Friday 28 May 2010

The Needlework at Traquair House and Giveaways

As part of my tour in Scotland at Easter, I was able to pop in to Traquair House. But not through the Bear Gates which since 1744 have been firmly closed until the day when a Stuart monarch will reign again - which may be not be that far off, since the princes William and Harry, through their Spencer descent claim Stuart heritage. It is fitting that Mary Queen of Scots (with her baby James, later to become King James VI of Scotland and I of England) walked the halls of this lovely place amidst the treasure trove of embroideries - petit point slips which, later as a prisoner, she herself would while away the time stitching while dreaming and scheming. Some of the pieces resemble entire herbals, so densely are they populated with every imaginable flower and fruit, all cheek by jowl, some their outlines interlocking, so that one can only wonder if they were ever meant to be separated and applied individually as embellishments to furnishings as Margaret Swain tells us they were. And if they were meant to be separated, then why weren't they? Or could they have been compulsive encyclopaedic works? Some are unfinished, showing clearly that they were pre-prepared with outlines in black cross-stitch. Is it possible that some early band samplers were similarly pre-prepared? There is still so much yet to learn and it is only by looking at the stitches with a close and attentive eye that these pieces may reveal more of their story. I have a lovely sheet of wrapping paper and Margaret Swain's little book on the The Needlework at Traquair to give to anyone interested in these works who cannot visit personally. Please let me know how I should do this to be as fair as possible.


  1. I believe the most fair procedure would be to award the tokens to the first commenter.:)

    How exciting that those gates could be opened for the first time in over 250 years!

  2. When something this wonderful is being givenaway, I think everyone must understand that whatever way the giver decides to chose who to give it to is considered fair. I guess the most fair to all is the traditional posting by a certain date and then drawing from those that posted interest.
    I would love to post into a drawing for this item. I love all forms of needlework and have taught myself many of them in order to just in someway keep the old art of needlework alive. I love samplers and cross-stitch and do it whenever I can. I carry at least one if not two or even three projects with me at all time. I knever know when I will have a minute here or there to stitch or share my love of it with someone else. I have taught myself to knit, crochet, bobbin lace, sewing (modern dress making, authenic reproduction civil war costume making and milinary, suit making), quilting both hand and machine, quilt piecing, macrame, shuttle tatting, and even the art of hair flowers and hair jewelry making.
    I will be watching for your giveaway posting if there is something more to come and will anxiously be waiting to hear your announcement of a winner.
    Thank you for your thoughtfullness.

  3. Hi Jacqueline, it has been a lovely travel, isn't it?

    I'm interested... is it possible? now i cannot visit scotland....

    have you seen the blog of sal ackworth group? it's going on fantastic! is:


  4. Jacqueline you are so lucky to have seen these beautiful slips, I have seen some in the V&A, but these are gorgeous and so many. I should go there and see them for myself one day.

  5. I agree with Rebecca; you would randomly select a name from those who have commented. What a lovely and intricate piece! Thank you for sharing.


  6. I am definitely interested :)
    Good Luck to all

  7. It would be such an honor to take part in this wonderful gift. However, just to see it on the blog is enough joy for me. Again I just want to say how much I enjoy and appreciate all you do to educate and fill our lives with beauty.

  8. Jacqueline,

    I too am interested in the giveaway! Those are gorgeous pieces you got to see...really really wish I could have been there too!

    You know, I wonder - it takes me time to finish a piece no matter what the size of them, what with a full time job and all that - wonder how long it took Mary to do all the pieces here?? Or did others do the ones that you have posted?? Either way, it's a lot of work and beautiful work too!

    Hugs to you,

  9. How interesting that William and Harry have Stuart blood! I have often wondered if the slips which survive were meant to be cut out, and why they weren`t. Perhaps they were stitched as a pattern record, or just for pleasure. It`s a shame there aren`t written documents to let us know!

  10. OK let's leave this to run until next weekend and I'll see if I can obtain some extra copies of the book between now and then.

  11. Nothing new to share as far as how to chose someone. I did wonder if there was a source where your readers could obtain copies of the book that you might know of?

    I'd love to travel. Unfortunately, due to several reasons, I can't travel now. So, I really do appreciate the information you post for us. Lets me see what I otherwise might not. Thanks, Jacqueline!

  12. i love this and it makes it even dearer that i married into a Scottish family. my family is a mix of everything and it was really an eye opener to see a family hold their heritage close to there hearts. it has made me love Scotland so much more and seeing these beautiful bits makes me smile. i think picking a name out of a so called hat is the best way. who wouldn't want to win? thanks for the chance.

  13. Ooooh. I've been in love with Traquair House since I first came across the reproduction canvaswork slips done by The Crewel Work company. I first wrote about them here, once upon a time: The paper would be a wonderful source of inspiration and the book, of information! I'd love to win them.

    It's really hard to do give-aways! I always end up wanting to give everyone something, but it's a huge impossibility!

    Thanks, Jacqueline, for the opportunity!

  14. What a wonderful giveaway - very generous of you :)Sounds like Scotland was wonderful - haven't got there yet....
    Must be difficult choosing a winner - but maybe name out of a hat ??
    All the best

  15. OH I want it to be me ;0 Fair, hummm how to be fair when so many would enjoy that are all so far away. That is always the hard one. I love to give gifts, but I love to recieve them too. So I guess the fairest way is to do a random drawing! I see on some sights the use of a random number drawing function! That way it takes the hard work of pulling one out of the hat off you ;0 Thank you for always being so giving and sharing so much with all of us Jacqueline. You are very kind.

  16. Hi Jacqueline,

    I should dearly like an electronic image of this beautiful work at a higher resolution if possible. I would like to reproduce that for a quilt.