Sunday 31 May 2009

The Plimoth Jacket - A Wonder of Present Day Stitching

The genius of the project which seeks to reconstruct a Jacobean woman's jacket is staggering - and yet it is all but accomplished by present-day stitchers. This is not the product of the Royal School of Needlework, or some other grand, specialist institution. This is, by and large, the work of women such as you and me, who worked in shifts as time would allow. Consider not only the intricate design and stitching competences required, the knowledge of techniques, the hundreds of hours of meticulous work, and the not insignificant management task of bringing together volunteer stitchers from different continents to work together. If this is possible, then what else can we achieve which otherwise we may have dismissed as impossible, daunting or simply not possible? It is sad that just as the project approaches its completion phase the Plimoth Plantation, owing to financial difficulties, have had to cancel the the exhibition planned to show off this work. It is hoped that there will be other opportunities elsewhere to stage an exhibit. But the reality is that now, more than at any other time in the past, we must stand by our local collections and museums and support them as we have never done before. It is not inevitable that they will be here in the future for us. Click here to read the Plimoth Jacket Embroiderers' Story.

Saturday 30 May 2009

Mary Wigham - probably the World's biggest SAL!

I cannot believe the overwhelming response to this stitchalong - it could be a record! Thank you so much! So we can make sure everyone knows what is happening and to ease gathering of images for the SAL gallery we have elected Head Girls in the following language communities so far:
Australia - Janine Smith
Canada - Paula Sibbald
Italian - Giovanna Stirpe
German - Nicole Degen
Dutch speaking - Liliane Grauls
Spanish - Mayte Burmudez-Garcia
Portuguese - Cristina
French - Paule Motton
Japanese - Saho Nagi
Lithuanian - Vaida
UK - Hazel Henry
Chinese - Frieda Huang
Asia (not Japan) - Barbara Jack
USA - Shari Breske
There will be more details of how things will work in your first download installment on Monday. There is no deadline for joining - you will be able to join at any time.

Just to remind you - we are expecting to have the first installment of the Mary Wigham International SAL ready for you to download about this time on Monday. Anyone can download and it is FREE. We hope that you will give a small donation each time you download - there will be a PayPal Donate button for you when you make your download. All your money goes direct to the Ackworth School Samplers fund. Your money will ensure that Mary is always looked after. I am thrilled by all your kindness.
Together we can ensure Mary is always looked after - you, me and us.

Mary Wigham SAL - DMC Threads

Here are the DMC thread shades for Mary Wigham but feel free to convert them to whatever threads you prefer. You will need 1 skein each of: 225, 352, 356, 407, 433, 435, 519, 725, 739, 746, 927, 930, 934, 963, 966, 3052,3768, 3822, 3855, 3857, ecru, white, black. There is no 560.

Friday 29 May 2009

Jane Austen Fashion - Penelope Byrde

Jane Austen was an accomplished needlewoman. Caroline, her niece, remembered that she was adept at satin-stitch. The subject of needlework and fashion crops up throughout Jane's works of fiction and also in her letters to her beloved sister, Cassandra. It is hard for us to imagine today a time when you could not simply go into a shop and buy clothes off the peg. Everything had to be made by hand - whether it was your hand, or that of a hired gown- or mantua-maker. In a very fashion conscious age, clothes and hats had to be continually remade and retrimmed to adapt to changing tastes. A gown consumed 14 yards of fabric and would not have been tossed on the wardrobe floor lightly. A woman's needle was never idle. When no household stitching could be found to work, then it was time to turn to the basket and stitch for the poor.
Just before Chrismas last year, when we were launching The Goodhart Samplers at Montacute House, it was our delight to have Penelope Byrde come and talk to us about Jane Austen Fashion. Penelope was Curator of the Museum of Costume and Fashion Research Centre in Bath and is now Joint Editor of Costume. Last year she produced a wonderful little book entitled Jane Austen Fashion. Its 130 pages encompass everything you could wish to know about details of fashion and needlework occurring in all of Jane Austen's books: women's fashion for different occasions, and times of day; men's fashion; accessories; care of clothes; varieties of needlework and needlework tools. It is beautifully illustrated and it is one of my prized possessions.

Thursday 28 May 2009

Mary Wigham SAL Update

I have had news from the Bursar at Ackworth that the PAYPAL buttons for donations to the school will be ready on Monday. (Sorry I was unclear yesterday)
Thinking ahead you may want to chose your linen and thread. The original was stitched on an unevenweave which approximated 45 threads to the inch. To be as all inclusive as possible we are suggesting 32 count Permin Lambswool stitched over 2 threads and you will need 24" x 24" or 60cm x 60 cm of linen. (The design area will be approximately 20" x 20" - 50cm x 50cm.) If you are able to stitch smaller, then please do. Mary's sampler is approximately 13" by 12.5" - 33cm x 31.5cm. The stitch count is approximately 300 stitches by 290. I'll be back to you with threads tomorrow. I know some of you would like to stitch this as a monochrome and that will add lovely variety to our SAL. The original colours are bright - not exactly the palette of colours we term Quaker today! Again feel free to change the colours if you wish or use a different range of threads. If there is anyone in Japan, Spain, France or Portugal who is stitching and would like to volunteer as country co-ordinator, please email me.

Treasures and Textiles - Lunch at Harewoood House June 4th 2009

One of this nation's finest stately homes, Harewood House near Leeds in Yorkshire is opening its doors to textile and costume enthusiasts for lunch, guided tours and talks by Bernadette Atkinson on June 4th 2009 between 10am and 2.30pm. Bernadette is famous for the fact that her knickers have gone down in history.......she has one of the biggest collections in the country - as well as other historical costumes!
It is certainly a day to be savoured. For more details click here.

Fine Swedish Sampler in Sotheby's Carpet Sale

Feast your eyes. Barbara Hutson found this wonderful sampler treasure buried under 61 carpets in an upcoming Sotheby's sale on 10 June 2009 in New York and Sotheby's have let me put it on the blog for you to see. It measures 28" x 18" (71cm x 46cm) and packs no less than 55 designs into that small area. It is probably Swedish, though not certain. And in the top row, which I have enlarged for you, there is a man insouciantly carrying a placard upon which the date 1752 is marked - how original and inspired is that! Click here for full catalogue details.

Wednesday 27 May 2009

Mary Pets 1831 Sampler from The St Frances School and Orphan Asylum for Colored Girls

Barbara Hutson of Queenstown Sampler Designs is the source of this remarkable story of a community of nuns of African descent who until now have funded schools and convent with the income from their fine needlework. The Oblate Sisters of Providence was founded in 1829 by Mother Mary Lange who you see here. For the past 179 their ministry has been amongst the underprivileged African American communities in inner cities and the Caribbean. They have a collection of needlework that needs conservation and to this end, Barbara Hutson has made for sale a replica kit of one of the samplers. This is the sampler you see here which was stitched by Mary Pets in 1831.

And the inspiration does not stop there - it continues to flourish in Otter Creek Middle School, Terre Haute, where 8 students have formed a sampler guild, and after obtaining permission from the head archivist of the Oblate Sisters of Providence, have begun charting and reproducing samplers. This is such a wonderful tale to pass on to all the stitchers you know, isn't it? Click on all the highlighted sections to get the details first hand from the various sources as they unfold.

Mary Wigham Stitchalong Gallery

Just to give you an idea of how we plan to show your Mary Wighams in the Needleprint Stitchalong Gallery. Your name and comments will appear on the reverse. Try clicking on the images!

Tuesday 26 May 2009

Castelo Branco Embroidery

The Portuguese have an important seafaring history. They were ever in the forefront of European maritime exploration. It is no coincidence that the Japanese for Thank you is Arrigato from the Portuguese for Thank you - Obrigado. The Portuguese were amongst the first to trade in the Far East and in addition to the valuable spices they brought home, they brought home sumptious floral silks from China and India. If you look at the two embroidered bedspreads - colchas - stitched in the city famous for the work - Castelo Branco - you will see a very strong resemblance to English crewel work as shown beautifully on the Norwich school sampler of our own Mary Postle. In fact the influence of these Far Eastern imports leaves a strong and lasting impression all along the maritime coasts of western Europe which can be seen in textiles from Portugal, to the East coast of England, the Netherlands, and particularly the Northern Netherlands at Hinderlopen. The influence was also carried up the Rhone valley from the Mediterranean port of Marseilles to the vast market of Beaucaire and from there to Mulhouse, which lay outside of French jurisdiction ruling illegal, for a time, the import of these well-loved and greatly desired fabrics. You will see on the side-bar a video of an embroiderer from Castel Branco. A little tip, set the music playing and then turn on the video clip. And if you would like to talk to an English-speaking practitioner - then it is back again to Cristina's home tonight. Click here to transport yourself!

Monday 25 May 2009

Cross-stitched Portuguese Rugs by Cristina

Some of you may have noticed a small picture in the side bar on the right which shows a woman stitching a Portuguese rug. If you were brave, you might, like Alice in Wonderland have clicked on this image and dropped into another world - the noble, cultured world we are celebrating tonight - Portugal.
England has always enjoyed close ties to Portugal - John of Gaunt's daughter Philippa married John I of Portugal and we all know from school that Catherine of Braganza, daughter of John IV of Portugal, married Charles II. The only other history you need to know is that the Portuguese rugs, named Arraiolos after a village, date back to the 15th century.

I am an inveterate mill lover and a while ago when I was touring the mills in Lowell, Massachussetts, I overheard a group of people speaking. I am reasonable at languages and couldn't quite place their language - it had the slight nasal overtones of Russian but was as lush as a chocolate truffle. At school, where I had learnt Spanish, I had been assured by my teacher that Portuguese was a 'harsh' language and so I had never explored further. Well, she was wrong, but I was lucky because I had the joy of learning Portuguese ahead of me!

There are some lovely books on Portugal - my favourite is Journey to Portugal by Jose Saramago, the Portuguese Nobel laureate whose books are now widely available in translation. Also Rose Macaulay put together two fascinating books of first-hand accounts of early travellers to Portugal titled: They Went to Portugal and They Went to Portugal Too. Look for the excellent but hard to find book in English by Patricia Stone on the Arriaolos rugs titled: Portuguese Needlework Rugs.

Travel up and down the side-bar to your right you will see and hear some special treats we have put together for you. You will see a video of how the Arriaolos stitch is made for the rugs, and on another screen see some sights of Portugal. You will also hear Amalia Rodrigues, the Queen of Fado, singing Uma Casa Portugesa - this is music I dance around to when doing my dusting and the dusting gets done in a zip. You will soon be able to sing along with her! But don't forget to visit and say Bom Dia to Cristina, who made the beautiful rug in this posting - she is waiting to show you the basics of how to make these lovely rugs yourself - just scroll down her blog and you will see the postings. Click here to make your journey to Cristina in her Casa Portuguesa.

Sunday 24 May 2009

Antique Samplers for Sale at The Essamplaire

Margriet Hogue of the Essamplaire in Alberta, Canada is showing a number of wonderful antique samplers for sale like this lovely Dutch sampler. The antique samplers are side by side with stitched replicas - now that is a real test to see if we can tell originals apart from replicas - how will we score? Here is the link for you to go shopping:
(If you want to check out how good you were at spotting the genuine article you can see just the antique samplers by clicking here: ) And if we don't have the dollars - well, we can always stitch our dreams, can't we?

Saturday 23 May 2009

Beautiful Stitching by Rie Ariga of Japan

Some of you may know the Ackworth School Photo Frame which was featured in Sampler and Antique Needlework Quarterly in Spring 2007 (Volume 46). Unfortunately, the frame was entirely remade for their photo shoot and you didn't see the very beautiful original stitched by Rie herself. She was a little disappointed. Well, I think maybe now is the time for you to have the chance to see it. Rie - I hope the wind blows gently in your sails - you are in our thoughts.

Friday 22 May 2009

Free Mary Wigham Stitchalong

I have spent sometime soul-searching and thinking deeply about this. Mary Wigham's sampler is under the care and conservation of Ackworth School and the chart would have been released on behalf of Ackworth School by Needleprint at some point in time with the funds being returned to Ackworth School for conservation, or possibly to purchase another sampler for the school which happened to turn up at auction. It is very unfortunate that the sampler was charted and sold commercially without license or permission and so the market is to some extent taken and it is not now viable to invest money in a print run for sale when we risk losing the investment which could have been put to better use.

Instead, starting from next week, you will be able to download a section every week to stitch for free - and so you will be able to complete this breath-taking sampler. On the chart will be a contact address for the school, and I would simply ask that you spare a note or a cheque and make a simple donation, please. This is the only dowry Mary will have to ensure her care and conservation in perpetuity.
I apologise to faithful local needlework stores who have always supported Ackworth School by their sale of Needleprint charts, but these are exceptional circumstances.

Thursday 21 May 2009

My Membership Pack from the Cross Stitch Guild Arrived Today

This membership pack from the Cross Stitch Guild is lovely - there is the latest magazine with charted projects, a catalogue of Jane Greenoff's inspiring kits and charts, stitch notes and a lovely freebie thread holder that has a magnetic strip on the reverse so I never have to lose a needle....or so the theory goes. I see I can also buy all the projects in magazines I have missed on CD for 12.99 post free......I am just looking for the little packet labelled 'Time' that should be in here somewhere!

Wednesday 20 May 2009

Poetry Written by a Female Slave Stitched on an Ackworth School Sampler

Last year I traced the verse on Mary Hopkins alphabet and extract sampler of 1799 to a female slave. She was kidnapped aged 8 years and transported to America in 1771. There she was the property of Mr Wheatley of Boston, and there she wrote A Hymn to the Evening which was published in London in 1786. The authenticity of her authorship was attested by her owner and a number of governors and clergy. It is supposed that this was to prove that she was a sentient being. However, the name of the female slave is not given, nor do we know yet if she was ever emancipated. Here is the verse for you:

Fill'd with the praise of him who gives the light.
And draws the sable curtains of the night.
Let placid slumbers sooth each weary mind.
At morn to wake more heavenly more refin'd;
So shall the labours of the day begin.
More pure more guarded from the snares of sin.

Spotlight on Tullie House Museum, Carlisle

Tullie House Museum is just a short step away from the imposing red sandstone cathedral in one direction and Carlisle's fortress in the other. Housed in an extended Jacobean mansion, the museum has modern facilities and is a lovely place to visit. There are textiles and costumes on open display but to visit the 34 quilts and 64 samplers you will need to be a member of group and to have made a prior appointment since staffing - as in virtually all museums - is never sufficient to allow personal visits. There is an attractive brochure on the quilt collection which can be bought on-line for £4.95 - click here to view more details.

Monday 18 May 2009

Nine Partners Boarding School Samplers and Artifacts

These will be the prime exhibits at a symposium to be held 12-15 November 2009 at Oakwood Friends' School, 22 Spackenkill Road, Poughkeepsie, New York, USA.

The subject of the symposium is Mid Hudson Valley Quakers in the 18th and 19th centuries and is presented by Duchess County Historical Society to honour the 400th anniversary of the discovery of the Hudson River. Click here to download a brochure.
Pre-registration and information from: info@DutCoQuakerConference.Org

There is a web site currently under construction:

Sunday 17 May 2009

Launch of The Blackwork Guild - 1 June 2009

I am always delighted to promote writers, events, organizers and books that work hard to inspire stitching. Just in is the exciting news that Lesley Wilkins author of Traditional Blackwork Samplers and Beginner's Guide to Blackwork will be launching a Blackwork Guild on line at on 1 June 2009. If you are a lover or just curious about this mythical needlework and history, then this is the guild for you. There will be illustrated techniques, costumes, portraits as well as details of groups and books for you to enjoy. There will also be a subscription Blackwork magazine available on line from 1 September.

If you are not already a subscriber to Lesley's on line Antique SamplerStitcher magazine, now is the time to join. Issue number 7 is due for release on 1 June but you can still catch up with back issues. The price for 12 months' subscription (6 issues) is £8.50. For more details visit

Free Download - Quaker Anti-Slavery Motif

I had a request last week for a slavery motif and so here is the download for you. The motif which is a composite from many sources can be placed on a sampler or used as a knitted pinball such as those in Erica Uten's wonderful Tokens of Love. I have sometimes heard the defence that the people reponsible for kidnapping and selling the slaves in Africa were of the same race, as if this somehow makes everything understandable. Does it make it understandable that in the British Isles, British religious dissidents were sent as slaves to the plantations in the West Indies? That British women having committed minor misdemeanours were shipped by the British into forced prostitution in Australia? That today there is widespread human kidnap and trafficking, particularly of young women, again forced into prostitution by people so close to them, they take them to be friends? Please don't let them be sent into that dark night nameless and forgotten.

Saturday 16 May 2009

Much Excitement

It has been an exciting few days here. Following the blog entry on Lady Musgrave's School, I have just been told about two samplers - one from Eden Hall School - Eden Hall you will remember is the place where the Musgraves lived. Also a sampler by Ann Musgrave. So we shall be looking at the background of these samplers very closely indeed.
We have also found a map sampler made at Milverton School!
It was lovely to talk to members of Kent Embroiderers' Guild today - a really inspiring group, and now I need an early night to recover from all the excitement!

Friday 15 May 2009

Embroidered Silk Postcards from World War I

I have long had a fascination for these pretty embroidered postcards sent by soldiers and sailors serving in France to their loved ones at home. Many come in the form of an embroidered envelope into which could be tucked a little greetings card - many of these personal cards remain there still. It was thought until recently that the early versions of the cards were hand embroidered by women in the North of France to bring in some money when their livelihoods had been disrupted by war. One card survives which mentions the price paid for it - the equivalent of 3 new pence in today's money. This would have represented half a day's pay of a regular British soldier at the time. A French soldier would have had to set aside two days' pay for a card. Now the thinking is that even the early cards were machine embroidered. However, I do have a card in my collection with a dove. This card has separated from its frame and so the reverse can clearly be seen. The ribbons carried by the dove have been stitched with a shadow stitch which I don't think could have been stitched by machine. I would be interested to know what you think. If you are interested in the cards there is a very good book written by Dr Ian Collins : An Illustrated History of the Embroidered Silk Postcard and a website with more history for you.

New Shire Booklet on Samplers

A little bird in the publishing world told me that Witney Antiques are writing an updated version of the Shire booklet on samplers......something else to look forward to!

Thursday 14 May 2009

Samplers back on the wall of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge!

Oh Joy! There are now 20 samplers on the walls of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK. For too long there has only been a token presence in the museum of the 400 plus fabulous samplers kept hidden away in store. Now if you are visiting and go into the Fan Gallery on the ground floor of the Museum you will see three of the Judith Hayle Samplers - by Hannah Canting and her sister Mary, and Sarah Bantoft. You can read about the lives of these girls in The Judith Hayle Samplers by Edwina Ehrman (now textile and costume curator at the V&A). Also on display are 3 delightful items by Sarah Roberts - a pocket, a pouch and a sampler which will be featured an an upcoming Needleprint chart. Good things seem to come in 3s, and there are three darning samplers, one by Jane Brady of Ackworth School, one by Hannah Grimes Bright and a delightful polychrme floral darning sampler by Martha H. There are glorious 16th century band samplers, too, by Frances Bidon (1644), Elizabeth Creasey (1686), Mary Hurst incorporating a woman and girl in Elizabethan dress similar to the band sampler in the Goodhart Collection which has two girls and an older woman), and an unsigned example of 1653. Also from the 16th century are two geometic spot samplers rich in lozenges, and two whitework examples including one signed by Mary Clay of 1690. The display is completed by 3 examples of the 18th century - a Red House by Sarah Stuart of 1798, the tablet of the Ten Commandments seen in Quaker School Girl Samplers from Ackworth, and Elizabeth Rawliss' sampler of 1735 which includes a version of the Lord's Prayer.
If you continue into the gallery which houses illuminated books and miniature portraits you will find a wonderful example of a woman's coif of the 17th century rich with polychrome stawberries and acorns, a man's polychrome cap of the late 16th century, a band of fine Venetian lace circa 1600 and a fabulous stitched picture of the Stuart Dynasty with a portrait of ?Queen Henrietta Maria modelled upon carved wood covered with painted fabric, set in a fine oval cartouche surrounded by detached-petalled flowers. It is a revelation, but just a pity you have to duck and bob to avoid the glare and reflection of the lights on the display cabinet. But I am not really complaining - it is such a delight to have anything at all on display after the bleak years of next to nothing at all!

Wednesday 13 May 2009

Lady Musgrave's School at Edenhall

In 1847 Sarah Pugmire finished her sampler. It consists of 4 verses taken from a hymn set above a very distinctive church with crenellated tower and Celtic cross above its choir roof. Beneath the church, Sarah recorded the fact that she stitched her sampler at Lady Musgrave's school. Since there are not many Lady Musgraves, even in England's aristocratic rich history, it was not a difficult task to trace Sarah Pugmire and Lady Musgrave to Edenhall, a small village near Penrith in Cumbria.
The name of the village comes directly from Eden Hall, the stately mansion of the Musgrave family. Beautiful parkland and an imposing entry lodge survive today, though the Hall was demolished in 1934 and the Musgraves departed their Eden for Australia. I visited the church, St Cuthberts, with my husband to see if I could discover more about the Pugmire family. The resemblance of the village church to the one in Sarah' sampler was overwhelming - the crenelated tower and Celtic cross were a joy to see. There was no trace of Sarah or her family outside or inside the church. Just before we were leaving, we noticed a modern kneeler with a tent-stitched image of the church and decided to photograph it. While we were kneeling down, we saw a tablet to Elizabeth Musgrave hidden behind a small table. With some soul-searching, for there was no one from whom we could ask permission, we carefully moved the table and gazed on the memorial to Sarah's benefactress. Elizabeth was widowed at an early age and devoted her life caring for her only a child, a daughter who suffered ill health and who died in 1844. Elizabeth was remebered for her charity, though no mention is made on the tablet of the school for the village children she founded and supported over the years. But the shock was to see the family coat of arms which bore the red gauntlet of border blood feuds. In fact, the Musgraves, we now know, were descendents of Sir Robert Grierson of Lag who was involved in a near massacre at Kirconnel and who was the model for Sir Walter Scott's 'Red Gauntlet'.
After a deep breath, our next task was to see if there was any sign of an old school - and again we were lucky. The old single-storey school still stands in the grounds of the school master's handsome house, though it is now someone's home. Because it was a fine day, the owner was in the garden and gave us a full history of the school and the village, and the tale of the mythical 'Luck of Eden Hall' - a chalice said to be from the time of Edward IV. It was discovered one night by a butler going in search of water from the well - he came upon a ring of fairies to whom the chalice belonged, and he seized it from them. In retaliation they uttered the following: Whene'er this cup shall break or fall, Farewell the luck of Eden Hall. Not all searches for the sources of samplers are so rich and colourful, but what wonderful journeys await once we start to look at samplers and their makers! You will be able to see Sarah Pugmire's sampler in a forthcoming book.

Thank You Jane Greenoff

It is a special day indeed when an author of well-loved needlework books gives praise and prominence to a book not of her own making. Thank you Jane Greenoff for describing The Goodhart Sampler as 'the best book of its genre' in your Guild magazine. Although I am not prone to pride, I am not ashamed to be proud for all the team who worked on this book for these special words of praise from you. Praise indeed. Join Jane Greenoff's Cross Stitch Guild and you will enjoy many treats including 5 copies a year of the Guild's Stitch That! magazine. Click here to download 3 sample pages of Stitch That!

Tuesday 12 May 2009

Thank You Bromley Embroiderers' Guild

Thank you for your warm welcome, I so enjoyed sharing my delight in samplers with you - and seeing your wonderful work in progress. I would love to show a picture of your competition piece, but appreciate the cloak of secrecy must remain over it until the judging! I know you came second last year - this year I think you are definitely on target for first prize.

Monday 11 May 2009

Rebecca Jeffcoat will be going out of print soon

All good things come to an end and I am sorry to say we are now getting close to the end of the Rebecca Jeffcoat sampler chart. You can still order via your local needlework store - if you have difficulties, just contact me for your nearest supplier.

Needlework in the Cohasset Historical Society

It is a day of friends and needlework - what more could I ask for? A delightful surprise from my good friend Peg Levert came with the postman this lovely early summer's morning. She has sent me a lovely pamphlet produced by the Cohasset Historical Society, Massachusetts, on the needlework and samplers in their collection. It was also lovely to see the name of another good friend, Denise De More, President of the Mayflower Sampler Guild, inside the brochure, since it was she who had inspired the society to develop it. And let's hope other historical societies across the USA will also be similarly inspired and helped by local lovers of needlework. The first sampler inside is by Betsy Stoddard in 1796, and I wonder if she and her father, a member of the Boston Tea Party in 1773, is a distant relation to another good friend of mine, Sandra Stoddart!

The Cohasset Historical Society was founded in 1928 and their three buildings house significant collections including textiles and costumes that date from 1796 to the 1960s. Pictured here is the title page with the Cohasset Town Seal wrought by Edith Cavanaugh. Click here to email the Cohasset Historical Society for more details.

Saturday 9 May 2009

Free Chart Download - A Little Pretty Pin-ball

There was a great vogue in the 18th century for stitching monochrome engravings taken out of illustrated books. Here is a free chart for you to download to try this for yourself. This is taken from John Newberry's book we saw earlier on this week - A Little Pretty Pocket Book - the first book expressly for children published in 1744. Margaret tells us that there is now a Newberry Medal awarded for children's literature. Try this in a shade-dyed dark grey - or if you would like to be very brave - ecru on a dark chocolate linen would look marvellous!

Friday 8 May 2009

Hello My Deers - Free Download All Stitched Up

This delightful extract is a marker for the new 18th century and early 19th century Norwich school of samplers we have discovered - the subject of which will be a forthcoming Needleprint book. 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.

400 Years of Stitching at Hollytrees Museum Colchester

Stitching Time is the name of this exhibition which runs until 14th June and explores 400 years of stitching of samplers, embroidery patterns and magazines. Entry is FREE. Opening times Mon - Sat 10am - 5pm and Sunday 11am - 5pm.
For more details see the Hollytree Museum website.

Thursday 7 May 2009

Embroidery & Textiles at Doddington Hall, nr Lincoln 2 August - 2 September 2009

Another fabulous event is taking place from 2 August to 2 September this year at Doddington Hall five miles west of Lincoln. There will be a standing exhibition of embroidery and textiles plus a number of special talks and workshops:

3/4 August Tracy A Franklin will be holding a class to demonstrate three-dimensional gold work and attendees will make a gold corsage

5 August Lynne Hulse, Archivist of the Royal School of Needlework, will talk about the history of the RSN and give a private tour of the exhibits in the Long Gallery

9 August Brenda Scarman will demonstrate goldwork

12/13 August Owen Davies will hold a class - Portraying Gardens in Embroidery

24/24 August Paddy Killer will hold a class - Cuffs and Ruffs in the Garden

For more detailed information please refer to the Calendar of Events at Doddington

For more information contact Fiona Baker

The Seffrid Guild of Embroiderers

It was my pleasure to meet members of the Seffrid Guild at Parham House over the weekend. Founded in 1991 this group which takes its name from Seffrid II, Bishop of Chichester from 1180 to 1204 who had the task of repairing the cathedral after a terrible fire. Their work is to care for and preserve existing textiles so they can be enjoyed for years to come, in addition to carrying out new projects for the Cathedral.
Members meet up on Thursday and work for two hours in one of three shifts. They are always pleased to welcome enthusiastic embroiderers. They also work with embroiderers in other churches to share and develop skills. If you would like to join them, or perhaps twin with them click here to make that important contact.

Anne Blakeney has written a booklet - Embroideries in Chichester Cathedral. Many English Cathedrals - such as Wells, Salisbury, Winchester, Durham also have booklets on their textile collections and if you are unable to find a copy on Abebooks, then contact the Cathedral directly for help.

Jane Austen's Sampler

Maybe I was tired when I wrote the last posting about Jane Austen's sampler which you will be able to see in Volume II of our next work (Vol I is due for publication in October 2010). This sampler is in a private collection and is not the one supposed to have been stitched by Jane Austen in Bath, but an authenticated signed sampler by Jane. I will try to write my blogs earlier in the evening in future!

Tuesday 5 May 2009

A Little Pretty Pocket Book 1744

There are letters from Ackworth School in the early days of the school complaining about a shortage of books for the pupils. This was not owing to a lack of funds, but owing to a simple lack of reading matter written specifically for children. There were chapbooks about and the colourful and cheerful way in which they were presented seem to suggest that they might have been intended for a young and simple audience, but the truth is chap books often had content that was unsuitable for children such as: How to repair your maidenhead.

John Newbery is credited with the first book written just for children, as late as 1744 - just 35 years before the founding of Ackworth School. The book is called A Little Pretty Pocket Book and came with a ball if you were a boy, or a pincushion if you were a girl. The ball and pincushion had both a red side and a black side. If a girl did something good, then her mother or governess would put a pin in the red side. For something naughty, a pin was stuck in the black side. And...if you had 10 pins in the red side then you would be rewarded with a penny from Jack the Giant Killer - but should you have 10 pins in the black side, then Jack the Giant Killer would send a rod to beat you!

Weald and Downland Open Air Museum

Another busy day at Parham House yesterday - my voice went on strike just after 5pm and I was too tired to make much sense of a blog entry even though I was very excited and wanted to tell you all about it. At Parham, I was privileged to spend two days in a beautiful room with a dozen fabulous Stuart needlework pictures - upon which I was still finding new birds and beasties to admire after the two days were through. The days flashed by in a sea of visitors who were keen to hear more about these pictures and the items in the Goodhart collection. It was lovely to see people beam with pleasure at learning a little more about the background of these wonderful pieces.

So I didn't have as much chance as I would have liked to get out and about to see the rest of the exhibits. However, I was very struck by the work of the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum which was located in a marquee in the grounds of Parham House. At present they are hard at work fabricating period costumes for the interpreters to wear in the museum. They are using traditional weaves with dyes of madder and walnut, and help from the pattern books of Janet Arnold. And I thought you would like to see - and maybe visit the museum if you are near Chichester.

Sunday 3 May 2009

Stitchers at Parham House Stitches in Time

The Chichester Embroiderer's Guild had pride of place today stitching in the stunning long gallery at Parham. The Guild is 84 members strong and is involved with many projects in Chichester Cathedral, famous for its altar tapestry by John Piper and stained glass windows by Chagall. The embroiderers here are stitching Blackwork, Tapestry and Hardanger.