Tuesday 30 August 2011

Bath Museum of Costume On Line Collection

The fabulous Bath Museum of Costume now his its collection on-line for you to visit. There are a whole host of fascinating items and details - such as the embroidered pockets above.
And, of course, many beautiful regency dresses - dream away!
I particularly like the close-ups of fabric designs - this is one of my favourites. To visit Bath Museum of Costume in your own arm chair, you just need to click here.

Monday 29 August 2011

Free Chart Draw - Thanks to Linda's Brilliant Idea!

I have to confess that this brilliant idea is not mine - it came from an email sent to me from Linda in Germany, so you have her to thank for it. She thought it would be lovely to have a Stitch Along for the Vierlande II motif set - which does indeed resemble a sampler. It measures 495 x 492 stitches and would look wonderful in monochrome or polychrome. So, I shall be setting up a special blog for the Stitch Along this week and shall announce it with the winner of this week's draw - which is for the Vierlande II motif and its book of 11 mini samplers. You can see more of the prize by clicking the browse button below.

This is the second volume of the Vierlande motif library and comes with a separate eBook containing 11 additional mini-Vierlande sampler projects for you.

The Vierlande II motif set builds on the the Vierlande I set which you can see more of below.

This is the first library of rich motifs from the special Vierlande region of North Germany.

The draw is open to all - and as usual just click on the flyng angel to enter. The winner will be announced next Monday 5 September. Good Luck!

Sunday 28 August 2011

Australian Dress Register Now On-Line

The Australian Dress Register ia a new, collaborative, online database recording historic clothing and, particularly well-detailed and fascinating to read are the precious, personal stories behind the garments. Developed by the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, this is a great example of how new digital technologies are preserving cultural heritage and enabling researchers, students, teachers, designers and general public to share that culture and knowledge. Above you can see a waistcoat reputed to have been owned and worn by Captain James Cook who died on 14th February 1779 on his third and final voyage.
If you click on an item in the time-line then you may see multiple versions of an object and full descriptions and stories. The following description is an example of the richmness of descriptions you will see when you click on the object: Above is the twilled silk waistcoat front, embroidered with an overall floral sprig design with concentrations of more complex flowers along the front edges, pocket flaps and across the front hem. The fine floss silk is embroidered in a range of natural colours in symmetrical floral patterns. Two shaped embroidered pocket flaps have at some time been relocated as a collar at the neck. The waistcoat fastens at the front with 9 brown leather shanked buttons (not typical of this style) and hand-worked button-holes. Darts have been stitched into the front body, one at each armhole which has been removed and one at each side from side seam to accommodate a female bust-line, which remain. The lower front edges have been re-cut shorter than the original waistcoat by lifting the embroidered hem bands and machine stitching them to the body along a curved seam-line at a different angle to the grain of the main waistcoat. The armholes are neatly hand hemmed and the buttonholes hand stitched. The back is made from cream linen and has also been altered to fit a woman. The centre back is made wider by an inserted machine stitched panel of cotton fabric. Two vertical machine sewn darts have been unpicked and a narrow band along the hem has gaps where those darts were previously stitched. There is a combination of original hand stitching, more recent, rougher hand stitching and machine stitching on this garment.
If you wait a little while you will see a black magnifying glass appear over the image - click on this and you will get a pop up of the image. Again click on the pop up image and wait and you will see a row of icons appear at the bottom of the image. You can choose either to zoom in - or choose the double dashed square at the right hand side of the row and you will see the item in full screen mode so that you can see all the wonderful detail.
Dating from about 1885, this full length dress is made from fine wool, is pink/musk in colour and is elaborately trimmed with cream lace. The tight-fitting bodice is lined and boned, with a high standing collar trimmed with lace that is identical to that used on the cuffs of the full length sleeves.
This fine wool dress dates from about 1885 and belonged to one of the daughters of pastoralist, William Pitt Faithfull, founder of the pioneering merino stud, Springfield. Faithfull was granted land south of Goulburn in 1827. By the 1850s Springfield was a prosperous and well-established property. In 1844 Faithfull married Devonshire migrant and teacher, Mary Deane, and together they raised nine children. Their daughters Florence, Constance and Lilian were active members of the Goulburn region and Sydney society, and attending balls, calling on visitors or shopping all required appropriate dress. The tight fitting, boned bodice and bustled skirt decorated with lace flounces and frills are of the style fashionable among the middle and upper classes in Britain and Europe during this period. In a maturing colony female free settlers and their Australian-born daughters used fashion to maintain and reinforce their social status within Australian society.
To explore the Australian Dress Register click here.

Saturday 27 August 2011

Golden Girls Exhibit in Schiphol Airport * 7 September - 12 December

Did you know that Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam is the first airport to have its own museum gallery? What a welcome relief from the tedium of airport waiting and transfers. Come on all the other airports! From 7 September to 12 December, the exhibition Dutch Girls will feature at the Schiphol Airport annex of the Rijksmuseum. The exhibition will consist of a small collection of nine well-to-do, leading models from the Golden Age, most stunningly painted by among others Frans Hals, Caesar van Everdingen, Isaak Luttichuys, and Barholomeus van der Helst. The paintings demonstrate the timelessness of vanity. Even in the 17th century, women and girls tried to look their best, particularly when they were immortalised in portraits. Painters portrayed models as attractive as possible, while also attempting to capture their true character. Great care was also taken to paint their luxurious, fashionable clothing and jewellery. So when you flying across the pond, make sure to use the Schiphol hub won't you?

Friday 26 August 2011

Cassandra Ellis Teaches At Charleston, UK * 11 October 2011

Following the sell-out success of a lovely quilt-making workshop in March with contemporary quilt maker Cassandra Ellis, Charleston has invited her back to give you the opportunity to start a quilt before the winter kicks in! As seen in Elle Decoration and Liberty, Cassandra will teach you the very basics of improvised and free-form quilting. Bring a pre-loved half metre length of fabric with you – this could be an old dress, tablecloth or treasured scrap of fabric – which can be incorporated into your design to give your quilt a very personal touch. All other materials will be provided.
Charleston was home to Vanessa Bell, sister of Virgiania Woolf, and her famous friends. Set in the most beautiful, unspoilt English countryside just by the South Downs, it is a wonderful place to visit in its own right. The course runs from 10am - 5pm and the course fee of £95 includes all materials and an artisan lunch. Click here for more course details. Click here to see more on Cassandra Ellis.

Thursday 25 August 2011

Meriem in France Completes Her Needleprint Give Away Dutch Sampler 1770

On 13 June you may remember we had a special giveaway of patterns for a Dutch sampler of 1770. Meriem in France was one of the lucky draw winners and has just completed her own beautiful version which you can see above. A truly excellent finish, Meriem! Thank you for sharing. To see more of Meriem's works on her beautiful blog, just click here.
And here below is the original sampler.

Wednesday 24 August 2011

Mehetabel Smith's Ackworth Sampler for Auction & A Tragic History

For auction on 1 & 2 September at Chorley's Auctioneers & Valuers, Gloucester, is this fine Ackworth School medallion needlework sampler by Mehetabel Smith dated 1804. Mehetabel, from Theberton in Suffolk, is registered as being at Ackworth School between 1799 and 1806 which makes it seem likely she continued as an apprentice teacher in the school. Also arriving with her in 1799, was her sister, Sarah. The tragedy is that Sarah died that same year in school. Epidemics are known to have occurred at Ackworth school and if there can be a brighter side to any tragedy it is this, perhaps a smaller percentage of children died in the school during these epidemics than in the population at large as local cemetries testify. And this is probably the reason why so many girlhood samplers have doom-laden verses, because children did die and frequently. My own family has recorded many child deaths owing to diphtheria and scarlatina, to the extent that when my grandmother's only daughter died as an infant, she swore there would be no more males in the family - and that was the case for all her sons' children.
Combined with this lot - 627 - is a small sampler of numbers and alphabet by Phillis Marsh and the estimate for both is £80 - £100. PLEASE NOTE REGISTRATION FOR THIS SALE ENDS AT 9am BST 1st September. For more details and how to register, click here.

Tuesday 23 August 2011

Maine State Museum * Samplers, Quilts, Hooked Rugs On-Line

Hats off to Maine State Museum for putting their wonderful collections on-line for all to enjoy and study. Mary Elizabeth Wentworth's sampler of 1835 stitched in Eliot, Maine is just one of 10 samplers you can see, together with 10 quilts, 7 hooked rugs, 6 items of clothing and a partridge in a pear tree. (I'm making that up. About the partridge. Sorry.) Click here to visit.

Monday 22 August 2011

Hope is the Anchor - Right to the Bitter End - Saved by a Sheer Fluke - Free Ackworth Motifs Mini-Chart

Felix Fabri a German monk and pilgrim gives his account of travelling to the Holy Land in a Venetian galley in 1494. A furious sirocco had blown up and threatened to blow the galley onto the rocks on a lee shore. Fabri's ship had already thrown out 17 anchors (ships always carry more than one) to try to secure the boat but still the weight was not enough to hold the ship offshore in the gale. And so they threw out the last and heaviest anchor - and the last and heaviest anchor was always called Hope. Fabri writes: This anchor again followed the galley just as a plough follows the horse. It was weighed again and dropped once more where it caught upon a rock; but when the galley stopped, and rode to her cable, sheering from side to side, the fluke of the anchor slipped off this rock and began to drag again, but of a sudden came upon another rock where the fluke stuck fast. So there we hung throughout the night.... And I am sure many prayers were uttered in the darkness as the ship rode with its cable paid out to the bitter end with no more turns left around the bitt of the ship. Reading this reminded me of my father, who when I was very small would always impress upon me the need to be able to find my way around buildings etc with my eyes closed - and this I did and continue to do in a bizarrely obsessive way. Only this morning, for some reason, it struck me that my obsession was but an echo of my father's total obsession when for 6 years, his life had depended on being able to find his way out from the very bottom of a ship to the hatches, in the dark, in 10 minutes flat, before the hatches were welded shut after a torpedo attack.
If you missed the printed Ackworth School Pattern Book, you might like to know that it is available as a download in PDF and editable formats.

The Ackworth School Pattern Book contains over 100 charted Quaker motifs is available as a PDF download.

Sunday 21 August 2011

Free Jigsaw Download & Give Away Winner

It's time to announce the winner of last week's give away which is the lovely big sampler book by Irmgard Gierl, But before we do that, here is a detail of a sampler from Saxony in the book which I thought might occupy you nicely.
I hope you enjoy your free jigsaw download this week. 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.
And the winner of the book is Concetta - many congratulation! Thank you to all who participated. There are a few copies of this book available from Amazon if you are searching for a copy.

And also on

Saturday 20 August 2011

Sourcing Danish Flower Threads

I have had a number of requests for help about obtaining Danish Flower Thread - Blomstergarn - as some of you are experiencing difficulties obtaining it.
The good news is that the thread can be obtained now from Fru Zippe. Until the end of 2010 they manufactured and sold Haandarbejdets Fremme articles, but then the contract expired and so they had to go it alone. They continue to manufacture and sell the thread which is identical to that produced in the past but they have to give different names and numbers to the shades - and they have also increased the number of colours from 102 to 130. You can see their shade card above. You can buy direct and the price for a box with 15 skeins of Flower Thread is DKK 50,-. Shipping is charged at cost and there is no minimum order-quantity. And the meaning of Fru Zippe? I am told that Fru zippe is a meticulous lady. She always knows how her embroidery will turn out. She only uses the best materials - which she chooses with much care - and loves embroidery stitched in new and different ways. Fru zippe gets inspired anywhere, all the time. Click here for the link to Fru Zippe - there is an English language option and you can email and receive responses in English.
For Haandarbejdets Fremme kits, an option is via O. Oehlenschlägers - click here for more information about them.

Friday 19 August 2011

Baroque Embellishments - The Inspiration of Kimberly Servello

I am always thrilled when stitchers go to the trouble of showing me images of their work - it just lifts my heart to see the inspiration and talent at work in stitching today. So you can imagine how I felt when I saw Kimberly's fabulous purses.
Kimberly says her inspiration came partly from a jacket at the V&A museum in London (Acc # T.4-1935), which features the pomegranate and partly from the engravings published by Peter Stent in the 17th century. She loved the pea pods in his engravings, which looked a bit Tim Burton-ish. The book is out of print, but available used from Amazon. The title is: A Book of Flowers, Fruits, Beasts, Birds, and Flies: Seventeenth-Century Patterns for Embroiderers Printed and Sold by Peter Stent
Here's a picture of the Peter Stent engraving that inspired her. Kimberly says, check out the wicked looking strawberries! By the way - the Met museum has a copy of this book that you may look through in their prints and rare books room.
Kimberly designed this purse for a class she taught for a Mid-Atlantic Regional meeting of the Embroiderers' Guild of America (EGA) few years ago. She says, I used Kingston 50 ct cream linen, and black silk threads in various thicknesses, from Mulberry Silks in England. Motifs are outlined in Outline stitch, and shading done in speckling technique. Paillettes (the gold sequins) are from Access Commodities and are real gold. The vine is Plaited Braid Stitch done in #7 Tambour thread (a non-tarnish metal wire that's very pliable). I typically use #4 Gold Passing thread (real gold), but the Guild requested that I use imitation gold to keep the cost down. Here's a close up of the vine. I outlined the entire purse in Heavy Broad stitch, which is nice for hiding the seams on the purse construction, as you can see here.
A kit to make this purse is available on Kimberly's etsy shop, Baroque Embellishments. To see Kimberly's fabulous blog, Baroque Embellishments, click here.

Thursday 18 August 2011

Snap - Twin Samplers at Auction

I honestly thought that either I was seeing double, or McTears, the auctioneers in Glasgow, had made a mistake by duplicating an entry in their sale catalogue for 25th August. This sampler, Lot 1828, was stitched by Jane Sarah Reeve, aged 11 years, and is dated 1851. It has the well known verse - Jesus permit thy name , Adam and Eve and birds and foliage all within a rosette garland border. Incidentally it measures 39 cm x 33 cms. Its estimate is £100-£150. A very attractive sampler, wouldn't you say?
And wouldn't you say the same about this, too? Or should I say two? Lot 1827 also has the well known verse - Jesus permit thy name , Adam and Eve and birds and foliage all within a rosette garland border. Incidentally it measures 39 cm x 34 cms. Its estimate is £100-£150. But this sampler was stitched a year later in 1852 by Flora Augusta Reeve, aged 9 years. Snap
Lot 1829 has much in common with the sisters' samplers, but it was stitched a generation before in 1823 by Hariot May aged 10. Could Hariot be the Girls' mother, or some other relative? This sampler is slightly smaller and measures 29 cms x 32 cms and has a smaller estimate of £70-£100. To see more of these samplers and register for bidding, click here.

Wednesday 17 August 2011

Mary Gibson's 1824 Sampler Now Ready from Haslemere Educational Museum

We are delighted to tell you that Mary Gibson's delightful chart of 1824, worked when she was 11 years old, is now available as a download from Haslemere Educational Museum. Mary's sampler measures: 19.5 x 20.5 inches (49.5cm Length: 52cm) and is 293 x 304 stitches. The sampler is worked on linen with 30 threads/inch (12 threads/1cm). The PDF chart, only available from Haslemere Museum, is priced at £10 or $20. All your money goes to the museum. For more details or to buy just click here.Thank you for all your support.

Tuesday 16 August 2011

Ilse's Red and White Sweetie - a Stunning Interpretation

Ilse in Boston has taken the free download chart for our simple red and white sweetie and has created something wonderful from it. What lovely colour combinations. Ilse says she made the red & white sweetie on a 18"x18" cotton table napkin. She has no idea of the thread count but it is around 35 per inch. The thread was selected from a box of her mother's leftovers from her projects. Ilse has pictured her sampler above on a tatting which is a tablecloth made by my great-grandmother in the 1930's. Fabulous, Ilse. Thank you so much for sharing.
If you missed this free chart, just click here for your copy to download.

Monday 15 August 2011

Free Give Away Draw - The Sampler Book by Irmgard Gierl

I promised we would have this lovely book as a give away - and now here it is. It is a large format full colour book with around 80 pages, half of which are charts from the incredible set of 33 samplers culled from museums around the world. Just click on the flying angel below to enter the draw, which will take place on Sunday 21st August.

Sunday 14 August 2011

Rock Those Regency Frocks * Jane Austen Festival, Bath 16-24 September * Knit a Tree Cozy * Bramble Sunday

And if you don't yet have a frock - see the lovely ones like the one above which are created by Andrea Galer and are for sale.

Did you know that the largest gathering of people dressed in Regency costumes was achieved by 409 participants, for the Jane Austen Festival in Bath, UK, on 19 September 2009? Yes, it's official - it is in the Guiness Book of World Records. The Jane Austen Festival is held every year in beautiful Bath and this year the event falls between Friday 16th and Saturday 24th September. The most spectacular day each year is the first Saturday, when the festival officially opens with the Regency Costumed Promenade through the streets of Bath. Promenaders from all over the world dress in 18th Century attire led by the Town Crier and accompanied by soldiers and sailors adding extra colour to the proceedings. So rock those frocks! (As Mr Darcy would say....mmm).
No, it wasn't another typo of mine - I really do mean TREE cozy - it's another way of hugging a tree...and...coming together to get to know people and do fun things that don't cost the earth.
For more details click here. Maybe you have a Tree Cozy project near you?
Well, it was Bramble Sunday today - we went out on our bikes with our containers to collect blackberries from the hedges. There seems to be a high correlation between nettles and brambles and I have the odd rash to prove it. But still, the freezer has its little beds of beady blackberries just waiting for a pie or a crumble. Next week it will be Elderberry Sunday and already I am concocting in my head a nice elderberry and blackberry relish, I think the sharpness of the brambles will be a lovely foil for the meaty elderberries.

Saturday 13 August 2011

What A Company of Friends Did Next!

Those inspired and creative genii, Becky and Julie, In The Company of Friends, have done it again. They have come up with a wonderful new set of stitching accoutrements. Here is just one of the darling items in the new range - Mademoiselle's Oak Tree Folly Shoe Etui.
Mademoiselle's shoe, which sports an antiqued thimble heel, caches glass-headed pins and tapestry needles in the 100% wool insert in the toe. It is delightfully embellished with a hint of antique ivory lace, a mother-of-pearl button and pretty silk bow. To see other items in this range and to browse the delights on offer In The Company of Friends, just click here.