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!

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.