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Header Photo
American Quaker Sampler stitched by Krista


Monday, 31 March 2014

Some interesting information on SDW

Stitched by Margaret - Days of A Sampler Lover

Many of you will recognize this distinctive motif from SDW. There are a lot of stitches in this one so I will never forget it !!!

Marsha has received some interesting information from Anka Meyer who grew up in Dresden (Saxony) the area where Marsha believed the sampler came from. Anka's view from her window was across the river Elbe to the view of this Church named "Maria on the Water".

Thank you Anka for sharing the photographs and this information with us. 

Idyllically situated near the River Elbe in the centre of town, Maria am Wasser ('Mary on the water') was built in 1479 for the boatmen who wanted to pray before and after their voyages. Many architectural changes were made to the church over the centuries, although baroque features still dominate heavily. Kirche 'Maria am Wasser' is surrounded by a cemetery (the final resting place of many famous names) and a high wall which was designed to protect the church from floods.

SDW is a particular favourite of mine and this information makes it all the more special now the church has a name.

EK 1653 and Ellenor Wykcs

The weekend has passed with a bar of chocolate and a tub of ice cream in the house remaining uptouched !!! This is unheard of.

 I have been so "in to" both samplers that the evenings passed without a visit to the kitchen.

Here is a close up of the latest but not the last band on EK

I have also made a start on Ellenor's next band.

I have been visiting the gallery regularly and have found a few more must stitch samplers. There are now 398 different designs shown and there are only  two where we have been unable to source a photograph -  Miniature Noah's Ark and Betsy Richardson.

Can you have a rummage through your stash to see if you have these OOPs tucked away or maybe ask your stitching friends.

If you know of any other designs that we may have missed please let us know. Sally recently found one 
that had escaped us.



Wishing you a wonderful birthday from all of us

Thursday, 27 March 2014



Wishing you a wonderful birthday from all of us

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

A little progress on The Knox Family Sampler

This photo shows the first line of the sampler. The alphabet and initials are stitched one over one.

This was taken over three weeks ago. I have made more progress since, but I will have to wait until my camera is repaired to post.

I never realized before just what an inconvenience it was to be without a camera!

Ellenor Wycks - Band 4

During the last week life has got in the way of stitching and Band 4 drifted a little but I am pleased to say that it is now complete. 

 This sampler is a delight and such an interesting one to stitch. Band four seemed more intricate than the preceeding bands although on looking at the sampler overall it does not appear so. 

I am back to stitching EK now - it was hard to put Ellenor down. 

Monday, 24 March 2014

Hornbook Bestiary Progress

I realized I hadn't given the Hornbook any attention this month and not much last month either. I decided this past weekend would be dedicated to remedying that. 

Progress as of 2/1/14
"P is for Parrot"
Progress as of 3/23/14
"Q is for Quail"

I had actually started this square weekend before last and then completed it yesterday.  It needed the background fill finished up and that went fairly quickly.

Beginnings of "R is for Rabbit" 3/23/14

Since I finished up the quail early in the morning, I spent the rest of the day working on "R is for Rabbit."  If I'd had a couple more hours, I probably could have finished this one up as well.

Here's a close up look of the weekend's progress.  I'm to the point again that I need to add another row and that's so exciting!  I'm two rows away from being finished now!
I've been giving thought to how I want to add my name to this piece. I'd once thought about stitching the "L" & "P" in different colors for my initials but I've since come up with something I like better. Now to chart it and see if I like it. Then there's the issue of whether I'll have enough floss to actually do it if I do like it. Oh decisions, decisions.
More next time,
The Inspired Stitcher

The Oval Silkwork Picture - posted on behalf of Sally Fr.

The Oval Silkwork Picture

The picture shown at the bottom of this post is of the original eighteenth century silkwork piece which had a painted face, hair and hands.  Stitches used to complete the embroidery included satin stitch and stem filling stitches.

Marsha Parker purchased the original embroidery from a seller in Witney, Oxfordshire in the late 1980's.

She reproduced the outline features of the design and had them silk screened onto linen pieces, approximately 18" x 18" in size.  Her sister completed each reproduction piece of linen by handpainting in the facial features, hair colour and hands to resemble the original stitched picture.

Original eighteenth century silkwork piece: 
Photo supplied by Marsha Parker of the Scarlet Letter

More progress on A Parrot

I saw Laurie's post, which reminded me that I should post my progress on A Parrot A Leopard A Lion as well.  We are using different Tudor silk conversions so it's fun to compare with each other.  We also seem to be tackling PLL in different directions.

I took three pictures since I can't figure out how else to do it.

Sunday, 23 March 2014


      I'm making progress on A Parrot, A Leopard, A Lion and wanted to share with you all.


How exciting it was yesterday morning to get a call from my framer - Ann Grimshaw was ready to come home!

It feels really good to have her finally, fully completed and on display.  Time to move on to Jane Atkinson.  First steps - gathering the supplies!

I haven't decided for sure when work will actually begin, but at least Jane is ready to roll whenever the moment comes.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

An unusual alphabet and an unusual Irish (?) sampler

This is one of the most unusual alphabets I've seen on a sampler.  This sampler has preoccupied me for months. It's probably German, dated 1704.  I wish I had seen the alphabets on this sampler before publishing "More Alphabets from Early Samplers".  In fact there are so many unique motifs on this particular sampler that I can't find precedents in the early German pattern books.  This is very exciting!

The second set of photos show an antique sampler that I acquired recently at auction.  It was described as being from Ireland, but the illuminated letters and other quirks look Scottish.  The basket and verse look more Balch School.  We might be on to a new thread here and I welcome your input.

Over and out,
love to all,

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Bird in a Bough

Rhonda Owen has kindly sent me a photograph of her gorgeous finish and framing to be included in the gallery. 

Rhonda wrote:-

" ......here is my version of this wonderful Scarlet Letter pattern. At first I felt like I was betraying the original stitched piece but once I started pulling colors I couldn't put it down. My fabric choice is 30ct. Woosteria from R&R. Threads are a mixture of Sampler, Crescent and DMC".

The frame is stunning. Thank you for sharing this with us Rhonda.

A Post for Barbara G - Ruthy Rogers Framed

I always look forward to opening an email from Barbara G as there is often a photograph of her beautiful needlework attached.

Barbara wrote:-

"I received Ruthy todayI said I would choose a frame that Ruthy herself might have chosen but once I started to look at frames I had to control myself.  I feel that this one is a bit more ornate than I might have chosen but I really like it.  I think the leafy part echoes the wonky leaves that Ruthy stitched".

I personally feel that Barbara and Ruthy have chosen very well.

Monday, 17 March 2014



Wishing you a wonderful birthday from all of us

Sunday, 16 March 2014

EK 1653

Not a lot of stitching has been done this week but yesterday I had a mammoth stitching session and finished the next two bands of EK which I combined into one as they were only narrow.

The next bands will be divided by some sentiments about sisters are our names and DOB's

EK certainly has grown.

Before I went to bed last night I had to squeeze a little bit of Ellenor in. Here is the start of Band 4  - the three little motifs at the bottom.

It is quite a deep one so will take a fair bit of work.

I have been floating on air all this week with my surprise quilt and all it represents. I can never, ever thank you all enough or put into words what I felt. It was a very well kept secret and I had no idea whatsoever. It will be treasured forever. I have decided to hang it in my sewing room out of direct sunlight and over my sewing/work table. I spend a lot of time there.

Jo has been very busy working on the gallery and I think we now have about 330 samplers on display but some old OOPs keep on popping up that have been forgotten about over time. If you know of any that have not been included please let us know.

Post for Barbara G - Stumpwork Picture

Barbara won this stunning OOP chart called Stumpwork Picture in our Advent draw and I was very excited today to receive a photograph of her progress.

The colours are so beautiful.

Thank you for sharing this with us Barbara.

Friday, 14 March 2014

A Giveaway

It has been such a wonderful week (thanks to each and everyone of you) that I thought the perfect way to round it off was with a giveaway of the chart for the beautiful Mary Bailey.

If you would like to enter all you need to do is post your stitching progress between now and April 15th. As we did for the monthly draws.

I have had several offers of donations for prizes so that the monthly draw can continue. Stitchers really are the best and most generous people.

Marsha has kindly sent me some charts too and I have ordered some plus a few other goodies so I will be putting together a prize list in the next week or so.

This giveaway has been donated by Karla from Patchwork Rabbit one of the few UK stockist of SL charts and the only UK stockist (that I know of) for Lakeside Linen. 

Karla is a very helpful lady who will special order in linen and charts. Her site is well worth a visit. CLICK HERE

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Our London Get-together!

What a wonderful day, and already on this Blog some great pictures.  I enjoyed meeting everyone so much and it was great to see Nicola's reaction to her surprises.  And what surprises they were:  the quilt is truly magnificent and an heirloom, Elaine did such a wonderful job putting it all together.  And Marsha's sampler - well, words fail me!
Here are some of my photos too:
Getting to know each other!
What is this?!
Identifying the samplers from which the squares were taken - fun!
Marsha's wonderful sampler.
Looking through the wonderful photographic record that Krista had made!

It was such a unique occasion - and Nicola loved every minute of it which is what really mattered.
The viewing of the samplers was a privilege - just a shame we are not able to share those photos. But a day to remember - and to share with you all.  I hope the photos from those of us there help you ALL feel part of Nicola's Special Day!



Wishing you a wonderful birthday from all of us

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Ellenor Wykcs - Band 3

There has been so much excitement in the build up to the V & A visit I quite forgot to post about Ellenor. I finished Band 3 on Sunday.

I am unable to access a PC at the moment and am relying on my ipad to post and cannot resize my photo so to fit it onto the blog I have to post this is portrait.

Here is an overall shot. The colours are a delight. I think Ellenor must of been a very happy, cheery person.

I am going to settle down with EK now and work her next band.

The Grand Scarlet Letter Year Meet-Up!

Krista, Elaine and Nicola have already posted on this subject already so I will try fill in the gaps and give you all a flavour of the day.

For those of you who joined the Challenge after last August and may not be aware of the Big Secret, here's how it all started.  Krista in America sent me an email last February suggesting we make Nicola a permanent keepsake of the challenge in the form of a stitched quilt.  She suggested that Elaine may be able to give us some advice on making up such a project.  I emailed Elaine asking for some guidance and she jumped at the chance to be involved and instantly volunteered to make the quilt.  I read her blog, saw her photos and realised what a fantastic quilt maker she is!  We were honoured she agreed to this project.

I did a group email asking people to send their squares to Elaine by August 2013 to allow her time to design the layout and make the quilt.  And the squares poured in!!  Along with donations for materials.  The only guidelines we gave were that squares should be stitched on white or cream fabric and be no more than 4 inches square.  Amazingly every stitcher chose a different sampler for their motif.  Some used Nicola's initials, others used their own or added a personal message.  You can see all the individual squares on Krista's beautiful video here and more details of where the squares came from on her post here.

The next dilemma was How To Get The Quilt To Nicola!  Most of you will know that Nicola lives in a beautiful part of the country in the far South-West.  I live in a not quite so beautiful part in the furthest East point while Elaine lives pretty much in the middle not too far from London.  So some subterfuge was called for.  I phoned Nicola and suggested it would be lovely to get together and see some of the actual samplers Marsha had used to chart her Scarlet Letter collection.  Many of them are housed in the V&A Museum in London.  To my relief Nicola agreed!

L-R - Jen, Vittoria, Elizabeth, Angie, Nicola, Elaine, Jo
(Luciana taking photo)

The date was set and we were joined by Elaine, Angie, Elizabeth, Jen and Nicola's two sisters.  The eight of us met in the cafe at the V&A and after refreshments and chat we revealed the real reason for the meet-up.  You can see Nicola's reaction in these photos:

And those are all before she opened the parcel!

It's BIG isn't it!

Oh my!

Now, as I mentioned earlier the only stipulation was the size of the piece, 4 inches square.  Marsha Parker herself contributed to the quilt, which was very exciting for us all.  However, her "square" was slightly larger than 4 inches:

Yes, she stitched the entire Betsy Davis sampler AND personalised it along the bottom.

We considered making it a centrepiece or into a cushion but decided in the end to allow Nicola to make the choice of finish, whether soft or framed.  She was completely overwhelmed as she has been discussing The Betsys with Marsha!  I believe she may stitch the companion Betsy Manchester and frame them together.

Krista had also compiled a book using the photos Elaine sent her of each block and the making up of the quilt:

Oh wow!

Elaine also handed over the bundle of letters, cards and notelets addressed to Nicola who wisely decided to read them later.  I don't think her mascara was that waterproof!

After a visit to the shop and lunch back in the cafe we made the short trip to the Clothworkers' Centre where the V&A stores its sampler collection.  The curators of the Textiles Department recently completed the mammoth task of moving their collection to this Grade II Listed former GPO building in West London.  Viewings are by appointment only but you will get an expert guide and be able to see the samplers and oher textiles up close and personal, not behind glass.  You are not permitted to touch but you are provided with a dinky magnifier which enables you to see the stitches in even closer detail.  The gloved curator will turn the samplers over so you can examine the reverse too.  I think it was at this point she realised how serious a group of enthusiasts we were - excitement over the reverse!!

We were permitted to take photographs for personal use only but I am allowed to show this one as I have blanked the samplers out:

You can see Angie examining the sampler in great detail!

You can request to see up to ten samplers, here were our choices:
Elizabeth Short T.131-1961
Grace Catlin T.22-1955
Sarah Brignell- T.46-1970
Elizabeth Brain - T.750-1974
Margret Mason T.182-1987 and this one too
MD 1660- T.217-1970
IGR- T.205-1929
Jane Bostocke T.190-1960 - the oldest surviving dated sampler from 1598
"angel" sampler 516&A-1877
Elizabeth Parker T.6-1956 the 19th century verse stitched ad infinitum on a sheet.

Marsha helped compile this list.  The last one, the Elizabeth Parker is not a Scarlet Letter piece, rather it is a very moving act of repentance sewed by a young girl who was badly abused by her employer, suffered from depression and found salvation in the Bible.  The V&A page includes some details of her later life.

We were also allowed to see a piece which was out for preparation for an exhibition which featured the most beautiful map of farmland with exquisite birds, animals and plants all around the border.

As people left to return to their homes we said our goodbyes and talked about making this trip an annual event.  There are samplers in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and in other parts of the country too.  Nicola and her sisters had promised to take me for a "slap-up tea" somewhere posh and they had discovered a delightful vintage tearoom just around the corner from the Clothworkers' Centre.

Nicola and I outside the Clothworkers' Centre

Betty Blythe's Teashop was the perfect place, we were shown our own room where we could dress up in the vintage clothes provided (we were too busy chatting!!) and several courses were brought to us with an endless supply of English Tea.  From dainty sandwiches (sans crust of course) to smoked salmon minis, jam and cream scones, chocolate amuse-bouches to the finale - iced fairy cakes!

Just one of the courses in our traditional tea.

And then it was home time!  Luciana and I travelled east across London to catch our respective trains home while Nicola and Vittoria went west to their homes.

There are some more photos in my Picasa Album found here but I have chosen the best ones for this blog post!

I arrived home just before 10pm, a very long, tiring but most enjoyable day.  We said how lovely it was to all meet for the first time but funnily enough, it did not feel like the first time, it felt like old friends meeting up for a great day out.  Now let me check my diary for the next one...