Header Photo

Header Photo
American Quaker Sampler stitched by Krista


Thursday, 29 May 2014



Wishing you a wonderful birthday from all of us.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Eleanor Parr

I am so excited that Marsha's next reproduction is Eleanor Parr. I cannot wait to stitch the bird border.

Marsha - when can we preorder our chart?

Monday, 26 May 2014

Ruthy says "Hi"

Ruthy is back on the frame and I am very pleased to be working on her again. The rhythm of stem stitch is so therapeutic.

I made some alterations to her bodice (colour, cuffs and collar) and the positioning of the flowers in her hand. I also used bullion stitch for those flowers and the ones in her headress.

She looks a little like she has mumps. I am not sure that I have the stitch direction correct. I was wondering if I stitch another layer of satin stitches on her cheeks or should I unpick and try again ?

The past two weeks I have been working on a doily and tray cloth.

I made the silliest of mistakes on the tray cloth.

Can you spot it?

I hem stitched it back to front

I can't unpick it to correct as the corners will fray. It will always be a reminder to double check before stitching - lesson learnt (hopefully).



Wishing you a wonderful birthday from all of us.

Saturday, 24 May 2014



Wishing you a wonderful birthday from all of us.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Circling Alphabets

Hi everyone:  it has been quite some time since I posted a Scarlet Letter finish - too many other projects seem to have taken over my life, not least of which has been sewing quilts/Noah's Ark Sampler etc. etc. for my first grandchild due in August - so VERY exciting!
However, I have just finished this lovely SL pattern:  Circling Alphabets:
I changed the colours (sorry Marsha!) as I wanted to give this as an 18th birthday gift to my friend's grand-daughter - I wanted the colours to look "younger":  I used variegated threads by Tamar Embroideries (www.TamarEmbroideries.co.uk) - and I was delighted with the end result.  This is such a great pattern and I think it can be adapted to any colours depending on whom it is for.  I hope you agree.
I am off to have lunch with Nicola tomorrow - really looking forward to having a catch up chat with her!
It has been wonderful keeping up-to-date with everyone's amazing achievements - what a Grand Group of Sewers we all are!



Wishing you a wonderful birthday from all of us.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Hornbook Bestiary Progresss

I'm pleased to report I've finally moved onto the final row of boxes as of last night!  It's so exciting to finally have the end in sight.  Here's a look at where I was when we last visited.
Progress as of 4/27/14
Progress as of 5/4/14
"U is for Unicorn"
I had intentions of posting progress after this block but life got in the way.  I did encounter a bit of a problem on the "V is for Vulture" block.  If you plan to stitch this, you might want to take note.
Just for reference, notice the vulture in the chart picture.  I know you are supposed to go by the chart and not the picture but...
Here's what it looked like when I followed the chart.  Hmm...not exactly what I had in mind.

Upon closer inspection of the color key, it appears that the color number for the blue/grey above is 3843 and the symbol is one vertical line.  The color number for the medium brown I used is 3834 and the symbol is two vertical lines.  I can totally see how this might happen.  So "heads up" if this is in your stash.  You might like the blue/gray but I wasn't a fan and wanted it to look like the picture.

Progress as of 5/18/14
"V is for Vulture" and the final row's boxes!

Here it is as of last night before bed.  I made it my mission yesterday to get the last row's boxes in before the day was done!  Now to fill them in.  I plan to spend as much time as possible on this till it's finished.

Just for fun, here's the whole thing.  I can hardly believe I put in all that tent stitch over one.  I feel like a tent stitch master now!  I've got a lead on a hornbook frame too.  We'll see if it works out!

Thanks for letting me share today and for cheering me on.  I'm so very close to the finish now.  I can hardly wait to share it with you when the day comes!

Until next time,

The Inspired Stitcher

Sunday, 18 May 2014

American Quaker Progress

Hi Everyone!

I have been working on the American Quaker Band Sampler lately.  I am enjoying the colors and the simplicity of the letters.

American Quaker Band Sampler
32 ct Examplar Lakeside Linen with dmc

We had a beautiful day here in Connecticut today.  Here is a pic I took this afternoon...

So nice seeing the sunshine out and all the trees in Spring green!  I guess all the rain has been worth it!  

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!!

Friday, 16 May 2014

Meanwhile, over on Blog Two

Here is this week's round-up of posts on the second half of our Blog - Blog Two:

Bhooma's Jean Scrimgeowr

Rae completes two bands on Ann Lawle

Sharon H stitches a parrot's feet on A Parrot, A Leopard, A Lion

Jennifer completes The Pattern Record - Happy Dance time!

Why not pop over and say Hi to this week's stitchers?

May's Draw

I am sorry to be a day late, I thought today was the 15th until I logged into the computer !! The year is going far too quickly.

The winner of  the draw for May (which was arranged by Sally and is a full year's membership to The Sampler Guild) is Jennifer C.

Well done Jennifer and a big thank you to Sally and Linda Hadden of The Sampler Guild

The prize for June has been generously donated by Bob of Winderwood Farm and is a chart of your choice from The Scarlet Letter.

Besides stitching Bob spins, dyes and weaves and will be our featured stitcher for June so look out for a very interesting interview next month.

Don't forget to post your progress to qualify for June's draw.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014



Wishing you a wonderful birthday from all of us.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Beyond the Little X - An Interview with Barbara G!

This month we get to sit with Barbara G. and hear about her stitching journey.  As you will see, Barbara has accomplished some amazing pieces including some Scarlet Letter favorites.   Her embroidery talent is truly inspiring!

Barbara, how old were you when you first picked up a needle, and who taught you to stitch?

I was very young when I started to stitch.  I remember getting kits with a hoop, thread and a drawn-on design of flowers for Christmas.  I was always stitching, cutting, gluing, colouring, etc.  No reading for me – I considered that time wasted. 

When I was 9 or so Queen Mary’s rug came to town sponsored by the IODE, and my Mother, being a staunch IODE member, took me to see it.  To this day I can tell you exactly where it was shown and in which room.  For those of you who don’t know, Queen Mary did a large needlepoint rug that eventually came to Canada and is in the National Gallery here.  As soon as I saw it I was hooked. 

My aunt ordered from England a large printed canvas of a lady standing by a window with a table laden with fruit and a dog below.  I was off!  I learned that following a printed canvas can be challenging.  It had a round clock on it which could not be executed in the round so I had to make it square.  I have since only stitched on charted pieces.  I don’t remember sitting beside someone being taught, I think I just dove in and asked for help when needed.  My Mother sewed but I don’t remember knowing anyone else that did handwork.

What was the first sampler that you stitched? 

Believe it or not but the first sampler I stitched was only a few years ago.  I have belonged to an embroidery guild for over 35 years and have done just about every technique out there so when I finally got a computer and went exploring I discovered samplers.  The first one I did was Elizabeth Wod (1650).   I figured I knew enough about stitching to start with one designated for very advanced stitchers.  As you can see it has a lot of white work as well as detached buttonhole.  I really enjoyed doing it and moved on to other 17th century pieces.  I have never done a cross stitched sampler. 

Elizabeth Wod

What is your favorite time of day to stitch?
I always stitch in the morning, very early.  Occasionally I will work later but I have to have natural daylight.  I never stitch using a light.

Do you sit in a set place and what tools do you like to have on hand?  

I always sit at my computer desk which you can see from the photo is wedged between a wall and a window.  I rest the frame on my knees and the table.  

I have a small table next to it that holds the materials I need for the project I am working on.  I put the threads in the box in some sort of order and take out the ones I need for the motif or area I am working on and put those on a square of velvet.  If I need a laying tool I have it there as well.  No clutter.  The small table is very light and sometimes I take it to another room to work on.

Do you use the stick and stab technique? 

Most definitely.  Somewhere someone told me that a sewing stitch was just that – sewing – so I feel very guilty if I use it.  It is difficult to do with a frame anyway.  I use a frame for my samplers and I like to work clean.  I press my linen before I start, wash my hands often and cover my work when I put it away.  That way when it comes off the frame it is pretty much ready to be framed.  I used to use a hoop for other forms of embroidery but it wrecked by thumbs.  Holding a hoop and stitching can be hard on your wrists and hands over time.  If I use a hoop or q-snap I clamp them to a table so my hands are free.

What is your favorite linen and thread?

I like Permin lambswool linen and silk thread.  Once I started working with silk there was no going back to floss.

Have you tried specialty stitches and do you have a favorite? 

I started out as an embroiderer so finding new stitches is always fun.  As far as samplers are concerned I enjoy Queen stitch and Montenegrin.  Stitching Montenegrin keeps you on your toes and it works up quickly.

17th Century Spot Sampler
When did you discover the Scarlet Letter? 
A few years ago when I was on a hunt for more 17th century pieces.

What was the first Scarlet Letter sampler you stitched? 

The first was Margret Mason followed by Margret Gatis which is actually 1711 but close enough to the 17th  or maybe it was the other way around.

Margaret Mason in progress
Margaret Mason

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

I guess you know by now that it is the 17th century.  I like the designs and colors as well as they aren’t always perfect.  I don’t mind that the edges aren’t always even and that colors often change in odd places. If the stitches on the original are not perfect I don’t like to “fix” them.  It is always nice to be able to locate a photo of the original and see if it can be stitched the same way. 

LD 1663

I don’t have favorite designs although I enjoy the folkartyness (new word) of Lydia Hart and Ruthy Rogers.  I loved doing these two even though they aren’t 17th century.  I did them both in the winter time and I think they helped the gloomy days go by, especially this year.  You couldn’t help but be cheered by both.

Lydia Hart

Ruthy Rogers

Has working with reproduction samplers given you any new insight into the lives of the girls and women in the 17-18-19th centuries that you did not realize before?

I didn’t give it much thought when I first started.  All I wanted to do was new stuff but as I did more I couldn’t help but consider how they worked.  Did they work alone or together in a group?  Did they have teachers etc?  

I think a lot of people think they must have had a hard time seeing but I am sure they only worked in daylight.  Some of them I am sure had the means to get good materials but others had to work with what was at hand which probably explains colours running out in the middle of a section.  I stitched Loara Standish which I am proud to say is totally reversible.  Apparently she stitched outdoors and her piece is very small.  I did a larger version.

How do you display your stitched samplers?  Do you frame them?  Hang them singularly or in groupings?  

Sad to say only 3 samplers hand on walls.  My house doesn’t have many inside walls so they are stacked in my studio.  Some day!!!  I do get them framed ready to go though.

Do you collect antique samplers? 

Not until a few weeks ago.  A member of our guild brought an old sampler from 1867 and gave it to me.  I am now trying to discover more about it. 

What other types of hand work do you enjoy? 

As I said I have belonged to a teaching guild for many years and have tried many forms of embroidery.  I was also a weaver for many years and also went through a quilting phase.  I have a diploma in fibre arts (weaving).  In 1999 I lost the sight in one eye so had to give it up because of lack of depth perception which one needs to thread a loom.  You only need one eye to stitch!  I am enclosing a photo of a piece with a bit of Hardanger on it which was interesting.  It has two layers.  Framing was a bit of a challenge.

Any guilty stitching secrets to confess?  

No, I don’t think so.  We are not allowed to have any food or drink near our work at guild so that has been instilled in me.  Messy on the back I try to avoid but I don’t always try to have all pieces reversible.

I won’t hear the LOL’s tsking about my work in 100 years.

What has been your worst needlework disaster? 

No real disasters.  I would consider a disaster something that would be totally ruined.  As me about weaving disasters!!  I have a Ph.D. in how to fix those!

If you can pick just one, which is your favorite sampler that you stitched?  And why? 

I think it is Loara Standish probably because it is totally reversible.  It was not kitted in its original colors. The faded colours were used and I really like them.  It is a very soothing piece to look at.

Loara Standish

What Scarlet Letter sampler are you currently working on now?  What do you most enjoy about it?  

I am working on the OOP Stumpwork Picture sampler I won in Nicola’s Advent challenge.  It is very small, just 71/2” with a lot of detached buttonhole motifs that are stitched separately on muslin and then applied to the background fabric.  I have finished the central part which is done over one. 

Stumpwork Picture in progress

What other interests do you enjoy? 

I did eventually start to read books and I love opera.  Since I was small I have listened to the MET every Saturday and have gone to some of the performances at the theaters.  We used to go to the opera in Toronto but the cost to do that went through the roof.

Another wonderful finish that Barbara had during the Scarlet Letter Year challenge was Mary Hurst, a stunning piece!

Mary Hurst

Thank you so much, Barbara, for telling us your story and sharing your amazing stitching!  You are such an inspiration!  We look forward to seeing more of your stitching as you share your journey with us at Our Scarlet Letter Years.  

Friday, 9 May 2014

Two Samplers and a Spool Caddy

Well I expect you can tell I was stuck for a title !!!

My adaptation of EK 1653 is back from the framers and now called Three Sisters.

A sampler always looks so much nicer when stretched and framed. I fall in love with them all over again.

The Postman has just been and brought goodies.

I like to collect stitching accessories and this reproduction spool caddy is from Richard Heyers 

http://www.hyerswood.com/categories.php (you will need to copy and paste as I cannot get a link to work from my ipad) (amended by Jo!)

I was so lucky to receive the first one made in this design.

My old one has had so much use and as I stitch in various places it will not hurt to have two (or so I tell Ray)

The Postman also brought the linen and thread to start my WI project so Ruthy is going away for a fortnight while I stitch this.

So I will leave Ruthy at this point.

The third bird is stitched

and Ruthy's skirt. I substituted satin stitch for stem on her sash. If you look closely at the main photo you will see that I have stitched two rows of the specified dark green to the immediate right of the tree. I have decided to switch this out and stitch all the grass in the lighter green seen in the bottom left hand corner.

It is going to be hard to resist Ruthy but I want to get the other project finished. I always feel lots of pressure when stitching for someone else.

Meanwhile, over on Blog Two...

When Nicola and I started the Scarlet Letter Blog we never dreamed it would attract so many wonderful stitchers from all over the World.  So many in fact that we rapidly filled Blog One and had to start Blog Two.

However we have noticed that Blog Two does not attract the same viewing figures as Blog One.  So in order to tempt you over there I will be doing a weekly recap of posts on Blog Two, starting today with May so far.

Please pop over there and say Hi to the stitchers too.  We all love comments!!

The Stitch Wizard starts Ruthy Rogers

Update on Theresa's Frances Marshall

Rae's Cutwork on Ann Lawle

Update on Tommye's Janet Carsels

Stitch Wizard's Stem Stitching on Ruthy Rogers

Bob from Winderwood Farm's Ruthy Rogers

Gramma Vickie introduces herself

Cheryl introduces herself!

Dawn M finishes The Wind Blows

Lanie stitches Mary Bailey and The Huntsman

Debbie B stitches Ruthy Roger's Apple Tree

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Margaret Randoph and Elizabeth Brain

Sorry - I haven't posted for ages - I sort of lost my way a bit with my cross stitch. However, I seem to be back on track and Miss Margaret is coming along nicely. The colours are beautiful.

I have also started working on Elizabeth Brain again. All the wonderful photos of Ruthy Rogers have spurned me on.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Ellenor has come home

Ellenor is home from the framers but EK is still waiting for a mount. She was too big for the framer to cut the mount himself so it has had to be ordered pre-cut.

Now to find the perfect place to hang her.

It is a beautiful day here and I long to sit with Ruthy and stitch but today I have lots of chores to do first both inside and out.

I have decided to unpick a few of the sections that I am not entirely happy with. When you photograph your work you notice things that you miss when actually stitching.

I hope that my interpretation of stem stitch filling is correct. I have never actually seen stem stitch filling other than in photographs.

The moth's body should have been stitched in stem but the effect of satin stitch appealed more to me.

Now I had better get back to my housework, sooner started, sooner finished.