Header Photo

Header Photo
American Quaker Sampler stitched by Krista


Friday, 29 November 2013

Scarlet Letter Day in Ohio

Ok, this is kind of silly, but I wanted to tell you that the governor of Ohio has declared tomorrow (Saturday) as Scarlet Letter Day!  But not for the reason you are thinking, but because it is the arch-rival college football game between Ohio State and Michigan.  Ohio State's colors are scarlet and gray :)  I prefer to think of "our" Scarlet Letter.

Giveaway Winners

We have four winners today !!!

Jenny had won the chart for the beautiful Elizabeth Shephard kindly donated by Mindi to celebrate her birthday.

Ann of Beadlework has won 

Nupur has won

and Jo has won

Thank you Marsha for donated the three super books.

Please can I have your postal addresses and I will get the prizes off straight away to avoid the Christmas mail.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Hannah Brassington Finished!

Big happy dance here.  I finished the lovely Hannah Brassington quite a few days ago and am just getting the chance to post about it now.  I messed up the 1 over 1 a bit but I fudged and am happy with the result.  I put my initials in the bottom right which was supposed to be the last letters of "neighbor".  So I added 'or' above my intials.  Originally, I think Hannah had some trouble fitting in the word neighbor hence why it was squished, so in a way, it's fitting that I had trouble stitching my name and year in too! 

Can you spy my date and initials?!
one last photo of this beautiful beast


Started on January 15, 2013
Finished November 13, 2013
Stitched on 40 ct. Newcastle linen in Cream
Threads: AVAS recommended colours.

I hope to frame her on my own but that will take some time.  I am looking forward to starting a new sampler in the New Year.  I hope that this blog will continue.  It has been so inspiring to see everyone's work and drool over so many impressive samplers!!




Ann Thompson

Hello, all,
Today I am starting Ann Thompson.  Just what I need, another huge sampler to go along with Manifesto :)  I am using 35 count Abecedarian Blend from R & R and one strand of DMC.  This is quite a bit darker than what Marcia shows, but I like the look of it.  When I was pulling threads, I was confused as the chart says DMC 346.  There is no 346 as far as I can tell.  After consulting Marcia's AVAS converter chart online, I determined that it should be 347.  This picture is from SL's website.  I have only taken a few stitches, so nothing to show yet.  Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the US!

Saturday, 23 November 2013



Wishing you a wonderful birthday from all of us.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Hornbook Bestiary...more progress!

Last weekend I went on a stitching retreat with some dear special friends.  You can read more about it here.  The uninterrupted stitching time afforded me another block finish!  Let's have a look.

Progress as of 11/12/13

Progress as of 11/16/13

I've now finished "M is for Mermaid!"  I started the mermaid's out line on the 12th.  I started the fill just after lunch last Saturday and completed the block around 11:00 pm.  I was determined to get this block finished before bedtime.

Here she is up close.  This is one of the blocks that drew me to this sampler.  I just love her!  I think that may be a book in her hand.  Maybe Marsha will tell me for sure in the comments.

Now there's only one more block in this row left to stitch. It's a very special block. It's the "N is for Nightingale" block.  I like to think of it as Nicola's block. After all, she is the reason I'm stitching this sampler. If it weren't for her Scarlet Letter Year, I wouldn't have even gone looking in Marsha's catalog!  So this next block is dedicated to Nicola! I hope you enjoy seeing it when I'm done, my friend.

Thanks for letting me share another mini-finish! More to come...hopefully soon! Have a great weekend.

Until next time,

The Inspired Stitcher

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Hello Everyone,
It has been a long time since I posted.  Between the house and me "falling apart" it has been a long 6 months.  Hopefully we both are back on track and I have started to stitch again on The Country Life.
I have been checking in on the blog and seeing what everyone has been stitching and what an inspiration.  I see so many that I would like to start but I refuse to do it till I get farther along.  Does anyone have any suggestions about taking pictures of samplers that are in the frame behind glass?
Wishing everyone happy stitching.
Martha S.

Friday, 15 November 2013

A Post on behalf of Marsha, The Scarlet Letter

 I just started charting the German sampler dated 1704 and immediately noticed that the leaves in one of the upper third match exactly the leaves on Mary Bailey, made 114 years later.

If I hadn't been examining both samplers simultaneously I might have missed this.  It isn't a huge detail, but the evidence points to the fact that printed patterns were indeed shared, over centuries.  We have an ongoing legacy of patterns.
There must be a print book of patterns out there with this illustration.  

Sleuthing t

A Triple Giveaway

Marsha has very generously donated three wonderful books for a giveaway.

The "Hair Work" book is such an unusual subject . I have often wondered how you would stitch your own hair into a sampler. If you know how to stitch hair into a sampler please share.

To enter the giveaway please leave a comment below with your choice or choices of book. If you know how to stitch hair into a sampler please share.

Thank you Marsha, you are the best.

Monthly Draw

Sorry to be posting so late in the day but Friday is my changeover day for the cottages and I have been cleaning, washing and greeting guests.

I have been very excited today as a blog follower is staying in one of the cottages and I know we are going to have great fun doing some stitching together.

Without further ado I am pleased to announce the winner of the $50 gift voucher for  hand-dyedfibers.com is Kim Hummel.

Congratulations Kim, please can you email me your postal address.

Gardner's Pocketbook

Dear Fellow Stitchers
This is my sad and sorry progress on Gardner's Pocketbook.  So many things have  got in the way of my stitching over the last few weeks that I am really starting to miss it.  Work has been manic and looks like it will continue that way until Christmas.  And I managed to hurt my shoulder a few weeks ago and that has really stopped my stitching in its tracks.

But never mind, it is still wonderful to follow these two blogs and see the amazing stitching and progress that others are making.
Kind regards
New Zealand


Unearthed my sampler.   I enjoy alphabets and this one is quite nice to stitch.   Earlier this evening, I finished the dividing bands.   Also added more letters.   Have A-B-C to stitch [hope tomorrow] and it will all be DONE.    

The sampler is on 35-ct linen using DMC cotton floss
(4 colors:  Ecru, 372, 932, + 898).
The stitch count is 168 x 76.

Information from the Pattern / Chart:
A sampler from the Sheldon Museum in
Middlebury, Vermont

Always, Lelia
blogging at Stitches of Life

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Hornbook Bestiary Progress

I can't believe I've been so remiss in sharing my progress with you all. There's been much stitching accomplished since my last update.  Let's have a look at where I stand now!
Progress as of 9/9/13
Here is the addition of "H is for Hart." I actually finished it on September 16th but for whatever reason I never posted it.
Then along came these two last weekend!  "K is for Kitten" and "L is for Lion."
Progress as of 11/12/13
Here's a look at all the blocks completed so far.  Each one of them feels like a mini-finish!
I decided I hadn't given this one any time for long enough and took it with me to my guild's all day stitch-in last Saturday.  There I finished the Kitten and started the Lion.  I got on a roll and kept on going.  I've even gotten a start on "M is for Mermaid."  I'm hoping to make some progress on that in the coming days.
This sampler has definitely been a test of patience and perseverance for me. I am going to press on until the very last stitch. I know I will be rewarded with a stunning sampler when it's finished.
I hope you've enjoyed seeing where I am at this point.  I very much enjoy seeing all of your progress as well.  I'm hopeful I will be back soon with another update!
Until next time,
The Inspired Stitcher

Elizabeth Brain WIP

I have been making slow progress with Elizabeth Brain. I am not very happy with doing satin stitch so I am going to wait until I see Nicola next month to get her expert advice. The lawn in the foreground is taking ages but I am now quite good at stem stitch. The Sajou scissors were a present from me to me to cheer myself up when I was feeling so poorly with shingles. According to Sajou,  'these scissors are inspired by sewing items covered in tartan paper which were extremely fashionable all through the 19th century. Originally made in Scotland in the town of Maughline, their production was quickly spread all over Europe'. 

I grew up in a village about ten miles from Mauchline (correct spelling) and so they had real meaning for me.

Let's celebrate with a Giveaway - it's Mindi's Birthday Today


Wishing you a wonderful birthday from all of us.

Mindi would like to celebrate her birthday with us by sponsoring a giveaway of a chart for the beautiful Elizabeth Shephard.

Just leave a comment below to be included in the draw.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Beyond the Little X - An Interview with SamplerAnnie!

Here we are in November!  Can you believe we have been working on our Scarlet Letter Challenge for almost a year now?  There have been so many wonderful finishes so far this year.  Our interview of the month is someone who has contributed a few finishes this year as well.  It is time to meet SamplerAnnie! 

SamplerAnnie has been stitching and stitching and stitching for many years and is now sharing her story and her Scarlet Letter samplers:

How old were you when you first picked up a needle and who taught you to stitch?

My mother tried to introduce me to the needle through embroidering stamped dish towels and panties, one for each day of the week when I was perhaps in elementary school.  After that many unsuccessful attempts, she tried ordering stamped kits of old mills, covered bridges and trains and even ordered a needlepoint flower kit.   All left a bad taste which I tried to forget.  In my mid twenties, circa 1966, I completed a set of stamped kits from Good Housekeeping that whetted my interest.  

Good Housekeeping Kit Samplers

This was while I was a student at LSU.  In those days they had a workshop so I cut the wood and framed them myself. There were a few blind starts if I recall correctly.  As all beginners must do, I experimented with samplers designed by both June Dole and Merrily Beams counted thread samplers among others.  The Chase and The Hunt were two stamped kits which convinced me that sampler making was worthwhile and I started looking for that type in counted thread.  In about 1979 I discovered THE SCARLET LETTER and reproduction samplers.  My first TSL samplers were Mary Baker, Heloise Williams, Dora Sanger and Ann Carter.  These are still some of our favorites.  By then I was completely addicted and continued making the frames.

Dora Sanger and Heloise Williams shown in the upper left corner

What time of day do you stitch? Do you sit in a set place and what tools do you like to have close to hand. Does everything have to be in a certain place in order for you to relax and concentrate on your work?

The best time for me is the first thing in the morning in my robe and a fresh hot cup of coffee in hand (ok several cups). We converted a family room to a computer/ reading/ hobby/ stitching room which is off limits to everyone unless invited in, so nothing has to be picked up or tidy.   Projects are left out so they are easily accessible any time. The tabletops are covered in floss bags, scissors, ort jar, kleenex boxes, coffee cups, lotion, an assortment of magazines and books. It’s messy but productive. 

I have two stitching stations, one inside the house for the winter season, and an enclosed porch with two stitching chairs in summer.

Do you use the stick and stab technique or a sewing stitch?

Both, depending on the area and the sampler and what is going on around it and whether it is in a hoop or on scroll bars.

What is your favorite period of sampler-making and why?

I’ve always loved 17th century English Band samplers so that is an all time favorite. Perhaps it is because their designs are exquisite. I’ll never have enough years to stitch all of them that I want to. The Scottish samplers are also a close second. 

Katie Sym

I love solidly stitched areas and can be tempted by almost anything that is 100% covered in stitches. Big solid lawns with paths and sheep or animals and people are especially tempting.


Which designs appeal to you the most? (e.g. Scottish, certain stitches, color schemes, animal motifs, houses, figures, Quaker style, etc)

As far as stitches go, I love queen stitch and holbein as well as montenegrin, satin, stem etc. The more variety the better. Bullion always adds detail and dresses up a sampler.

Some of my all time favorite samplers are Ann Grimshaw, Sara Tatum, Amelia Boyce, Joyce Leedes, Betsy Davis and Betsy Manchester, Ann Scutt and ad infinitum.  Tastes change daily with new samplers being moved up to favorite constantly.


Sally Fiske

Do you have passions other than stitching?

The main rival to samplermaking is photography. I struggle in constant battle between the two. I love nothing more than photography and traveling.  Currently, I’m helping edit an upcoming book for two professional photographers. We both love to hike and try our best to get a daily walk. I love to read documentary, nonfiction and historical fiction.  I’m a wanna-be knitter who gets frustrated by not being able to find time. I love to dig up new recipes and used to cook but since his retirement dear hubby has taken up cooking as his passion, so I’ve become a sous chef which suits us both quite fine. I find recipes, help prep and do dishes while he dirties every pan in the kitchen and cooks up delicious concoctions focusing on ethnic cusines. While I do not make desserts or sweets except at Christmas, for nearly fifty years breadmaking has always been a regular activity once or twice a week.  Herb gardening in the summer tops the list.  A vegetable garden takes our time but we could not do without it. Freezing and drying the harvest is part of it. The need to add new activities without giving up any is becoming a preoccupation.

We have three grown children and two preschool grandchildren, living 2,000 miles away. Of our three children, none does needlework although they are creative in their own ways. Our oldest daughter is an artist and has spent several years working in Peace Corps in Morocco designing and weaving handmade rugs and most recently she has worked in Nambia with basketweavers who make one of a kind handmade baskets from local resources digging plants to dye the grasses themselves. Her work is colorful and intense.  

Do you have any rituals for stitching?

There are no stitching rituals in my household. My motto is ‘just do it and get it done” in a good acceptable way, naturally. I like neat backsides but nothing obsessive like doing reversible. I adore an exact reproduction (as close as possible, knowing there are no exact repros.)   I clip thread ends closely and start and end neatly but nothing out of the ordinary. I try my best to remove linen from new kits, press and hang so as to prevent permanent crease marks. I do cut skeins of silk into 18” lengths before beginning and bag them by color symbol on a ring for easy access. I stitch best using tiny #28 needles.

Thank you Nicola for making this a sampler stitching year and letting us all enjoy each other’s work as well as giving me the opportunity to join your special world of stitching.

I hope you have all enjoyed meeting SamplerAnnie as much as I have.  I think that she should give tours of her ‘gallery’.  I know I would be first on line!  Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, Annie!  I am in awe of your stitching!!  I have had great fun looking at your sampler walls.  Do you see many you know?  and many you wish to someday stitch too?