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American Quaker Sampler stitched by Krista


Sunday, 6 January 2013

Past Inspiration

I am so thrilled that Nicola has thought up this wonderful challenge:  it has brought back memories of why I so love and enjoy sewing Scarlet Letter samplers.
About 24 years ago when we were on holiday in Cape Cod I discovered the wonderful range that Martha offered with SL.  At that time the availability in the UK of such samplers was virtually non-existent.  So I started a little Mail Order company called Needlefriend which I ran from our home in Cobham, Surrey and I imported Scarlet Letter kits, plus some other lovely samplers from other companies, and sold these through my catalogue - I attended some sewing shows as well - it was a wonderful way of inspiring cross-stitchers in the UK by offering something different.:
When my first husband died back in 1992 I lost heart in many things dear to me, I had no enthusiasm for anything and regrettably I gave up Needlefriend.  What a stupid and short-sighted thing to do!  But now I have been looking through my collection of patterns and kits and of course I have many that I do so wish to sew:  here is my selection of what I hope to sew for Nicola's challenge year:
The Log Cabin sampler has been a long time favourite, and now I am going to sew it - plus The Bird Sampler which was a huge Needlefriend favourite (I am not sure if SL still offers this one) and then the wonderful Mary Anne Healey.  My late husband and I owned the antique original of this beautiful sampler and when we sent photographs of it to Martha she decided to make this into a Limited Edition kit - we were so thrilled and very proud.  Sadly some years ago I had to sell this wonderful piece in order to raise funds for an large unexpected tax bill (due to bad financial advice - urgh!) - it makes me want to weep thinking about it.  But I have the kit, and hopefully Mary Anne Healey will hang on our walls down here in Devon before the year is out (ever optimistic!).
And this morning I discovered a WIP which I must finish, The Dora Sanger sampler:  I will gently wash (sadly it is rather grubby) and then proceed once more!:
I have sewn many Scarlet Letter samplers -  here are a couple of my favourites:
This is Rebecca Robinson which I sewed in 2002 for my youngest daughter and personalised with her name and dob.  It is probably the best sampler I have ever sewn and I have noticed that at least one person is sewing this for the challenge - enjoy, it is such a great piece!
I have also sewn Heloise Williams, and again I personalised it with my name back in 1993:
Well that is enough for now - back to sorting out the colours and linen for all these projects.  I am so enjoying seeing what everyone is sewing - well done Nicola!


Sparkly Rock Girl said...


I haven't (yet) signed up for Nicola's SL year - but am sorely tempted by Joanna Warren - but I just wanted to say that I wish I had known about Needlefriend and that you were still in business as until recently I worked in Cobham (I live in Guildford). Have fun stitching.


Nicola said...

I really enjoyed reading this post and learning a little bit more about you Angie.

Life is full of ups and downs, stitching is my great comfort through good times and bad.

What an honour to have Marsha chart a design you owned.

Have you thought about starting up business again?

Margaret said...

I loved reading your story! So interesting! I love that sampler that you owned -- sorry you had to sell it. Looking forward to watching your progress!

Faye said...

Good morning Angie.... I read every single word you wrote as it enthralled me so.... I am sure Needfriend would have stood the test of time as these samplers have.... But, we cannot live with regrets,only move on....

Yes, Rachel and myself are stitching Rebecca Robinson and as much as hi want to fly right through the stitching, I am savoring each and every honeysuckle.... Thanks for showing a photo of your framed piece... She s beautiful!!!!!!

You have quite the collection of SL samplers to stitch up..... I look forward to following your progresses..... Nice post, Faye

Donna said...

Angie everything happens for a reason sometimes we don't know why but I love the samplers you have selected for this sal so glad you are stitching again

Donna said...

Oh and I live in Massachusetts and know the Cape well

Angie Burrett said...

Thank you all so much for your lovely comments, they mean so much!

Hello Alison: My heart and closest friends are still in and around Cobham: and I LOVE Guildford! I still visit regularly and stay with a dear friend in Fairmile Lane, next to our old family home.

Hello Donna: The best holidays we ever had were on Cape Cod! I would love to go back one day. I have some wonderful memories.

Elizabeth said...

Angie, I have so enjoyed reading about your stitching...it was so interesting. Looking forward to seeing your new projects.

Jennifer Cameron said...

I agree with Donna, everything does happen for a reason and it is never too late to return to needle friend if you wanted. However, I don't believe in looking backwards as there is far too much stitching too be done!!! ;)
Can't wait to see your progress. Xx

queenstownsamplerdesigns said...

Hello Angie,

Lovely post. Thank you for sharing a bit about yourself. I am so glad that you are stitching again.

I look forward to seeing you progress.