linen--mystery stash
Fibers a ver a soie

One of my stitching goals for 2018 was to finish Emma Lerch.  It was Emma's big, bold asymmetrical border which drew me to her.  Emma was not afraid to use color because the colors in this sampler are anything but timid.  Emma either liked pink, she used what she had or her LNS had closed.  At the September Homespun Gathering, Lori shared a wonderful quote:  Done is better than perfect.  This quote comes from the Facebook motto.  Perfectionist continuously tweak projects and never finish them.  Perfection can be an enemy of progress.  I get bored or distracted or discouraged that my project is not perfect and give up.  No finished project is perfect, and if I keep trying for perfection, I will never finish.  There is no perfect project anywhere, ever.  Every project has a flaw that someone can point out.  Done (meets and surpasses standards) but not perfect is okay.  When I wrap my head around this concept, maybe just maybe, I will get more accomplished and will have fewer WIP's and more FFO's.  When I am searching for something in my sewing room and find unfinished projects and look at them and ask myself why I stopped, I am going to remind myself that done is better than perfect.

Yes, I changed the name from Emma Lerch to Lydia Emaline Shults because she is a part of my family.  Attached to the back of the sampler will be an envelope with Lydia Emaline's story, sad and true.  Yes, I also know leaves are missing from one of the bottom sections of the border--the leaves will be stitched before carrying Emaline to the framer.

The Dirty Brown Sampler (2001)
Beside the Hearth by Janet Morse
Mystery stash linen
Needlepoint Ink Silk 587 Burnt  Umbre Range

Being a sampler lover, there is always a next sampler waiting to be stitched.  At the gathering, Rita brought her beautiful Dirty Brown sampler to share.  It was wonderful to welcome Rita back to the gathering group.  Stitchers are kindred spirits.  Seeing Rita's beautifully stitched sampler reminded me I had this sampler in my "to be stitched sooner rather than later" pile it was time to get stitching.  So, I did what every sampler lover does:  finish a sampler, start a sampler.  Dirty Brown Sampler has been a delight and joy to stitch.  Letters stitch fast.  Hopefully without any life distractions, I will have my own version of Dirty Brown Sampler to share at the November gathering.

Rita's sampler

At the September Homespun gathering, I was too busy visiting, eating and admiring WIP's to take many photos. I did take a photo of Rita's sampler and I also took a photo of Judy's exquisitely stitched and finished Carriage House (Kathy Barrick) Quaker stocking.  A beautiful stocking and it will be a treasured family heirloom.

Judy's Quaker stocking

In keeping with the spirit of done is better than perfect, Stacy Nash's Rose Garden basket, Threadwork Primitives All American Finn and Erica Michael's strawberry are waiting to be FFO'd.  None of them is perfect, they each have flaws and each will be finished and will be good enough.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

All American Finn

All American Finn
Threadwork Primitives (Nan Lewis) 
copyright 2014
32 count dove gray linen overdyed with walnut
Gentle Arts Sampler Threads
Needlepoint Ink Silk
Sewing Notions Trim

Spent my Labor Day holiday stitching a seasonal.  I did make a few changes:
Black Raspberry Jam instead of Black Crow, Lambswool instead of Parchment and NPI silk Chinese Red 502 instead of Turkish Red because it was the color in my stash which best matched the red in the rick rack.

Doesn't the red in this design just make everything pop?  I had intended to tack down the rick rack  and after trying to pierce the rick rack with my needle realized there was a reason Nan's instructions said to use fabric glue.  

Instead of framing this piece, am going to visit my local Goodwill, second hand store, Miss Lucille's or antique shop and look for older cutting board or wooden paddle.

This is a good mindless stitch because of the dense stitching of the whale.  Just a tiny bit more work on this piece and I can call it an FFO.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Elizabeth 1823

Emilia Pool Sewing Basket (copyright 2014)
Stacy Nash
Linen:  Weeks Dye Works Dolphin
Fibers: combination of NPI silks, Weeks and Gentle Arts

Prized Pig Sewing Book (copyright 2015)
Stacy Nash
Linen:  Weeks Dye Works Dolphin
Fibers: Gentle Arts (Antique Rose, Harvest Gold)

What makes us fall in love with a design?  Is it the verse, a border, motifs, colors, a big old house, the proportions?  When Stacy Nash released this design at market in 2014, I fell hard.  I think it was the colors and turning a simple paper mache box into a sewing basket.

Anna Elizabeth was my Great Great Grandmother.  She lived most of her life in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina near Asheville.  The dolphin linen by Weeks was a rich blue color which reminded me of the mountain colors and changing Emilia to Elizabeth was an easy change.  The rest required  time and some thought.  Turning a Hobby Lobby paper mache box into a sewing box and a simple notebook into a journal were new to me finishes.  (I am not a finisher, finishing is a struggle, there are mistakes and tons of room for improvement, watching tutorials is helpful).

The inside cover(s) of the journal is finished using the Nun's stitch.  Years and years ago, Ginnie Thompson released a book called Linen Stitches.  I often refer to this book and if you don't have it in your stitching library, I highly recommend it.  It is an excellent resource guide and Ginnie's step by step instructions are easy to follow and execute.  The Nun's stitch is an easy stitch with the rhythm one-two change direction, one two change direction.  The stitch is pulled tightly and makes a lovely finished edge.  The Nun's stitch works well for finishing when you don't want a hem, it is less bulky.

The back of he journal was the most challenging part.  The back of the design was plain and I wanted something on the back of the journal.  In 2015, Stacy released a design called Prized Pig Sewing Book & Flower Urn Pinkeep, and the design had a beautiful cartouche:  simple and elegant.  It took some careful counting and recounting to see if the design would fit.  I added the letter NC for North Carolina--where Anna Elizabeth was living and attended school.

For the spine of the book, I dug into my wool stash and found a soft cream fabric.  Is there anything more fun than shopping for silk ribbon?  I'm not sure which part I enjoy most:  the beautiful colors, the sheen, or the luxurious feel of the ribbon running through my fingers.  A silk ribbon for a girl living in the mountains of North Carolina in pre Civil War America would have been an extravagance, I doubt Anna Elizabeth tied her journal with a silk ribbon.  I thought it was past time Anna Elizabeth had a silk ribbon for her journal.

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!