Thursday 28 February 2013

Jackie du Plessis Classes * London * 20-22 September 2013 in London

It's wonderful to hear that favourite US needlework tutor Jackie du Plessis will be returning to the UK for a second visit this coming September. She will be teaching 3 projects. The one above is titled Pinks for Pearls and will be taught on Friday 20 September.

Saturday 21 September will be a full day with pre-work involved as you can see from the images above and below that this is a multi-part piece. The project is called A Gift.
The project below, Lily of the Valley, is to be taught on the last day, 22 September. All the courses are organized by Hanging By A Thread and have very limited spaces and early booking is highly recommended to avoid disappointment. Click here for details of all the courses and for instruction of how to secure your place.

Wednesday 27 February 2013

Pony Knits - Polish Up Your Needles!

Are you looking for some inspirational knitting this winter? Tired of the family complaining when you try to measure them up for a sweater? Well, turn your attention to these gentle creatures.

Onesies are all the rage - particularly with the amount of snow we have had already this winter. So why not polish up your knitting needles for some serious Shetland projects?

These Shetland ponies wearing cardigan sweaters are the official ambassadors of the Visit Scotland tourism campaign. Photographer Rob McDougall captured two cute ponies named Fivla and Vitamin dressed in traditional Fair Isle Scottish cardigans to celebrate the Year of Natural Scotland. Their onesies were made out of Shetland wool by a local knitter Doreen Brown. The ponies live at the Thordale Shetland Stud Centre.

Tuesday 26 February 2013

V&A Sampler Print on Demand - Photo or Canvas

The V&A Museum in London is now offering prints on demand. So far this only one sampler available in this range - but what a beauty. This English darning pattern sampler, probably from Norfolk, was made at the end of the 18th century. There are a full range of print options and sizes you can explore. You can buy an A4 sized print on paper for £15 or you can go for a 100cm (approximately 25") canvas for £150. Click here for more details.

Monday 25 February 2013

The Winner of History Today Special Elizabeth I Issue

I am delighted to say that the winner of the draw for this special edition is....Marlene from the Netherlands. I am so sorry you couldn't all be winners - but there will be another giveaway soon. Thank you to everyone who joined in the fun. Thank you especially to Diana for pointing out that you can order a copy of this magazine from the History Today archives and have it posted to you wherever you are. Here is the link to help you.

Sunday 24 February 2013

Free Jigsaw Download & Sense & Sensibility

I thought the new Jane Austen stamps illustrated by Angela Barrett would make nice little jigsaws - so here you are.... enjoy!  To download the jigsaw - 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 23 February 2013

Congratulations Haslemere Educational Museum & New Chart Download

Many congratulations to Haslemere Educational Museum - I am so proud of you! Recently voted 2012 Sunday Telegraph Family Friendly Museums Award - the biggest award of its kind - (click here for more details) - Haslemere Educational Museum will also be celebrating its 125th anniversary this year. This demonstrates that a museum run for the benefit of the community, with the great support and love of that community commanded by all the staff and board, can be a great success. However, like all museums its finances are never going to be assured for ever. One way you can help is by purchasing copies of their sampler charts which will, we hope, bring you many hours of enjoyment. This latest sampler finished by Ann Healy in 1831 is now available as a PDF download. It has the most extraordinary text. Around the middle of the 18th century, the Earl of Derby commissioned an acquaintance to go to China in search of new learning. This gentleman described the Chinese interest in Tibet and the books of wisdom to be found there. A minister of the Chinese Emperor had been sent to Lhasa in Tibet where he had discovered a number of ancient texts which he translated into Chinese. In turn the Earl of Derby's friend translated some of the texts into English. Ann's quotation Woman is from one of them. You can read more by clicking here. To learn how to purchase this sampler, click here.

Friday 22 February 2013

Jane Austen Stamps - 3 Sets Available

To celebrate the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's novel Pride And Prejudice, the Royal Mail has just issued a set of stamps with newly commissioned artwork by Angela Barrett. The stamps are absolutely charming and come in a special presentation pack which includes historical details. Each stamp depicts a scene from one of her 6 novels. Two first-class stamps have illustrations from Pride And Prejudice and Sense And Sensibility; images from Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion make up the six-stamp set. I am sorry these have all gone now.

Lyons & Dragons * Until 17 March 2013 * Lyons, France

I am totally intrigued by this exhibition in the famous silk museum in Lyons - more so since I have been unable to locate any images relating to it. The press release states: The Museum of Fabrics in Lyon presents a collection of enamelled plaques intended to decorate the tanks of silk desiccators from the Condition des Soies (a building where silk was weighed and processed). Curiously associated with the development and the major innovations of the factory in Lyon during the nineteenth century, the Chinese iconography reveals the Orientalist fantasies which were in fashion at the time. They also demonstrate how the Westerners saw the East and Asia through the representation of ancestral weaving traditions. Can someone help with some images please?

Thursday 21 February 2013

Feast Your Eyes * Cité Internationale de la Dentelle et De La Mode * Calais, France * Until 28 April 2013

If you are planning a hop across the channel to see the new outpost of the Louvre Museum in Lille in Northern France, why not stop off in Calais? As well as stocking up on those little essentials such as Le Creuset pans and Napoleon brandy, you can pop into the Cité Internationale de la Dentelle et De La Mode and goggle at their latest exhibition. Or you can Google it here.

Wednesday 20 February 2013

Cherokee Mission School Sampler Star of Sothebys Auction 26 January 2013

In early January we posted about the upcoming sale at Sothebys New York on 26 January which included samplers from the collection of Mary Jaene Edmonds. If you missed this post or didn't download the catalogue, you can click here now to catch up. There were some really gorgeous samplers in this collection and it is sad to see them dispersed. It is only now after catching up with all the news that I have had chance to go back and see the results - you have probably been there before me! What struck me as interesting was the fact that quite a few samplers didn't sell, and quite a few more were sold below the lower estimate. Hmmm. Is this down to poor estimating or a sign of the current market? However, there was an absolutely stellar result for one sampler which I think goes to show that beauty is not all it takes. This relatively humble sampler worked by Nancy Graves had an estimate of $5,000-$7,000 yet achieved a huge $86,500 sale.

Tuesday 19 February 2013

A Magnificent European Project - Embroidered Banners and Oriflammes

In the year 2009-2010 Europe celebrated the 1100th anniversary of the founding of the famous abbey at Cluny – often called The Lighthouse of medieval Europe – by 12 monks led by their abbot, Bernon, coming from abbeys of Baume-les-Messieurs and Gigny in the Jura region of France. Springing from the same Jura region is the most amazing collective adventure of 400 embroiderers and seamstresses coming not just from France but also Germany and Switzerland.
During 8 months they embroidered 1066 squares with scenes set like medieval stained glass in a rose-window which were then pieced together to create 26 magnificent banners and 2 oriflammes. These are true works of art and document the history of Cluny and its role in the culture of the Middle Ages as the order spread through France and Switzerland to Scotland, Italy, Germany and Spain
The banners have toured France and Switzerland and have already been seen by more than 100,000 people. The tour is a continuing event. Out of this work was born a spectacular book which links historical texts from Cluny to counted thread embroideries. 
Titled Bannières Brodées, this book is a mine of over 400 counted-thread embroidery patterns created for the project.
Click on the vase of lilies below for a larger picture. Also pictured, still in embroidery, are the 137 Cluniac sites: abbeys and priories in France, Scotland, England, Germany, Spain, Italy and Switzerland together with historical narratives.  There are 256 full-colour pages in all measuring approximately 18cm x 30cm and the price is €32.

I was delighted to see included the local priory of St Pancras at Lewes. We are very grateful to Marie-Jeanne Roulière-Lambert from Lons-le-Saunier for telling us about this wonderful and inspiring project. To order your book click here. To visit Marie-Jeanne's blog click here.

Monday 18 February 2013

Free Giveaway - Special Elizabeth I Edition of History Today

Throughout the spring and summer of 2003 there was a stunning major exhibition on Elizabeth I at the National Maritime Museum in London. To celebrate this event, History Today dedicated an entire issue to articles on Elizabeth by prominent historians.

The articles include: David Starkey's Elizabeth; Exhibiting Elizabeth by Sian Flynn; AL Rowse on The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth; Susan Doran writes on Elizabeth - Gender, Power and Politics; Tanya Cooper on Queen Elizabeth's Public Face; Simon Adam's explains The Succession and Foreign Policy; The Royal Court and Progresses are described by Alison Sim; Paul E J Hammer finishes with The Last Decade.

So if you are a lover of Elizabethan history, this is a gem if you don't already possess it. It is full of lovely images and it is something you will come back to time and time again to enjoy.

I have just one copy for the winner of this week's draw. If you would really like it just enter the draw, the instructions are below. Good Luck!

To enter the free draw for this magazine give away - just click on the flying angel below. The winner will be announced 25 February 2013.

Sunday 17 February 2013

Stitch 10,000 Badges For The French Life Boat Services Please

Everyone knows the dedication to saving lives at sea - sometimes at the expense of their own - given by the sailors of the National Life Boat Services around the world. Whenever you are enjoying the sea-side, give a few thoughts and a few pounds, dollars, euros, whatever for their collecting tins. When Marie-Louise told me about this special fund-raiser being organized by L'Ecole de Broderie d'Art Pascal Jaouen I knew I had to spread the word - please add it to your blogs and twitter feeds. The objective is to stitch 10,000 bages which will be sold for €3 euros each this summer to fund-raise for the French Life Boat Service. You don't have to stitch them all yourself! But you can stitch more than 1. Get together with a group of friends for a stitching day to make one. LNS why not hold a stitch-in evening? What you need to know is that the badges should measure 3.8cm diameter with a 2mm margin (at least) all around so that they can be made into a metal badge with one of those badge making machines. (You don't need to make the actual badge up - that will be done at the receiving end.) You need to have completed and sent in your badge by 1 June 2013 - the address for sending is: L'Ecole de Broderie d'Art Pascal Jaouen, 1 rue de Kergariou, 29000 QUIMPER, FRANCE. Your sending in cost will only be the cost of a letter. You can stitch using whatever technique you like - but make it a nice sea-side theme. For more details click on the poster for a larger version, or contact the Ecole. Click here for the details.

Saturday 16 February 2013

Quilt Art @ The Mona Bismarck American Center * Paris, France * 13 February - 19 May 2013

Situated on the right bank of the Seine on the Avenue New York virtually opposite the Eiffel Tower, The Mona Bismarck American Centre will host an exhibition of quilts starting in a couple of days' time. Mixing cloths and traditions from the Old World, local production and natural imagery unique to the United States, quilt making evolved into a distinctively American tradition with its own style and iconography. Types of quilts developed to reflect the new country, patterns that never existed before: Star of Bethlehem, Rose of Sharon, Album quilts, and more. Quilt art will feature twenty-five such quilts from the distinguished collections of the American Museum in Britain, an exceptional occasion to celebrate the depth and diversity of the American tradition. Mona Bismarck (née Strader, 1897-1983) was first married in 1926 to Harrison Williams, reputed to be among the very wealthiest men in America, Mona swiftly became known as one of the most glamorous and beautiful women in New York. Several years after the death of Harrison Williams in 1953, Mona married her longtime friend, Count Edward von Bismarck, the grandson of Chancellor Otto von Bismarck. Mona’s quintessential style was celebrated in a song by Cole Porter, while her physical beauty and elegance captivated painters such as Salvador Dalí, Leonor Fini, Bernard Boutet de Monvel as well as photographers Cecil Beaton, Edward Steichen and H. P. Horst. Her social circle included statesmen and politicians such as American Presidents Roosevelt and Eisenhower; royalty – the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and Princess Grace of Monaco; and an impressive number of writers and artists, including Greta Garbo, Cristòbal Balienciaga, Hubert de Givenchy, Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, Paul Newman and Enrich Maria Remarque. What a lady! Click here for more details of the exhibition.

Friday 15 February 2013

A Gathering of Smocks * Mothers' Day 10 March 2013 * Weald & Downland Open Air Museum

A very special treat for everyoneA Gathering Of Smocks is a one day exhibition of Weald & Downland’s collection of working smocks on Mothering Sunday, March 10. Over 20 smocks from various trades will be in the exhibition. Each one is unique and while some are distinctly artisan in nature, each is an example of a needlewoman’s skill. The smocks will be displayed in the Museum’s unique Downland Gridshell building which is a deliciously light and airy space well suited to the close examination of intricate stitchery. The price of admission to A Gathering Of Smocks is included in the Museum’s special entry price for Mothering Sunday, £3.50. The exhibition will run from 10.30am – 4pm. I for one shall be there!

The Weald and Downlan Open Air Museum is situated in one of the most beautiful areas of British countryside - The South Downs National Park - between the delightful towns of Midhurst and Chichester with their charming shopping streets. Here are traditional buildings in a rural landscape that tell the story of the men, women and children who lived and worked in them over a 600-year period. While you are visiting you can explore the 50-acre site and visit some 50 exhibit buildings many of which are furnished to recreate historic domestic interiors. There are regular programmes of domestic and craft demonstrations, including cooking in the Tudor kitchen! Click here to learn more.

Thursday 14 February 2013

With Love From Me To You

With more love and appreciation than words can express. Just click on the image for a larger chart.

Wednesday 13 February 2013

Some Valentine Baking Ideas From Antibes

Actually I just wanted you to see how difficult it was choosing a little nibble for our 4 o'clock gouter.... every afternoon it was the same, which cake this time? Then it occured to me looking at these pictures that you might like to whip up one of these delectable creations for your loved one for tomorrow.

So here are some mouth-watering close-ups. You could actually cheat and just decorate a simple sponge - berries and decorative meringues are not hard to come by and you could use ready to roll icing - it is really all down to the artistic composition and the simpler the more effective. Don't forget to sign your masterpeice, will you?

Tuesday 12 February 2013

Wholly Band Samplers

For auction by Charterhouse on 14/15 February, Lot 128 is described simply as a sampler, (some loss) 54 x 30 cm. Its estimate is £100 - £120. Apart from the obvious visible loss at the edges, it is possible that this beautiful sampler has lost some length. But beautiful it remains in spite of Time's abuse - and that of others. There is some belief that these samplers with inserted texts are early Quakers, but that really needs more research. Click here for more details.

Lot 522 for auction on 13 February at Brightwells is an embroidered sampler by Martha Lockier, aged 10, with date 1730. This sampler is from the same school as one in the Micheal and Elizabeth Feller Collection - F441 by Mary Batcheller dated 1738. This example is glazed and measures 18" x 9" and has an estimate of £200 - £300. Click here for more details.

Lot 4376 at Historia Auktionhaus Berlin on 22/23 February is an 18th century sampler 0f 1775 with a marvellous Adam & Eve at the base. It measures 52cm x 28 cm and is framed. The estimate: €80. Click here for more details.

Lot 591 is from Knowle Auction Rooms for their sale on 13 February and is a sampler worked by Elizabeth Dobson, dated 1770. It has some interesting pattern squares at the base. Measuring  25cm x 39cm it has an estimate of £60 - £80. Click here for more details.

Also at Knowle Auction Rooms on 13 February is Lot 592 an 18th century sampler which is described as depicting a saint, a crown and various stitch techniques, 27cm x 55cm.

Looking at the detail they provide, my guess would be that the figure represents Flora. The estimate for this work which, if it is from the same provenance as Lot 592 could have provided the pattern squares for the Lot 592 is £60 - £80. Click here for more details.

This 18th century band sampler is Lot 39 for auction by Peter Wilson on 20/21 February.  It measures 33cm x 18cm and is framed. Estimate: £60 - £80. Click here for more details.

Lot 4373 is also with Historia Auktionhaus of Berlin for sale on 22/23 February. This 19th century band sampler displays a number of patterns worked on net - work commonly known as Frivolity. It is 51 cm square and has an estimate of  €80. Click here for more details.