Monday 30 April 2012

Goodies for Sale at Oxfam On-Line

If you are a collector of vintage threads still in the original boxes, Oxfam have about 16 boxes of various shades to interest you. The range in price is from £5.99 - £12.99 and you can make payment via secure credit card facilities. Click here to see more details.
Then there are books and I have just picked out 3 interesting ones that you could probably find only here. The first is a highly unusual 1936 translation into English of a work originally published in Serbian, by The Jugoslav Association of University Women. It is about a 14th century Serbian nun, called Euphemia. She both wrote a "laud" and made embroideries as a way of mourning a member of the ruling Serbian family. These works are now in monasteries. Three of these works are reproduced here in b/w detachable photos. 20 x 26 cm. softcover. 36 pages. The brief account of her life is included in both the original Serbian and English. Quality paper used, perhaps hand-made? Attractive gold decoration to front cover. Cover is completely detached, no other loose pages. Cover dirty but complete. All contents browned. No tears or creases. It is no. 226 of a limited edition of 600, presented and ornamented by Dusan Jankovic and for sale for £19.99.

Here are two more hard to find books by Gerda Bengtsson and Louisa Pesel - they are priced £9.99 and £12.99 respectively. Click here to see all the Oxfam needlework books.

Sunday 29 April 2012

Paris Stitched Lavender Bags - Free Draw

It's not quite lavender time, in fact it is raining cats and dogs! But here are two pretty stitched new lavender bags, souvenirs from Paris, and memories of summer. So there are going to be two lucky winners who receive one each. To enter the draw, just click on the flying angel below. We'll announce a winner next Monday 6 May. Good Luck!

Saturday 28 April 2012

Merchant & Mills Sewing Necessities

Saturday and time for a shopping spree - how can it be that I have reached the end of the month (nearly) and not spent anything at all (well, hardly - just a bit...)? Too busy working and having fun with the new book is the answer. So, today a splurge. I have no idea what came over me, but I just fell thimble over pins for this oilskin necessaire or huswif. Yes, when the new book is safely with the printers, I am going to run away to sea and take up extreme stitching again!

Or make that the Dolomites - some great klettersteigs are calling - listen, can you hear them? Now I shall have a sewing kit that will survive the rough and tumble - and probably quite a bit of tumble.

Having said that, these robust huswifs come in the most elegant boxes - better leave that at home for safe keeping. Or maybe stowing some really nice silks in, because I don't need to keep that huswif in a box, really, do I?

Because there is a splendid oilskin tote to carry it off in. Now is oilskin the poor girl's leather - or is oilskin the new leather? mmmm
Oh, I've just noticed these Sheffield thread clips that hang from your 3rd finger as you sew leaving the rest of your hand free to manage the needle and thread.... oh, well, next shopping day, mustn't spend it all at once!

PS And they do great stationery......

They do this Sew Cloth Together eye test on china mugs, too - really nice gifts. Click here to see the fun and attractively organized Merchant and Mills Website.

Friday 27 April 2012

The Schwenkfelder Sampler Collection

One of the places I'd really love to visit is the Schwenkfelder Sampler Collection. It is after my own heart - put together with local donations and inclusive. It has not been edited on the lines of a beauty parade, but is an honest document source of the entire cross-section of Schwenkenfelder samplers stitched in the area through the 18th and 19th centuries. More collections should take note and copy. Admission is free and the Heritage Centre is open Tuesdays through Sundays with late night opening till 8pm on Thursday - how wonderful is that? Just click here for more details and to see for yourself.

Thursday 26 April 2012

Fitzwilliam Museum Heist & Tennants Auction

Totally unrelated I hasten to say! The bad news is that thieves broke into the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge and made off with items valued at a staggering £18 million. The good news is that no samplers were on the hit list. But it does raise the question again about how safe items are in museums. Tennants of Leyburn have textiles for auction this weekend. There are not so many samplers, but two are interesting.
This first is a long Spanish sampler - Lot 1239 with an estimate of £120-£180. The name is largely missing, but one might guess that it is Anamarya. It is dated 1841.
The second is English, probably from the borders, worked by Elizabeth Lily in her tenth year and dated 1725. Unfortunately there are a number of candidate Elizabeth Lillys around the country.
It is lot 1243 and has an estimate of £250-£350. To see more auction items, just click here.

Wednesday 25 April 2012

Samplers and Embroidery in the London Science Museum

Samplers and embroidered items do turn up in some unexpected places. The Science Museum in London has some interesting items that I thought you might like to see. This first is an embroidered panel depicting an astrologer contacting the spirit world to make a prediction. It is thought that the illustration shows an astrologer predicting the birth of a child in front of Charles I and his queen, Henrietta Maria. Another interpretation is that the astrologer is predicting Charles I’s beheading. Although the label mentions the year 1621, many features do not match this period. This embroidery may be a political joke about the Protestant King Charles I being unduly influenced by his Catholic queen, Henrietta Maria.
Many institutions used manual labour as therapy during the 1800s. This included gardening and laundry work. In the 1900s, institutions began using more expressive therapies such as arts and crafts as rehabilitation. This colourful embroidered panel was created as part of an occupational therapy activity at Kent County Lunatic Asylum. It is extremely detailed. The panel is a work of patience and dedication. It interweaves images of animals, flowers, insects, an anchor and one lone woman. The initials BARM are stitched into the design. These may be the initials of its maker.
These dental instruments are housed in this ornate embroidered chest, which may also have been used to carry medicines or articles for personal hygiene. This chest was made for one of the descendants of Sir Nicholas Bacon (d. 1624) of Redgrave, Suffolk, who was descended from an earlier Sir Nicholas Bacon (1509-79), Lord Keeper of the Great Seal. The chest is embroidered with the Bacon coat of arms. The handles of the instruments and the tops of the bottles are decorated with boars or pigs, a pun on the family name. To see more click here.

Tuesday 24 April 2012

Another Reward for Good Conduct

I was very intrigued the other week to see the inscription on this sampler which was for auction on 17 April 2012 at Lindsay Burns. Worked by Agnes Burnett, Auchtertool, dated 1898,it is inscribed `WORKED BY AGNES BURNETT THE REWARD OF GOOD CONDUCT AS A MONITRESS AT THE AUCHTERTOOL FEMALE SCHOOL, MARCH 1898`. When I posted this, I asked if anyone had seen anything with a similar dedication. And the answer is, yes! Naomi Tarrant, a great authority on needlework and Scottish samplers told me of another in the Fife Museum's collection. It was worked by Margaret Beattie in 1860, also at Auchtertool. Naomi thinks it was the school's tradition. And we can see that this tradition spanned at least 38 years based on the evidence of these two samplers. Even with the lengthy interval between them, they have so much in common, don't they? Thank you Naomi!

Monday 23 April 2012

Embroidery Journal Draw Winner & Randy Pausch

Why Randy Pausch, you may ask. Indeed, I asked myself the very same question. A few days ago I had never heard of him, I was simply catching up a little with what is new in publishing. His name was mentioned in a case-study and so I went to You Tube to find out more. As some of you will know I am an ex academic with extended roots in geekdom and amongst other things, something that is beautifully named autopoiesis. So when I saw the You Tube video, I knew I had found a kindred spirit. Titled The Last Lecture it belongs to a series of lectures from academics who were asked what they would say if they had an hour to sum up all their wisdom. It just so happened that Randy was terminally ill by the time his lecture came up, and so it is his last lecture. Maybe you would like to see this too. It is about an hour long. And before you watch it you might like to know that the winner of last week's draw is Margaret, who I think is in Florida. Congratulations, Margaret - and more give-aways to come, for those who entered unsuccessfully this time.

Sunday 22 April 2012

Free Jigsaw Download - The Micheál and Elizabeth Feller Needlework Collection Volume II

The sampler on the cover of our new is so wonderful that I thought it would be a lovely subject for a jigsaw. I hope you enjoy your free jigsaw download today. Good luck and have fun. 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 21 April 2012

Remembering a Great Auctioneer

Some of you might know that I was at a friend's funeral yesterday, which was held in the loveliest of parish churches in Saffron Walden. We remembered Robert and all the good he did for so many. He raised over a quarter of a million pounds for Macmillan Cancer Support. And it wasn't by trekking the Great Wall of China, or running marathons - it was by turning up on frosty mornings to sell at car-boot sales, by opening his beautiful home for coffee-mornings, and by being the most amazing auctioneer. He auctioned tea with the Duke and Duchess of Bedford - and even encouraged someone to give £75 for 4 sacks of horse-manure! Such were his wonderful talents. And I wonder how much he would achieve if he were selling this sampler which will be for sale on 26th April with Hose, Rhodes and Dixon - Lot 383. Probably far more than its £70-£100 estimate, that's for sure.
The sampler above, lot 1148 for sale on 24 April, would have appealed to Robert, who was also a great fisherman and sailor. Click on the image for more details. The final reading was, fittingly, The Fisherman's Prayer: God grant that I may live to fish until my dying day, And when it comes to my last catch I then most humbly pray, When in the Lord's safe landing net I'm peacefully asleep, That in his mercy I be judged as good enough to keep. And from high up on the reredos, the choir sang my favourite Mozart piece, Soave sia il vento from Cosi Fan Tutte. May the winds that bear you on your way be also kind.

Friday 20 April 2012

Marilyn Garrow

Apart from auctions and sampler dealers, there are a number of well-established experts who specialize in exceptional textiles, which also include samplers and related objects, so it is useful to know who they are. In 1983 Marilyn Garrow sold Oriental textiles at Liberty’s, Regent Street, London. She specialized then in Chinese robes and Oriental embroideries. Reading, studying and dealing extensively, she increased her knowledge to cover hand woven, printed and embroidered textiles from all parts of the world. In 1989 she opened the Marilyn Garrow Gallery in Barnes, London, where she has staged a great number of exhibitions. She also sells on-line. Above is one example - a late 18th century French letter-case with cream, pink & green silk with spangles & pearled metal thread embroidery of ribbons, bows & tassels & loop fastening.
Above you can see a detail from a very beautiful 17th century Portuguese embroidered panel, with unusual imagery of a mermaid surrounded by exotic flowers and birds, deer, monkeys and snakes. Held within a scolloped border.
Above is another detail from Castello Branco colcha (bedcover) from Portugal. The entire panel is worked in polychrome floss silks on an ice blue silk background. The central medallion has a perching bird but often these centers contained the monogram or armourial of the family by whom the cover was commissioned. To see more of Marilyn's pieces, just click here.

Thursday 19 April 2012

The Micheál & Elizabeth Feller Needlework Collection Volume II

Just when you thought things couldn't get any busier, someone puts their foot down on the accelerator! I am busy catching up with myself after an even busier few days, which are the culmination of several years' work. But I am delighted to say we are just putting the finishing touches to The Micheál & Elizabeth Feller Needlework Collection Volume II - then there will be a month or so of rigorous checking before we go to print. When you see the book, you will realise this is 2 books in 1 volume. There are 400 samplers, plus pinballs, pockets, huswifs. In fact I know no other book that has ever been published like this one. The Micheál & Elizabeth Feller Needlework Collection is a world class sampler collection and it is described here by Elizabeth Feller, so we can understand how this extraordinary and fabulous collection came into being. I hope you will love it as much as we do. We expect it will be ready for shipping in September, but I will keep you updated.

Wednesday 18 April 2012

Needleprint Books in the V&A Bookstore

I am delighted to you that when you are in the UK, you can buy Needleprint books in the V&A shop. Well done Needleprint authors! And more news about the new Needleprint book tomorrow night.

Tuesday 17 April 2012

Stumpwork Workshop in Bath with Lesley Turpin-Delport and Nicola Delport-Wepener * 4/5 October 2012

Just 2 places left for this workshop with Lesley Turpin-Delport and Nicola Delport-Wepener. These designers, stitchers and authors of Embroidered Flora and Fauna are holding a 2 day workshop in stumpwork and related dimensional techniques in Bath at the home of Lynne Roche (the maker of those fabulous dolls) on 4 & 5October 2012. Click here to request more details.
I am so impressed with this fabulous piece Lynne designed and made after a recent visit to Venice - it captures all the luminous open sky and lagoon with those wonderful gothic buildings - and the gondolas. What I wouldn't give to be back there right now! But I'll show you what I have been up to for the last year or so tomorrow - just in case you thought I have been a bit lazy of late.

Monday 16 April 2012

Winter 1953 Embroidery Journal - Draw

The last draw for the Spring 1955 Embroidery Magazine was so popular, that I thought you might like to enter for this Winter 1953 copy.
Its in very nice condition considering its age, so it is rather special. It has several articles, one on smocking and another on drawn fabric work, but I thought you might rather fancy this article on the work of Mary Queen of Scots. You can click on the images to enlarge and, hopefully, read.
To enter the draw, just click on the flying angel below. We'll announce a winner next Monday 23 April.

Sunday 15 April 2012

Hennie Stevan-Bathoorn Shows Her Needle Arts Collection at Her Museum voor Naaldkunst

It's lovely to see Hennie in this You Tube video showing us some of her collection at her and Sjoerd's Museum in Winschoten in the North Netherlands. Hennie was the person who brought the fabulous black samplers of Groeningen to the world.
She also has a new book book coming out on the fabulous Black Samplers in June of this year. For more details do visit her website.

Saturday 14 April 2012

Embroiderers' Guild Collection Now On Display

Since the Embroiderers' Guild museum has a collection of more than 11,000 embroidered items, it is never going to be an easy task to show them all in one place at any one time. But it is a collection of national significance as a resource of inspiration for artists and does need to be more accessible. So, good news that now the Guild has settled in its new home at Walton-on-Thames, they have set up a small permanent exhibition of around 100 objects in their gallery, which will change periodically. This will allow members to see more items from the Collection than ever before. Even more exciting for those living out of London, the Guild is also in the process of arranging, in partnership with a number of sponsors, a touring exhibition of embroideries and textiles which will travel the country making the collection accessible to as wide an audience as possible. Well done Embroiderer's Guild! To visit their web-site, just click here.

Friday 13 April 2012

Burial in Wool

We are the poorer this week for the loss of a friend who Richard has known for more years than me. We give thanks for his life and all the good and charitable work he did. We shall miss you Robert! So we shall be going to his funeral next week. Just this week while doing a bit of background on an unrelated topic I came across a burial certificate which you can see here. It was not to say that the deceased was buried - but was buried in wool. It is hard to believe that the decline of the woollen industry in the UK started in 1678, but as times were hard, it became law that everyone had to be buried in wool. Inspectors were sent out to ensure the deceased was properly clothed in their woollen shroud. Fines were heavy for transgressors, though many preferred the centuries-old custom of being buried in linen. The Act was not successful, but it was not repealed until 1812, by which time it was virtually forgotten.

Thursday 12 April 2012

Pat Earnshaw - The Identification of Lace

I really became interested in lace after seeing so many examples on early samplers - before that I must admit to being a bit lukewarm. And then, of course, designs for lace appeared in all those early pattern books, and then I saw Venetian lace in Burano and Venice, so frankly I am well and truly a devotee now. Click on the image above to enlarge it. Can you see the horsemen? The castle and the tower? The row of extraordinary birds? Isn't it wonderful.
Did you know that thieves preferred lace to jewels and in the early 1700s, ladies were enjoined to sit in their carriages with their backs to the driver, since it was the custom of thieves to slit open the carrriage back and take the lady's head - not as bloodthirsty as it sounds, it meant simply taking the lady's lace headress!
So much lace was lost because it was destroyed by customs - when foreign lace was banned in England, amateurs went to great and clandestine lengths to get their hands on it - even shipping it over in coffins from continental Europe. The coffin would contain head, arms and legs and the body would be a bolster full of lace. Who needs cocaine?

Wednesday 11 April 2012

Terri's Marvellous Mary Gibson Finish

Terri has made the most amazing Mary Gibson sampler. Perhaps you recall this sampler is from Haslemere Museum and money raised from pattern sales go straight to the museum. Terri says, I really enjoyed stitching this sampler and can't wait to take it to the framer later this week. I converted most of the DMC to silks and my conversion is here:
DMC 3033, No Change
DMC 168 > Soie Cristale, #1081
DMC 310, No Change
DMC 315, No Change
DMC 317 > Soie Cristale #1071
DMC 601 > Soie Cristale # 2044
DMC 817 > Soie Cristale, #3041
DMC 961 > NPI #944 (Carnation Pink)
DMC 936 > NPI 356, (Grey Green)
DMC 934 > NPI #298 (Old English Range)
DMC 932 > Soie Cristale #7003
DMC 921 > NPI #626
DMC 3727 >Soie Cristale #2006
Terri stitched on 36 count Lakeside Linen, Vintage, Light Exemplar, one thread over two.
For more details about this pattern or to buy just click here.Thank you for all your support.
To see more of Terri's pictures on her beautiful blog, just click here.