Friday, 29 June 2012

Happy Birthday Festival of Quilts! 16-19 August * NEC Birmingham UK

2012 is the 10th Birthday of Festival of Quilts and this year's event promises to outdo all the other years with 4 shop till you drop and workshop packed days of quilting bliss. It is the largest quilting event this side of the Atlantic, showcasing over 1,000 quilts and presenting a retrospective of the quilt designer Pauline Burbridge - pictured above. For more details, course schedules and to buy discounted advance tickets, click here.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Liberty and V&A Fabric Sale - How To Make An Oven Glove Video


If you are looking for a nice project - why not take advantage of the summer fabric sales at Liberty of London and the V&A Museum right now and run up some nice oven mitts?

Whether for you or for a friend - they would be a festive and cheerful aids for managing that turkey in and out of the oven come holiday season. If you follow the video a glove takes just 6 minutes......or a bit longer if you do it in real time! The Libery Tana Lawn fabrics here and at top are just £14.50 a metre. Click here to see the Liberty fabrics. Click here for the Liberty Oven Mitt Pattern PDF. Click here for the making up instructions PDF.

And here are some nice designs on offer from the V&A - just £8.60 for a metre by a metre and a half.

Click here for the V&A fabrics.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Sarah Chandler Bingham's Sampler - Portobello Road - George Washington's Mount Vernon

A few days ago, I noticed this sampler coming up for auction at Canterbury Auction Galleries on 10 July (Lot 391 estimate £200-£250)and couldn't help but be charmed by it. It is an interesting historical document, praising Prave (sic) Vernon England's Glory. But why, I ask myself is this sampler praising a man who engaged in a decisive action that took place nearly 100 years before this sampler was stitched? Vice-Admiral Edward Vernon attacked and took Porto Bello in Panama in 1739 during the War of the Spanish Succession, in the early stages which are affectionately remembered here as the War of Jenkin's Ear. It was such a daring and devasting blow against the Spaniards, that the victory was responsible for the naming of what is now one of our most popular antique market venues as Portobello Road. And it so impressed George Washington, he named his estate for the promoted Admiral Vernon. The sampler was most probably stitched by Sarah Chandler Bingham, daughter of Thomas Bingham and Mary Ann Harris, who was baptized 9 January 1825 in Ringwould, Kent.  She was married on 30 September 1850 to Joseph Ralph Turner. Their children were: Caroline Elizabeth, Elizabeth Mary Ralph, Ellen Sophia, Thomas James Henry and Ralph George. She died in 1866 in Kent.  For more details about the auction, click here.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Charleston Museum * Low Country Embroidery * Until 13 January 2013


Charleston Museum presents an original exhibition - Lowcountry Embroidery - until 13 January 2013 in its Historic Textiles Gallery. The Charleston Museum's collection of Charleston-made schoolgirl samplers is unrivaled and these delightful embroidered treasures will be the main focus of this exhibit.

The Museum states: In the 18th and 19th centuries, almost every young girl learned to sew. The sampler was probably a girl's first achievement, proof of this important knowledge, and then most likely she would go on to show off her talents through decorative embroideries. Displayed in the study drawer section of the gallery, Lowcountry Embroidery will also include appliqué and needlepoint to showcase the finer needlework achieved by women and skilled girls. For more details click here.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Needleprint Give Away Draw - 1847 & The Second Coming is Nigh


It looks as though I haven't given away my Winter 2011 spare copy of Sampler & Antique Needlework Quarterly. So I shall remedy that now. I was very engrossed by this edition because it contains a most fascinating article on the group of samplers that depict Solomon's Temple and I have friends in Germany who own perhaps the largest collection of Solomon's Temple samplers, which we talk about on and off, discussing various theories. Aimee Newell who wrote the excellent article could find no correlation between the stitchers of this large group and fathers who were Freemasons - a promising starting hypothesis.

It is true that at the time this group of samplers was worked - 1790- 1850 - there was great interest in Solomon's Temple and models of the Temple were made and toured for display. Equally, interest and models had existed before this period. But one factor seems to focus on the year of 1847, and that was the date predicted for the second coming of the Messiah. To this end, incredible and concerted efforts were made around the world to line up events to ensure the stage was set for this propitious happening. One element of this was the return to Jerusalem of the Jewish diaspora. It is astonishing the number and rank of people involved in this effort, involving amongst others members of the British Government and Brigham Young, founder of the Mormon faith. There is an earlier Needleprint post about one woman involved personally in this effort - Marianne Neville. So lots of interesting possible factors to consider here. Another ponderable is whether those 'crosses' appearing on the roof and gables of Solomon's Temple are lightning rods - a theory of my German friends - in which case they would predate the ones by Benjamin Franklin by a few millennia. If they were designed not to mitigate lightening strikes, but to draw down lightning from the heavens, imagine how miraculous that would have appeared at the time. And perhaps when we look at samplers from the early 1800s we might put ourselves in the place of stitchers who believed the time of The Second Coming was nigh - just how would that affect our slant on life, if it were us?
To enter the free draw for the SANQ give away - just click on the flying angel below. The winner will be announced 2 July 2012.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Sisters of St Paul's Church


Some of you may have visited St Paul's Church in London - but did you all visit the same St Paul's Church? The most famous is the domed church by Christopher Wren where Prince Charles married Lady Di. There is another St Paul's which you have probably seen, though not registered the name, it is St Paul's, in Covent Garden, right by where the jugglers and monocyclists show off their skills to tourists.

This set of samplers - and there are more examples in this group - all display the same design of church. However, some name the church as St Paul's Covent Garden.

Now the church in Covent Garden is designed on classical Greek temple lines and in no way matches this representation at all. If anything this more resembles the domed Wren church. So what is going on?

We are not absolutely sure but we do know this group of samplers originates in the west country, around Exeter. So, it is probable the designer or teacher never saw either St Paul's with their own eyes but has copied the design from some other source - a print or newspaper perhaps - which had an error in the titling. Perhaps you have other thoughts - it would be lovely to hear what you think. Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Elfriede Rottenbacher Library of Motifs I


Again we just have one copy of this book available. Elfriede Rottenbacher is a heroine of mine - she was one of the earliest collectors of cross stitch motifs from the folk art heritage.

This is a lovely collection of motifs, borders and decorated alphabets.

The format is paperback with the pattern sheets printed one side of the paper and easily detached for ease of working.
I am sorry this book is now sold.

Wisconsin Historical Society Sampler Collection On Line


The collection of samplers in Wisconsin Historical Society is eclectic and cosmopolitan.

There are 64 examples for you to study and you will see English, German and Dutch samplers represented there - like the pattern darned sampler above.

The sampler above is interesting for its sailing ships and not one, but two motifs labelled Solomon's Temple. This is the motif we usually refer to as Solomon's Porch - since there is a substantial body of samplers having a much larger representation of Solomon's Temple. However, it is interesting to see that the maker knew this smaller version as Temple. This map sampler below is glorious! It takes me back to time when I began studying US History for my A Levels - the very first lesson we had to draw, without looking, a map of the US - it was a comedic and sobering moment to compare our attempts at drawing something we all thought we knew so well - obviously we didn't! I have to put my hand up to making those lakes much larger than they should have been - I wonder if it was anything to do with my then addiction to Samuel Champlain or the Leather Stocking Tales? To visit the sampler collection yourself, just click here.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Third Austrian Book For Sale


This is a lovely library of cross stitch patterns. Once they would have adorned genteel nappery to accompany festive dinners or the ritual delights of kaffee und kuchen.

The format is paperback and has single side printing of loose leaf pages which can be taken out for ease of working.

There are 37 pattern sheets in all, a variety of which you can see here.
I am sorry this book is now sold

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Second Austrian Needlework Book for Sale


This is a workbook of Art Nouveau and Art Deco filet crochet designs. The designs make for sumptious window dressings.

However, the graphing is the same as for cross-stitch and the designs can easily be read as patterns and borders for samplers.

The book is paperback with about 40 designs printed on one side of good quality paper, which can be removed for ease of working. Text is in German.
I am sorry this book is now sold.

Some New Austrian Needlework Books For Sale


I have a set of new Austrian Needlework Books - just one of each - for sale. Here is the first. It is a collection of needlework stitches, techniques and examples. There are 140 pages and the text is in German.

The format is paperback but it is looseleaf, so you can take pages out to work from if you wish.
The author is Katharina Zwittnig. I'm sorry, this book is now sold.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Greetings Lapzussen - Moda Museum Costume Exhibition * Antwerp * Until 12 August 2012


It is lovely to have news from Erica about the Lapzussen - Cloth Sisters - on Saturday they visited the ModeMuseum in Antwerp and saw the latest fabulous exhibition there, which runs throughout the summer until August 12.

The exhibition is entitled: Living Fashion - Women's Daily Wear 1750-1950 - and here is the description from the Museum: In the 19th century, the growing social importance of the middle classes brought with it a new group of wealthy citizens who wanted to show off their status through their clothing and behaviour. This stimulated consumption and fashionable activities amongst the women in these social circles. Travelling, sports, walking and shopping became new forms of passing leisure time, all requiring specific apparel. In addition to the clothes they wore, the organization of their days also followed fashion trends. Mornings were for indoor activities, the afternoons for visits and ‘outdoor activities’, and each moment of the day had its own particular dress code. Taking part in ‘high fashion’ increasingly became a must for an ever-growing group of consumers, but these women did not simply let themselves be dictated by fashion. They also helped form fashion through their own changing customs and living habits. As they still do today, consumers were frugal and creative with ever-changing fashions. Dresses were remade and sometimes completely transformed to fit the new, fashionable silhouettes. Re-using fabrics was perfectly normal, even for the upper classes. On the basis of historical silhouettes from the extensive apparel collection of Jacoba de Jonge, now almost entirely incorporated in the MoMu collection, we sketch a picture of the relationship between the fashion ideals of the day and the clothing that people were actually wearing. Click here for more details. Happy Stitching Lapzussen!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Moda Museum Antwerp - Sampler Collection On-Line


Best known for its fabulous costume collection (more about this tomorrow), the Moda Museum in Antwerp also has a sampler collection of around 650 examples - 285 of which you can see pictured on-line. There are many charming red examples like the one above.

Pattern-darned samplers are also strongly represented and the one above is one of my favourites with its many damascene type darns worked in cotton.

This white and redwork sampler presenting a whole repertoire of needlework skills is absolutely stunning in its design and execution.

There are also pictoral samplers and some very early examples like the one below from the 17th century and very much like the ones found in English collections, though the styles of the last two alphabets are very distinct from anything on UK samplers of this period.

To see for yourself, just click on the this link. Then type Merklap in the search box and tick the final little box on the left which will filter out just those samplers that have an associated image. 

Monday, 18 June 2012


I have been in hospital with Richard all day while he had a minor operation and I'm just home - so please forgive a brief post.

But I am delighted to say that the winner of the draw for the Nottingham Lace little book is Jill from the USA. Thank you to everyone for taking part - it's lovely to read your emails and that there is such a love of lace mingled with the sadness about the closure of museums and needlework stores.