Header Photo

Header Photo
American Quaker Sampler stitched by Krista


Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Some trivia and sneak peek

Some trivia and a sneak peek.

If we have any stitchers who live in Samoa they will be able to start their SAL projects first.

When it is midnight on December 31st for them it will only be 5am on the 31st for New Yorkers  and 10am for Londoners.

No matter where you are in the world as the New Year dawns Jo, Krista and myself hope that you have joy in your hearts and warmth in your homes and that 2015 brings along happiness, hope and good tidings.

A new year is like a blank piece of linen, the needle is in your hands and now is the time to stitch a beautiful sampler (or two) for your home. 

Here is another sneak peek of a Scarlet Letter sampler that will be available during 2015. Thank you Marsha for sharing this with us.

Monday, 29 December 2014

An Addition to Mastering Mary for December 29th

The stitch path for the letter "T"


With just TWO more full days to go we now have *** 60  *** stitchers participating !!!

For this week’s Mary Monday my intention was to explore Bands 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 of Section 1.

However, I have been contacted by a couple of stitchers who expressed concern about the layout of the more complicated letters and in particular the letter “A”.

I have also received a request asking if I would stitch out a section of the alphabet for a stitcher to follow so I sat down on Sunday evening to do that.

I have now realised that I will need to work a little further ahead than I had intended. This is not a problem but I want to emphasise that Mary Hurst is not a race and there are no brownie points for finishing first.

On January 1st when you sit down to stitch please hold in your mind Doris’ words of wisdom

"Just remember when looking at larger and more "complicated" samplers that they are not "hard", they are just big, and just like the longest journey that begins with a single step, so does the largest sampler begin with a single stitch. Those different stitches begin the same way, by sticking the needle first in, then out, of the fabric. Only difference between one type of stitch and the other is where you put that needle and how you manipulate the thread. Think of each band as a mini sampler”

If you have a query or need ANY help don’t be afraid to ask either publicly on Facebook/blog or privately by messenger, email, skype, facetime, telephone. 

Many have already contacted me with all sorts of questions.

Next Monday I am looking forward to seeing lots of Mary Hursts started.      

ENJOY !!!!!!

December 29th 2014 - MASTERING MARY - 2015 GROUP LEARNING PROJECT Section 1 - Band 1 & 2

Only a few days and it is time to start Mary Hurst – you should have studied your chart and the instructions, your fabric should be hemmed (to avoid fraying) and your threads sorted. 

The chart is large and you may find it easier to photocopy sections (FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY AND TO BE DESTROYED LATER)  to work from.

My fabric is on my Millennium frame and I have basted a border to correspond with the edges of Section 1 as charted i.e. 112 graphed squares wide (224 threads) which I have marked out across the top in groups of two threads, noting every tenth as I find it easier to count precisely this way.

I have basted out the side borders the depth of my frame and will continue basting downwards as the bands progress and the fabric rolled forward on my bars.

This week my intention was to explore Bands 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 of Section 1. However, I have been contacted by a couple of stitchers who expressed concern about the layout of the more complicated letters and in particular the letter “A”.

Every stitcher, no matter what level of experience they are at, has to pause at the beginning of a chart to work out their stitch paths.

We have previously looked at the letter “S” which is one of the easier letters to stitch as the stitch path is relatively straightforward.


Four of the S's (excluding the middle S) are stitched with the thread going in the shortest direction.

The first from the left is one stitch pass, the second has been stitched twice.

The middle S shows a padding stitch laid.

The next S has been stitched with one stitch pass over the padding stitch and the final S being stitched twice over a padding thread.

All four are correct and down to personal taste.

The letter “A” is charted as the diagram to the left above. For bands 1 and 2 when working out your stitch path bear in mind that your satin stitches will be no longer than two threads – see the diagram to the right above.

If you are using a padding stitch, which I am, this has to lay in the opposite direction to the satin stitch – see the middle diagram above in red.

If you apply the same principles for the letter “A” to the rest of the alphabet you should be able to find your stitch path.

I could show each letter here worked out as above but I do have to respect the copyright of the chart. If anyone has difficulty with a particular letter contact me and I will send you that letter’s stitch path charted in the manner above.

I have also received a request asking if I would stitch out a section of the alphabet for that stitcher to follow so I sat down on Sunday evening to do that.

I had been dithering about the thread colour for the white work section. Here are my threads laid out with both 111 and 112 shown.

When I started stitching the first letter I realised that AVAS 111 would not show up clearly enough to demonstrate on photographs so I have plumped for AVAS 112. 

If you decide to change the colour of this section (and please feel free to do so) I suggest that you choose a colour/shade that shimmers and reflects light. You do not want a “flat” shade for the white work section.

As an example        the thread legend for Mary specifies two very similar blues AVAS 1712 and AVAS 1713 (see the two blues in the middle of the threads above). Just as an example - lay these side by side – 1713 is a “flatter” shade of blue. The beauty of white work comes from the light reflecting off the threads as it lays in different directions so if I was deciding between these two I would opt for 1712.

We all find our own way of stitching. On the “S” I have started with a pin stitch, laid out the padding stitch – working bottom left to top right, stitched a single pass of satin stitches from top right to bottom left then the second  pass of satin stitches from bottom left to top right.

On the “T” I have started with a waste knot and worked the padding and satin stitches in blocks. You should choose the way and path that is comfortable for you.

On the “V” I have reverted to my favourite method of starting with a pin stitch then worked the padding and satin stitches in blocks. All three look equally as good when finished.

I will be making an adaptation to Band 1 and 2.

The Bands are charted

I will be inter-changing mine to

When I have finished the sampler I will go back and put a little something in the gap on the second row maybe the year and my initials. 2015 NP

As requested here is a small start with my adaptation. 

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

A Holiday Sneak Peek

A Holiday "Sneak Peek" of a new Scarlet Letter sampler that will be available in 2015. Thank you Marsha for allowing us to share.

Wishing all our members a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday.

Love, joy and peace are the ingredients for a wonderful Christmas. We hope you find them all this festive season ( and some stitching stash too !! )

Jo, Krista and Nicola xxx


Blessings to everyone at this time of year.
This is a great group. I am very grateful you have found you. It has been educational, enlightening, and encouraging.
Thank you to all.

Interview Rewind with Marsha Parker!

For this month we wanted to revisit last year’s holiday interview, with Marsha Parker of The Scarlet Letter!   

In her interview Marsha treated us to the story of how The Scarlet Letter began as well as see  her workshop and farm.  So if you are a newbie to our group here is the link to her interview.  It is well worth a look - see!  

As you will see, she also shared with us the gallery with her samplers on display!  So much inspiration to be found! 

Over the past year, Marsha has shared with us the new samplers released along the way…..

Memento Mori...... bursting with color!  

Memento Mori


And Hanna Katerina…..  so many figures in this one!  

Hanna Katerina

And even reproduced an antique sampler that Nicola had won in auction for her own collection…  Eleanor Parr!  Here is the original Eleanor Parr along with photos of Marsha working on the charting. 

Nicola's original Eleanor Parr

Charting Eleanor

Eleanor Parr, stitched bv Nicola Parkman, reproduced by Marsha Parker

Over the summer, Marsha gave us a peek at the gardens on the farm….  

Looks so beautiful and idyllic I am sure we would all love to visit!  

Some amazing sneak peeks have been offered too!

Here is an antique Scottish Sampler that she shared with us…..

As well as Mary Hammand, an amazing 18th Century sampler planned for 2015!  

Thank you, Marsha, for continuing to share your story with us and bringing us new beauties to stitch year after year!  As your collection grows so does our inspiration!  As always, we look forward to more of your future endeavors.  

Wishing everyone a happy holiday!  xx

Monday, 22 December 2014


Last week we finished with this motif.

We now have to add the satin stitch zig zag blocks which surround the flower motif. It is stitched in blocks covering  three squares of the chart (diagram below charted in black - each square represents two threads).

I am going to pad my satin stitches and will use the padding stitch as a guide line for the layout so will stitch this out first (diagram above shows the stitch path in red - each square represents two threads).

I have chosen to work the padding stitch from left to right for this example.

I will now work back from right to left with satin stitches covering the padding stitches. (Note the satin stitches have been started in the bottom right hand corner).

Let us stop for a moment with our thread at the last satin stitch on the top central block.

Are you happy with the coverage of the satin stitch from a single pass?

If you are then your next step is to pass the thread through the back of the top block of satin stitches so that your needle is back at the bottom of the top block and you proceed with your single pass of satin stitches over the remaining padding stitches. (the photo shows the back of the motif)

I prefer the fuller coverage from two passes of satin stitch so I will stitch back down the top block with a second pass of satin stitch.

The top block in the photo above has now been satin stitched twice.

I will now proceed to stitch over the remaining padding stitches with a single pass of satin stitch. My needle is now back to where we started with the first padding stitch (bottom left hand corner).

Let us pause and look at the photo above. We have covered all the padding stitches with one pass of satin stitch with the exception of the top block which we have satin stitched twice.

Now we work back from left to right with our second pass of satin stitch to the base of the top block.

NOTE:   If we had NOT satin stitched the top block twice on our first pass we would have needed to have passed our thread through the back of the first pass of satin stitches to get our needle and thread back to the base of the block to carry on down the left side.

Then on the return journey when we had satin stitched the top block for the second time we would have had to pass the needle and thread through the back of the satin stitches again making this area very bulky.

This way we have not had to pass the needle and thread through the back at all.

Proceed with the second pass of satin stitch down the right hand side to the end.

TIP:        If you run out of thread stop at the end of one completed block. Working from the back of         your fabric - thread your needle back through the last block stitched.

Snip the thread close to where it emerges from the satin stitch block.

To start a thread use a waste knot.   Working from the back of your fabric - pass the thread through the back of the block you will stitch next EXITING where you will make your first stitch of the new thread.

From the front of your work satin stitch the next block.  

After you have stitched the block turn your work to the back and snip the waste knot close to               the stitched area.

Our back is looking as good as our front. A neat back does reflect on the way the front of your work appears.  Loose/stray threads and knotty bumps are noticeable to the eagle eyed and judges.

 The final stitch required in this band is eyelet.

We have looked at the eyelet stitch before when I showed the eight stages of the stitch worked from left to right OVER TWO THREADS.    Tension can be applied on the central hole to create a lacy effect.

In the diagram above each square represents TWO threads and is exactly as shown on the chart in Section 1 Band 6. It denotes an eyelet stitch. (I have verified this with Marsha).

NOTE:   Therefore each leg of the stitch in this band should be over ONE thread not TWO as demonstrated above.

TIP:        When moving from eyelet to eyelet or starting/ending your thread take care not to run the thread under the back of the central hole - see left hand eyelet. The lacy effect on the left eyelet has been spoilt by the thread being carried across the hole. Note this is shown with each leg above over TWO threads. Each leg over ONE thread is required for this band.

We now have a completed half flower motif. The eyelet to the right has been pulled open by applying tension to create a lacy effect.

Next week we shall explore Bands 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 of Section 1.