Thursday, 31 March 2011

Save £35 - and Get 26 Free Copies When You Subscribe to Selvedge On-Line Edition

It has to be the bargain of the century. Instead of paying the full cover price of £60 for a full year's subsription to the fabulous Selvedge Magazine, you can see a whole year's Selvedge on-line for just £25 - and see all 26 back copies on-line also. Think how much room you'd need to store 26 copies! Instead you can have it all neatly tucked away to look at any time you want inspiration. Click here for details.
And don't forget the Selvedge Spring Fair on 2 April - a highlight of the Spring season.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Those Norwich Deer


Yesterday we saw a Norwich School Sampler for Auction at Woolley and Wallis on 5 April, and here today is a typical design from these 18th and 19th century Norwich School Samplers which you can download free now. The following DMC colours provide a good palette: 3750, 3051, 786, 1734, 729, 832, 3046 with the birds and the french knots for the lions faces worked with two strands of black or, more subtler, dark grey. Just click here for the download again if you missed it the first time. These downloads are totally copyright free - share them with friends and customers, use them in your newsletters but please acknowledge the Needleprint blog. Thank you.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Woolley & Wallis Auction Samplers * 5 April

There are 28 lovely samplers in the upcoming Woolley and Wallis Auction to be held at the Salisbury Salerooms on 5 April. Click here to see them all. The first Lot 103 is this George II sampler, worked by M Woods in 1759, it displays features of the Norwich School - cartouches lions and shaded pines. It measures 5.5 x 8in (14 x 20.5cm)and has some holes and losses. Estimate is £150-£250.

I love the fabulous freely stitched florals on this sampler together with the verse reading around the frame: WISE INSTRUCTIONS PRIZE FAR MORE THAN TREASURES FROM THE INDIAN SHORE. A George III verse sampler, by Catherine Elam MDCCLXVIII (1768), done at Nottingham, worked Psalm XIX, with a trailing floral border. In good condition, it measures 12.5 x 10in (32 x 25.5cm)and is Lot 106 with an estimate of £250-£350.

The item above is a George III stitched Perpetual Almanack circa 1789 worked by Ann Smorthwaite at Kirkby Lonsdale School, just outside the Lake District. It is interesting that printed perpetual almanacs had a tax of fifteen pence imposed on them in 1710 to fund the war effort. In 1789, this tax was increased to a prohibitive 10 shillings. Howeever, there was no tax on stitched almanacs. This is lot 110 measuring 13.5 x 12.75in (34 x 32cm) with an estimate of £500-600.

This sweet Regency sampler was worked by Sarah Grigg, Aged 12 Years AD 1821and has two children two children, the boy holding berries and the girl with a squirrel on her shoulder, flanked by birds, insects and plants, above the alphabet, numbers and verse. It measures 16 x 12.75in (40.5 x 32.5cm) and has some minor damage. It is Lot 119 with an estimate of £500-600.


Lot 123 is a William IV sampler by Alice Angove Aged 11 Years, Finished July the 15th Anno Domini 1836. It depicts Jesus and Rebecca at the Well with verse above, below a further verse 'To my Honoured Parents', flanked by angels holding crowns, girls with dogs on leads and chairs under trees, the base with shepherd and shepherdess with sheep and floral border. It measures 19 x 12.5in (48 x 32cm). There are some losses to ground and some stitching loose, background slightly grubby. The estimate is £600-800.

Happy Bidding!

Springtime thoughts for Japan - may your days be growing brighter.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Monday Washday Whites

I have washed laundry, other than small and delicates by hand, but it was many years ago, in a power cut, when I last tackled bed linen by hand. I am glad I don't have to do it on a regular basis, it is back-breaking work. But then that might have been because all I had was my own company. I suppose amongst good friends and a chance to catch up on village gossip, it might not be such a bad way to spend a morning. And the possibility in a warmer climate of being able to dry items quickly - spreading laundry over mounds of lavender in the sunshine would be so much nicer than having to spray on lavender water while ironing... Since marking with initials was essential when doing a communal wash and is related to my love of samplers, I always make a point of visiting local lavoirs when I am travelling in France. The one above is an old lavoir in Maussane in the Alpilles - if you look on the right of the picture, you will be able to see the flat sloping ledge on which you could soap up your sheets.
Pont Aven on the south coast of Brittany - erstwhile home to painters and artists including Gauguin - is famous for its row of lavoirs on the River Aven - here you can see women working away in their own private lavoirs - such luxury, but not great for gossip! There is a web-site that lists all the known lavoirs, just in case you fancy following a lavoir trail when you are visitng France. Just click here for a visit. May all your whites be bright!

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Darning Sampler - Free Jigsaw Download


I really love darning pattern samplers - and it was for this reason I bought this wonderful Italian sampler some years ago - it has the most fabulous darns I have yet to see - including the maker's name, Maria - a section of which you can see right at the top of the detail 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, 26 March 2011

Nature's Iridescence * Karen Augusta * 30 March 2011 * St Paul's

In our forthcoming book we have close up images of the remains of iridescent insect wings and feathering stitched into Stuart pictures of the mid 1600s, so one can only begin to comprehend the scintilation of some of these early works in candle light. When I visited the Dennis Severs House in 18 Folgate Street, Spitalfields, London E1 6B - the former home of a family of Huguenot silk weavers - which is lit only by candles, I was suddenly aware of the importance and effect of manufactured reflective surfaces in the days before electricity. It goes without saying that metal and mirrors sparkled. And glass. Also the glaze on china that shimmered like pearl. The sheen on silk and chintz that was ever changing with each move, each breath... So, why not use nature's own iridescence? Here is an example of beetle-wings embroidered on an organdy dress of the 1860's.

Just imagine how this would have caught the light when you moved and breathed and danced beneath the candles!
It is Lot 158 and was formerly in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum. It measures B 36", W 28", Skirt L 43". Estimate is $600-$800. For sale with Karen Augusta Auctions on 20 March 2011 at St Paul's NY. Click here for more details.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Goodbye Rebecca Jeffcoat, Farewell Sarah Spence



I am really sorry to say goodbye to Rebecca Jeffcoat and Sarah Spence - we go back a long way together and I feel like I have lost old friends - and something of our publishing history as we move away from printed charts to digital downloads. I really enjoyed all stages of the production and printing of the Ackworth School series - but there are still some remaining printed charts for the lovely Mary Peacock, Rebecca Blake and Hannah Westcombe.

Limited edition printed chart with 10 additonal mystery medallion projects and images of Mary's other known samplers. Price includes postage.


Rebecca's sampler is in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, so it has travelled far from Ackworth. Limited edition printed chart includes history of Philadelphia connections. Price includes postage.


One of the earliest text samplers at Ackworth School. Limited edition printed chart comes with 5 mini text sampler projects and background history. Price includes postage.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

1015 Wonderful Samplers on Line at the Metropolitan Museum


When you have an hour free and a good pot of tea at hand - here is a special treat for you - 1015 samplers on line. (Just a pity they have the sampler above labelled as being Spanish....but then curators can't and sometimes don't know everything, so we can help them, can't we?)
Just click here:

Then enter Sampler into the search box. Next when you have the Results box click on 1043 Works of Art.In the next screen click on 1015 Collection Database in the Results box. In the next screen click on View all in the Results box. Enjoy.
All together now, Thank you Metropolitan Museum!

And a big thank you to all who have donated to their local Japan Relief Fund. Do think about making a donation if you haven't already. It is a shrinking world and all our lives are interconnected now.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Charity Opens in Each Heart A Little Heaven

This is the closing line on Jane Oxley's sampler. Though in appearance like an Ackworth sampler and despite the association of Oxley's with Ackworth School, no Jane Oxley appears in the register of scholars. This is, however, a Quaker sampler, presumably from some other school - or perhaps stitched at home. It is for auction tomorrow at Clifford Cross Auctions in Wisbech - a place which has close historical association with Quaker banking families. If you are interested you need to contact the auction house quickly to register: Tel - 44 (0)1945584200 or email clifford.cross.auctions@googlemail.com.

And to open in our hearts a little heaven, and in the hearts of those whose lives and families have been swept away by the Tsunami, we remember the victims in Japan.

A Sampler Mystery Solved by Berthi Smith-Sanders



Maaike in the Netherlands drew my attention to the Frisian sampler in the background of this advert. You can imagine all the sampler enthusiasts in the Netherlands who were curious about it - so the hunt was on to find out more about it. At last, the sampler was traced by Berthi Smith-Sanders to the Zuiderzeemuseum in Enkhuizen. Click here for more details on Berthi's blog. Maaike says: We had quite fun searching for the sampler. If the sampler wouldn't have been in the commercial, there wouldn't have been an investigation of this size since woman looked up their old Ariadnes and Burda's in order to trace the pattern, it was quite a hunt! The original sampler will be photographed again and hopefully the museum will come up with a copy of the pattern. We hope it will be available on internet since it will be nice to re-stitch a sampler with such an investigation behind it.
Well done, Berthi! I love wonderful stories like these, don't you?

I have just listened to the UK Prime Minister in Parliament pay a moving tribute to the bravery and grace of the people of Japan in dealing with the earthquake and tsunami catastrophes. We keep the people of Japan in our thoughts at this difficult time.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

The Royal Wedding All Stitched Up

Maybe you are still waiting for your invitation, but in case the Lord Chamberlain passes you by, you can pull out your knitting needles and Knit Your Own Royal Wedding - including royal corgis!
Let's hope the happy couple have a lovely, fine day for their nuptials, and lovely fine years ahead. I remember my mother knitting a nativity set which we brought out every Christmas until it fattened the moths in the loft. It might be long odds, but possibly you could bring your Royal Wedding Group back out at Christmas for a Nativity scene - or an expected one, perhaps.
It is the express wish of the couple not have presents sent, instead they would like a donation to the Prince's charity. Or you may like to make a donation to your local Japan relief fund. It could make a very useful difference for a homeless family.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Cornish, French Samplers and More at Auction

It is not often one meets a sampler from Kernow (Cornwall), for once across the Tamar River you are not so much in another county as another country. Stitched by Mary Husband Hawken aged 12 in 1837 the sampler references Treginnegar (Tre, Pol and Pen - three Cornish Men) not far from lovely Padstow on the North Cornwall Coast. I wonder if the cow on the sampler is tired of producing clotted cream for visitors' teas! It measures approximately 35cm x 29cm and is for auction on 23 March at Tooveys. It is Lot 2905 with an estimate of £100-£200.
I am intrigued by these samplers in French, for I believe many were stitched in England by English girls and so cannot properly be described as French. This one displaying very English motifs in the midst of the French text was stitched by Elizabeth Carel when she was 12 and though being sold in Eastbourne has an oak frame that hails from Dundee in Scotland. It measures 59cm x 44cm
and is Lot 205 at Eastbourne Auctions on 24/25 March.
Also for sale at Eastbourne Auctions on 24/25 March is Lot 207 comprising four sweet miniature 19th century samplers - one stitched with verse and flowers, another with maple frame, the largest 21cm x 18cm. This is one easy way of jump-starting a sampler collection.
And last, but by no means least is this beautiful 17th century English embroidered coif, decorated with lovely polychrome silkwork flowers, and metallic lace set on a linen ground. It has a floral red silkwork lining and is Lot 125 in the next Gorringes auction on 23rd March. It has an estimates of £2,000 - 3,000.

Keep a candle burning for Japan. Share your thoughts in the Book of Condolences and Comfort at the top of the right hand column on the blog.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

My Japanese Suffolk Puff Scarf - Make Museums a Destination - News from Yukiko

I have been meaning to share with you for some time a lovely scarf I bought while on holiday. It came from a museum boutique (of which more later) and it wasn't particularly expensive - 30 Euros. It is composed of tiny Suffolk Puffs about an inch in diameter in a subtle range of Japanese fabrics which I fell in love with at first sight. I spent ages just examining the cloth of each puff on my flight home. They are as lovely as jewels to me.
Here you can see how all those variegated fabrics are working together to create a wonderful long scarf. Maybe this is something you could make with your own nimble fingers. I know when I have a moment sometime in the next 10 years, I would like to make one in shades of indigo.
So, the museum where I bought it is the Musée des Arts Asiatiques at the very end of the Promenades Des Anglais in Nice, near the airport. When I was visiting they had a wonderful exhibition of Korean textiles. If you are in Nice, you could just take the bus down there. But I am a great fan of making my museum trips somewhat special, as you know, like combining them with a walk round a headland and a picnic. My favourite way of getting to the Asiatic Museum in Nice is to head in the opposite direction, to the flower market in the Cours Saleya in the early morning, buy a copy of Nice Matin and have a restful coffee in the sunshine. Then I walk through the arch to the sea at the top of the Baie Des Anges and plunge myself into the dazzling light. Across the road right by the side of the sea you can pick up a Velo Bleu - a rental bicycle - if you click here you can find instructions in English on how to operate this. It costs just one Euro a day if you are prepared to change bikes every half hour - or a little more if you want to stay with the same bike. So, I ride the whole length of the Promenade by the sea, being careful of children on roller skates, fur coated ladies with small dogs and courting couples because love is blind. Cycle for twenty minutes then look out for the next rental station to switch bikes if you are wanting to make the journey for 1 Euro. It takes about 45 leisurely minutes to reach the Museum - all on safe cycle path. There is another rental station just by the museum for you to leave your bike.
Not only is the museum heaven - it is open on Mondays - yes! Anytime you go you will find fabulous items there. And what is better - there is an Asian tea shop there where you can buy a lovely pot of special tea. And the boutique, located right next to the tea shop is a fabulous place to buy beautiful gifts and books. Click here to visit the museum now.
News from Yukiko who has two young children and lives in Kanagawa is reassuring. She says: I and my family are all OK. The nuclear plant accident is so scary for us, but it’s far from Kanagawa. Now many army and fire fighter make effort to stop this accident. I read on newspaper many people all over the world pray for Japan, and so many rescue team and dogs come to Japan from all over the world. So many Japanese feel we are not alone. We thank people who are thinking of Japan. We have 3-7 hours power failure weekdays now. Many shops sometimes open only 4 hours a day. So I feel some inconvenient, but that’s no problem because I have my family and comfortable home. Now I feel happiness to spend daily life, it’s miracle. We are very shocked to see Tohoku area. We went to Tohoku last Summer, we have many good memories of that area. I spent 3 years at Sendai in my childhood. Sendai is very beautiful city called forest city. So I’m very anxious about my elementary school teacher. Now my family think about what we do for Tohoku. Thank you very much for thinking of us. I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to you.We shall continue to think about you, Yukiko, every day.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Izannah Walker - Noh Really - News from Saho in Japan

I thought you might like to share something Lynne Roche passed onto me - which was news of Izannah Walker doll workshops - on-line and at the American Museum in Bath. Izannah Walker who was born in 1817 in Bristol, Rhode Island was one of the earliest known female doll makers in America. She and her sisters made the cloth dolls which resemble the naive, direct country portraits of the time. In 1997 an Izannah Walker doll was featured on a US postage stamp.
If you are interested in making your own Izannah Walker Doll, Dixie Redmond runs on-line classes and you can obtain more details for that by clicking here. For details of a past course at the American Museum in Bath click here - another is planned for later this year.
E J Taylor's dolls are sculptural textile works of art. He also runs on-line rag doll courses - for more details click here.
And here you can see one of E J Taylor's masterpieces - entitled Noh Masque based upon Japanese Theatre, it leaves unresolved the question of who, exactly, is behind the mask. For details of on-line tutorials for these pieces just click here.
Saho sends us this news from Japan: The Tsunami-destructed areas in the Northeastern Japan are very widespread; geographically, the area is trapped between the mountains and the sea. The main method of transportation is by car, but the roads are destroyed, trains have stopped, airport was wiped out by the tsunami, and they are short on fuel, so even those who have caring friends and relatives outside the area have no way of getting there. In the refugee camps, they need water, food, and medicines; however, the roads are wiped out and the goods could not be transported to the sites; wired telephone, cell phone and the Internet is damaged and the information is very limited on "what is needed where". So even in Japan, we are very limited on what we can do to help. The money will become useful once the way is cleared for the goods and people to go to and from the affected areas, and later on when they build temporary housing and start renovating- that will be years from now. It does seem strange to be carrying on an everyday life, even stitching, when something so terrible is happening. I hope there was a way of letting the affected people know that the whole world cares.
Do make a donation to your local appeal for Japanese victims of the earthquake and tsunami - although the money cannot be used immediately, it will be required as soon as transport and communication links are re-established. By sending a few words via the Book of Condolences and Comfort we can let the people of Japan know that the world cares about their suffering. See the top of the right hand column on this blog. My apologies for the frustrating ads in the Book of Condolences - it seems that ads are a feature of our lives!

Friday, 18 March 2011

Under Wraps - Talks and Events at Carrow House Museum, Norwich

The famous textile collection now house at Carrow House is on the move to Shire Hall, Norwich later this year. This is a rationalisation programme following the inevitable cuts necessitated in our current economic climate. However, there are assurances that the collection and staff will be continued. Until September 2011, the curators at Carrow House are giving a series of monthly afternoon talks and events.
On 22 March from 2pm - 3.30pm the talk by Ruth Burwood, Senior Access Curator, is entitled ‘I, Miss Lorina Bulwer...’ - Embroidered letters from the Workhouse. When I imaged the collection for Carrow House, the Lorina Bulwer pieces were the last items on the list. There are two fragments - one of which you can see here - but the main item is a length of some dozen feet and had to be imaged in sections. It equates broadly to a blog in which Lorina vents her anguish and not a little rancour on her situation. She scavenged and begged fabric to add to her roll so that she could continue stitching her testament. It is a most affective piece and this talk is not one to be missed.
Once a month you can also open boxes from the stores with staff to discover some of the fabulous collections at Carrow House. These informal sessions  on Fridays from 10.30am -12.00pm provide an opportunity to get closer to the collections and a chance to browse the resources and library. Here is the programme:
25 March: Celebrate! The amazing world of commemorative costume and textiles.
5 April:  Happily Ever After-240 Years of Brides, Bridesmaids, Pageboys and Grooms
13 May: What Are You Made Of? Amazing materials used to create costume, textiles and accessories. Warning, will contain animal products.
17 June: In Memoriam: Costume for Death and Mourning
15 July: This Sporting Life: Sports and Leisure dress from the 18th to the 20th centuries.
19 August Dressed for the Job-A fascinating look at the world of work from the 18th to the 20th centuries using the occupational costume collections
The charge for the talks viewing sessions are: £6 Adult; £5.50 concessions; £5 Museums Pass holders, FNM, EAAF, C&TA, NCAS.

Do pop along to Carrow House and see these wonderful items in a fabulous historic building while you can. Click here for more details.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Thomas Trevilion's Cap Designs 1608 - View Folger Library On-Line

Although many of Thomas Trevilian's (born around 1548) drawings in his hand drawn and coloured Commonplace Book were largely copies from other sources, his drawings for professional embroiderers and other craftsmen are well known for their brilliant design. There are a number of designs for gentlemen's caps of which the above is just one. These caps were made in four joined sections for the crowns - the design in the upper half of the drawing. The bands below would have been choices for a wider or narrower turned brim.

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There are a number of other designs for embroidery - such as this coiling all-over design. And you can peruse Thomas' entire book, page by wonderful page, in the On-line Folger Collection. It is essential viewing for lovers of old embroidery and design. Just click here to visit.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Béatrice Ephrussi's Villa, Gardens and 18th Century Embroidered Waistcoats.

I was thinking today of the lovely embroidered silk waistcoasts in Ephrussi Villa on Cap Ferrat in the South of France. But just as wonderful as seeing them, is the journey you take and what you learn along the way. It is easy enought to buy a ticket for 1 whole Euro and board the coach in Nice, Menton or Monaco to Beaulieu. Go down the main street, stopping to look in the pretty furniture stores, at the bottom of town cross in front of what used to be the bridge club (which looks like a giant meringue) to the sea front and then head off to your right to find the Sentier Touristique that will take you all around the wonderful headland with probably the most expensive real estate on the planet that is Cap Ferrat. You will walk past David Niven's Pink Villa before reaching the yachting harbour of St Jean where you can stop for a leisurely café allongé. Then carry on round the edge of the headland itself by the side of the waves and dazzling blue sea. There are plenty of sun drenched perches if you have had the foresight to pack a picnic. After you have rounded the headland look our for the Plage Passable. You will turn off here up the Chemin Passable coming out in front of Paul Allen's house. Across the road you will see the sign to the Ephrussi Villa. When you manage to drag yourself away from the museum or are turned at at closing time, retrace your footsteps to the top of the Chemin Passable and continue into Villefranche where another harbour side cafe will deliver up wonderful food for you. From there simply spend another Euro to get a coach back to wherever it was you started.
Ok, I skipped the villa visit itself. What St Marks is to Venice, the Villa Ephrussi is to the South of France - it is a great and eclectic collection of architectural elements, textiles including wonderful silk waistcoasts of which no images exist so far, paintings, porcelain gathered up from around the world, but mainly the accent is Florentine Renaissance. What couldn't be accommodated in the house, found sanctuary in the fabulous gardens with their musical fountains. Béatrice born Rothschild had items brought to her from which she would select the items she wanted to keep on the train platform at Beaulieu. It is said she bought an entire chapel just for one fresco.... When she died in 1934 she bequeathed her villa and more than 5,300 works of art to the Académie des Beaux Arts of the Institut of France. So, go see. Or click here for a virtual visit.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Download for a Donation - Kathy Bungard's Sanctuary for Japan

The generosity of stitchers is such a great force for goodness in this world. This lovely design which sums up all we have in abundance - hearth, warmth, home, loved ones safe and near at hand, and a surplus to feed pets -  is offered for you to download now by Kathy Bungard of Gracewood Stitches. Please, please, please make a donation to your local Japan Relief Charity in return. Thank you so much, Kathy. Click here to see more Gracewood Stitches Designs. I have just heard that it is snowing in North Japan, making it so much worse for the homeless, those with no power, those who cannot replenish food supplies for the elderly, the babies, the sick. Maybe you have a blog - is there anything you can offer in return for a donation to the Japan Relief effort? Maybe you could have a sale of surplus stash? Maybe there is something you could raffle at your next Guild Meeting? Maybe you can organize a sponsored stitchathlon, a round robin, a retreat or coffee morning for stitchers? Maybe you have even better ideas. Do share. Please.
I hope the Book of Condolences and Comfort is a little more friendly now I know a bit better how it works. Your words of support do mean so much. Thank you.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Things I Love About Japan - Yohji's Women - Miso Soup & More

Today, in response to the very distressing news coming from Japan, I started to compile a list of all the good things Japanese I know. The list is already too long to share, and I expect you have a list of your own. So, here are just a few from mine: Politeness. Kindness to strangers. Having posters in the street that remind you when you walk along the street smoking your lit cigarette is level with the faces of children. Wrapping things beautifully. Grace. Cod cheek served on Magnolia leaves. Beautiful gardens. Carp. Maps on street corners in case you are lost. Policemen in boxes on street corners in case you are lost and can't read maps. Unimaginably beautiful hand crafted sweets. Black sesame seed ice-cream. Wonderful stitching. Fabulous textile books. Somewhere to keep your baby safe and near you when you have to pop into a public loo. Great designers such as Yohji Yamamoto whose exhibition has just opened at the V&A. And also a free exhibition Yohji's Women at the Wapping Project, Bankside (in good old Hopton Street where I used to work). Click here for more details for the V&A. Here for the Wapping Project. And just where would I be without my sachets for Miso soup? Sometimes I pick up a whole box of wonderful mixed mushrooms from the market and I come home and sweat them in batches with some nice oil and thyme I picked in the Alpilles. Then I freeze them in small batches, just enough to pull out for a sauce for steak, or for a soup. Here is one of my favourite 5 minute soups for 2 people: Make up half a pint of Miso soup using a sachet which you can now buy in health shops and even supermarkets. Put it in a pan with two handfuls of mushrooms which have been sweated in oil with some herbs (thyme is lovely) and a little pepper. Chop up a small leek or half a dozen scallions (spring onions)and stick that in too. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Meanwhile make some cheese on toast. Toast a slice of bread in the toaster till just golden, butter it while hot, sprinkle on some good grated cheddar or Jack cheese and give it a quick burst under the grill to melt the cheese. Cut the toast into squares. Half blitz the soup and float the cheesey croutons on top. Yum!
I am so lucky, I have a home, I know where my family is, I have heat, light, fresh water, a stove to cook soup..... I emailed Saho who looks after the Needleprint Japan blog so wonderfully, and luckily she and her family are OK but can only watch with disbelief as things unfold north of Tokyo. I would like Saho to be able to tell the people she knows, that although we can't do much to help, we do care about the people in Japan. I know the Book of Condolences and Comfort has horrible advertising - I can't do anything about that. But I do please ask you to leave a little message that Saho can relay to people in Japan on our behalf.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Something I wanted to show the Sampler Guild - Free Jigsaw to Download

I was hoping against all hope to be able to get away and meet up with some dear friends from the Sampler Guild yesterday, but the pressure of work on the book is now very great - we have entered the 24/7 sleepless zone as we come up to the deadline for the printer. It is a strange tunnel to be in, driven by the importance of publishing a simple book, when there is the distressing news of the Japanese Earthquake following on the heels of the Christchurch Earthquake, thousands of dispossessed refugees in Libya, and people struggling for survival. It feels something of a cop-out to simply click a button and send money off to the Red Cross so, hopefully, they can get humanitarian aid quickly to where it is needed most. But that is, frankly, all I can do. And maybe all many of us can do. When you download this jigsaw, or any of the free downloads on the blog, kindly give a thought to clicking on the Red Cross button you see at the top of the right hand column of the blog, this will take you to their official site where you can make a small donation. I am sure every penny matters and will be put to good use.
So here is the full picture of the lovely tea-cloth which I was going to take along to show the Sampler Guild members - the strawberry plant detail can be found half way along the left hand side. The cloth measures approximately 1 metre square and is so beautifully stitched, I wish you could see it in person. Click on the image for a picture to keep. 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.