Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Ineke made me smile today

It has been a hard day getting all the files into the right places. We went to bed at 3am and were up again at 8am. I thought it might possibly be one of those days, until I saw this image. It made me smile! Ineke from Zwolle in the Netherlands writes: In the attachment is a photo of my Mary Wigham sampler laying on my worktable with my ‘personal supervisor'. The big hairy monster prefers to lie on top of it or on the pattern to have a better look, so I keep pushing him aside. Mary Wigham is very nice to stitch! But I am stitching much slower than the charts are published. It is the pleasure of stitching that counts!

I am sorry I have upset your routine!

Annie Koning from the Netherlands writes: Every Monday evening I go to the bridge club and when I come home I look to your site and then there is a new part of Mary Wigham. Then I must do some stitches before I go to bed."First I bridge....then I stitch". I am so sorry your routine was disrupted, Annie, when our web host collapsed beneath all your hugs! I am now spreading the load across our two web-sites and we are about half way through the restructuring and testing process now. Your next instalment of Mary Wigham will be with you very soon and then we shall be back on schedule for all bridge club members! Should I tell you that I once, many years ago, I sat behind Omar Sharif while he was playing bridge in the UK - I cannot remember the hand he played.....! Annie's bridge table is set for a king - never mind a film star, isn't it?

Mary Wigham is Here Again!

Thank you for your patience. Mary Wigham is back for you again - simply click on her picture on the side-bar for downloads. Poor Mary has been a victim of her success - your calls for her went through the roof last week while I was away. Although we have the maximum bandwith plan with our supplier, it just wasn't enough to cope - and sadly rather than simply charge me extra fees for the extra bandwith as some suppliers would do, this supplier just cut off. Rather frustrating for us all, wasn't it! However, I have now set up a special server just for Mary, but it will take me a few days to rebuild and get all our work in progress back up in the gallery. There are some really wonderful images waiting for you to gaze at and I shall tell you as soon as they are ready. Mary Wigham Part 5 will be ready for you in a couple of days.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

The Verheggen-Penders Collection

It is not that often that samplers in a private collection see the light of day, let alone the gleam in the eye of sampler lovers. The Verheggen-Penders collection situated in the Limburger province of the Netherlands is one such wonderful collection. Mariette and Har's collection boasts over 200 examples of the sampler maker's art - from early Rococco cloths to schoolgirl Pronkrollen, from spectacular Vierlander and Groninger black samplers to a delightful set of four English polychrome samplers from the same school. Of particular interest is an early, rare French sampler and wonderful examples from the Dutch Island of Marken, home of the famous Vernaaide Linten. The collection is available on 2 CD Roms and you can see detail up close with a special built in loupe facility. The CDs also include charts for the English samplers, one of which are shown above) as well as other excerpts from the collection. To find out more just click here.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Even in Carcassonne you will be able to download Mary Wigham again next week

Just as soon as I am home next week you will be able to download Mary Wigham again. It is a case of not one thing happening to cause a problem, for which we have back-up, but a combination of three things happening together in an unforseeable way. If you are wanting to start the stitchalong now, it is no problem. All previous weeks' installments will be there for you to download and we shall look forward to welcoming you to our big international stitching group. So, even if you live in mythical Carcassonne like French Head Girl, Paule, you will still be able to download. Just a few more days to wait. In the meantime - have a lovely weekend!

Friday, 26 June 2009

Have you got a coffee pot big enough for us all, Veronique?


This weekend I think we shall all be dropping in on Veronique in France to have our Mary Wigham stitching party. We don't have a picture of Veronique stitching, but here is one of her work in progress. There is just something so relaxing about her colour palette - look at the calming effect it has had on her cat.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Yumi-san is creating Mary Wigham on blue

We have seen a great variety of threads being used to stitch Mary Wigham, and now here is an opportunity to appreciate Mary Wigham stitched on a very different ground - a rich blue linen. Yumi was uncertain about her uncommon color choice though, and worried that other SAL stitchers might think her strange! But having encouragement to stitch an 'original Mary Wigham' took the load off her mind and now she is stitching happily! This is your time to express yourself, the same way Mary did. Stitch to please yourself - something that resonates with your unique spirit - then how can it fail to be beautiful?

Embroidered with White - Heather Toomer


I have just finished a review for Heather's latest book on white embroideries and costume accessessories of the 18th century. This softback book, just short of 200 pages and £20 is a lavishly illustrated compendium of designs, stitches, terminology and examples of fine lace and white embroidery. The images are impressively fine detailed so that the stitcher's art is fully revealed. Side by side with the whitework articles themselves are wonderful period portraits depicting how they would have been worn at the time. My personal favourites are the Dresden work men's waistcoats - particularly the one from which I have extracted this detail.
And I cannot finish without mentioning the excellent line-drawn illustrations by Elspeth Reed. If you are a lover of whitework and lace, then this book is essential reading.

The Mary Wigham Downloads went through the roof on Monday!

The number of downloads on Monday more than doubled from our expectations! So at the moment I am out of bandwith which is not a problem - but I am away from home and don't have the files here to upload to my secondary website. It looks like someone is telling me to stop working on my holiday here for a few days. I can keep posting, but downloads are not possible until I get home in a few days. Thank you for your patience.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Quaker Post




I have been asked if the wonderful Quaker Post motifs designed by Erica Uten are still available - and I am delighted to tell you they are! Some of you might remember the launch of Quaker Post when we held a mail art competition to stitch a message of peace or simplicity to Sarah Moon. The money raised - about £600 - went to a Quaker playcentre in a war zone. We are no longer running the competition but the set of 12 cards with 16 stamp designs as well as designs for an envelope can be obtained by clicking here. And here are images of three winning designs to show you what wonderful things can be done with Quaker Post.

Jacqueline of the French SAL and posterity

I hope that you are proud of your work in progress and rightly so - this is not some little whimsy or trivial piece you have embarked upon, this is something very special which you have truly made your own. While you are stitching, think about composing a 2 page biography of yourself to go with your finished sampler. Most of you have already taken pictures of your sampler in progress and places where you are stitching your sampler. Put these together with your biography and attach it to the back of the frame of your sampler when it is finished. Posterity will want to know more about you than you think!

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

National Museum of the American Coverlet Exhibition - Stay at Home and Use Me Well

This exhibition of items from the Kitty Bell and Ron Walter collection focuses on the tools and processes used in textile production for the American home and farm during the late 18th and early 19th centuries opens on 26 September 2009 and will reain in place for around one year. The exhibition title comes from a flax hatchel dated May 18, 1797 and decorated with the names John Mathewson and Lyda Mathewson along with the inscription STAY AT HOME AND USE ME WELL.
The transformation of flax plants into linen, and wool fleeces shorn from sheep into yarns for woven blankets, coverlets, grain bags, bed sheets, hand towels, tablecloths, etc. was an arduous and time consuming process carried out year after year, in order to keep the family clothed and protected. An extensive array of early tools and equipment such as a flax brake, a grain bag stamp, a wool wheel finger and spinning wheels will be presented, along with examples of the textiles produced.
In conjunction with the exhibition opening, nationally known textile experts will offer a symposium on Saturday, September 26. Speakers will include Ute Bargmann, Dr. Trish Herr, Tandy Hersh, An Moonen, Michael Taylor, Marjie Thompson and Ron Walter.
On Sunday, September 27, the exhibition will open to the public with a special birthday party to celebrate the 150th year of the Museum’s building.
Click here for details. Click here for a registration form.

Origins of Sampler Motifs

You know how it is - you are running for a train, have nothing to read and 5 minutes to fix the situation. I grabbed a book called The Root of Wild Madder by Brain Murphy, thinking it was a history of madder dyes. It may be eventually. Back then I was slightly disappointed to find it was a book about carpets. Don't get me wrong, I love carpets - my aunt collected them. When they wore beyond her liking she simply laid another on top. Every few years she would have the carpenter call to shave off the bottom of the doors so they would still open. And look here at these two antique carpets with their borders which reflect the format of later samplers. The first has a number of tree designs which occur on samplers, most notably the weeping tree found on mourning samplers.

The second carpet with a Tree of Life also has resonances with the more angular and geometric trees found on samplers from the North of England and with this sampler extract here. Somewhere between London and Guildford I found myself captivated by the book and its author. Here is a paragraph for you. The author is watching young country girls weave a carpet in Afghanistan:

These girls, barely able to write their names, were adding to a historical record no less important than any historical transcript. These carpets mean something, and the weavers are part of a vast and ancient sisterhood.
You might be interested to know that the French paid Armenian traders the huge sum of £100,000 in the mid 1700s for the secret of their red madder dye.

You can join the Mary Wigham SAL whenever you want - it is not a race

Luned in Anglesey is just starting out as you can see from the lovely photo she sent me. Those of you who think you are behind, can't catch up, are too slow, too busy ..... it is not a problem. Just stitch at your own pace - which is the right pace after all - and enjoy with us!

Monday, 22 June 2009

Secure downloads for SALs in Japan France and Portugal

You can now download securely via your Head Girls in Japan Portugal and France - they will make the links available to you. For now will other SALs please use this page for downloads. Thank you for your help.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Are you ready for Mary Wigham Part 4?

There have been many comments from members of the various country SALs that they have never attempted such a large project before. Congratulations to you all and to Isa C from France who you can see here is making excellent progress with her version of Mary Wigham. I am still astonished how you compose such lovely innovative colour schemes! It is thrilling to see these works progress week by week. Many of you are finishing an instalment a week - and if you are now ready for Part 4 then part 4 is ready for you! Click here for the 4th instalment of Mary Wigham.

Hello Head Girl in Lithuania!

What could be more idyllic upon a midsummer's day than to be stitching in the Northern forests of Lithuania. Under a green tree. On a swing. And maybe there's space for you, too.

Mary Wigham up close

Like images of models it is sometimes easy to think the subjects are perfect and regular, and as you stitch along I am sure you are wondering if the standard of your needlework makes the grade. I was just looking through some very old archival snaps and I found this close-up of Mary Wigham which I thought you might like to see. Click on the image itself and you will get a larger image to inspect. (The photo was never properly colour-matched and I have also over-brightened it so you can better see, so please don't worry about the colours.) You can probably appreciate also how complex and time consuming it is to chart these samplers!

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Mary Wigham SAL now in Finland and South Africa

Welcome to new Head Girls Daniela in Finland and Michelle in South Africa. Daniela stitched the Mary Wigham you can see here. and Michelle's stitching will be here soon. Why not click on their country's flag in the Mary Wigham Head Girl Gallery and pop in to their lovely blogs and say Hello personally? In fact, why not travel the world Mary Wighamwise and take some time to meet up with all the head girls. Tea and hot buttered scones will be waiting (virtually). We are really sad that Nici from Germany with her stunning blog has had to bow out. Is there another German Head Girl out there, please?

Friday, 19 June 2009

April Blue's garden in France beckons this Midsummer weekend

I am away for the weekend - time for a rest - time to pick up my needle and catch up with some stitching. You can see the chair here that I am heading for - will you be there too? I think there would be a lot of chattering and laughing and so much mutual admiration - but probably not as much stitching as we expected...!

Is brown the new black? Mary Wigham stitched by Icco-san

My name is Icco, and I am participating far from Japan. I was intrigued by the exquisite beauty of Quaker samplers, and started stitching. I am using 40ct Wichelt Linen, and floss which is an original from a Japanese embroidery shop.
At present, my stitching is monochrome, but after looking at the interpretations of stitchers from other countries I am considering adding bits of other colors.
Every week I look forward to the release of a new chart.Thank you so much for such a wonderful SAL project.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

The Fragonard Provencal Costume and Jewelry Museum in Grasse

Rosie Bussard told me she would not let me go home until I visited this museum. Thankfully I was not pillion on the back of her Vespa when she uttered this ultimatum. She is a kind-heart. She comes from Salon de Provence, the birthplace of Nostradumus and maybe this explains her deep nature which others judge to be bafflement. Whatever, she is usually right about most things.
And she was so right about the
Provencal Costume and Jewelry Museum. It is probably one of the best curated costume museums in France - small but perfect. This collection of 'Indienne' print dresses, intensely vibrant in colour and pattern, yet simple in design, teamed with petticoats delicately quilted using piqué and boutis techniques, recalls when other testaments remain silent, the lives of women past, patiently expert with their needles: peasants, craft-workers and farmers' wives. The collection has been carefully assembled by Hélène Costa over the years, together with fine examples of the gem-stone crosses the women wore on ribbons around their necks. The museum is owned by the Parfumiers Fragonard which is perhaps one of the reasons why it is so lovely. To reach it you must go through their shop, heady with all their wonderful fragrances and soaps. It is an experience to treasure - try to not to miss it. We are grateful to Claudine André of Fragonard for sharing these images with us.

Nita says she can't put Mary Wigham down

Nita's Mary Wigham is turning out a beauty - she is stitching over one on 32 count linen. She says she's loving it. And I hope everyone else is loving their own Mary Wigham just as much!

I heard someone say they didn't like the squirrel





Barbara Hutson of Queenstown Sampler Designs in Maryland, USA has put her own mark on her Mary Wigham sampler with a white squirrel - just like the white squirrels where she lives (they have blue eyes!) here is a photo of Pearl the Squirrel taken in Maryland by Tom Pendleton. So, if you don't like Mary Wigham's squirrel maybe there is some inspiration for you here. A good tip for you. Barbara says that if you lose a few stitches off the squirrel's nose it doesn't look quite so wicked!

Free Download Gallery

Just in case there are others struggling to find the Free Download Gallery - you need to look for this picture on the side-bar. I have moved the gallery up to the top of the side-bar for a few days to help you.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Mysterious Ackworth School Medallions and Erica Uten

It is still an enigma how the Ackworth School sampler medallion motifs originated - they seem to have sprung fully formed without a prior period of development. And to what practical use, if any, were they put? Were they, for example, ever copied onto linens for decoration? Nothing has been found to date. When the motifs do occur elsewhere, it is always on knitted silk pinballs. So was Mary's sampler a stitched knitting pattern? The pinballs were made as mementos and also for publicizing special causes, most notably the Anti-slavery Movement which had as a symbol a kneeling slave. The kneeling slave occurs on two samplers. (There is a free download of this motif and I'll put it in the download gallery for you.) Pinballs with the words 'A Token of Love' were given to prisoners (who would often be Quakers imprisoned for not paying their tithes) as a token of God's love, to show they were not forgotten. I realised how important it would be to reconstruct the pinballs and to find out how they could be made. This was where the genius and skills of Erica Uten, a Belgian fine-stitcher, came into play. She was able, never having attempted anything like this at all in her life, to reconstruct the fine silk knitting which is made on knitting needles the size of the needle you are using to stitch Mary Wigham. She designed and knitted 12 pinballs based on the Ackworth medallions, we made them up and the whole process was recorded in her lovely book Tokens of Love. Her very special work will be featured in the September/October 2009 Piecework.

Hello Russian Mary Wigham SAL!

Tonight Natasha from Berlin is representing the Russian language SAL stitchers under Head Girl Olia. You will see the work in progress of Elena from Russia, Stasy from Belarus and Sakyra from the Ukraine in our SAL Gallery. It is wonderful to know they are stitching away at a sampler worked over 200 years ago in a little out of the way place in the North of England by a modest Quaker school girl who would never have dreamed her work would inspire anything like this phenomenal world-wide stitchalong.
It is always interesting to see where people start on a sampler. In this case I am sorry you are being constrained by the order of releases. Where would you normally start? And perhaps while you think about that, you might like to think where an Ackworth girl would start. She has no computer generated chart, most probably she is working directly on her linen. Look at the Ackworth samplers which are richly covered with motifs. Would you start with the border and work inwards, or start with your name and work outwards? Would you work two sides of the border and then some middle before closing the border - or what? Mmmmmm. I am still thinking, can you help?

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

How did those Ackworth girls stitch?

Dee Lucas has just asked me two very interesting questions about how the Ackworth girls might have stitched. Did they needle up, needle down (poke) the stitches - or did they use a sewing method? Also did they use frames or hoops, or stitch in their hands? I must say that I don't know. Apart from their samplers, the girls left hardly a trace of themselves. There are school reports for the boys, but not the girls. There are accounts of Ackworth School life from the boys when they are older, but the women are generally silent. All I can say is that there was not much furniture in the early days of the school and so there was probably nothing to clamp a hoop to, but small hoops like the one Jacqueline in France is using here to stitch her Mary Wigham may well have been possible, and would have been necessary, I think, to tension the other samplers the girls stitched - the fine darning samplers. Look at the crochet edging on Jacqueline's sampler - is that an old cloth you are stitching there, Jacqueline?

Have you considered Black?

If you are unsure of your colour palette, you might like to see the effect of an all black approach. This sampler is being stitched by Cathy in France on lovely over-dyed linen. During the early 1800s there was a fashion for black samplers. The Vierlander samplers were black, which like the Ackworth motifs are rich in wonderful motifs and medallions both springing ready formed from we know not where. Then there are the mythical Black Samplers of Groningen, stitched by the rich farmers' wives in the North Netherlands. Some people think that during the continental wars, only black thread was readily available. Some think because the samplers were often hung high above a door the contrast of black and white was necessary to make them visible. Martin Ex in Amsterdam whose shop is a paradise of antique samplers, believes the reason is that 'they just liked black'! Whatever the reason, Mary's sampler can claim a wonderful descent in terms of motifs and choice of palette.

Today I wished for dancing shoes

and my wish came true! Look what flew in - lovely shoes all the way from Toronto courtesy of the curator of the Bata Shoe Museum. There is something so special about these extremely well preserved green silk and embroidered high-heeled Italian shoes which date to the early 1700s. The heels are made of bevel-carved wood covered in deep red Moroccan leather. The placement of the heel is quite close to the instep of the foot and reflects the difficulty shoemakers had in meeting the demand for excessive height. Click on the shoes to see more.
This beautiful pair of embroidered black silk English shoes of 1780-1785 with silver buckles and pink silk covered heels is a very good example of a wedge being inserted under the instep to support weight.
Now click on the shoes for close-ups and a very special experience!
The shoe images are Copyright 2009 of the Bata Shoe Museum Toronto- Forgive me - I added a little touch to them since you made me feel so joyful with all the wonderful Mary Wighams you are stitching.

A chic interpretation of Mary Wigham by Sue

I know that some of you are rather surprised by the bright colours used on the Quaker samplers at Ackworth - sometimes they jar and don't seem to accord with what our ideas of Quaker colours should be. It is plainly obvious that the girls simply revelled in colour when they could get hold of it. I think Sue's colours would have started a craze at the school. Sue is from Japan - as are quite a number of scholars today at Ackworth School.
It is true that there are a number of monochromes in the collection at Ackworth which are Lincoln Green or a dark blue. At first it was thought that these pieces on a coarser linen may have been executed as teaching pieces from which the girls who stitched the finer polychromes borrowed their repertoire of motifs. This was one of the reasons I charted all the motifs on all the samplers to see if this relationship could be established. And, after all the work, the answer was.....no! But at least we had a permanent record of the motifs - about 100 - which was published in the Ackworth School Pattern Book. Now out of print, it can be obtained as a .pdf download.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Misa is ready for Mary Wigham Part 3

It is my delight to share with you not only the third instalment of Mary Wigham tonight, but some beautiful work by stitchers working with the SAL in Japan with the help of their special Head Girl, Saho. It looks as though I have been holding Misa back - she was ready for part 3 of Mary Wigham yesterday!

One stitch stitched, one stitch nearer the finish


And Wendy Sheppard should know as a mum with a 5 month old baby girl and working as a quilt designer - it is not always easy to find time to put in that one stitch. But she has made her start and it is very lovely. Isabel Padilla has a four month old baby and I am sure there are more in the same boat who have many demands on their time. The girls at Ackworth school stitched these samplers in their spare time, and how they found time is a mystery. They had a very well-regulated day and when they were not at their lessons they had to seam all the sheets and linen for all the school, then knit socks for themselves and for the boys - and we all know what boys do with a pair of socks, don't we? Then they had to mend clothing, and remake clothes. People always ask my how long it would have taken to stitch one of these samplers and to be honest I don't know, but Wendy and Isabel will probably give us an idea.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Mary Wigham by Katia in France

Another beautiful interpretation in the making, this time by Katia in France. I find that palette of browns and blues so assured and so calming. Look at the small geometric motif placed between the brown and partly finished blue medallions on the top row. Katia has taken a monochrome motif and rendered it in polychrome shades. It is a personal cadenza. Maybe, even if we are following the pattern quite strictly, we might take a little leap and put in one element that is truly our own. I am always asked by dealers and historians why anyone would ever want to stitch a replica. So, I sit them down to dinner and ask how they learnt to cook. Did they have the early panache to toss things in a pan, wave a magic wand and deliver perfection on a plate? Well, no, actually. Guess what? They learnt from a cook book, just like me, assiduously replicating each instruction. And over the years I learnt to season, to balance ingredients, and developed a taste and eye so that now in later life I can go to an almost empty fridge and conjure up something that can be startlingly good. Stitching replicas and taking time to understand the colours, the balance, the harmony of placement is a wonderful way to develop sensitivity and art in stitching. From stitching strict replicas we move on, we change the palette of colours for a mix that is more in tune with our taste; we change the placements slightly; we correct asymmetries or create new ones (sometimes by accident) of our own. We are on the way to becoming a designer in our own right. But more, much more than that, by stitching a replica we have followed the map of a living human hand and heart and, for a while, traced something of their life with our thread. That is why I want to stitch replicas. How about you?

Cardiff Singer of the World and Smoked Salmon Sandwiches

It has been my pleasure this week to watch the Cardiff Singer of the World competition. The singers are young - the youngest, Giordano Luca a tenor from Italy just 21. The final tonight was thrilling and a Russian soprano Ekaterina Shcherbachenko was declared the winner. But all were different and all winners in their own right - Yurij Mynenko a marvellous counter-tenor from the Ukraine, Eri Nakamura, a soprano from Japan and Jan Martinik from the Czech Republic. Giordano was the darling of the audience and received a special prize.
Our concert supper was white wine and smoked salmon sandwiches - but because I have been so busy and have not been to the shops for most of the week, I realised I had no lemon! I was also out of creme fraiche and creamed horseradish which when mixed 1:1 makes a lovely dressing on Orkney salmon....Heavens to Murgatroyd - what to do? I had a look in the fridge and found sushi ginger and wasabe (the grandchildren love making sushi lunches with me) and a tablespoon of fresh cream. So half a tablespoon of chopped ginger and a teaspoon of wasabe (more if you like) added to the cream and - Bob's your uncle! Delicious!

Saturday, 13 June 2009

So many Mary Wigham originals

I am knocked over by all the beauty that has arrived in my inbox today -you are spoiling me. I really don't know where to start. So, I'll start with Marion's version of Mary Wigham. Marion is from Austria.
Those lovely cool, neutral shades remind me of silver birch bark, snow on ski slopes, frothed buttermilk and the fleece of spring lambs. They are such a surprise to me, so unexpected and such a delight. And this is just one example. I am overjoyed by all your design talent - and I have to ask, where would we be without blogs? How much talent would remain hidden, never seeing the light of day? I applaud you all.
I shall be featuring the other lovely samplers I have seen throughout the week, and later tonight you can enjoy a preview in our gallery.
If you haven't yet joined the International Mary Wigham SAL, I hope this example will have you downloading a free chart and picking up your needle right away!

The Ackworth Squirrel


Many of you ask about the significance of the Ackworth School sampler motifs. Let's start with the squirrel which, like Marion from Austria, you may already have completed. The squirrel is found on very early samplers, as far back as the 1640s, and is not unique to Ackworth School. In the early 1600s the squirrel was represented in emblem books with the Latin motto Latet Abdita meaning: It remains hidden. One assumes that what was hidden was the meat within the nut which the squirrel was trying to crack. By extension, the meaning came to signify something like our, no gain without pain. Reading books for children were scarce when Ackworth opened its doors to the first scholars in 1779. Eventually this book was settled upon for reading exercises. Entitled The Rational Dame (for Dame read Junior Schoolmistess) by Lady Eleanor Fenn, published in 1795, the book was described as Hints toward supplying prattle (childlike conversation) for children. The book is full of lively animal illustrations and descriptions of their characteristics. Here you can see the same squirrel which the Ackworth girls would have seen. It is described as : neat, lively, active and provident...never leaving its food to chance.

Please send me wings....vuolo volare!



Sometimes you may get the impression that I am here only intermittently - that on certain days I vanish off the face of the planet. The truth is that at the moment I am a mole, sunk in my office, developing square eyes, picture editing for our next sampler books. They will be fabulous - I wouldn't want to disappoint you. But I have over 1,500 images to edit (and that does not include detail shots). This means the sun and the sea are distant dreams right now. And you keep sending me these wonderful images of where you are stitching Mary Wigham. Here is where Emanuela from Grottammare is now. I think we need a cruise boat to get there from Maria's in Naples......or wings!

Pilgrims and Leiden's Textile Industry Exhibition


Pilgrims or Dissenting Separatists left England and, before their historic voyage aboard the Mayflower to America, they sojurned first in Amsterdam in 1607 and after a short stay there, moved to Leiden in 1609. Leiden was home to many refugees at the time and its university played an important role for almost 300 years in the education of Religious Dissenters including many Quakers since it was one university that did not require students to swear an oath before obtaining their degree. (Quakers would not swear oaths since their belief was that their word was sufficient before God.) The Pilgrims remained in Leiden for 12 years and worked in the textile industry there. 400 years after their arrival in Leiden there is a major exhibition at the Wevershuis Museum focusing on the Pilgrims and their involvement with textiles. The exhibition runs until 13 September 2009 and is a MUST SEE. (While you are there visit the nearby Pilgrim Museum to see this interior.) Phone the Weverhuis Museum ahead and a special guided tour in English or French can be arranged for you, for a donation to the museum. Welcomes don't get any better than this!

It has to be Naples for the week end!


You can see from Maria's work the two blues working in a slightly asymmetric way on her medallion, not everything was ship-shape and regular on Quaker samplers.

Keep an eye out for us Maria, we are on our way to join you .......

Friday, 12 June 2009

How small is yours?


This astonishing work in progress comes from Agne, one of a group of very talented stitchers in Lithuania.

Correction to Mary Wigham chart

Thank you to all the eagle eyes who spotted some stitches were missing from one of the diamonds above the squirrel. Here is what should have been printed. Fortunately no unpicking!