Saturday, July 26, 2014

Needlework Tools Galore!

A couple of weeks ago my sampler guild, The Queen City Sampler Guild, had a lecture on antique needlework tools by Gretchen from northern Ohio.  Oh my goodness--Gretchen brought lots of wonderful goodies for us to see.  It was a true feast for the eyes!

Here is some of what we saw.

In the background of the next photo is an unusual needlework basket that opens from the front.  Oh--I'd love to have something like that.  Various pincushions, spool holders, needlecases, a threadwinder, and more are also in the photo.

Below are some work boxes.  In the foreground are some Avery needlecases.  

Below is a close-up of some Avery needlecases. The William Avery Company manufactured such needlecases from 1868 until 1890.  They are now highly collectable.   In 2013, a survey was done in hopes of identifying all the different styles of Averies.  At that time 207 different styles were identified.  

You can learn more about Averies and see photos of the various styles (such as flat, figural, accordion, etc.) at this website.  

I don't think all the items in my photo are Averies.  (I think the brass bird contains a tape measure and the walnut a thimble.)

The next photo shows a Ladies Companion sewing box in the foreground on the left.  I wish I had gotten a close-up photo of it so you could get a better view of the needlework tools.  In the middle of the photo is a work box, and on the far right are several clamp-style pincushions.

Next is an enlargement of the wonderful pincushions and also some sewing clamps, often called a "third hand".  The sewing clamps, like the pincushions, could be fastened to a table. The sewing clamp could hold your fabric.  You could then pull the fabric taut with one hand and stitch with the other.  Animal figures were often used, and birds were the most common animal used.  The bird's mouth would open to hold the fabric.  You can read more about sewing clamps here.

Below is a Palais Royal worke box.  Typically such boxes had an upper tray with special compartments fitted precisely to hold each tool.  

In the photo below you can see these special shaped compartments. I think that what appears to be loose threads on either side of the box under the tray are actually the remains of ribbons that were used to remove the tray from the box.

If you look carefully at the photo below you can see a pansy on the needlecase. The pansy was the hallmark of Palais Royal needlework tools.

 You can read more about Palais Royal worke boxes here and here.

Next are photos of some more worke boxes.

Below is the lid of a box made from straw, I believe by a prisoner.  If you know for sure, please let me know.

Here is a view of the inside of the straw work box.

In the next photo, on the left is a case with beautiful silver needlework tools, and on the right is an incredible spool holder.

Below is an enlargement of the spool holder shown in the previous photos.  At the top is a pincushion.  If you remove the knobs from the wooden rods, you can put spools of thread on them.  At the bottom is a drawer for holding other needlework goodies.

And last but not least is another spool holder on the left and a tramp art worke box on the right.  Both items have a pincushion on the top.

Tramp art was popular from the 1870s-1940s.  It was created mainly from old shipping crates and cigar boxes the were whittled into layers.  Boxes and frames were the most common objects made You can read more about tramp art and see examples here.

Thank you to Gretchen for sharing part of your collection with us!  It was certainly a very memorable day!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Hodgepodge of Things

Thank you for all the lovely comments about the samplers I showed you in my last blog post.  

Several of you had questions about Hannah Pepper, but since there is no way to contact you directly I'll answer your questions here.  Rita, I'm using 36-count Antique Ivory from Zweigart and DMC threads.  JoAnn, the problems have to do with the chart parts not lining up correctly.  Some people who stitched this as it appeared in the magazine (in 3 parts) ran into problems when they got to Part 2.  That is when they discovered that there were issues with Part 1.  

After talking with several people, I decided to start the sampler at the bottom with Part 3 and work my way up.  I've been told that the border is correct, so that is good news.  I'll just need to be very careful when I put in the various motifs in Part 1.  I hope this information helps.

I also got an email from Judy, who was concerned that I had misspelled "finished" on the sampler.  (Thanks, Judy.  I sure appreciate your sharp eyes.)  However, the mistake was Hannah's and not mine.  Hannah spelled "finished" as "finised", so that's what I stitched.  I really appreciate you were concerned about this.  Thank you.

Last weekend my sampler guild had a day-long meeting--first a lecture on antique needlework tools (more about that in my next blog post), and a stitch-along in the afternoon.  I knew in advance that Lisa and Jana were taking their Snooty Parrots samplers to our meeting.  Mine is finished and was with my framer, Carol, so I asked her to bring it to the meeting so we could photograph the three samplers together.

My sampler is on the left and is stitched on 36-count linen.  Jana's is in the middle, and Lisa's is on the right.  Jana and Lisa are both using 40-count linen.  You might notice that Jana and I both added clouds around our angels.  This was Jana's idea after our guild had Joanne Lukacher lecture on Norfolk samplers.  Lots of those samplers had "angels in the clouds".  I think Lisa is also going to put clouds around her angels.

 I had to leave after the lecture because my daughter and her family were arriving for a weekend visit.  On Saturday afternoon, Carolyn, Haiden, Tom, and I went to Sharon Woods where we rented a peddle boat.

On the way home we stopped at a fossil park, which is about a mile from our house.  I can't believe that I've never been there before.  Within a couple of minutes, Haiden had found several fossils.  He had so much fun that we know we'll be returning soon.

For dinner we did a cookout followed by "dirt dessert".  I don't know how many of you are familiar with this.  It was popular when my children were young.  The main ingredients are chocolate pudding, milk, cream cheese, confectioner's sugar, and crushed oreo cookies.  When you crush the oreo cookies, the white cream filling seems to disappear, and you are left with the dark brown crumbs that look like potting soil.

I serve the dessert in a plastic flower pot I bought just for the dessert.  I layer crushed oreos, followed by a mixture of chocolate pudding, milk, cream cheese, cool whip, and confectioner's sugar.  I then repeat the layers, and end with an additional layer of oreo cookies.  I decorate the top with pretty silk flowers and gummy worms.  My flowers are so realistic that they fooled at least one person who thought they were real.  It's fun to serve the dessert with a trowel bought just for the dessert.  I wish I had thought to take a photo of it.

Haiden got a big kick out of dirt dessert.  At 6, I think he's the perfect age for that.  Poor little Garrett at nearly 4, didn't understand it.  Even after his parents explained to him that he liked all the things in it, he wouldn't try even one bite.

Sunday afternoon saw the whole family at the ball game--the Cincinnati Reds versus the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Despite the heat and a storm in the middle of the game, we all had a great time.

Here are our daughter Carolyn and son-in-law Greg with Haiden.

Here are our daughter-in-law Michelle, Garrett, and our son Stephen.  Haiden moved down to sit next to his cousin.

And here is the guy who loves to sing Take Me Out to the Ball Game during the 7th inning stretch.

The good news is that  the Reds won!!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Stitching Up A Storm

Here are some photos of the latest sampler I've finished.  Can you guess the name?

Perhaps the next photo will help.

Yes, this is my Snooty Parrots from Barbara Ann Designs.  I stitched this fun sampler as part of a Facebook sampler stitch-along.  I made a few changes to the original design--some were accidental, but the most were intentional.  The color isn't the best in these photos, so I'll post a much better photo once I get it back from my framer.

At the same time that I dropped off Snooty Parrots to be framed, I picked up Sovine Palphreyman (an out-of-print chart from Handwork Samplers).  After seeing a photo on-line of the original sampler, I changed some of my thread colors so my version would more closely resemble the antique.

The big decision was where to hang Sovine.  I thought that perhaps some of my family members and friends might be "creeped out" by poor little Sovine's rather morbid verse.  I found the perfect place for her near the top of my staircase.

Since finishing Snooty Parrots, I've been very busy working on the directions and powerpoint class presentation for my new teaching project, Kindred Spirits. This project consists of a beautiful tiger maple divided carrier with stitched bands on the inside, a needleroll, a pin cube, and a scissors sheath.  I hope to be able to show you some photos soon.  The project will premier in a couple of months in Michigan for the Kindred Spirits Sampler Guild.

Of course, I always need to have something to stitch.  My new start was Hannah Pepper (which was published in the magazine Fine Lines).  Knowing that there were some issues in the first section when it was published in the magazine, I decided to start at the bottom.  Here is my progress as of this morning.

I'm often asked how I get so much stitching done.  The best answer is that I'm a poor sleeper (something I don't recommend you try to duplicate).  I am typically up hours before Tom each morning, and I use that time to stitch.  I generally don't stitch much more during the day (unless I'm working on a new With My Needle design).  In the evening, if I'm lucky, I may get in another hour or two of stitching.  I do work in hand, and when possible use the sewing method or a combination of stab and sewing.  Perhaps my stitching would look a bit better if I used a frame, but I love the feel of the linen in my hands.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Birthday America!

The 4th of July is Independence Day in the United States.  It was 238 years ago, in 1776, that our Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress paving the way for the formation of a new nation.  Throughout the country there will be parades, picnics, fireworks, and concerts to celebrate our country's birthday.  Happy birthday America!

Friday, June 27, 2014

A Vintage Version of an Ackworth Friendship Book

Recently I received these photos from Laura S. of her Ackworth Friendship Book.

Laura lives on her great-great-grandparents' farm in York, South Carolina where she raises sheep (for fiber), goats (for milk), chickens (for eggs), and a pet pig.  Laura is also a reenactor at various historic sites.  She often demonstrates stitching.

Laura chose to give her book an old look by tea dying her linen and stitching the project with a vegetable dyed thread.  On the back of her book she stitched the year "1811" because that is the time frame that she is representing at the historic sites.

the front of Laura's book

the pages of Laura's book

the back cover of Laura's book
I really enjoyed seeing Laura's version of this stitched book and am honored that she takes it with her when she does reenactments.  I also enjoyed reading her Facebook page, Dressing the 18th and 19th Century.  Perhaps you might want to check it out also.