Friday, 20 October 2017

Blog #50 - Our 2016 Mystery Sampler Project finished

Sunday,  5  February 2017

Waitangi Day tomorrow  -  Hurray!  Another holiday, which means Keith will be home for the day.

Over the past year since we purchased another business Keith now has to go away from home all day, every day, to work.  For the previous seven years he has only had to be away from home for a few hours each day to attend to business but this additional business entails additional hours.  I have missed him and his companionship so much.

Tomorrow I will help him stack the logs which he has sawn from the limbs of some of our older apricot trees and then whilst I am either stitching or writing up the instructions for a new design I am working on, he is planning on working on the new needlework gallery - lining the underside of the verandah.  The next task after that is the installation of a front door.  We are having difficulty in finding a door that is the same style as the other main doors that are in the original part of the house.

The door on the left
is the
Needlework Gallery door
which hasn't been restored yet

and the door
is the main front door that has been
partly restored.


I mentioned above about a new design.
This is another reproduction
of a sampler from Jeanie’s collection.

A little but very colourful sampler created by Hannah
when she was nine years of age and living at
Lanehead which is in Ballmoney, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.
She has worked her sampler in Cross Stitch on canvas with wool.
Hannah’s sampler is undated.
As the fashion for Berlin wool-work decreased dramatically after 1880,
this little sampler was probably worked before then.
My plan is to stitch the design twice but with threads on linen - not wool on canvas -
one as per the colours used by Hannah
and the other one with an overdyed silk thread with a few solid dyed thread colours.
Both versions will be available in the one chart pack.
Here is a photo of the original sampler

and a sneak peek at the two reproduction versions.
Version One  -  DMC Stranded Cottons
Version Two  -  Silk Over-dyed thread  -  SNC 083  :  Finnegan's Fog
I have to confess to having difficulty with matching cotton thread colours
to Hannah's wool colours.
In addition to my trying to sort out thread colours and beginning Hannah’s sampler,
I released part six - the final part -
of our Mystery Sampler project (Family Quaker Sampler)
on the 1st of February.
Before that date I had to finish my original designed sampler
and I had to work feverishly on my second version of the sampler
 - the one over one piece -
so that it too was finished by that date. 
You may recall the images of both samplers in my last blog -
 just the border & initials on the samplers and not all the motifs
around the initials, nor the personalisation at the bottom. 
When completed, this little sampler had a few marks on the back of it
where my hands had held it when it was in the embroidery hoop.
Obviously I wasn’t careful enough about washing my hands before picking it to work on it! 
Now - most of you will already know that washing a piece of needlework
worked with an overdyed thread is NOT recommended.

I knew it - but thought I’ll only do a light, quick wash.
Well - all was well until the piece began to dry.
That’s when the “bleeding” began.
From the stitches the fabric began turning pink.
I immediately rinsed it in cold water, left it flat to dry again
- but once again - it began to bleed as it began to dry.
I then rinsed and rinsed several times and finally left it soaking in cold water
and each time the water turned pink, I replenished the basin with fresh water.
Kept repeating this process until the water remained clear.
At this time I then removed the piece to dry and yay!  All was well.  So pleased.

A reminder of the materials used to create this second little sampler -
Permin Linen  -  35 count  -  Lambswool
Thread:   Simply Shaker Sampler Thread  by  The Gentle Art  -  Grape Arbor
Below is my original sampler worked over two threads of fabric
with one strand of thread all finished and framed.
A reminder of the fabric and threads used to create this piece -
Fabric:  Belfast Linen  -  32 count  -  Platinum
Threads:   Sampler Thread  by  The Gentle Art  -  Soot
                  DMC Stranded Cotton  -  902  &  814
                  DMC Stranded Cotton  -  936  &  3051

This design will be available for purchase as a complete design
after I return from my trip to ‘Celebration of Needlework’ retreat
that is to held at the beginning of May at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel
in Nashua, New Hampshire, USA.
If you would like to read about how other mystery sampler participants
are progressing with their samplers - go to:

Scroll down the page and click on each of the sampler progress reports.
A few pics of the many samplers that are pictured in the progress reports mentioned above :
Fiona  -  Hamilton
Thread:  Sampler Thread  -  Green With Envy
Mary  -  Hastings
Thread:  Sampler Thread  -  Purple Iris
Joy  -  Havelock North
Thread:  Sampler Thread  -  Blue Jay
That's all for this time.
Sincerely hoping you have been able to spend some time
renewing and refreshing your soul
with fabric, needle and thread in your hands.


Thursday, 5 October 2017

Blog #49 - I LOVE the month of January ...

Friday,  20 January 2017

January - as per the title of this blog - the time of year that I LOVE!!

Especially the first two weeks of it and the time between Christmas and New Year.  It is a time when "time" can be disregarded - no pressure to open the doors of the Needlework Gallery, no weekly commitments, no meetings, no group get-togethers, etc.  It truly is a time to relax and recoup and let the energy levels be replenished and do whatever one pleases - when they please.  Quite selfish really - but sometimes one needs to think of oneself.
As per tradition, I always begin a jigsaw puzzle on Boxing Day and Boxing Day of 2016 was no exception - except that I began the first of two jigsaw puzzles that I had been given as Christmas gifts from Keith.  (Perhaps he thought I needed twice as much rest and relaxation).  Especially loved one of them - Christmas in the Parlour - as hidden in the picture were objects from 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' song.  The challenge was to find each days objects when the puzzle was finished.  Fun!!
Here is a pic of 'Christmas in the Parlour' -
and here is a pic of the second jigsaw, 'Carriage Marriage' -

During this time I also spent many hours stitching in my big armchair. 
It's no wonder that it is so threadbare!
I finished stitching the piece that I have designed for the class that I am to be taking at
-  'Celebration of Needlework' -
the needlework retreat at Nashua, New Hampshire, in the USA
(about 45 minutes from the Boston airport).
This is to be at the beginning of May.
Here is a sneak peek at it  -

And almost finished the scissors fob that will also be taught in the class.
Pictured below is a sneak peek at it -
As yet not made up - but the twisted cord for the edging and the tassel are made.
My intention is to have several fobs finished before the retreat
- each fob being made with a different thread colour -
so that the class attendees can see and then choose their favourite colour of thread
for the fob they are to be making.
Also I plan to make up several extra fob kits for sale in my exhibition booth.
Consequently, I need to make several fobs before April so that I can have lots of models on display.
The chart for this design - Josephine's Fob - is available for purchase
but I will write details of that in another blog.
I also stitched the initials of my children and grandchildren on to my second
'Family Quaker Sampler' pictured below.
This sampler has been stitched with just one colour
(over one thread of fabric with one strand of thread)
on the following fabric and with the following thread -
Fabric:  Permin Linen  -  35 count  -  Lambswool
Thread:  Simply Shaker Sampler Thread  by  'The Gentle Art'  -  Grape Arbor
The 'Family Quaker Sampler' is our 2016 Mystery Sampler project and the addition of initials to the sampler is Part Four of the project.  The sampler features Quaker motifs that were taught at the Ackworth School in England for Quaker children.  The distinctive Quaker medallions form a border and inside this border one has to place the initials (or names) of their family members.  Smaller distinctive styled motifs are then to be placed between/amongst the initials or names.
Motifs, initials or names, family members (children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, etc.) and the placement of them was to be the stitcher's choice.
This project began on the 1st of September, but anyone can still begin at any time.
In total, there are six parts and Part Five was released on the 1st of January.
This is how my original sampler looked after completing Part Four -
Fabric:  Belfast Linen  -  32 count  -  Platinum
Threads:  Sampler Thread  by  'The Gentle Art'  -  Soot
                DMC Stranded Cotton  -  902  &  814
                DMC Stranded Cotton  -  936  &  3051
I worked this sampler over two fabric threads with one strand of thread.
When this design has finished as a Mystery Sampler project,
it will be available for purchase as a complete design.

To date costings and date for release have not been finalised.
When these decisions have been made,
they will be related in a blog, announced on Facebook and added to the website.

That's all for the moment and so will say  ...