Tuesday 30 November 2010

Vierlande Book Winners - and a Threads of Feeling Catalogue Give Away

So, the winners of the 3 Vierlande Books are:
1984 Diary by Eva Maria Leszner goes to Yuko Watanabe in Japan, and copies of the Norddeutsche Stickmuster aus Vierlanden will be sent to Donatella in Turin, Italy and Cara in Wallingford, CT, USA. Congratulations to the winners.
The next giveaway comes as a gift from the Foundling Museum. Today I braved the snow in my cocktail dress and wellington boots to go up to London to attend a very special event at the Foundling Museum at which a new president and vice presidents were inaugurated. Those of you who remember David Coke as a most interesting speaker at Ackworth2006 and Ackworth2008 will be pleased to learn he is one of the vice-presidents. On leaving I was presented with a goodie-bag containing the Catalogue for the Foundling Museum's astonishing and heart-wrenching exhibition Threads of Feeling curated by John Styles. There are hopes that the exhibition will tour the USA at some stage, so those friends across the pond won't have to miss out on seeing these textile tokens left by mothers together with their infants in the Foundling Hospital. It is a sad statistic that less than 1% of babies were reunited with their mothers and the children who survived never got to see the item left by their mothers.
Here you can see a sampler fragment that was left behind with a child. So, I am offering my free copy as a give away. A draw will be taken amongst all purchasers of downloads in the next fortnight and hopefully the winner will be able to enjoy their book for Christmas. Good Luck!

Monday 29 November 2010

3 Smashing Vierlande Book Give Aways Tomorrow

There will be 3 lucky winners amongst those of you who have purchased the Vierlande 2 Motif Library and 11 Mini Samplers download before the end of 30 November (tomorrow). Thanks to Gisela we have a wonderful copy of the rare Eva Maria Lezner diary of 1984 - unused and full of Vierlande medallions.
And there are also 2 copies of the Christiane Gadtgens book Norddeutsche Stickmuster aus Vierlanden to giveaway. The book which is German text is full of delights, including more Vierlande motifs to add to your sampler! There is still time to make your purchase. Click here to see more. There is no need to email me to enter. Good Luck. We shall be announcing the winners tomorrow.

Sunday 28 November 2010

My First Museum

On Sunday afternoons when the weather was not fit for a blow across the moors, we would be taken instead to Cartwright Hall in Manningham Park, gift of Lord Masham who was the owner of local Listers Mill. Built by the same architects as the Kelvingrove in Glasgow, we were rightly proud of Our Museum. There were the usual tall cases of forbidding, if dead for quite some time, avian raptors in pursuit of small, startled, cuddly but equally dead rodents. Art with a capital A still waited my discovery as I rushed past into the hall which housed the miniature models of working looms, spinning machines, carding machines and all the boasts of fine Bradfordian textile engineering tools. This, as much as the top of Rombalds Moor, was heaven indeed. Later, as an adult and having returned from France, I spent my Sunday mornings in the Museum, lazily drinking coffee, and taking much more notice of the art exhibits - I was particularly fond of the John Sell Cotman watercolour collection there. The very idea of having a coffee bar in Cartwright Hall would have made my parents almost as indignant as I felt to discover the working models had been warehoused. Time passes. I mentioned recently that I had been reading an autobiography of Kathleen Binns who was from my neighbourhood. It was the first of two books I had bought. The second was the childhood autobiography entitled Now a Stranger of Humbert Woolff - also from my neighbourhood, but in the 1890s. I had never heard of Humbert before and was expecting a memoir similar to Kathleen's. However, I have been quite bewitched by this book. It is so funny and so beautifully written, I felt that Humbert must have written more. I googled him, and found that to be the case. In fact, upon the death of Frank Bridges, Humbert was lined up to be a poet laureate. Maybe history forgets too quickly the people who come second.
In case you are in or near Bradford, do pop into Cartwright Hall to see the exhibition of Polish paper-cuts that, too, is totally bewitching.

Saturday 27 November 2010

RE-prieve For Overworked Needles at Christmas

Yet again (what I surprise!) I find that all those Christmas stitching projects for friends' gifts just aren't going to happen in time - not without some significant time-warping, at least. Then I remembered a wonderful place I had visited in Corbridge called Re-foundobjects full of inventive items inspired by vintage patterns and objects. Lo and behold - they are now on the internet and you can buy on-line.
I just love, love these vintage tea-pot cosies - just like my Nan used to knit. We girls would be allowed to make the coloured pom-poms or long chains on our Knitting Nancys - home made from an old cotton bobbin stuck with 4 panel pins. We felt like we had made a huge contribution and were immensely proud to see our embellishments incorporated in the finished articles.
The heart in hand design always moves me with its simple and potent symbolism - I really enjoy the comfort of seeing these around wherever I happen to be and I always want to give them as presents to anyone - even strangers!
Remembering the Pearly Kings and Queens we used to enjoy seeing so frequently in magazines, papers and on television when we were young (where are they now?) these cushions take me right back to way back. And what a clever thing to do - to substitute each cross in a charted graph for a neat little pearl shirt button...this has me thinking! Pearly Quakers anyone?
And these cotton knit wash cloths are just the bees-knees - simple and textural - could you bear to use them?
Well, that's polished off quite a bit on my wants list - what next? Oh, I was supposed to be buying gifts, silly me, forgot. Well another pot of tea and another visit then.

New Judith Hayle Sampler Discovered - Sells for £480 at Cheffins Auction

This sampler, auctioned yesterday at Cheffins in Cambridge, is dated August 30 1696. The picture is poor but you might want to consider it for a moment. What do you make of it? If you were in a position to bid on this sampler, how high would you go?
Perhaps you can see that the sampler has been worked from both ends. I wonder what happens if we flip the image and enhance it slightly. What do you notice now? OK, you have probably spotted already that this is a Judith Hayle sampler with its twin cartouches bearing on the left hand side the initials IH and on the right (though the first initial is hard to read) the second initial is C for Cussen, the girl who worked the sampler. We have been watching out for this auction for a little time with bated breath to see what would happen. So, you might ask yourself now, how much did this sampler achieve? Sit down, pour a cup of strong tea. The sampler sold for £480. So someone has a lovely bargain! If you read this post earlier, you might have seen the figure £25,000 for the sale price, unfortunately there was a mix up and I was given the wrong figure. We went from one gulp to another!
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Thursday 25 November 2010

Happy Holiday

I hope everyone has a lovely Thanksgiving Day. Maybe we should campaign for a worldwide Thanksgiving Day - or Count Your Blessings Day - as we have much to give thanks for. We could do something on that day, at least, to make sure others less fortunate have something to give thanks for also. This Old Glory is for auction at DuMouchelles, Michigan on 12 December. But the original Old Glory was made by the mother of sea captain William Driver and young ladies of his native Salem, Massachusetts sometime in the 1820s. And more on names. I had an email this morning asking me the origin of the word clocks when applied to stockings. Many people like to derive the word from the French cloche meaning bell on account of the clock-shaped designs. I beg to disagree and suggest that cloqué is a far better derivation. It means blistered and cloqué was a fabric with a raised pattern. It was abbreviated to clox by cloth merchants. And a bit more on Kathleen Binns from last night's post: she was a great needle-worker and went on to write needlework and craft articles for Girl and Swift - well known papers for girls.
Now enjoy your day!

Wednesday 24 November 2010

Ackworth School, Kathleen Binns' Mother and a Tray of Lemons from Chichester Market

My usual habit is to take a midweek away-day and work through weekends. This week I popped down to Chichester for the weekly market and a stroll along the waterside at Emsworth. It was one perfect day, blue sky, nice nip in the air, trees still golden, pearly tide in over the mud flats in the harbour at Emsworth and a chain of white swans coming in to land. And lemons in abundance on Chichester market. These days, I don't know if it is the £-€ exchange rate, but exchange rate is 3 lemons for £1! So, seeing trays of 32 lemons for £2 on the market, I swiftly bought. This evening I have been zesting and juicing them (after warming them in the microwave first), decanting a mix of juice and zest into muffin tins lined with freezer film, and then freezing them for later additions to mulled drinks, soups, sauces, and maybe some honey and a little whisky as a winter pick-me-up (too much and it is a tumble-me-over). The kitchen and my hands tonight are scented citron. My mother always used to say, You are never short of what you have already got. I returned home to find a new book I had ordered waiting for me: A Family Affair - by Kathleen Binns who is the younger child in the photo above. Born in 1900 into the same neighbourhood as me, I read that her mother used to say exactly the same to her. Kathleen wrote the book her book when she was 86 so that the details she remembered as a child would not be forgotten. Nursing her mother before the old lady died, Kathleen asked her what had been her happiest moment - to which her mother replied, 'When you and your sister went to boarding school.' And that boarding school was Ackworth! Her books ends with the following lines about Ackworth: This was to be my second home for six happy years. And although it made me cry, I knew in my heart of hearts it was not going to be so much a change of life but a larger family I was joining at this Quaker school. I belonged there. It is a lovely little book and Amazon have some used copies still - click here to see.

Tuesday 23 November 2010

Send a Friend a (Last Minute) Gift

Left it too late to mail a present? Overwhelmed by international shipping costs? Never fear, we can send a gift and a card to your friend with just 36 hours notice. We can even tell you whether your friend already has the gift you have in mind. What could be neater than that? Well, for a start we send a personalized card with your wishes and your selected image. And for another thing we create an individual web-page as a surprise launch for your gift. And for another thing, we don't charge an extra penny for any of this - just the price of the download. So, does your friend have our delightful Stocking Clocks chart?
Just email me to set up your gift list.

Monday 22 November 2010

Congratulations on Your Pinballs, Joanna!

I was so thrilled to see Joanna's completed pinballs yesterday - she certainly deserves a pat on the back. Joanna told me that recently she has been trying to reach further back into the history of handknitting and "discovered" pinballs as part of that journey. She says it's nearly impossible to re-create them from the poor quality photos and then how do you go about assembling them? She was, therefore, really grateful to Erica Uten for all her work in figuring out the pinballs. The carnation pinball above is from Erica's book Tokens of Love - Quaker Pinballs and the tulip pinball below is from the Ackworth School Pattern Book which is now available as a download.

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Sunday 21 November 2010

Free Jigsaw Download

Back in the day, before I could read street signs, my explorations about my neighbourhood were seemingly flat and one-dimensional. I recognised trails (and the way back!) by the style and the colour of garden gates I passed, the shape of garden hedges, patterned curtains in windows and so on. While I could get from A to B and from A to C, the relationship between B & C necessarily remained a mystery to me. It was not until my sailor father taught me to navigate by mill chimneys that my world became round. Once a year we used to travel by car to Dorset for holidays with my aunt and every year there would be the tussle about who would read the AA directions on the way. This was not a map per se, but a ring-bound, journalist's pad which marked every significant sight between Bradford and Dorchester in a linear way - not very different from the maps produced nearly 300 years before by John Ogilby. I love old maps, and this set of maps I have is my heart's delight. Here you can track from York to my home town of Bradford via Leeds passing the turnoffs to Pontefract and Ackworth School en route (though the school had yet to be built). But notice the Quakers Sepulchre at Gilderson at stage 29. I hope you enjoy this free jigsaw. However, sadly, this is not going to work for Mac users. Instructions: Click here next Click Open, then click the .EXE file name and click Run, when you see the jigsaw puzzle, click Play Too many pieces? Try clicking on Trays on the top tool bar to create any number of resizeable trays to sort your pieces ........ you can also click the Cheat button and watch the puzzle solve itself! The software is by David Gray designer of Jigsaws Galore - the powerful jigsaw player and creator for Windows.

Saturday 20 November 2010

Selvedge Magazine's Christmas Fair * 4 December * London

My diary for the holiday season is already full, but there is one event I shall be squeezing in - the Selvedge Christmas Fair. Last year it was such a source of inspiration in terms of colours and fabric possibilities and it was great to stop and talk to designers on the cutting edge - please excuse the pun - and find out where they are heading with new, exciting projects.

One good thing is that the entrance fee of just £2.50 is redeemable. One monster thing is you have to go into the Selvedge shop and buy something - oh, how will I chooooose.....O.K I'll take everything. Taxi!

Friday 19 November 2010

Burlington County Historical Society Auction 20 November - Save The Samplers

You may remember notification of this auction a couple of days ago. Since then many sampler lovers have written to Burlington County Historical Society to oppose the auction of the samplers tomorrow. If you would like to notify your opposition, then you need to email the Society as a matter of urgency. Click here. Jennifer Core of the Tennessee Sampler Survey has written an open letter which she has given permission for you to copy, or you can simply mail to say you agree with Jennifer's letter.
This important sampler stitched by Mary Bowker and belonging to Burlington County Historical Society was left in a locked room for photographing on October 16 and has not been seen since. If you have seen or see it or have any information that may aid in its recovery please contact the Burlington County Historical Society at 457 High Street, Burlington, NJ 08016, 609-386-4773, or the Burlington City Police Department at its main number, 609-386-0262, or on its tip line at 609-233-8548.

Thursday 18 November 2010

624 Samplers to Enjoy On-Line Courtesy of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America

Tonight you shall need a big pot of tea, of coffee, - or whatever you will, but do sit down and make time to enjoy this fabulous on-line sampler collection with examples from many countries as well as the USA, courtesy of the National Society of the Colonial Dames Of America.
This Little Brittain sampler is delightful and are those Holbein stitch decorations to the initials showing Scottish or Frisian descent or influence?
Here is a wonderful Spanish band sampler - there are more in the collection.
No sampler collection worth its salt is missing at least one Adam and Eve sampler!
And this one, you will guess from the half medallions at the top, is a Quaker sampler. Sibford Ferris was founded in 1842 - quite late, as Quaker Schools go, and is still a functioning school. But this sampler is dated 1806, so there must have been some schooling before the school itself was formally established. This is the second example I have seen from Sibford Ferris, there must be many more tucked away somewhere.....have you seen one?

Wednesday 17 November 2010

Fully Charted Alphabet Freebie for Beatrix Potter Quaker Download

Now we can look forward to a royal marriage to celebrate next year, you may be thinking of creating a special Beatrix Potter sampler for William and his Katie. Unfortunately, OD to LB just won't cut the mustard for this event. So for all Beatrix Potter download purchasers - past and present - there is a special charted complete alphabet to match the style of the initials on the Beatrix Potter Sampler to enable you to insert personalized initials. If you have purchased a Beatrix Potter download then you should have already received instructions for this additional freebie download, if you haven't simply contact me to obtain your copy.
Or you can purchase a copy of the Beatrix Potter Sampler now, if you don't have a copy already.

Tuesday 16 November 2010

Guildford Museum Sampler Collection

My nearest museum is Guildford Museum and it was here we recorded our first museum sampler collection in 2003. They have a lovely collection of around 100 samplers, with six or seven good ones on regular display. You can always phone ahead to book a viewing with the curator. Here are just two of my favourite samplers in the collection. The first is by Harriott Axtell stitched in 1812 with the unusual verse:
O May I always Ready Stand
With my Lamp Burning in my hand.
May I in Sight Of Heaven Rejoice
Whene're I hear the Bridegrooms voice.
This second sampler by Margaret Briant of 1801 is exquisitely stitched and even though damaged is very special indeed. Margaret states that she stitched her work in the Asylum - which in all probability was an orphanage - where, at least Margaret, had access to fine linen and silks.

Click here to go to Guildford Museum website.

Monday 15 November 2010

Nami's Sarah Harris Finished

Congratulations to Nami who has finished her Sarah Harris sampler. It is very fitting that she has inscribed PEACE in the middle of her work. After the English Civil War in 1651, men enjoined women to put away their pikes and pick up their needles - I wonder what men would say today if women returned that advice? You can see more Sarah Harris progress on the special SAL blog - just click here.

Sunday 14 November 2010

Remembrance Sunday

This William IV silk embroidered memorial picture reminds us of lives lost as today, at 11am, we shall be holding our own remembrances. A lost life is not only entailed by death, but also by the loss of youth and innocence in any arena of war; the loss of limbs that curtail a life that might have been; the loss of thought or speech or sight; and perhaps, most affecting, the loss of that ready intimacy which once allowed the sharing with loved ones of all that inhabits mind and emotions without censorship, to spare them, too, once more the horrors of war which now you must inter within yourself. You are not forgotten. Love does and will abide.

Saturday 13 November 2010

$50,000 - $150,000 Missing Sampler Presumed Stolen

This important sampler stitched by Mary Bowker and belonging to Burlington County Historical Society was left in a locked room for photographing on October 16 and has not been seen since. If you have seen or see it or have any information that may aid in its recovery please contact the Burlington County Historical Society at 457 High Street, Burlington, NJ 08016, 609-386-4773, or the Burlington City Police Department at its main number, 609-386-0262, or on its tip line at 609-233-8548.
Gloria Moore told me also that Burlington Historical Society is putting up 29 samplers, now 28 since Mary Bowker is sadly missing, for auction on 20 November and you can click here to access the sale catalogue. It is not unknown for museums and historical societies to behave like collectors at large, buying items and then later refining their collection to purchase other items. Two of the samplers in the sale come from Amy Finkel and so may have been bought by the museum, for the rest I have no precise knowledge. However, if items given to the museum are being deaccessioned and sold then it raises considerable issues for those collectors who might be planning to bequeath their collections to museums in the future. This is all very unsettling news.

Friday 12 November 2010


It seems a crass thing to say, but often we have to remind ourselves (so fixated can we become by studies of European samplers and needlework) that girls the world over stitched and, in some areas, continue to stitch decorative articles for their bottom drawer or wedding chest; to decorate their future home; and demonstrate their industriousness to future partners. The girls from areas neighbouring the Silk Road are no exception and with their suzani or needle created fabulous cloths for tent and bed hangings from around the early 18th century. Many of these suzanis are highly prized. Work now carried out in urban centres is commissioned by western designers for special furnishings and furniture. Perhaps you might love a beautiful four-poster like the one above with its stunning needleworked textiles - or maybe your life is incomplete without a loving-chair like the one below. If so then Robert Kime in London is where to go. Do take a look at their catalogue of available cloths and ooh and aah and dream a little!