Tuesday 31 March 2009

Tokens of Love - Free Article Download

In addition to free chart downloads we shall be having regular copyright free article downloads for you to read, share freely with friends, class students or customers. Enjoy reading and sharing!

Monday 30 March 2009

Samplers Through the Looking Glass

The Verheggen Penders Collection on CD allows you to look up close at samplers through a Loupe or magnifying glass. Remember to click on the Loupe button - and click on the return button to come back to the blog. Have fun!
Mariette Verheggen Penders will answer you enquiries.

Sunday 29 March 2009

The Ackworth School Pattern Book

If you go down to the museum to stitch, here are some Ackworth School initials to download.

The Pattern Book is out of print, but you can now purchase it as a download.
You can also purchase the out of print Beatrix Potter chart as a download.

Saturday 28 March 2009

New Needleprint Books in the Pipeline

By Caroline Seldon and her friends in association with Swedish and Danish Museums, a special book of Bridegrooms Hearts.

Friday 27 March 2009

I have just downloaded the new Selvedge magazine and catalogue - these are on my wish list!

Thursday 26 March 2009

Beatrix Potter Stitchalong

Some of you may not know that there is a Beatrix Potter stitchalong happening. The stitchalong is full at at the moment - but you can still stitchalong and pop in to see other stitchers' work in progress. One of the group, Jacqueline, has allowed me to share her work with you. Pop in to see Jacqueline's work when you next have a free moment and say hello to her.
The chart is out of print but you can purchase a pdf version to download.

Another School Find at Ipswich Museum

Another piece of the jig-saw came into place today thanks to the release of The Goodhart Samplers. Ipswich Museum has reported a sampler (acc. IPSMG: 1947-33.11) which is a dead ringer for MON/G/094 (page 181) and T1-2000 in the Fitzwilliam Museum. This new find is in lovely condition with fresh colours.
Looking at any of these samplers in isolation one might have thought one was looking at a family home. Now we have 3 exemplars we can say with certainty that we are looking at a school. And there may be others waiting to be found....
This is one of the reasons why Needleprint was set up - to give access to sampler images and so enable research. A good day!

Wednesday 25 March 2009

Dispersal of Sampler Collections

You have probably gathered from my article in the Spring 2009 Sampler and Needlework Quarterly the strength of my feeling about keeping collections intact and maintaining their coherence wherever possible. Today, I learnt that a significant family sampler collection, recently dispersed through auction houses, has been separated from important family documents and letters which have been sold singly to stamp collectors in the belief that people who collect samplers are not interested in stamps.....
Not a red letter day for me today.

If you are in a position to bequeath a sampler collection - or a collection of other items for that matter - please leave a note in your will that you wish certain documents relevant to provenance to be kept with the items and at any future dispersal the documents must accompany the items as one selling lot. I beg you.

Looking for the Beatrix Potter Companion chart?

Then look no further. You can still obtain a copy of this out of print chart from:
Karen at The Stitching Post and second hand from Beth Stricklin
Take a look at Needleprint sampler charts in print.

Tuesday 24 March 2009

If you go down to the Museum on Saturday

You'd better go well prepared. Take some stitching for yourself and a few little items of stash so other people can have a go. Stitching simple intitals is always fun for beginners and can easily be accomplished with just a small amount of thread and fabric - and don't forget some spare needles!
Find initials in your favourite pattern book like the Ackworth School Pattern Book. (Out of print but available as a pdf download.) Or make up something simple, fresh and slightly quirky of your own. Have fun with new friends!

Monday 23 March 2009

Goodhart Samplers in Sampler & Needlework Quarterly

You can see some lovely pages from Needleprint's The Goodhart Samplers in the new Spring 2009 edition of Samplers & Antique Needlework Quarterly. To find out more or subscribe to this wonderful magazine follow this link :

Sunday 22 March 2009

Samplers at Kontich Museum near Antwerp

Kontich Museum near Antwerp in Belgium has a number of lovely samplers, some of which were purchased by the same peron who bought for the V&A. To see three of these samplers simply follow this link:

Symbolism - The Hind and the Panther

We are accustomed to seeing lions, unicorns and deer (hinds) on samplers, but on early samplers we often see an incongruous spotty feline that is undoubtedly a panther. How on earth, you may ask, did a PANTHER steal into this sampler?

To cut a long story short because I should at some stage catch up with the ironing, the panther symbolizes the Protestant church while the hind symbolizes the Catholic church. There is a famous poem by Dryden - The Hind and the Panther which you can find and read on Google Books. Maybe a friend will read it to you as you iron.......

Saturday 21 March 2009

1000 Sampler Images Later

To say I am slightly reeling after a 1000 sampler image odyssey is an understatement. And we are only halfway there....!
It is also an understatement to say that we have some lovely sampler chart treats lined up for you in between the forthcoming books.
I am just going to drag myself off to bed to continue thread counting in my dreams!

Sunday 15 March 2009

I am really sorry to see that one of the top league, on-line needlework stores, Criss Cross Row, has closed for business, and even sorrier for the personal, very tragic circumstances surrounding that closure. Marsha Cauthen and all she brought to us and to needlework will be missed. Let's hope Marsha will continue to find some contentment in stitching.
There are two out of print Needlework charts-Sarah Moon & Martha Brady-which she has advertised here: I don't know if they are still available, but it might be worth a try.

Saturday 14 March 2009

Dear Hilde when you go into hospital on March 16th all our thoughts will be with you.
Love from your Lapzussen here in the UK and in the USA.

Kontich Sampler Sisters you did good!
Bertie Button has just opened up a lovely blog.
Keep your eyes open here:

JulieBee (my Jubilee!) is Julie Buck who with Becky DeVries Wong is the founder of In The Company of Friends.
This dynamic pair from Seattle work hard to make stitching books and accessories that stitchers love. In the Company of Friends made the pins for Ackworth2006 and the lovely pinkeeps you see here for Ackworth2008.
Julie has just posted a comment and it would be a pity to let it slip under radar. Julie writes:
I love the idea of stitching in our local museum and seeing if it encourages people to do an exhibit - we have a local museum with a lovely collection that never sees the light of day because their mandate is the History and Industry of the Seattle area and none of their samplers is local (it's very hard to find west-coast North American samplers!).I keep thinking we have to find a way to get those samplers seen and appreciated.
I wonder what would have happened if the Elgin Marbles had ended up in Seattle instead of London? Will museums start to play Pokemon amongst themselves until the collections of each museum contain only those items with local provenance?
I wonder what you think? There are certainly a number of things I would like to take issue with here, though my instinct after many hard knocks sustained while taking on such issues is to think of something else. How about seeing if the museum would be willing to loan the samplers out for a temporary exhibition in another building somewhere? Let's see what other people think could be done. Let's see what NeedlePower can do!
I just happen to have a spare Ackworth2008 pin-keep for someone who comes up with a really useful suggestion.

Friday 13 March 2009

As I was saying Erica and Liliane and me go back a long time. They are my right hand and left hand and sometimes also left brain and right brain when there is too much work. They make sure I don't make mistakes. Now I think about it, perhaps I should hide that stitching I did last night - I can hear them tutting and clucking already because they know and I know they could have done a far better job of this than me. As long as they don't me unpick it all!

Liliane has just sent me some dynamite which I must share with you. She has found this absolutely fabulous website selling fabric - just feast your eyes on these fabrics if you don't already know them. I must have a cup of tea and a rest while I that's not a strange English pun - it just sounds like one.

Verheggen Penders CD Collection

I am so happy that Erica is here. And I am sure Liliane Grauls is around here somewhere. Come on out Liliane! Erica and Liliane and I go back a quite a while to when we started imaging the Dutch Verheggen-Penders collection. This is a superb collection with many early examples of Dutch samplers including one that is thought to be from 1571! The collection has a fabulous black samplers from Vierlanded and Groningen. Erica and Liliane charted many excerpts on the CDs plus a darling set of 4 English samplers in their entirety. Over 250 images and all the charts are now available as a 2 CD-Rom set direct from Mariette Verheggen Penders and you can easily make payment via Paypal. Or, if you live in the UK contact
I got up early and baked bread this morning. I've found that if I replace a cup of flour with a cup of Natco white maize meal it makes wonderful crunchy toast. The maize meal makes a flatter, squarer loaf - all the easier to go in the toaster! Mmm lovely Marmite soldiers to go with a freshly boiled can tell the smell of baking has just wafted into my workroom, can't you? If Peg and Ron Levert were here I'd cut slices for us all straight away, but I'd better stitch some more until lunch.

I stayed up late to finish my Paradise flower, it is so peaceful here working into the night, I can hear the deer outside and an occasional owl and beyond that nothing at all. Working the backgound was going to take time, so I relaxed into the stitching and let my thoughts wander a little.

Has anyone ever measured the brainwaves of stitchers when they are stitching? If not, why not? I don't know about you, maybe you can tell me, but sometimes I think I come close to the most meditative state I know while stitching.

So I was imagining the new Engagment Diary we are producing this year. Sometime ago I had the idea to make some needle workbooks - as opposed to needlework books. Basically these would be albums (with instructions) into which you could fasten completed works as you went along. For some reason the idea didn't really get off the ground - not all ideas make it into production. But it is interesting how some ideas just keep knocking on the door to get back in. I began to see our Engagement Diary as an Engaging Diary with images and patterns and places where you can fasten small worked pieces - perhaps once a month? Is that too much? What do you think?

The images for the Engaging Diary are coming from a very special collection which will start appearing in book form in 2010. The first volume is by Mary Brooks who authored English Embroideries. That will be about a third of the collection. Yes, you are absolutely right - this collection is HUGE. So it cannot be contained in one volume, and I doubt two, it looks like three. It is not just the quantity, but the quality that is breathtaking. And just next week I shall be melting as we start on the task of imaging the entire collection - thousands of images. It is not the best job - imaging a world class collection - it is incredibly hard and painstaking work and there is so much concentration on lighting and focus and all the other technical controls that one cannot really take everything in. However, the best job in the entire world follows on from all that hard work. That is the reviewing, the long detailed close-up studying from which so much becomes apparent. I am a privileged person and grateful too.

Mary has had a difficult year. The Textile Conservation Centre, in spite of many and prolonged protests, is to close in October this year. It hardly seems possible after all she and the centre have achieved. It is so much more difficult to turn back the tide once it has started to flood in. So much is under threat and it is never useful to wait until it comes down to the final staged battle. Better to get in the museum, the library, the corner bookstore, the local needlework store now and find out what you can do personally to sustain it.

In the museum in Arles, in the South of France, there were women stitching. Maybe it is something we can do, get together and ask our local museum if we can have stitching days there - and if we can, wouldn't it be a good idea if they put some of their sampler collection, languishing in store, out on display also? Why not have guild meetings in places where there are non stitchers roaming - the library, for instance? Linda Hadden had the great idea to take stitching to Heathrow Terminal 5! Imagine how many people would see stitchers - imagine how grateful they might be to while away two or three hours working a bit of stitchery....

Thursday 12 March 2009

People always wonder how I spend my time. I think sometimes they think it is glamorous to be a publisher. Sometimes it is. Most of the time I don't sleep as deadlines make a hard pillow. But I love what I do, and the reasons why I do it are more important than loss of sleep. So I suppose I'll just go on.

I love stitching and yet never have enough time to do much. I love meeting people and talking about stitching though there never seems to be enough time to see all the wonderful samplers worked and all the fantastic designs dreamt up. I love the beautiful stitching of the past and most of all I want everyone to see what women have done - to raise women's work from archival museum tombs so we can be inspired again and again. It is a great pity that in their life-times many women may never cross paths with a single one of these extraordinary artifacts, may never have that hair-tingling feeling of discovery.

So, today, perversely, you would have found me stitching. It is a small extract from a Goodhart sampler - I call it a Paradise since this was once a word for gardens. I need to finish it soon as it is to be part of a small article I am writing about The Goodhart Samplers. My great friend Erica Uten from Belgium made the chart and all I had to do was stitch a small part of it. But it is over one and demands concentration to make the stiches sit neat and proper over the linen, like regular tiny beads - or at least as regular as I can make them. I thought at first it would be better to stitch the background so that the flower would sit proud and would not be encroached by background stitching made after it had been worked. But, that didn't work out and I had to start again. This time I stitched the foreground and am now filling in the background and that works so much better. Sometimes when things go wrong it's an opportunity for learning and some contemplation about how the original stitcher got along with the same piece 350 years ago.

I emailed another great friend, Linda Hadden of The Sampler Guild Sometimes in our busy schedules we find time for a chat. She is busy arranging her fantastic upcoming retreat at Muncaster Castle. We talked about her chickens who are laying beautifully now, and my step-mother who has just had a hip operation and has had a bit of a set back.

We also talked about the controversy over UV glass. Do the chemicals break down and damage the fabric? Perhaps there are two or more different sorts of UV glass and perhaps some are safe and some not. I am sure somebody out there has a scientific explanation to help us.