Thursday, January 31, 2013

I Sew'd My Heart

Sneaking in one more finish for January!  I finished most of it last weekend but needed to add my initials yet. The original version from Heartstring Samplery included a fictitious name and birthdate across the bottom.  I didn't want a fictitious name so I just added the year to the left of the heart and my initials, stitched over one, to the right of the heart.  Another one for the finishing pile!

I Sew'd My Heart
Heartstring Samplery
35 ct WDW Straw
GAST fibers

Trying to stay warm in MN where the temperature was 0 degrees when I drove home from work tonight.  Brrrr....

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wrought By My Hand

Thank you all for your kind comments on my last post.  I will post occasional progress reports for you. Mrs. Szigethy's daughter shares your comments with her; she can't believe that there are so many of you who are interested in what she is doing!  Her daughter will send me updated pictures and I will post them as I receive them.

Tonight, I have some of my own stitching to share with you.  On Sunday I was itching to stitch something that didn't require a lot of concentration.  About a week or so ago, I received the kit for this design in the mail.  It's the last installment from the Prim Sisters Club through the Country Sampler in Spring Green.  It was calling my name.  I worked on it a little bit every night and tonight it is finished!

Wrought By My Hand
Pineberry Lane
30 count WDW Confederate Grey Linen
GAST Fibers

I enjoyed stitching it and will probably have it framed at some point.

Tomorrow is the last day of January - my the month sure went by fast!

Monday, January 28, 2013

A Really Big Work in Progress

Many of you will remember my trip last November to visit Mrs. Istvánné Szigethy and to learn more about her beautiful Hövej embroidery.  You might recall the pictures of the various pieces of needlework on display in her exhibit in the village of Hövej.  Her daughter shared with me recently that they have started to work on another room in the building and in this room will be displayed additional pieces of Mrs. Szigethy's embroidery.  I am so pleased that her work is being preserved for many more generations to admire!

Currently Mrs. Szigethy is working on a project to re-create an altar cloth that she stitched some years ago and gifted to a church in Hungary.  She recently started working on it and I thought you might be interested in seeing her progress.  I'm going to be sharing pictures with you that were taken by Mrs. Szigethy's daughter.

Before any stitching is done, the design needs to be traced onto the fabric.  As you can see, a very fine fabric, organza, is being used.  The fabric has been placed on top of the design and it is lightly being traced with a pencil.  Here Mrs. Szigethy is receiving some assistance in preparing her fabric for stitching:

Once the design has been traced on the fabric, the fabric is then mounted to a frame.  This is a rather large piece of fabric and so a large frame is going to be needed!  In this photo, you can see that Mrs. Szigethy has completed the bottom edging for this section.  She's now working on a more intricate design.  Each one of those open sections of the medallion will be filled with a different design. If you look closely, you can see the additional patterns, yet to be stitched, that are traced on this fabric.

Admiring her work!  Note how large that frame is...

I have fond memories of my visit with Mrs. Szigethy.  I know how important her needlework is to her and that she takes great pride in her work!

I will keep you updated on her progress as I receive more information.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Do You Have Yours Yet?

First of all, I have to start off with an apology.  This morning I accidentally deleted some of the comments that were left on yesterday's post.  I was viewing them on my iPad and accidentally hit "delete" instead of "save". I really do appreciate your comments and enjoy reading them.  I know that it takes time to leave comments - I'm not always so good about leaving them on your blogs.  I wish there was a better way to collect them, but I don't like the word/number verification and I don't want the spam comments.  So sorry.

I was out and about this morning and made a pit stop at Walgreens to pick up these:

Do you have yours yet?  I told my husband he could eat the chocolate, I only wanted the boxes.  He laughed.  Now I just need to get this:

I'm rather partial to the needle/scissor roll at the top with those buttons!  Maybe I should finish last year's Valentine's Day box from With Thy Needle and Thread first...hmmm...

Friday, January 25, 2013

Some Stitching

It's hard to believe that January is almost over! I had so many grand plans for stitching this month.  It's hard to find time though when there are so many other things going on.  I'm glad the weekend is here and I am hopeful that I will be able to put needle to thread for a significant part of it!

I have been working on this small project during the month.  I always find it easy to stitch letters and words; they don't require a lot of concentration (like over one stitching or motifs with multiple color changes.)  So this little project has traveled with me to Chicago and Phoenix and I also worked on it at our needlework guild meeting on Tuesday night.

Recognize it?  It's called "I Sew'd My Heart" from Heartstring Samplery.  She offered this pattern to stitchers who were willing to take pictures of her website in interesting places and then send them to her.  She was collecting them and put them up on her blog.  You can see her collection here - My Heartstring Around the World - pretty cool idea!

We took a picture of her website header at the Minnesota State Fair in 2011. (Yes, I've had this pattern since then.)  It was hard to get a good photo because it was a really sunny day and things were reflecting in my daughter's iPhone - plus we really couldn't see what the photo was until after we took it.

It seemed appropriate to include a Pronto Pup (like a corn dog but better) in the shot since everything at the fair is on a stick!

Not a perfect photo, but you get the idea!  Beth from Heartstring was pleased with them and that's all that matters!

Well I guess I better get moving -- have a nice weekend!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

My Little Book of Patterns

I promised to share with you the little book of patterns that I made on Friday night at the Attic.

All the pieces were prepared for us and all we had to do is assemble.  Out came the glue -- yes, GLUE! Two pieces of cardboard are glued to the fabric to make the book.  The glue has to be spread thin and evenly.  Yep, we had to put our fingers in it to accomplish this!  The fabric is wrapped tautly and once it is in place, then we glued a coordinating piece of paper to the inside after strategically placing our ribbon across the center.

Vickie Jennett (Needlework Press) recommended that we wait to affix our stitched piece and the inside pattern piece until all of this glue had dried.  As she told us a little bit more about the books we "massaged" our front and back covers to ensure there were no air or glue bubbles.

I waited until I was home to cut out my stitching - there's a nun stitch that runs all along the outside border.  I attached a thin piece of interfacing to the back of my stitching and then glued it on the cover.  My accordion pleated pattern pages also are glued into the book.  Easy peasy.

Quick to stitch and easy to assemble.  If you would like to make your own, be sure to check out SANQ, volume #32, Summer 2003!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Attic - Day 3

And sadly, our last day at the retreat.  Today would be spent with Sherri Jones from Patrick's Woods and we worked on her Button Lover's Brag Book.

This is the first class I have ever taken from Sherri; what a talented designer!  Her projects remind me of Jackie du Plessis - the projects are mostly small, there's a lot of over one stitching and they are very finely finished.  Such creativity and imagination to come up with designs which when finished are truly a work of art!

We had the opportunity to view some of Sherri's other teaching pieces which she had brought along.  She asked us not to take photos, but you can see pictures of all of them on her website:  Patrick's Woods.  My two favorites are The Lounging Hare Sewing Box and the Blue Ribbon Sewing Box.  It was fun to see her completed projects.

Our project of the day though was the Button Lover's Brag Book.  Here's a snap of the front cover.

This is a really cool book in which you can attach all of your favorite buttons!  Pictures of some of the inside pages can also be seen on Sherr's website.

Great teacher -- after going over all the kit materials, Sherri walked us through the instructions page by page.  We started to stitch the outside front and back cover.  Later on, Sherri took us through the finishing instructions.  I think this is going to be a fairly easy project to finish - her instructions are very detailed.

Probably the best part of the day was the lecture on the history of buttons.  A button is something we just kind of take for granted, right?  It serves a purpose -- like to keep our coats closed on blustery cold days like today, yes?  The button hasn't always had a job to do; when buttons were first introduced they were mainly used for ornamental purposes!

So many different types of buttons - metal, glass, shell, wood, pearls.  I had never heard of calico buttons before - do you know what they are?  I do now! (You will have to Google it.)  Sherri also shared many resources for finding and collecting buttons.  Oh dear, sounds like it could become another hobby.

Here are some of the buttons that Judy and I purchased from a button collector who was at the Attic for the shopping event on Saturday night.  The buttons on the cards on the left and the right of the photo are calico buttons!

Long story short - the inside of our button book can be customized to highlight whatever types of buttons we may have in our collections.  Great, great project.  And now the search for special buttons begins.

In hindsight, I wish I had taken the optional class with Sherri Jones that was offered on Monday (A Fine and Fancy Tulip Tray) time I will know better.We were set to fly home on Monday morning...74 degrees in Mesa to minus 6 degrees in Minnesota.  Brrr. All good things must come to an end and our weekend at the Attic Sampler Symposium was a very good thing...

I guess I better get busy stitching...I have a lot of projects to finish!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Attic - Day 2

Saturday, Day 2!  We enjoyed a delicious breakfast at the Hyatt Place in Mesa.  All of our classes/lectures were held at this hotel - what a great place.  The staff was very friendly, rooms spacious and clean, and they served one of the best hotel breakfasts I have ever had!

Today was lecture day.  I realize not everyone would want to sit and listen to a lecture at a needlework retreat, but I enjoy learning about history and especially when it is needlework history!  Our day started with Lorraine Mootz.  Lorraine is a docent at the German Sampler Museum in Celle, Germany (sadly, this museum is closing soon.)

Lorraine is quite the character and I mean that in a good way!  She shared her knowledge of needlework with us, telling about the little accordion pleated pattern books (like the one we made Friday night) and then talked about marking samplers.  The pictures and the discussion were both interesting.

Vickie Jennett has a bonnet in her collection that has initials stitched in it.

From Lorraine we learned that those initials were stitched so that the owner would know the bonnet was theirs!  At this time period, the laundry was only done once or twice a year and consequently there would be a lot of laundry to do.  To ensure that each person in the family got their items of clothing back, they had to initial (and sometime number) them.

Lorraine also brought a couple of marking samplers with her from her collection.  We received the pattern for Marguerite Dumas as a gift for attending the weekend event.

Lorraine has published a book, Samplers and Designs:  Three Centuries of European Samplers, if you are interested in learning more.

Later Saturday afternoon, Lorraine also talked about decorative towels (also known as show towels or parade towels).  Vickie Jennett had brought one from her collection - I thought I had taken more pictures of it, but it looks like I only took one of the top of the towel.

These towels often hung on the walls or on a door and were rarely used to wipe one's hands; they were for "show".

We also heard from one other guest speaker, Joanne Martin Lukacher, the author of the new book, Imitation and Improvement:  The Norfolk Sampler Tradition.  If you like English samplers, you will enjoy this book.

Joanne talked about the samplers that she researched while writing this book.  All beautiful samplers!

After absorbing all this new information about historical needlework, we ended our day with an open house at the Attic; more shopping and a light supper.  Another perfect day has come to an end.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Brrr...It's Cold

Just a little less than 24 hours ago, I was enjoying this sunset....

The temperatures in Phoenix this weekend were in the 70's; when I arrived home this afternoon it was -6 degrees.  My body went into shock...almost.

You might be wondering what I was doing in Phoenix?  Let me tell you....I was here:

Yes, for the very first time ever I visited Attic Needlework - it's actually located in Mesa, just outside of Phoenix. My friend Judy and I have had this on our bucket list for some time.  We decided to attend their Sampler Symposium that was held this past weekend.

Now that I am home, I realize that I don't have a single picture of Jean our hostess and owner of the Attic.  She is just as delightful in person as you would expect her to be (based on her newsletters). Her staff at the shop was also very friendly and extremely helpful.  Judy and I enjoyed our afternoon of shopping on Friday very much!

The weekend's festivities began on Friday night...we each made one of these:

Mine isn't quite finished yet, but it will be soon and then I will share a picture with you.  We had done the stitching in advance and then worked on putting the books together when we arrived Friday.  Vickie Jennett of Needlework Press walked us through the process.  At one time, stitchers (in the 1800s) relied on these little books for their patterns.

Here's a look at some of the antique books that Vickie has collected:

And a look at some of the pages that would be folded up inside these little books:

And another look:

It was a fun little project and a great way to kick off the weekend!  If you are interested in reading more about these little books, dig out your old SANQ magazines!  Vickie wrote an article about them and you can find it in SANQ volume #32, Summer 2003.

Just a little taste to "whet your whistle" you know, I like to savor weekends like this, so I'm going to draw out these posts for a couple of days!

I've got to find a blanket and my stitching now and warm up!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Don't Drool on My Blog

Hello friends.  I was away for a couple of days visiting the windy city.  Truth is, it was neither windy or cold, gorgeous blue skies and the sun was shining!  Since I was working while I was there, this is the only sightseeing I did -- here is the view of Chicago from my conference room window:

Before I left for Chicago, I attended the needlework guild meeting on Tuesday night.  One of my friends, Chris (no blog), brought her completed Fruit of the Vine Sampler Huswif.  Chris took the class with me in LaCrosse, WI last October.  Of course, she is a prolific stitcher and finished her stitching almost immediately.  The finishing for the Huswif was done by Tricia at the Crosse Stitchery in LaCrosse.  Without further ado...

The outsides of the sampler and the needlecase, along with the scissor fob:

The insides of the sampler and the needlecase:

And a close up of Chris' beautiful stitching:

I better get busy and get mine stitched!

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Embroidered Dish Cloths

Do you have any of these in your kitchen?

As I was putting away some freshly laundered kitchen towels the other day I came across these dishcloths.  They reminded me of my Auntie Betty.  She was one of my mom's older sisters and she died about 7 or 8 years ago. She was quite the needleworker.

Auntie Betty Gave me these two sets of embroidered dishcloths when my husband and I got married 25 years ago.  For years I didn't use them; couldn't stand to use something that she had made for me - they had to be preserved! Eventually, I did start using them though as that's what they were meant for.

Now, I only have a few of them left -- I imagine that over the years some of them became quite worn or maybe they just disappeared, who knows.  At any rate, I still have a handful of them left.  (This next towel is not yellowed; chalk it up to poor photography!)

Wash Day, Iron Day, Cleaning Day, Baking Day - my Auntie Betty's life was structured exactly that way. And then on Sunday, you would rest!

As I mentioned earlier, Auntie Betty was quite a talented needleworker.  She crocheted beautiful doilies with thread (like the pineapple ones you used to see on top of dressers and tables).  She was left handed, so no one could ever learn from her because she did it "backwards".

Auntie Betty also did the most beautiful cutwork doilies and pillowcases that I have ever seen.  I think I have some of them and will have to share them in another post.  I wish I had learned how to do cutwork from her before she died.

She was a quilter too.  Her quilt tops were embroidered -- either stamped cross stitch or embroidered like these dishcloths.  When the quilt top was done, it was put on a quilt frame in the spare bedroom and she would quilt by hand.  After my uncle retired, he also would sit with her in that room and the two of them would quilt together.

Good memories.

Monday, January 07, 2013

A Relaxing and Enjoyable Stitch!

28 count linen, DMC fibers...need I say more?  I wanted to stitch something that was quick and easy and didn't require a lot of concentration and this LHN design fit the bill.  I had been meaning to stitch it for quite some time, but just never got around to it.  Looks like I have another finished project for my finishing pile!

LHN Winter Band Sampler
28CT WDW Straw/Gray
DMC Fibers

Sunday, January 06, 2013

And finally....some STITCHING!

There was so much going on in November and December and it seemed like forever since I had picked up a needle and thread...but I made up for that this past week.  Here's a glimpse at the projects I've been working  on.  The stitching is all finished; now I just need to find a day when I can work on some finishing.  I promise to take better photos when the finishing is complete!

The 2012 Fob from Shepherd's Bush....

School Girl Sampler Thimble Purse from With Thy Needle and Thread...

Be My Valentine from With Thy Needle and Thread....

LHN Ornament, Quaker Birds, using linen/silk conversion kit from The Inspired Needle...

And Wild Garden from Blackbird Designs.  I still have to do the personalization.  I'm not sure yet which date and initials I'm going to add...

I have another project that I will probably finish up today.  Stay tuned!

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Starting the New Year out the Right Way!

Seems like there is a lot of crud going around - coughing, sneezing, sore throats, chills.  I fell victim over the New Year holiday and I know of several others who have been sick.  Rest up and get better!

As a result, I had to "jump start" my new year and did so in a most appropriate way.  For the past year, a group of us have been gathering at Rosebud's Cottage, a local quilt shop, in their classroom.  We gather about every two months or so for about six hours of stitching bliss.  The faces in the group change a little bit each time because some will have conflicts, but for the most part we have a core group that is there every time.

Why do we do it?  We enjoy socializing with other "like-minded" people!  It's fun to spend the day together. There's always good conversation and lots of good laughs.  When there are tears, we comfort each other.  We enjoy seeing each others projects and trust me, there's a fair amount of enabling going on.  And did I mention food?  The gathering usually involves lunch; many take a quick break from stitching to enjoy a wonderful meal at the cafe next store.  We enjoy getting together for all these reasons above!

Today was our first gathering of the year --- we had a full house!


Here are just SOME of the projects that were being worked on...

And a couple friends brought finishes to share with all of us; aren't they great?

This little mouse is just to die for!  I need to get mine out and get it stitched!

A great time was had by all.