There are no white roses out in our garden at the moment, so I have only the blowing snowdrops to thank the York Embroiderers' Guild for the hospitality and friendship extended to me last week. This guild has the distinction of meeting in the Folk Hall at New Earswick, just outside of York. New Earswick is a garden community founded by the Quaker chocolatier Joseph Rowntree. The village came into existence 1902 a year after Joseph's son Seebohm published his book 'Poverty: a study of town life' - a study of the living conditions of the working classes in York, which revealed appalling statistics of dark, overcrowded and unsanitary housing. Joseph insisted there should be fruit trees in every garden at News Earswick.
I was so pleased to have the opportunity to talk about the history of samplers - one of the members emailing me said, 'I was expecting something rather dry as samplers are not my thing, but was amazed and now full of enthusiasm to find out more, you have certainly opened my eyes to explore and discover some of the hidden gems to be found in what was the original stitchers dictionary of patterns.' And I was delighted to find out about their Artists' Trading Cards system. Members design and stitch a small playing card sized item and then bring it along and exchange it for another stitcher's card, so eventually building up a real sampler of stitched designs. Thank you very much, York Embroiderers' Guild.