Tuesday 16 June 2009

A chic interpretation of Mary Wigham by Sue

I know that some of you are rather surprised by the bright colours used on the Quaker samplers at Ackworth - sometimes they jar and don't seem to accord with what our ideas of Quaker colours should be. It is plainly obvious that the girls simply revelled in colour when they could get hold of it. I think Sue's colours would have started a craze at the school. Sue is from Japan - as are quite a number of scholars today at Ackworth School.
It is true that there are a number of monochromes in the collection at Ackworth which are Lincoln Green or a dark blue. At first it was thought that these pieces on a coarser linen may have been executed as teaching pieces from which the girls who stitched the finer polychromes borrowed their repertoire of motifs. This was one of the reasons I charted all the motifs on all the samplers to see if this relationship could be established. And, after all the work, the answer! But at least we had a permanent record of the motifs - about 100 - which was published in the Ackworth School Pattern Book. Now out of print, it can be obtained as a .pdf download.


  1. Wow! I love Sue's colors. By any chance do you know what colors they are? Or is there a way to contact Sue to find out her fiber colors and fabric choice? I LOVE pink! And, I absolutely love your blog! It is so informative and personalized to the point that I can visualize what it must have been like for those girls at the school. Thank you so much for your time and effort for us.

  2. Hi Carol,
    My name is Saho and I am Head Girl for Japan.
    I have Sue's response to your question and have translated it below:

    Dear Carol,
    I am delighted that you are interested in my colors! Thank you so much!
    Fabric used: Zweigart 32ct Antique Ivory
    Fiber: DMC (2 over 2)
    For colors, so far I have converted as follows (original charted colors in parenthesis):
    (725) to 407
    (407) to 223
    (356) to 315
    (3768) to 3860
    (3052) to 779
    (930) to 3740.

    Since the chart calls for 22 colors in total, I would like to convert about as many colors;
    For 779 and 3860 it is difficult, since the colors can be differentiated in daylight but is almost indistinguishable under a fluorescent lighting in my room.
    I may add different colors to the palette depending on the positioning of the motifs.
    Since I have not made much progress, and the chart release is way ahead, I am considering to stitch the outside (the framing half-medallions) first, see the overall balance and consider color changes then.

    I hope that helps.Sue

  3. Saho and Sue,

    Thank you so much for sharing your choice of beautiful colors with me. Your stitching in lovely. I wish you many happy hours with needle in hand, and look forward to seeing pictures of your piece as it progresses. Again, thank you for getting back to me. Carol