Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Karen Augusta Auction * Sturbridge MA, USA * 8 September 2010

It was love at first sight when I saw this image in my mailbox this morning. This vibrant spot sampler of circa 1875 teems with delightful animal, bird and flower motifs watched over by African American children. Notice the Heart in Hand motif just above the building and trumpet. The Karen Augusta historic textile auction will be held on 8 September and if you are thinking of attending Brimfield’s Fall Antique Week, don’t miss the Wednesday afternoon/evening sale in nearby Sturbridge. More than 5,000 new-to-market fashion and textile objects will be sold in this one-day sale. These rare objects have been hidden away for decades in storage facilities of many legendary American museums: The Brooklyn Museum (NY), Northampton Historical Society (MA), The Heritage Society of Houston (TX), The Columbus Museum (GA), The Chrysler Museum of Art (VA), The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (CA) and others. These amazing collections, as well as selections from other institutions, estates and individual consignors will be sold to the highest bidder, free of any minimum bids or reserves. All catalogued auction lots and discovery sale objects will sell on September 8.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Thank You Gisela!


Those of you who have purchased the Vierlande Library 2 and 11 Sampler Charts will know that one of the samplers is called after a wonderful sampler-lover called Gisela. And out of the kindness of her heart Gisela has gifted another copy of the Christiane Gadtgens Norddeutsche Stickmuster aus Vierlanden book for the draw at the end of November, so now two people can enjoy this wonderful book. Thank you so very much Gisela, and so say all of us!



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Sunday, 29 August 2010

Free Jigsaw Download - Sunday Lunch with Grandma

Little children should be seen and not heard - this was the tenor of Sunday lunches at Grandma's which lasted eternities while spiders spun their webs around us and one week slipped glacially into another. Gigglng, wiggling and wriggling were not allowed, in fact no ings at all were allowed, which was very difficult as the dining room horsehair padded chair seats were very tickly, indeed. What  I would have given to be allowed to get down and read or do a jigsaw!  I hope you enjoy this free 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, 28 August 2010

Enigmatic Bristol Orphanage Sampler for Auction * Bonhams * Knightsbridge * 7 Sept

There are a number of interesting samplers coming up for sale at Bonhams on 7 September, and I have chosen this sampler to show, not just because it is a Bristol Orphanage sampler, but because there is a little mystery lurking at the base of it. Described in the catalogue as lacking lower section on closer observation this appears to be exactly the section of cloth where the maker's name would have been stitched together with the name of the school wing. The questions it begs are these: was the maker's name and school removed because of the stigma attached to this location? And was it removed by the maker - or by descendents of the maker? Or perhaps there is some other story altogether?

Friday, 27 August 2010

Heidi's Hannah Gilpin Begins to Bloom

The community of stitchers is a wonderful one. Where would we farflung stitchers be without guilds, retreats and stitchalongs to share our common love of needle and thread? Every so often I pop into the Needleprint Stitchalongs to see how the stitching is coming along and today I had the lovely surprise of seeing Heidi's work. I love the shades of Hannah Gilpin's Ackworth School Sampler - in a busy and sometimes stressful life, there is a great calmness to be found there. There is also something of the ceremony to be seen here, which again in a life which rushes to get on with the main event is becoming a rarer and rarer sight. How often do we put fresh linen cloth on a tea tray? Add a flower stem or two to the supper table? Here we can see carefully edged linen, a cleanly bound frame, careful basting - how long did that take? Heidi tells us that she is using the original colors in the pattern, and a lovely linen that she's used before that is 14 threads per centimeter. She says it's been a bit busy with birthdays and back to school, but as soon as the "new year" has settled, she'll be stitching away on this one in the evenings...and looking forward to seeing what the rest of you are doing! Thank you for this motivation, Heidi. You can join the Hannah Gilpin Stitchalong at any time - you just need a chart, a needle, some thread and linen...and good cheer.

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Thursday, 26 August 2010

Goodness Me - I Nearly Forgot The Giveaway!


And goodness me, what brave souls you are - some of you have emailed to tell me you intend to stitch the entire Vierlande 2 motif library - just as it is - as a sampler! That will be just so amazing, I can hardly wait to see. And in all the excitement, I forgot to tell you about the new giveaway. Well, you don't really have to do a thing. Anyone who has purchased the Vierlande 2 download will automatically be entered in the giveaway for the Christiane Gadtgens book Norddeutsche Stickmuster aus Vierlanden and we'll draw for the book on 30 November, so the winner has their prize for Christmas. The book which is German text is full of delights, including more Vierlande motifs to add to your sampler! Good Luck.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Thank You for Waiting - Vierlande Motif Library 2 and 11 Mini Samplers are Now Ready for You to Enjoy




So, at last we are now ready! Thank you for your patience. Just to remind you of the contents of this download. There is a PDF eBooklet with PDF charts for 11 mini Vierlande samplers most of which take no more than a week to stitch - even for a clutz like me. There is a second library of Vierlande Motifs in PDF format. As a bonus there are 2 editable files in JGG format for users of Jane Greenoff Cross Stitch Designer which contain all the motifs and all the charts ready for you to cutomise. Just click here to browse or buy. Talking of customising, once I started to colour the motifs for the Marjan sampler, I realise what gorgeous Christmas ornaments they would make - probably not in sea greens, but in lovely glowing Christmas colours - I have already started some in pink and silver and hope to be able to show you soon.

Nearly There But Not Quite......



Oh, I am so nearly there with this publication that my teeth hurt. We have everything loaded for the downloads, the eBook, the pdfs for the mini samplers and the second Vierlande library of motifs plus all the editable files, but we still have some other links and web pages to create to enable you to browse the the book and purchase it. And apart from my teeth, I am falling off my stool because it is after 1am and I have been working for 16 hours straight on this. I need to go to bed, and then I can finish off tomorrow so everything is nice and neat for you. My apologies.

Dis Bonjour to Annie from Needleprint France

I was very sad when Paule who wrote the Needleprint France blog became so ill she could not continue. Apart from being a wonderful woman and a dear kind friend, her insight into needlework was tremendous. For some time I struggled with my dusty French to keep the blog going and then work just became too much. But I do believe in Angels, and out of nowhere, in fact that is not true, I should say, out of Quebec, appeared Annie, an experienced stitcher and lover of old needlework, who will be continuing Needleprint France. Do stop and say hello or bonjour to Annie, won't you?

Monday, 23 August 2010

New Vierlande Library II & 11 Mini Samplers will be Ready to Download Tomorrow

Just two last sneak previews prior to publication tomorrow evening - the top mini sampler is called Marjan after a great stitching mermaid and was designed with a modern sea colour scheme to show how striking and bold these wonderful motifs can be when translated from monochrome to glorious colour. And just imagine the colours you would use on individual medallions to transform them into pretty tree ornaments for Christmas. You could use the rose and gold palette seen on our Kaiserin mini sampler below - or something completely different! You could stitch just one initial from the Kaiserin sampler to embellish a special card or gift to make someone feel extra special - or maybe frame  individual initials to mingle with your collection of family photos on your lamp table.......so many ideas - I am sure you will have many more! The cost for the library of motifs and 11 mini sampler charts will be $20 - and as an extra, anyone who purchases this download will be entered in a draw for Christiane Gadtgens wonderful book: Norddeutsche Stickmuster aus Vierlander. See you tomorrow!

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Sewing in Wartime * Quilt Museum York * to 16 October 2010

While clothing was still rationed owing to wartime shortages, we were occasionally surprised by a large squashy parcel coming from Canada. Inside would be dresses, blouses and skirts, pre-enjoyed certainly, but pretty enough to make Cinderella herself swoon. My favourite memory of all time is the sight of my big sister, ten years my senior, twirling round and around in a full circle, red, taffeta skirt, looking so beautiful in her delight. The kindness of strangers is often missing from history books, and we never knew who to thank. So if anyone remembers sending such a gift to whomever, please know the joy it brought to us. There are a large number of Canadian Red Cross Quilts (which are simply a token of the hundreds and thousands donated to British war relief) on show at the Quilt Museum in York at the moment - Canadian women must have stitched their fingers to the bone in anonymity since the Red Cross forbade any signing.
And when you are in York, don't forget to pop into Bettys which is the most wonderful place to take tea there. I don't know if they still have three kinds of fruit cake served with Wensleydale cheese, but I do know they have Lavender Shortbreads and Betty's own Yorkshire Fat Rascals.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Thank You Lady Anne Tree

Having watched soldiers stitching during the war, Lady Anne Tree - third daughter of the 10th Duke of Devonshire of Chatsworth House - understood the deep benefits obtained from the art. Apart from providing some financial aid to prisoners, stitching had a spiritual dimension. The noise in prison would drive anyone crazy, all that banging of doors, but you can retreat in sewing. You can block out the noise. It is meditative, a way of thinking, of taking stock. So it's not just the money. It's the feeling of self worth that is vital.
Describing herself as a Victorian do-gooder, Lady Anne Tree had to lobby the Home Office for 30 years before she could commence her life's work later to be known as Fine Cell Work: work which allowed male and female prisoners to engage in skilled, engrossing and liberating work. Where shall we find another such as her? Lady Anne Tree died 9 August 2010 aged 82. God Bless. To see more of Fine Cell Work click here.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Fantabulous Patchwork Intarsia * Leeds Art Gallery * 27 August - 31 October


I raved about this exhibition which was first seen in Vienna at the beginning of this year - and, oh goodness me, it is coming to the UK and will be on display in Leeds Art Gallery, Yorkshire! My travel is booked and I am ready to go. Cloth Intarsia or Mosaics are special forms of inlaid patchwork employing fulled, non-fraying wool offcuts abutted (not seamed) which are joined by almost invisible, tiny stitches on the reverse. They possess distinct, bold and well-designed iconography often taken from printed religious sources. Some items are dated as early as the 14th and 15th centuries and their production was widespread, from Persia and the Ottoman Empire in the East to Wales and Great Britain in the West, and as far north as Sweden and Finland. Often made by craftsmen tailors, there is even a sub-branch composed entirely of military epaulettes.

And there is the most incredible catalogue to accompany this exhibition
- I am so lucky to have the kindest friends who sent me a copy from Germany - it is highly, highly recommended.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Talking of Backsides


I am very grateful to Mayté from Magicxstitch for sending me an image of the reverse of her Sarah Moon - this is soooo impressive. I shall never be satisfied with the reverses of my stitching again! Mayté says it is based upon the English Continental method - a method she has been teaching for 10 years. Thank you very much for sharing Mayté. Do click on the picture for a large image.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

The Back of the Swan


I thought you might like to see a close up of the back of this Ackworth Sampler swan which is worked in such an impressively methodical way. Does anyone want to show the reverse of one of their motifs for comparison?

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Scottish Samplers for Auction

Mellors and Kirk Auctioneers in Nottingham UK have two decorative Scottish samplers for auction on 23 August. They are both in the same lot - 417.(If you are interested do contacted them in advance to register as a bidder to avoid disappointment.) This first one is dated 1813 and features a large red brick house with two wings upon which perch the laird and his lady, while at the bottom of the path there is another female - perhaps a depiction of the stitcher herself, Jannet Speirs. In true Scottish sampler fashion the sampler is worked predominantly in red and green and in the row beneath the alphabet can be found the initials of Jannet's forbears, resembling in this respect Frisian samplers from the northwest of the Netherlands.
This second sampler also from the early 19th century is more textual than figurative, though decorated with crowns and floral bands. See again the traditional red and green colours and ordered ranks of family initials.

Monday, 16 August 2010

With Needle and Brush: Schoolgirl Embroidery from the Connecticut River Valley * 2 October 2010 - 30 January 2011 * Florence Griswold Museum * Old Lyme CT

This looks like a gem of an exhibition - certainly not to be missed if you can possibly help it. The Connecticut River Valley was one of the most important centers in America for the teaching and production of embroidered pictures by girls and young women in private academies during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. As the first exhibition to examine the subject of Connecticut River Valley needlework in depth, With Needle and Brush contributes to the understanding of the traditions of needlework and provides insight into the nature of women’s schooling before the advent of widespread public education. Guest-curated by needlework experts Carol and Stephen Huber, this exhibition of approximately sixty embroideries, watercolor sketches, and portraits will draw extensively on works from private collections, many never before shown publicly.
The exhibition illuminates the evolution of needleworking techniques as well as tracing the distinctive styles and subjects associated with the mistresses of various girls’ schools throughout the Connecticut River Valley. For more details, just click here.


And The Winner of the Lakeside Linen Giveaway is

I usually manage to email everyone who enters the giveaways before the draw to wish them luck and thank them for taking part, but this week there were so many entries and I have been dashing here and there that unfortunately I am afraid I haven't managed that this time. But thank you everyone who took part, I am sorry you couldn't all be winners - but we shall have other linen giveaways in weeks to come. The winner this time is Jane Lindley from Morecambe, UK. I hope you love stitching with your fabulous Lakeside Linen, Jayne. Congratulations. I shall have a rest from giveaways this week until things quieten a little, but they will be resumed shortly.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Free Jigsaw Download - Exquisite Kantha Shawl

I have just returned from a fabulous Kantha Quilting course at West Dean College. Kantha is the art of 'up-cycling' quilts from used saris and has been practiced in the area now called Bangladesh from about 1850. Over the weekend, working until very late in the night, I came to develop a great respect for the Kantha stitchers, as well as our amazingly inspired and inspiring tutor Lynne Setterington and wonderful fellow course members. If you have the opportunity to try this technique for yourself, be first on the list! Many Kanthas have a central mandala-type motif, and here is one from an exquisite shawl for you to explore yourself. My thanks to Amanda for allowing me to take this image. I hope you enjoy this free 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, 14 August 2010

Mary Is All White!

Willy has kindly let me share her stunning, all white Mary with you. This is just lovely and I can't take my eyes off it! The fabric Willy chose is a 28 count Jobelan, and the thread is DMC Floche nr.712.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Here Comes Christabel

It is all go here - never a free moment - last night and this morning we were lying on tarps up on the hill behind the house, snuggled under eiderdowns gazing up at the Perseid meteor shower shooting silver trails across clear, starry sky. Earlier in the evening we had had to multitask while eating dinner, not only had we to squeeze in some sips of Blanquette de Limoux but also had to listen to the 1988 performance of Murray Perahia playing Beethoven's Emperor Piano Concerto, find time for a few tears of simple joy and manage a little stitching. And here is Christabel - I am having a passion for longer horizontal samplers at the moment. Volume II of the Vierlande motifs together with all these samplers and more should be with you in a couple of weeks. I'd love to stop and gossip but must get back to the new book. I hope you have a lovely day.

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Thursday, 12 August 2010

Cupcakes and Antique Embroidery - What Next?

I am very busy working on our next book - and just in case you might fall into thinking I have a flippant side with all my talk of cupcakes, I'd like you to know my mind is fixed most seriously upon my work. Here is the Queen of Sheba offering a cupcake to King Solomon. But what is he saying?


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Wednesday, 11 August 2010

James Wilson - Boy Sampler Stitcher 1828 Charted Pattern and Volunteer Blogger wanted for Haslemere Educational Museum - Location Anywhere!


There are just a few samplers stitched by boys and this one in the Haslemere Educational Museum is a very special and lovely example with its delightful house (do you think it could be James' house?) in the shade of a tree, its many pots of flowers and not one, but two darling squirrels, - and from today you can buy the pattern chart direct from the museum. Payment will need to be via Credit Card or sterling cheque. Just click here to send your request for a copy.

The Museum is also looking for a volunteer blogger to help them. They are wanting to make approximately one post a week and you will be supplied with text and images. If you are able to blog in more than one language that would be lovely. The work is voluntary, but I promise the blogger a free copy of every Needleprint Blog digital download for as long as they blog. Just click here if you are interested.