Monday, April 30, 2012

The blessing of family and friends

I'm glad so many of you all enjoyed my last posting about the wonderful needlework exhibit at the Chester County Historical Society.  I'm sorry I wasn't able to show you any of the individual samplers, but I'm so thankful I was able to at least show you some room shots.  I believe that there is talk of doing a book on the Chester County samplers.  Wouldn't that be great?

Annette asked which of the samplers in the display I've stitched as reproductions. I've stitched Deborah Walker and Rachel Ellis.  The Deborah Walker sampler is part of the Chester County Historical Society's collection.  You can see my photos here. A photo of my Rachel Ellis sampler is here.  Some interesting notes on Rachel Ellis.  Rachel and her sisters, Sarah and Mary, and her brother, William, were among the first students at Westtown School when it opened in 1799.  I have a friend in Cincinnati who is a descendant of the same Ellis family.  It is a small world indeed!

I believe both Deborah's and Rachel's samplers, as well as others, are available in the historical society's shop.  I couldn't find a link to the shop on their website, but I did find this short video about the exhibit.

The rest of this blog post is a potpourri of photos from our trip to Delaware (with stops in Pennsylvania and in Virginia).  I've already shown you photos from the National American Coverlet Museum, the Chester County Historical Society, and my classes, but there is more to show and tell you about.

After visiting the coverlet museum, we headed to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to tour the battleground.  I  had earlier written my friend Cathy Campbell (Primitive Traditions) about perhaps visiting with her and her husband, Bob. I hadn't seen Cathy in quite some time so it was particularly fun to catch up on things.  Cathy showed me the project that she is teaching in October at Enfield Shaker Village in New Hampshire.  Wow--is it wonderful! I wish that I had thought to take some photos, but these will have to suffice.  

After visiting Cathy and Bob, we drove to Delaware for my classes.  We went a day earlier than was necessary to visit the sampler exhibit in West Chester and also to take my niece and her boyfriend out to dinner.  (They are seniors at the University of Delaware in nearby Newark.)

My classes were on Saturday and Sunday.  On Monday morning, we headed over to the Eastern Shore to visit my Aunt Frances. As luck would have it, Barbara Hutson (Queenstown Samplers) also lives on the Eastern Shore and was only about half an hour off our route.  How much fun it was to see Barbara and to meet her husband Jim.  Barbara showed us her office where all her models hang and also lots of wonderful antique samplers that she is going to reproduce.  Again, I forgot to take any photos. 

Since it was lunch time, we went out to eat at one of Barbara's favorite places, Bridges on Kent Narrows.  We may have forgotten to take sampler photos, but long-time readers of my blog, know that Tom likes to sometimes photograph memorable meals.  So here is his Maryland crab cake sandwich.  That's Barbara in the background. 

Then we were off to head further south on the Delmarva peninsula to visit my aunt.  The name "Delmarva" stands for Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia.  The Chesapeake Bay separates the Eastern Shore from the mainland.   (Perhaps you remember my two projects honoring Mrs. Waddelow, my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmother.  Amy Waddelow lived in Accomack County, right in the middle of the Virginia’s Eastern Shore.  Nearly four hundred years later, my Aunt Frances still lives in Accomack County.)

It was so great to see my aunt and two of my cousins and their families.  I spent lots of time looking at old photos, visiting old cemeteries, and catching up on things.  How much fun!

I don't know how I hadn't noticed before how many old quilts my aunt has. My grandmother's mother, Caroline (Carrie) Justis, must have been quite a quilter. I don't know how many quilts she made, but it had to be at least 8 because my sister, brother, and I each have one in addition to the five shown in these photos.

And here is a photo of my great-grandmother who lived to be 68.  This was the first time I had seen her photo, and I don't know how old she was  it was taken.  In fact I know very little about her other than besides my grandmother she had two sons, one who died when he was just a few days old and the other at 16.  My grandmother told us that her mother (my great-grandmother) never got over the loss of the two boys and would cry every night.  I wonder if perhaps she found some comfort in her needlework.

Another thing I discovered in my aunt's house was this stamped cross stitch sampler that my grandmother made in 1932. 

My grandmother was quite a needleworker, and I have been lucky enough to inherit some of her handwork including a crocheted afghan and two beautiful crocheted bedspreads.  Luckily for me, my mother took after her with her handwork, but my aunt didn't.  She'll be quick to tell you that she can't even sew on a button or do a hem.  In 1936, my mother and my aunt started stamped samplers.  I have my mother's framed and hanging in our bedroom, but my aunt told me she never finished hers.

I guess my cousin Nancy took after our grandmother because she does lots of cross stitch.  In previous blog posts, I've shown you her Family Ties sampler that she made as a bridal shower gift for her daughter-in-law and her A Child's Prayer that she made for her mother.  Here is her Multiplication Examplar.  Nancy stitched it on aida using two DMC blues.  It would be fun to put our pieces side by side since I stitched my model over one linen thread.

Wow, this blog post has gotten rather long, so I think I'll save the rest for next time and just leave you with these two photos.  First the beautiful wisteria which was growing wild on the Eastern Shore, and then the wild ponies on Assateague Island.  (If you're familiar with the children's book, Misty of Chincoteague, then you know about these ponies.)


Margaret said...

Oh wow, sounds like a lovely trip! So nice that you got to visit Cathy Campbell and Barbara Hutson too! And all those quilts!! What a family heritage! I love that stamped sampler -- it's so pretty! You are lucky to have such a heritage of needleworkers in your family. Looking forward to more!

Barb said...

Ellen, this was a wonderful post!! So very interesting. It sounds like an amazing trip.

Krista said...

What great photos! Love those quilts!! I wish I could learn that craft, maybe one of these days. That crab cake looks yummy!! I am headed to lunch right now and that sure looks better than what I packed today! :)