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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Friday Night Stitch-In - Wohoooo!

This weekend has been fabulous!  It started off with a stitch-in with the peeps in Northern KY.  I would guess that we ended up being about 15-20 ladies.  Some of us were stitching more than others (I was not part of the "some of us" section) and others were less focused and concentrated more on doing our "rounds" to catch up.  Fun, fun, fun.  Here are some shots of some of my buddies and their WIPs.  Aren't they gorgeous - both the buddies and their work, that is!
 L-bug, Big Dog, and  Bzz*Bzz*Bee.
 Bzz*Bzz*Bee is working on a baby quilt for a colleague - where can I find co-workers like that!? 
I think that I overheard her mentioning that the piece is stitched as a RR within a group at work.
L-bug showing off her very first SAL and big project, I Sigh Not for Beauty by C Street Samplerworks.  She is almost there!
Someone is hiding behind her frame...  Little Miss Peek-a-Boo! 
Everything is done, except for the minute over-one stitches...
Stone Collector with a school house in progress.  She was our gracious hostess.
 Pro-Framer, who promptly misunderstood my many hints that her WIP, once finished,
will find a very good and suitable home in my house, since it has birds on it....
Lady BlackWork holding up an adorable strawberry small.
MJ&ME (first time visitor, I believe - she melted right in) and Big Dog, 
who is working on the beautiful Liberty 1776 by Little House Needleworks
Froggie, with a very suitable project, don't you think?
MissieY with a good quarter completed of her gorgeous sampler!

In the last picture, you can see MissieY with her fantastic progress on Sandy Orton's America Sampler.  As you may know, this sampler was recently re-published and was even the "Sampler of the Month" at Attic Needlework earlier this year.  It is a beautiful sampler, inspired by the samplers from the Mary Balch School in Providence, Rhode Island.  If you would like to see a couple of actual reproduction samplers, Scarlet Letter has two; Betsy Davis and Betsy Manchester.  Are they not just beautiful!?  Here are a few other examples: Mary Munro, Lucy Potter (possibly Mary Balch School),  Elizabeth Ann Pitman, Polly Smith, Betsy Wardwell, and Nabby Martin.
Here is a little bit more info about Mary Balch School, shamelessly copied from American Needlepoint Guild, Inc:
"Mary Balch's School has produced one of the largest group of fine schoolgirl samplers and embroidered pictures of the sampler period. Located in Providence, Rhode Island, the school seems to have been started by Sarah Balch after the death of her tailor husband. Experience with the tailoring may have been very valuable to Sarah and her daughter Mary. Mary assisted her mother and soon took over the running of the school, and it is under her supervision that the school gained its outstanding reputation.
Mary's epitaph proclaims that she started the first "female academy" in Providence, and the earliest sampler from the school is dated March 1785. This sampler reflects the Newport background of the Balch family, with its elegant people and use of flowers and birds. The striated arches enclosing a setting with a building and people will become one of the hallmarks of this school.
Though the Balch School's most important embroideries were done in a rented house in the Constitution Hill area, Mary decided in 1800 to build a house on George Street where she could take in boarders and enlarge the school. Before this, girls from out of town had to room elsewhere. This move began a very active time, for the school enrollment rose to fifteen to twenty boarders and sixty to eighty day students. Students included young boys, girls at all ages, and some ladies in their twenties. Students might stay long enough to execute a single piece of needlework or remain for a large portion of their girlhood, as did orphaned Sally Sabin — who entered in 1805 and left just before her 1814 marriage at age fifteen.
Many of the Balch samplers are characterized by the use of an imposing floral border, usually a vine growing from double handled vases with various flowers. One very charming thing about these samplers is their frequent use of Providence's public buildings, many of them found at Rhode Island State College (now Brown University). Silver threads were also economically used, usually in the costumes of figures. Frequentlv used stitches are the rococo, rice, diagonal cross, split, Oriental and diagonal darning.
In 1825, Mary Balch's health became impaired and though she lived another six years, the school was probably run by her cherished adopted daughter, Eliza Walker, who maintained the school for about ten years after Mary's death. This was one of New England's most famous needlework schools, and we are fortunate indeed to have as a legacy so many works from hands Mary Balch taught so expertly."

I am sure that many of you have seen The American Sampler on-line, but did you know that this was the crowning sampler in a sampler series designed by Sandy Orton for the fabulous and very short-lived magazine Treasures in Needlework?  Only six issues of this magazine were released, but those issues are just wonderful.  If you have not seen them or heard of them before, I would warmly recommend looking for a number or two on e-bay, which is where I got my issues a few years back.
MissyY is stitching her sampler on a 40 ct linen, while mine (can be seen as a a sad and neglected WIP on the right side-bar) is stitched on the original coarser linen, I believe that it is a 22 ct raw linen.

The other three samplers were designed is the styles of Spanish, Dutch and English.  I have managed to whip up these three babies, but of course they are not framed and tend to hang around in one of my stitch room closets a lot.  Anyway, here they are:
I would say that the English sampler, right above, is probably my most challenging finished project to date.  I think that it took about 3 months' worth of intense stitching in the evenings to get her done (I just notice that I stitched up the Spanish sampler that same year - boy, 2003 was a productive year!).  I did stitch her on a frame, which is very unusual for me, and I do recall that it was hard not to freak out when the entire sampler was finished, with exception from the cut-work, and I had to start cutting into what felt like I had stitched my soul into for weeks and weeks...  That was pretty nerve wrecking.
Since then, I have learned that most anything can get fixed - if the wrong linen tread gets cut, you can always pull that one out, take a linen thread from the edge and weave that one back in place of the one that just got pulled out.  Works like a charm!  (Some exceptions that I have run across are are weaves that are made from weak warp & weft, since they tend to break when you try to weave them back in.)

Tomorrow, I will try to post about the Founder's Day celebration.  I had a great time, so I am looking forward to share it with all of you!
Good Night and talk with you in a bit - Happy Stitching!


  1. Roligt med korsstygnskväll!
    Många fina saker.
    Nu är det hela 42 följare ju, heja syster yster!
    Längtar efter dig

  2. ooo sounds like you had a fabulous time :) and the work is gorgeous .. the English sampler that is the second time I have seen it this weekend .. my friend Gillie came over on Saturday and she is working on this one :) love mouse xxxx

  3. What a fun stitching day, I so enjoyed seeing everyone's work!!! All gorgeous. And your samplers are so pretty too.

  4. Wow, girlfriend, you have a gift for making us all look so good! It was great hanging out together. It's always a good time when the peeps get together. We must do it more often.


  5. I only want you to ever take my picture. You made me look not bad! Your samplers are just gorgeous! What a fantastic stitcher you are. I got the zebra done on the baby afghan and decided I should do P for pig too. I'll take pictures and post soon. It was soo great to see you.

  6. Looks like a fun group of stitchers. All of the projects are wonderful, you are blessed to have such a great group of friends.

  7. Glad you had a good time at the stitch in. I see lots of familiar faces. You'll have to let me know when the next one is. I'd love to go bug everyone :0)

  8. Great post! Looks like lots of fun.

    Get those samplers framed and on your wall, they are too good to be hidden away! The English one seems like the inspiration for a one I stitched from a magazine, here's link to my post about it.
    MJ thought it looked familiar and I can see why.