Header Photo

Header Photo
American Quaker Sampler stitched by Krista


Monday, 23 February 2015

Progress on Elizabeth Shephard

Happy Birthday Nicola!

As it was Nicola's Birthday this week I decided to dedicate IHSW to the gift she gave me for Christmas - Elizabeth Shephard.

I started on Thursday and completed the central motif:

Well, all except the initials because I am undecided what will go there, maybe my initials and the date instead.

Then over the weekend I continued towards the top right corner and got to add some colour.

I am stitching Elizabeth on the supplied 30count linen using AVAS silks.  She seems to be coming up quite large on 30 count but she is also quite a quick stitch.  Using mostly one colour and the repetitive nature means she is the ideal project to stitch while listening to the TV or talking to the family.

I have noticed already that "symmetry" was a stranger to Elizabeth.  Quaker symbols may appear to be symmetrical but Elizabeth frequently adds an extra stitch or moves part two squares to one side.  The middle of that top motif extends two rows above the rest of the piece.

I also noted that Marsha charted the sampler according to how it looks now, so the central motif would have been more symmetrical but Marsha has included the worn spots and not charted those symbols.

The other funny thing is that the border around the central motif is exactly the same as the one on another of my current projects - Prairie Moon Thine is the Trick and the Treat!

Haven't quite finished stitching it yet!

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Mastering Mary

Christy has finished the whitework section and has stitched all of the eyelets - doesn't it look pretty ?

I have now stitched to this point and have updated the files with my notes.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

The Valentine's Day Giveaway ...... The winner is ..........

I am very pleased to announce that the name drawn from the hat for The Ornamental Branches book sponsored by Dawn is Theresa for her post on January 16.

Congratulations Theresa, please can you forward me your address.

A very BIG THANK YOU for to Dawn for her generous support of Our Scarlet Letter Years. 

Beyond the Little X - An Interview with Ilana!

For our February interview we sit and stitch with Ilana!  She shares with us her stitching story and many of her beautiful samplers, including many Scarlet Letter samplers!  Lots of eye candy for the sampler love on this Valentine’s Day! 

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

I had just graduated from college when I began with needlepoint in 1969.  I had admired the samplers in the Whitman collection, but I was not aware of any available resources for materials and charts at that time.

Mary Ann Healy 1809 - Scarlet Letter

It was not until 1994 that I began to stitch samplers.  I was 48 years young.

Martha Mulford

What was the first sampler that you stitched?

My first sampler was by Sarah Donn.  I found a book at the local library with a chart.  I taught myself to do cross stitch with a diagram in that book.  That sampler included many alphabets and border motifs.  I changed the colors to a brighter palette.

What time of day do you stitch?  

I stitch on weekends since I work fulltime during the week. 

Coraggio - Scarlet Letter

Do you sit in a set place and what tools do you like to have to hand?  Does everything have to be in a certain place in order for you to relax and concentrate on your work?

I use a Hinterburg quilting hoop that is tight as a drum.  (Plan on getting the Millennium one of these days.)  I like working on a large surface, usually an 18-22 inch hoop or larger.  

IES 1704 - in progress

Do you have a favorite linen?

My preference is 40 ct. Italian or Lakeside linen.  Since Ricamo 40 ct. linen has been discontinued, I have ordered 39 ct. Italian which I hand dye and shrink to 40 ct.

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

Stick and stab.

The Wind Blows - Scarlet Letter

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

17th Century English and German band samplers.  I just like them.

A german sampler from a V&A book

SDW a german band sampler - Scarlet Letter


A Work in Progress!

Which designs appeal to you the most?

English, German, and Scottish.

Mary Hurst - Scarlet Letter

Dutch Beauty
JCS - Scarlet Letter

Do you have a favorite specialty stitch?

Favorites include satin, queen, French knots, long arm cross and stem stitch. 

LD 1602

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?


Joyce Leedes - Scarlet Letter

What aspect(s) of working with early textiles appeals to you the most? 

The color and design.

Ann Lawle - Scarlet Letter
Mexican Sampler - Queenstown Sampler Designs

Joanna Warren - Scarlet Letter

Have you had any formal education in textiles?

My degree is in Fine Arts with a major in weaving and fabric design.

Russian Firebird

Do you collect antique samplers? Apart from samplers do you collect anything else?  

I collect cookbooks.

What other types of hand work do you enjoy?

Some knitting.

Any guilty secrets to confess?  

I change colors and stitches all the time.

What has been your worst needlework disaster?

I accidentally threw out a work in progress!

If your house was on fire and you could only save one sampler which would you choose and why?

Jane Bostocke.  Took me 10 years to finally finish.   I would grab my LD sampler second!

Jane Bostocke

Am I the only one who forgets that her glasses are on top of her head? 


Marie Abbott - Scarlet Letter

Here is one of Ilana's current WIPs.....

A wonderful interview and feast for the eyes!  

Thank you so very much, Ilana, for sharing your samplers with us. Your work is truly an inspiration!  You have such a skill with specialty stitches that brings such beauty to your samplers.  I have now added some more to my ever-growing wish list as I am sure others will also! 

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

Friday, 13 February 2015

Three Valentine Day Giveaways - a book, three charts and two silk kits of an OOP design and a mystery bonus.

Tomorrow we will be drawing Dawn's prize for the beautiful book Ornamental Branches for blog members only so to qualify please make sure you post your current progress today if you have not already done so in the last month.

On Facebook Elizabeth is hosting a giveaway for three Scarlet Letter Charts so please check that out if you have not already entered.

As It is Valentine's Day tomorrow, a time to give those dear to us a token of our love. Marsha wanted to celebrate this day with those who love her work with a giveaway of two silk kits of the OOP design Rebekah Hacker which have been tucked away especially for our members to enjoy.

The kits are worth $150 each so this is an amazing and very generous gift to us. Once these are gone Rebekah will no longer be available.

As a heart shape is the motif used to represent the centre of affection and love we want you to find heart motifs in the current portfolio of Scarlet Letter samplers.

It is wonderful if you leave a comment on this post but please DO NOT leave the names of the samplers here.

Your list of samplers should be emailed to nicola.parkman@gmail.com no later than midday UK time on Monday 16th February. I do not wish to be harsh but I have spent many hours trying to track down no reply bloggers for competitions so if you are a no reply blogger and do not leave a contactable  email address with your entry I have to stipulate that you will not qualify for the giveaway.

The two stitchers who find the most samplers with hearts will win one of these kits. In the event of more than two stitchers finding an equal highest number we will draw a name. If anyone finds all the samplers there will be a bonus prize as well.

What fun.

You might want to look at our gallery http://scarletletteryeargallery.blogspot.co.uk but always  check that the heart appears in the actual model featured.


Thursday, 12 February 2015

Mastering Mary

The files have been updated to include my stitching notes up to and including this section.

Detached buttonhole filling, queen and Croatian flat stitch have now made an appearance.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Mastering Mary

This is the sixth Monday since we started Mary and we are seeing some wonderful stitching. I think we should give ourselves a round of applause.

We have all had challenges with Miss Hurst, the alphabet was not easy to start with yet EVERYONE has started and completed some letters. 

Janet is our newest participant and has stitched a gorgeous alphabet. 

I have updated the files to include the notes up to this point.

I am looking forward to seeing everyone' s progress.

Confessions and an Update

Good Evening!

How is everyone?  I live in Eastern PA and today it was warm enough that my husband grilled dinner for us.  Tomorrow – who knows?  Another storm is forecast…some say just rain…others say snow and sleet.  I think I am ready for Spring.

So on to the confessions.  I have come to realize that I am not very good at working on more than one sampler.  I have neglected Mary Hurst for the last few weeks and, instead have concentrated on Dona Dorothea.  Unfortunately, there is not all that much to show.  I’ve been finding it hard to find time to stitch since returning to work.  I miss being at home!  I miss my afternoon naps!  I miss my own time.  Oh well, it is not yet my time to retire…but hopefully soon.

My other confession is that I’m not that great at FB,  I love the fact that so many can comment and participate.  I hate trying to keep up with it all (especially since my days are no longer my own).  I only joined FB to be a part of the group…and now I have “friends” and I just cannot keep up!  I confess that I miss people posting on the blog.  How do you all keep up with ALL the discussions/comments/pictures on FB?

Anyhoo, enough confessions for one night.  Here are two pictures of Dona Dorothea.  An overall shot and a close up of one of the floral segments and a portion of the sawtooth line – so pretty.  I am coming into the bottom fourth of this sampler and really am enjoying every stitch.  Dona is a beauty for sure.

Hope everyone has a wonderful evening and a perfect week ahead.  If you are in the path of a storm – stay safe and warm.