Wednesday, 30 June 2010

The Reverse of an Embroidered Stuart Picture of Mid 1600s


I am very grateful to Andrew Turner at Peter Wilson Fine Art Auctioneers Ltd for giving us the opportunity to see the reverse of a Stuart picture from the mid 1600s. I have flipped the reverse image so that you can read it in the same direction as the obverse.
As you can see, like the earlier example we showed you, there is considerable thread congestion on the reverse with opportunistic use of anchors for new threads - though a small number of them do use the hem to bury thread starts and finishes. From the back you can see the original colours - particularly for foliage and grass which uses a palette of mid and dark green and chartreuse which has faded to shades of blue and off-white. From the absence of stitches corresponding to the door behind the seated figure, it seems that the door was designed to open as a flap on the fabric ground. At no point does it appear that there was any inculcated concern for the conservation of thread and one therefore has to assume that if one was stitching a picture such as this then cost of embroidery silk, expensive though it may have been, was not an issue.



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Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Connecticut Needlework - a Giveaway to Come!

There is no passing over this book - I can't wait to have all its 240 pages in my hands but I have to be patient until it is published on 15 October 2010. I have reserved my copy - and also one for you! It will be a special giveaway for September 2010.
Authored by Susan P. Schoelwer, former curator at the Connecticut Historical Society, this book subtitled: Women, Art, and Family, 1740-1840 looks at all the needle arts created in this 100 year period. There are more than 100 examples illustrated, some never seen before, and photographs include details of designs, stitches, reverse sides and sketches. This book is being published to coincide with an exhibition of needlework to be held at the Connecticut Historical Society in Autumn 2010.

Monday, 28 June 2010

The Winner of the Needleprint Giveaway

Thank you very much to all of you who sent me lovely emails and entered the draw last week. Bless you, some of you even offered to pay for postage if you won! But all the giveaways will always come with free postage, it is my pleasure. So the winner of the special DMC book is...tantara-rantara... is Elizabeth Kaufman from Florida, USA. Congratulations, Elizabeth, your book is in the air to you right now and hopefully will be with you very soon.

I'm loving this and so I have lined up some more special giveaways for the next few weeks so do pop by to find out when they are happening. This one is a mystery (for now) but it is no secret that it comes from Colonial Williamsburg.

And the upcoming giveaway this week is open to all - and we can have three winners! We had a few of these special key rings made up for the launch of the Goodhart Samplers and decided we wouldn't go into production with them, so they are pretty exclusive. There will be one each for three winners. Just look for the giveaway instructions later this week.

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Sunday, 27 June 2010

Free Jigsaw Download

We have now made the draw for lovely DMC Needlework book giveaway, so the draw is closed now. We shall announce the winner in tomorrow's post. I am sorry you couldn't all be winners, but here is a little consolation for everyone, a free jigsaw of the book cover for you to download and keep. I hope you enjoy the jigsaw. However, sadly, this is not going to work for Mac users. Instructions: Click here next Click Open, then click the .EXE file name and click Run, when you see the jigsaw puzzle, click Play Too many pieces? Try clicking on Trays on the top tool bar to create any number of resizeable trays to sort your pieces ........ you can also click the Cheat button and watch the puzzle solve itself! The software is by David Gray designer of Jigsaws Galore - the powerful jigsaw player and creator for Windows.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

25 Samplers to Enjoy or Buy 28 June

These items are for auction by H&H Auctions in Carlisle on 28 June. I rather fell in love with this pair of items - a Georgian pincushion reputedly made to celebrate the birth of Frances Elizabeth Reynolds together with an associated miniature sampler, circa 1820s. The lot number is 134 and the estimate is £50-£80
It is a great pleasure to see samplers and needlework for auction photographed with respect - and the right way up! Here is lot 110 - an early Victorian elegant mansion needlework sampler by Isabella Brown, finished at Mrs Fisher`s school Octr 26th 1847, in cotton and wool with central house motif flanked by prancing deer, alphabet wrapped to the reverse and decorative Algerian eyelet stitch, framed under glass, 26 cm x 40 cm. It has an estimate of £60-£80.

The sampler above is lot 120 and is an early Victorian religious sampler by Elizabeth Edwards, aged 9  dated 1830. It has a central Adam and Eve and the Tree of Knowledge flanked by angels and surrounded by motifs of flowers, birds, hearts and figures within a running foliate border, framed and mounted under glass, 38 cm x 28 cm. Estimate is £100 to £150

Above is lot 127 by Martha Ritsons `finished Nover 2 in the 11th year of her age in the year of our Lord 1839 at Flimby School with B. I. Wilkinfon Governeff. The sampler features the ships: `Leopard` and `Lady Mary` and further motifs including birds, trees and flowers within a running honeysuckle border, in a period frame under glass it measures 64 cm x 45 cm and comes with an estimate of £300-£400.

Lot 112 is typically Scottish with its bands of forebear's initials, Holbein stitch embellished alphabet, house in park and distinctive vase of lowers. The house also entertains Adam and Eve squeezed onto the patio. Framed and mounted under glass, it measures 43 cm x 30 cm and has an estimate of  £80 to £120.
Last but not least is lot 119 - a mid Victorian orphanage alphabet sampler by Marie Mymex [?] dated 1864 in rose, with decorative bands and running wave border, in period frame under glass, 47 cm x 45 cm. The estimate for this sampler is £100 to £200.

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Mary Peacock by Lea Peacock


It is a special occasion when a stitcher shares the same family name as a sampler maker of old. There are so many threads that join us that it cannot be a surprise that Lea was drawn to stitching her namesake's, Mary Peacock's, sampler. But Lea has truly made this sampler her very own. She used her favorite linen - Permin Natural (67-B) 40ct. The cross stitches look like little pearls resting on the this linen. Lea made slight adjustments to customise the design and changed the colour palette to one more convenient to her. Well done Lea - thank you so much for sharing!


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Thursday, 24 June 2010

A Breathtaking Beatrix from Marjo


I love the way you take sampler charts and create your own wonderful and special versions of them, just like the girls who were stitching band samplers in the mid 1600s. They too had 'kits' for want of a better word, and repertoires of standard motifs already designed and sometimes outlined for them, but each girl was so creative that she put her own mark on her work by her very personal interpretation and execution of the design. Marjo's Beatrix Potter sampler is in a class of its own. She worked it on Lakeside Linens Light Exemplar Vintage using The Threadgathers’s Nan’s Mulberry which is a favorite of hers.
All our charts now come with a bonus editable Jane Greenoff Cross Stitch Designer jgg file as standard as there are now so many users of this software. There are other charting software packages around and some of them have all the bells and whistles you could, well, whistle for. But one of my fundamental aims has always been accessibility for all, and not everyone can afford the sort of money some of the other packages cost. We think $20 for the software to come bundled with 2 Quaker charts ready for you to edit right away, is an accessible route to being able to edit your charts. In fact for the price of a single chart you have full design control over all your Needleprint purchases, as well as having straight forward PDF print versions. The charts you create can be read by the more expensive and more versatile Jane Greenoff Cross Stitch Designer Gold, and now Jane has told me, the same charts can be read by her latest software: there is full backward capability. This is not to take you away from, or detract from your own preferred charting software if you have it. But rather it is a very usable and useful adjunct, which with all the libraries of motifs we are creating for it, will provide you many hours of happy, contented designing. For those with Apple computers then we can provide you with the equivalent for MacStitch.

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Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Steve Rousseau's Cushion Cover Finished

Steve's flying fingers have just finished his cushion cover. This project is an astonishing tour de force - Steve designed it from scratch using the Needleprint Old European Libraries and then set himself to the stitching of it. This is a magnificent item - a truly astonishing heirloom piece - ├ępoustouflante Steve!

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Tuesday, 22 June 2010

God Bless Them! An Early 18th Century Stomacher for £30-£50 * 23 June Auction

It is a terrible picture, it is all there is - but it was enough to have me fall off my seat in peals of laughter, if only you could have heard. I was just taking a break with a pot of tea and had a look to see what was new in the auction rooms, and blow me down, this popped up on my screen. It is described as A FRAMED TRIANGULAR PANEL OF FLORAL EMBROIDERY and two three section PIECES, in a glazed frame. Estimates: £30 to £50. Well someone needs to get their skates on because this is for auction tomorrow by Diamond Mills and Co in Felixstowe, Suffolk - the lot number is 381.

Tunbridge Ware Needlecase


I was talking a little while ago about the interchangeability of charted patterns and Tunbridge Ware was one of the possibilities. Here is a pretty example for you - a Tunbridge Ware needle case. Joined by a red silk spine, the front and back covers are veneered using slices of square rods (think square spaghetti) which are then assembled into a mosaic pattern. It is described as being decorated with mosaic butterflies but I think they are scrolling leaves. Some of the later designs of Tunbridge Ware were interpretations of patterns for Berlin woolwork and you can visit them in the museum in delightful Tunbridge Wells. (The museum also has quite a few of its sampler collection on display!) This needle case measures 2.25" x 1.75" and is lot 362 at the Gardiner Houlgate Bath Auction Rooms in Wiltshire on 24 June - Estimate is £100 to £150 .
Here is a charted pattern for you to make your own needlecase - just click on the colour or symbol pattern for a larger version to save and print for yourself.

Also for auction is this intriguing miniature gilt metal mounted sewing case with mother-of-pearl sides, length 4.3cm. The needle case has a French silver control mark and inside are a miniature pair of scissors, thimble, needle case and sewing implement. It also has a chain with finger ring. Would you have worked with that attached to your finger for easy access of the items? I would be interested to hear your thoughts.

It is lot 510 with Woolley & Wallis, 51-61 Castle Street, Salisbury for auction on 21 July with an estimate of £100-£150.

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Phantom Post

I do apologise for the phantom post last night. I was so excited about this giveaway that I set it up late last night - too late! Instead of pressing the Schedule button when I was finished, I pressed the Publish button and created the phantom you saw. However, the giveaway for this special little hardback needlework pattern book will happen - it is scheduled for this coming Friday 25 June. Please can you wait until then and then I shall tell you more about how the giveaway will work.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Hannah Gilpin SAL and Hannah Gilpin MacStitch Are Now Ready

The Stitchalong for Hannah Gilpin's sampler is now open and I invite you to share with kindred spirits the enjoyment of stitching this very lovely and subtle Quaker heirloom sampler with a palette of just 5 colours. Just click here for an invite to the SAL. To browse or buy the chart and accompanying ebook just click here. You can obtain a kit for the sampler put together by Janice at Traditional Stitches. AND for those of you with MacStitch, the wonderful Steve Rousseau has made an editable version for you. Click here for more details if you would like a MacStitch copy.

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Name That Band

We need to keep up with our naming of bands - it is my fault we are a bit behind as I have been very busy on new work and preparing for lectures. In case you are new, here is the background: We shall be printing a dictionary of bands in our next book so that in future it will be easier for writers and teachers to talk about them. It would be very unfair if we had all the enjoyable work of naming them, so we have invited everyone to think up distinctive names and let us know. People who come up with the chosen names will be acknowledged in the book. I have to say that this is one of my favourite bands - I wonder what names you will find for it.
To see all the bands so far, click here

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Memories of Father's Day 1954

Sundays were special days when I was young. If it was not too rainy, we would escape town and walk out into the clean air of the country, over Baildon or Ilkley Moor - or sometimes to Shipley Glen. There we would perch on rocks and picnic on sandwiches my dad had made long before we were all up - consequently they were just a teeny bit soggy. But he had a hundred inventive ways with a tin of sardines and they were always good. Back home in the evening with appetites inflated by gusts of Yorkshire air, we all looked forward to his Spam or potato fritters (food was just off rationing). And Sundays we were allowed to watch Roy Rogers on the TV - small and black and white, so I never appreciated just how fabulous his costumes were. My dad had just bought me a cowgirl set and so I sat astride the settee arm riding along with Roy and Trigger - probably making a lot of noise!

The Roy Roger's costume are for sale at Christies in New York on 14-15 July.