Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Grand Plans 2020

New Year's Start 2020
Brenda, the sampler stitcher said it best:  "we're going to stitch a sampler a week, a Christmas ornament a month, all the club and retreat pieces, and finish all the WIP's.  In reality, we are going to stitch those pieces which speak to us."  Sound like great plans to me!

The linen and most of the silks were purchased at SassyJacks when I was there in October.  This sampler has been in my stash a long time and is loudly calling to me.  

Am also starting Catherington or in my case Catherine.  She is red, simple and will be stitched with Gloriana Schoolhouse Red.  On those days when the simplicity of a sampler is needed, Catherine is going to be my go to girl.  Yes, Catherine is one of my ancestors, she has a very sad story.

"Jane" is also speaking loudly to me.  AppleJack Santa made a special delivery because he knew I wanted this sampler.  Rebecca Jane was my maternal Grandmother and Laura Jane was a paternal Great Grandmother--both Janes have special stories.  

Brenda also said, "it's great to have choices."  There are many samplers in my stash and I wish I could stitch a sampler a week.  Reality says "that ain't going to happen."  Am going to stitch what makes me happy.  The good news, I can start The Plantation Sampler when New York City drops the ball and start Catherine when Music City drops the musical note.  

Friday, December 27, 2019

Santa Delivers

Have I shared with you AppleJack Santa is the best guy ever?  Well he is!  I have admired this sampler for the longest. Jeannie at Country Sampler in Spring Green, WI has a great eye for color and her "dull it down" style is also my style.

This is also from County Sampler, it is a kit from the ABC Schoolgirl Needlework Club 2019.  From time to time, Jeannie has leftover or unclaimed club kits which she makes available.  I love the way this sampler has been made into a needle roll.  Again, love the "dull it down" colors.

One of my favorite fibers is Gloriana and one of my favorite colors is Schoolhouse Red.  Laura, the Serial Starter says everyone should have a red sampler in their sewing basket--it's the law!  I agree.  On those days when my brain is tired, stitching a simple sampler with one color is very relaxing.

Thank you AppleJack Santa for the wonderful gifts!  You sure know how to make this girls heart happy!

Thursday, December 26, 2019

My Eyelet Christmas Miracle

Sarah's House
Blackbird Designs

Ahh December 26, one of my favorite days of the year.  I love Christmas: the decorations, music, special foods and even some of the hustle and bustle.  I do not love the commercialism and the self imposed stress.  My goal is to finish Sarah's house in 2019--not many days left.  

Sarah's House was designed by the Blackbird Girls (Barb and Alma) in 2012--it was the second in a series of their Loose Feather designs.  The design was inspired by an antique sampler in their collection.  Alma wrote this about Sarah's House:
The alphabet potion was left unfinished.  Maybe Sarah realized too late that there wasn't enough space to stitch all of her letters.  We added another row of the alphabet to the reproduction but we found as did Sarah, there really wasn't enough space for the entire alphabet.

Barb and Alma included photographs of the original (antique) sampler and the original was stitched with eyelets.  I thought the eyelets added so much visual interest to the sampler I would stitch my Sarah with eyelets.  With all due respect Barb and Alma, spacing might have been some of the reason Sarah did not complete her alphabet but after stitching these eyelets, I think they challenged Sarah's stitching sanity.  They certainly challenged mine.  Let me just say reverse stitching eyelet stitches is not one of my favorite things.  The letter I will be completed after I replace the floss color, I ran out.

Sunday Social 2007
Threads that Bind--Shawn Williams

To give my brain a rest from the eyelets, I started needle punching Sunday Social.  Yes, like most of my projects, it has been in my stash for several years.  Thank goodness it was not dry rotted.  It is a fun whimsical design and will share space with my other sheep in the spring.  

To finish stitching Sarah, I've got to replace NPI silks 696 and 294 and to finish Sunday Social I've got to replace Gentle Arts Evergreen and Corn Husk.  While waiting for Nashville Needleworks to reopen from Christmas holidays, I will play in my stash and decide on my New Year's Day start--it's going to be a sampler.  

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Sarah's House

Sarah's House by Blackbird Designs
Released in 2012 (she's still available) 
Lakeside Linen 36 count Butter Pecan
NPI Silks

This sampler has been in my stash a good long time.  She was calling to me.  I love the wonky border.    The Blackbird girls reproduced Sarah from a sampler in their collection.  In looking at a photograph of the original sampler,  the letters were stitched in eyelets.  I thought the eyelets would add interest and am also stitching the alphabet with eyelets.  Either because of spacing or Sarah got tired of eyelets she only stitched 12 letters of the alphabet using eyelet.

Am hoping to finish Sarah during my Christmas break and debut her at the January stitch-in's.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

A Problem and a Solution

One of my huge frustrations in sitting down to stitch only to discover something is missing.  It's either my scissors, a floss, or the chart,  I always seem to be searching for something instead of stitching.  Just when I get everything located, Lucy jumps into my lap, everything goes flying and the search begins anew.  Does anyone else have these problems?

During a recent visit to Hobby Lobby, I found this tray.  It is large enough to hold my chart.  My homemade make-do helps to keep the fibers organized.

I added a magnet which holds the make-do in place in the tray and is a resting place for my scissors.  The ort cup came from The Country Cupboard in Crossville.

The Sew-Lutions magnetic box also came from Hobby Lobby and is the perfect place for needles, needle minders and threaders.  The tray is just deep enough to hold Q-Snaps with project.

When I am finished stitching, the tray sits beside my stitching chair.  It is a solution which is working for me.  With significantly cooler temps, it is finally beginning to feel like fall.  Weekend agenda:  fall baking (pumpkin bread) college and NFL football and stitching, lots of stitching.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Catching Up

Good Intentions
Kathy Barick

This piece says so much about me.  I had good intentions of posting more about samplers during Sampler September.  Then there was a great gathering with the Homespun group and the Music City Stitchers group, my awesome experience at SassyJacks and the Bristol Orphanage Sampler lecture and workshop and the relentless ninety degree weather . . .

Let's catch up

In All Things Be Exceedingly Diligent
Needlework Press

After posting about my dirty half dozen unfinished samplers, I did finish the sampler In All Things Be Exceedingly Diligent, my first horizontal sampler.  Diligence as I like to call her is in the capable hands of Lynn the framer.  She should be ready to bring home and claim her spot with the other samplers sometime soon.

One of the things which I did during Sampler September was go through all my sampler charts/designs and choose twelve which I am making a priority to stitch.

  • A Sampler Study 1802 by The Primitive Hare
  • Sarah's House and The Winter is Past by Blackbird Designs
  • In the Berry Beginning by The Scarlett House
  • Felicity's Sampler by Serendipity Designs
  • Hannah Lancaster by the Porcupine Collection
  • Noel and Quaker Handworke by With Thy Needle and Thread
  • Companion to Beatrix Potter an Ackworth Sampler by Stitchy Box
  • Hospitality by Words of Praise
  • Plantation Sampler by Canterbury Designs
  • Rebecca Robinson by The Scarlet Letter

Sandra was stitching The Plantation Sampler at the last gathering and Tanya Brockmeyer had this sampler on her sampler wall and my sampler mojo was rekindled.  I purchased linen and silks at SassyJacks's to to start her.  Time will tell the story of my progress in stitching these samplers.  Two thoughts:  Good Intentions and Diligence

Christmas Village
Prairie Schooler
stitched by Sandra

Our September Homespun Gathering was just the best.  We welcomed three new stitchers:  Karen, Allison and Jeanette.  Patty, Lori and Sandra also came--it was so nice to welcome them back.  Yes, we had a full house with many amazing finished pieces.  This group is a blessing, so many talented women and wonderful cooks.  Did I mention we shared a delicious pot luck meal?  We introduced ourselves to Karen, Allison and Jeanette by sharing how we came to shop and stitch at Homespun.  Reminiscing down the Homespun memory lane was good for more than a few laughs and tears.  Thank goodness Judy was there with her camera to take pictures of all the finished pieces, because I was to busy visiting and being inspired by all the projects (finished and in progress).

When Kim (SassyJack's) announced Claudia Dutcher Kistler would be coming to SassyJack's in October for a lecture and workshop on the Bristol Orphanage samplers, I immediately sent in my registration.  The entire weekend was an amazing experience.  From Claudia's very informative lecture on George Mueller and the British orphanage samplers, shopping at SassyJack's, the ambience of Weaverville, old friends, new friends, Vonna's delicious FiberTalk cookies, sharing and inspiration, it was one of the best stitchy events I have ever attended!  I don't have enough words to adequately express the wonderful experience.  

Returning home, Melissa reminded me Sat. October 12 was a stitch day for the Music City Stitchers.  This is a new to me group which meets once a month at the Brentwood Library.  It is a a young, growing group.  The group has outgrown three meeting rooms and now meets in the largest room the library has.  A special thank you to Ryann for organizing this group and sharing her exquisitely made counting pins and needle minders.  Several of the group are planning weekend shopping adventures to SassyJack's.  One of the many, many fun things Kim is doing is yearly squirrel needle minders.  Below are the 2019 and 2020 squirrel needle minders and Kim has already chosen the 2021 squirrel.

According to the calendar the first official day of fall 2019 was Monday, September 23.  Mother Nature did not get the memo.  This September in Nashville was one of the driest, hottest on record!  Day after day of ninety degree temps with no rain, just got the best of me.  I lost my stitching mojo, gardening mojo, fall decorating mojo, and AppleJack says my cooking mojo.  The kicker--Nashville went from ninety degrees to frost in less than a week.  It was wonderful to wake up Sunday morning to frost on the rooftops.  I have never been more ready for cooler temps.  Tennessee and much of the south has one color for fall:  brown.

Sarah's House
Blackbird Designs

Until next time, I will be stitching on Sarah's House, watching Flosstube, scanning Instagram and reading blogs.  AppleJacks says "keep those fingers away from the shopping carts."

Thursday, September 5, 2019

The Dirty (Half) Dozen

For a person who spends hours counting stitches and threads, the one thing I don't count is my number of unfinished projects  (WIP's).  As I was preparing for Sampler September, one of the topics I wanted to cover was samplers-in-the-works.  I pulled on my big girl britches, took a long deep breath and started digging.  My unfinished samplers are rolled in one of Faye Riggsbee's beautiful project rolls.  Keeping the samplers rolled instead of folded reduces folds, creases and wrinkles.  My framer says creases and folds are not her friends and are not the friends of needlework.

Hannah Breed
The Scarlet Letter

Country Home published a magazine in the mid 1990's called Folk Crafts.  The premier issue had a feature story on samplers by the Scarlet Letter.  The photo at the top of the page drew me in and I wanted to re create this image in my own home.  Hannah Breed is an 18th century American sampler and she originated in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1756.  Scarlet Letter rates her as an intermediate sampler because Hannah used cross, eyelet, satin, long arm cross, herringbone, queen, lazy daisy, straight and Florentine stitches in her sampler.  Whew!  That's a lot of different stitches Hannah.  

The wheels on Hannah's sampler started coming off the bus before she got a good start.  I wanted to stitch Hannah on a piece of R & R linen which I could not find and I could not find my skein of Noir Au Ver A Sore silk.  I made a febble start on Hannah and then she went to the project roll and has not seen the light of day in several years.  With all the different kinds of stitches, I should have asked myself if all these stitches were in my skill set.

Hannah Hope 1811
R & R Reproductions

Anne at Homespun Corner was offering a class with Ann Robbins and Pat Ryan (R & R Reproductions). Love their fabric!  While we stitched, Pat and Ann talked about samplers and answered questions.  I stopped working on this sampler because I wanted to change the name from Hannah Hope to Hannah P Sharp (yes, the name of another Grandmother).  The name is stitched over one and I don't like stitching over one.  The other reason I stopped working on this sampler was because of the chain stitch which completely circles the alphabets.  I'm going to have to get over my phobia of stitching over one and stitching the chain stitch and finish Hannah.

Margaret Cottam Aged 9

Margaret Cottam is a reproduction sampler released by Lori Markovic (La-D-Da) as a three part mystery sampler.  Margart is a family name and I wanted to stitch her for my Shults wall.  Margaret Ferguson was a Great Great Grandmother, Maggie Shults was a Great Aunt and then there is cousin Margaret.  Was marking great progress on my Margaret until I realized the border was not going to meet because I had stitched over three threads instead of two and there was going to be a great deal of ripping to correct the mistake.  I was also unhappy with the way the name appears on the sampler (centering). I'm going to leave the mistake and re-think the positioning of the name.

Ewe Alone 
Sheepish Designs (Dawn Bradford)

Dawn Bradford was a prolific designer in the eighties and nineties.  Each time Dawn released a design she would give the design a number followed by the word exemplary.  Ewe Alone is 114th exemplary.  For me this sampler contained many elements which I love in a sampler:  an alphabet, a floral border, a grassy meadow with a sheep and the initials and year of the stitcher.

Since I am not a big fan of the color pink, I decided I would change the colors.  This turned into a bigger task than I envisioned.  The flowers still look pink (the floss says salmon, which is a pinkish-orange). Ewe alone is a beautiful sampler and I really should be ashamed it has not been finished.

With Thy Needle and Thread (Brenda Gervais)

Brenda Gervais is a great marketer--she usually gets me with limited edition or series or sampler.  I fell in love with this small sweet sampler and its verse, When this you see, remember me.  Yes, more over one stitching, am beginning to see a behavior pattern here.  You know when the designer says read through the instructions before you begin to stitch, they really do mean this and there is a reason why they tell you to do this.  I distressed the linen before I began my stitching.  This step will give the linen a nice "time-worn" look, and give a bit more contrast between linen and some shades of floss used in the piece.  Not only did I not read the instructions, I did not follow them.  The fibers Brenda chose for this sampler are pastel.  When I started stitching the white house using the called for Weeks Straw, the fiber started disappearing into the linen.  Perhaps, if I had dyed the fabric before I started, I would not have had this problem.  Grrrrrrr!  Anne, one of my friends and needlework mentor told me to stop obsessing and "just stitch the darn thing."  

In All Things Be Exceedingly Diligent
Needlework Press

Am determined to finish this sampler for the next Homespun Gathering, September 28.  I am being redundant in saying this sampler has been a pure joy to stitch--it is beautifully charted, the colors compliment each other nicely and she is long and skinny.  She will make a nice addition to my sampler wall.

So, there is the Dirty (Half) Dozen.  My plan is to finish Diligence and because there is so little stitching left on the Forget-me-not sampler, she will get some love and attention after Diligence.  For the other girls--Stitch 10 challenge in 2020?  Sampler September 2020?

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Sampler September (Talking my Language)

Ever since Carol (Saltbox Stitcher) and Theresa (Kitten Stitcher) started talking about Sampler September, I have thought about little else except samplers.  Oh, and Fiber Talk will also be jumping on board the Sampler September wagon.

Marking samplers, pictorial samplers, mourning samplers, map samplers, darning samplers, spot motif samplers, regional samplers, band and reversible samplers are all dancing in my head.  I think about samplers while cooking, pulling weeds, driving and sleeping.  I am encouraging my stitching accountability persons, needlework partners in crime and needlework enablers to think about, write about and stitch samplers.  AppleJack thinks I am more than a little obsessed with samplers, he thinks I might be close to the edge.  Silly man asked me one day if I would ever grow tired of stitching the alphabet.

It has been a challenge for me to think about how I wanted to approach Sampler September.  Am still working out the details, more to come on this later.  In the spirit of not starting a sampler a day (yes, I have that many samplers I want to stitch), I decided to keep it to four:  an unfinished sampler, a Quaker sampler, a family sampler for my Shults wall and a for fun sampler.

 The Unfinished Sampler:  In All Things Be Exceedingly Diligent by Needlework Press.  Am nearing the finishing crossing line on this sampler, am going to be diligent and be a monogamous stitcher and see her to the finish line.  The font of the letters is great, the combination of colors, throw in some houses and a few Quakerish motifs stitched into a long narrow sampler instead of a tall skinny sampler and voila a sampler is born.  First time stitching with Legacy linen and first time stitching a Needlework Press design--both were great.  I really, really want to have this sampler finished and framed for the next Homespun Gathering, September 28.

A Quaker Sampler:  Ever since I finished stitching M. Quiter, an Ackworth Quaker sampler by the Scarlet Letter, I have wanted to start another Quaker sampler.  The Ackworth sampler I have chosen is the Beatrix Potter Quaker Sampler.  The Beatrix Potter Quaker Sampler is not a sampler that Beatrix Potter herself stitched, but was a part of her extensive sampler collection.  There is piece of 35 ct R & R Sheep Straw in my stash which I hope will be large enough (she's a big girl 301 x 271) and the fiber I will be using is Gloriana  Lacquered Gold, unless I totally change my mind and use School House Red.  Stitching those Quaker motifs is hypnotizing and M. Quitier is lonely and needs a companion.

A sampler with family history for my Shults wall.  I have written about this sampler before, it is Sarah's House by Blackbird Designs.  Sophie Margaretta was the name of Grandfather John Velten "Valentine" Shultz mother.  Maria Eva Stocker is also under consideration--she was Valentine's second wife.  Valentine and Maria were married 1735 at Christ Lutheran Church in York County Pennsylvania.

A fun, whimsical sampler.  A Sampler Study 1802 by The primitive Hare.  This big house reminds me of Grandmother Bessie's farmhouse which burned.  The 40 ct Old Massachusetts hand dyed linen is one of my favorite linens and I love the drab colors Isabella (The Primitive Hare) has chosen to stitch this sampler.  Another touch of whimsey is the trim Isabella used when framing this piece.  The trim was either gifted to me by a stitchy friend, came from my Mother's stash or my stash.

Stay tuned for more about samplers.  Here are some of the sampler ideas dancing in my head:

  • unfinished samplers
  • gifted samplers
  • samplers on the Shults wall
  • Scarlet Letter samplers
  • older samplers
  • seasonal samplers
  • Adam and Eve samplers
  • samplers I want to start
  • samplers in my shopping cart (gulp)

  1. 3.  

Monday, August 12, 2019

Exceedingly Diligent

In All Things be Exceedingly Diligent
Needlework Press 2018
Legacy Linen 37 ct Russian Tea Cake
Au Ver A Soie silks

Saltbox Stitcher is such an enabler!  Carol, the Saltbox Stitcher showed her framed Diligence sampler and I was smitten.  This sampler is long and skinny (406 stitches wide and 95 stitches high).

When I finish the stitching it is going to be approximately 24 inches long.  No worries, I already have a spot picked out where it will hang when finished and framed.

This is my first time stitching a Needlework Press sampler/design and my first time stitching on 37 ct Legacy linen--I like them both!

Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and diligence.
Abigail Adams

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Second Chances

True Confession:  I am more than a little envious of those who have great thrift store finds.    Seems like I am constantly seeing great finds either on floss tube, Instagram or blogs.  Second hand stores, consignment shops, antique stores are some of my favorite shopping places.  I think I need more time and patience to successfully find great items.

Last Saturday, before meeting up with the Homespun girls, I had some time to kill and thought I would shop one of the local Good Will stores.  When I saw this basket, I said to myself:  "that basket is handmade."  

When I turned the basket over, sure enough, Viola had dated the basket with her name and March 10, 2006.  It brought tears to my eyes.  Am sure Viola had worked hard to weave the basket and hopefully she never thought it would be sold at Good Will for $1.99.  The basket reminded me of the New Beginnings Prayer:  Oh God of second chances and new beginnings, here I am again.  Viola's basket deserved a second chance and a new beginning.

The pewter plate sits on our kitchen table, holding our salt and pepper shaker and reminding us to give thanks.  The cut glass relish tray will be used at future gatherings.

With these finds, I am encouraged to give thrift stores a second chance.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

The Box

Yesterday was Gathering Day for the Homespun girls.  Late last year, one of the girls had suggested we participate in a box exchange.  The idea was to choose a box and fill it with twelve stitching goodies:  something fun,  our favorite color, something sharp, an accessory, an embellishment,  something patriotic, etc.

The exchange was played like dirty Santa.  All boxes were carried into the Gathering in a brown paper bag so no one knew who brought which box.  

Who doesn't love chocolate?  and Godiva chocolate?  The box was beautifully tied with a chocolate brown silk ribbon.  I was number two selecting a box and I kept my fingers crossed while all the numbers were being called, hoping no one would steal my box.

Just look at all the goodness inside this box!  This Grasshopper felt like she had choose wisely.  I knew that Godiva box would be filled with stitchy goodness and boy, oh boy was I ever right.

The beautifully stitched scissors pillow (with a Stacy Nash design) had a pocket on the back.  Inside the pocket was this beautiful pair of scissors.

The patriotic strawberry was stitched with the finest of tiny stitches.

A patriotic, coverlet biscournu for my dough bowl.  Great finishing job--and the maker's first time finishing a biscournu.  Check out that chicken made with French General fabric and tiny beads for eyes.

Pom pom trim from Lady Dot, beautiful threads for Christmas or maybe a flower and vine.  AppleJack has his eye on my magnet wand.  Shh, I already put it in my traveling stitching bag.

So who was the gifter/maker of my box?  The same stitcher who just finished Sarah Braizear, the 2018 Queen of the May sampler from Hands Across the Sea in record stitching time:  Judy!

Judy calls the sampler one of her tablecloth samplers--it is big 27 x 27.  There are not enough words to describe the beauty and skill in this sampler.

Thank you Linda for suggesting the box exchange and thank you Judy for my box.   Beautifully stitched and finished projects.  I hear this all the time and will never grow tired of hearing "stitchers are just the best."