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Friday, October 2, 2015

Welcome Autumn!!!!

Hello everyone,
          It is a soggy day here in Middletown, Delaware, but I am sitting here in my favorite stitching chair surrounded with my most current design and stitching away.  I've been very busy stitching the accompanying smalls to my Fraktur Huswif design.  I will be teaching it, along with my Mary Sophia's Pennsylvania German Sewing Set and Cottage by the Sea Sewing Set in January 2016 at the Attic in Mesa, Arizona.
          Because of the vibrant, earthy colors used to create these wonderful works of art, Fraktur always puts me in an autumn frame of mind.  I actually started designing the huswif portion of my design in the fall of 2006, but never finished it (the design) in its entirety until this year.  Earlier that year, I had attended a seminar sponsored by the Berks County Historical Society where I saw many examples of Fraktur as well as samplers stitched by young ladies of the Pennsylvania German community and was so taken with the naive style and bright colors of the art.  In 2006, being a needlework designer, was just a distant dream that I never thought would happen.  Who knew?!  Fast forward to 2015, and I'm not only designing, but teaching as well.  I love it!  Here is a sneak peek at the top of the mattress style pincushion that will go inside of the huswif.  The head and eye of the bird are done in the spiral trellis stitch, as are the cherries in the tree.  You can see pictures of this, as well as the other projects, in the Attic's Newsletter 9/15/15.
          Okay, now to the task at hand.  Oh, that word "task" makes it seem arduous -- I think I'll just say, "And now, on to Part 2 of our stitching pleasure for A Time Forever Gone."  I hope you've enjoyed stitching the flowers on the left side of the sampler because we are going to do the flowers on the right side for this part of the SAL.  In addition, we will also be doing the center basket motif. Here are some close up pictures of the basket and the spiral trellis centers on the flowers.  You might find them helpful in seeing them up close and personal.

These closeups clearly show how the addition of long stitches to the flowers make them look more detailed.  The basket is done using the diamond eyelet stitch, broken down in fractions to create the shape.  Here are some closeups of the basket portion of the design you will be working on for this part of the SAL.

Note that there is backstitching around the base of the basket, as well as the rim.  I used Belle Soie "Mud Pie" for the backstitching and "Pecan Pie" for the basket itself.  Refer to the stitch diagrams included with your chart for more information on the diamond eyelet stitch.
          Here is a combined diagram of Parts 1 and 2 of the SAL.  This is what your sampler will look like (positive thinking, lol) by the time I post Part 3 of the SAL.
          As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me and I will be happy to assist you.  For your convenience, there is a link to a printable PDF file of Part 2 in the side bar of the blog.  Happy stitching and happy fall, y'all!
Yours in friendship and stitches,
P.S.  I will be heading to Cincinnati, Ohio in November to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Queen City Sampler Guild.  I was honored to be asked to design a sampler commemorating this event and have led a year long, 5-Part Mystery SAL for the members of the Guild.  Here is a picture of the sampler framed and a detail of the portion of the sampler that was charted specifically for the Guild's 20th anniversary.  Sorry for the poor quality of the photo of the actual sampler.  Clearly, photography is not one of my talents.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Welcome to "A Time Forever Gone" SAL!

A Time Forever Gone Stitch-a-Long

Hello fellow stitchers,

Welcome to “A Time Forever Gone” SAL!  I am so happy to have you join me in stitching this design as I think you will enjoy the specialty stitches and details that bring this tribute to Georgia to life.  I had originally planned to create a new blog for this SAL, but thought it would work just as well on my Heart's Ease Examplar Workes blog.  Before I give you the first suggested stitching schedule, I’d like to tell you a little bit about how I was inspired to do this design.  First of all, I was contacted by Caroline Thomes, from the Sampler Guild of Georgia, to see if I would be interested in coming to Atlanta to teach one of my designs.  During the conversation, we talked about how very few antique samplers from that area of the south had survived.  The Civil War, climate and insects had certainly taken their toll on whatever was there originally.  Somehow, I suggested that I could come up with a new design, that would have the spirit of an old sampler that may have been stitched by a young lady in the mid 1800's.  And that is how the process got started!

After watching “Gone With The Wind” several times I felt a surge of creativity, both in the artistic representation of the design, as well as poetically, in the composition of the verse that would accompany the design.  I knew that I wanted a swag of flowers instead of a traditional border, so I researched flowers indigenous to the Atlanta area and started putting my ideas together using my design software.  It took me a while, but I finally came up with a design that I truly love.  I hope you will feel the same. For your convenience, each stitching schedule will be converted to a downloadable/printable PDF file, the link to which will be posted in the side bar of the blog.  From this point on the schedules will be posted on the 1st of each month and will be 2 months in duration.  Here are the dates of publication:

Assignment 1 - August 15, 2015
Assignment 2 - October 1, 2015
Assignment 3 - December 1, 2015
Assignment 4 - February 1, 2016
Assignment 5 - April 1, 2016
 Assignment 6 - June 1, 2016  

That will make the SAL a year in duration and, for a large sampler such as this, by August 15, 2016 each of you participating will have your sampler completed and ready for framing.

As with all of my designs, in order to make it your “own”, I encourage you to make changes to colors and/or design as you see fit.  I have done a conversion of the Belle Soie I used to stitch my sampler, to DMC solid colors.  If you have overdyed cottons or other fibers in your stash that you would prefer using, then I suggest you use the DMC color for comparison to pick out a complimentary floss with which to stitch your sampler.

Okay, let’s get on to our first suggested assignment!  I always start my samplers from the upper left corner and work my way across and down, so that is how I will start this assignment.  Measure 3 inches from the top and side of your linen to start your first stitch.  See diagram below.
We will be working the  floral/raspberry swag across the top until we get to the basket, and then down the left side.  See the following diagram.

Stitch the vines around the white raspberry flower (diagram on next page) before you do the satin stitched petals.  If you do the satin stitches beforehand, you will have difficulty finding the holes for your stitches as the satin stitch will cover them up.  I found it easier to stitch the Rhodes Stitch center before I did the satin stitched petals as well. In the instructions that came with your chart, you will find the diagrams for the specialty stitches.  The center of the Dogwood and Coreopsis are done in the Spiral Trellis Stitch (see diagram for stitch at the end of this post), and the center of the spring violas are done with the Tied Windmill Stitch.  Save the Spiral Trellis centers for last as it will be easier to stitch them with an even tension if you do them at the same time, gaining a natural rhythm as you go, so they look consistent.  For the Azalea blooms, save the long stitched stamens for last.

       Well, that is it for the first assignment.  If you should have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me.  I’ll keep you posted on my progress and post pictures as I continue to the finish for the “A Time Forever Gone” model. Be sure to check the right side bar of the blog for the link to the printable PDF file of this assignment.

Yours in friendship and stitches,


P.S.  My apologies for getting this posted late.  My life is giving new meaning to the old saying, "A day late and a dollar short."  I appreciate your understanding.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Materials List

Hello everyone,

Someone emailed me and asked if I had a materials list for A Time Forever Gone, so after I sent it to her I thought it would be a good idea to post it on the blog.  This way you can go through your stitching stash and, if you find you already have some of the threads, it will be one less thing to buy.  Below is the materials list.  I am also providing a printable PDF file of the list here ATFG Materials List:
Happy Stitching,

Thursday, June 18, 2015

A Time Forever Gone SAL ...

Hello everyone,

I know I'm a bit late getting this information posted, but it is my great pleasure to let you know that starting August 15, 2015, I will be leading an open SAL for my newest design, A Time Forever Gone.

As some of you may already know, I had a major accident with my first model of this design when I accidentally spilled a full glass of iced tea on it.  Because it is stitched with silk overdyed threads, which are not colorfast, the colors ran and ruined the whole thing.  Consequently, I had to start over.  I thought, since I will be stitching a little ahead of those who've purchased the chart, it would be fun to do a SAL.  I will post monthly assignments, which will be available as printable PDF files.  Originally I had planned to post the assignments on this blog, but decided I will set up a new blog just for the SAL.  Since it will not be private, anyone who wants to join in is welcome to do so.
          I so look forward to having those interested in the SAL, join me on August 15, 2015, for the first installment.  I will post the name of the blog and a link to it, once I have it up and ready to go.  To be continued ...

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Announcing Release of "Mayflower Rose Sewing Set!"

Hello fellow stitchers,
          I'd like to wish you all a Happy Mother's Day and am hoping you are enjoying the glorious warmth of spring in your neck of the woods.  Here in Delaware spring keeps making a brief appearance, followed by several days of chill and rain. This weekend the weather report is calling for a Nor Easter -- which will mean more rain with wind and cold.  Remind me of how unhappy I was with this weather when a month from now it is in the high 90's and I can't cool off fast enough!
           It's been a while since I've posted, but I've been very busy working on some special projects and have just returned from a teaching trip to Atlanta, Georgia for the Sampler Guild of Georgia and the Magnolia Sampler Guild.  I had a wonderful time and was so impressed with the hospitality and friendliness of the people I met.  Atlanta is a beautiful city and my host, while there, made my stay a lovely and memorable one.
          I'm happy to announce that on May 5, 2015, I will be releasing the long awaited, highly anticipated,  ;-)  "Mayflower Rose Sewing Set."  Here is a picture of the fully assembled set:
 This next picture includes a photo of the ornament I designed for the Mayflower Sampler Guild that started it all, which is a separate purchase from the set of smalls.  I chose to mount mine on the inside of the lid so I could remove it to hang on my tree at Christmas time.  I used a Nantucket basket purse that I purchased from Basketville about 5 years ago that, unfortunately, is no longer available.  Although this particular basket is no longer available, they still have some listed on their website if you want a similar one of your own.  I was told by the salesperson there that they are unable to get these baskets any longer as the manufacturer is no longer in business, so once their inventory is gone they won't be carrying them any longer.  It seems that it will be hard to obtain these in the future and the secondary market will be the only place to find one.  Of course you can always buy a handmade original from a Nantucket basket artisan, but that could really be cost prohibitive.  At any rate, here is a link to Basketville's website:  Nantucket Basket Purse
Also, in my previous email I showed a picture of the basket and smalls donated by the Mayflower Sampler Guild to the yearly cancer research auction at the Attic in Mesa, Arizona.  In case you don't remember, here is the picture again:
This beautiful basket was made especially to house the ornament in the lid by a member of the Mayflower Sampler Guild, Janice Card.  She kindly agreed to allow me to post her contact information in case you'd like to order a basket from her.  Here it is: 
          On another note, check back next week, as I have a special announcement regarding an upcoming event.  It is a secret right now, but I hope you will be as excited as I am once it is announced.
          Thanks so much for all of your kind words and wonderful emails regarding my designs.  I am so humbled and honored to have so many fellow stitchers like what I am doing, especially my sampler designs.  Until next week, I wish you fair weather, good health, good fortune, and lots of stitching time.
As always, yours in friendship and stitches,

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Happy New Year!

Hello everyone,

          I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and are ready to move on to this new year of 2015 with lots of stitching projects and finishes.  I can't tell you how busy I've been since mid-November with meeting deadlines, getting 3 private on line SAL's going and finishing the stitching for the Mayflower Rose Needlework Smalls.  Now all I have to do is assemble them, take pictures while doing so, write the finishing instructions and get the charts printed so I can put them on the retail market by the end of January.  I think you will be pleased with the set and I will be sure to post pictures of it when it is complete.

          I've also been busy finishing the design for the Sampler Guild of Georgia/Magnolia Sampler Guild for a class I'll be teaching in April.  I'm so looking forward to seeing Georgia in the springtime.  It will be my first visit there and I can hardly wait!  Here is a sneak peek at the sampler:
This design has been a labor of love for me and I am so going to need to be in my bionic stitching mode in order to finish it before April.  The floral motifs on either side of the chimneys are cotton plants.  I'll be stitching the cotton bolls using "Whisper" to give them the fluffy, cotton like appearance they need.  I can hardly wait to see how they will turn out.  This design is being stitched on 40 count Vintage Pear by Lakeside Linens.  The colors of the flowers just pop on the fabric and it is a break from the usual beige linens I usually use.  The small bird motif  on the left side of the magnolia tree is stitched over one and is the Brown Thrasher, Georgia's State Bird.  I had to design it over one in order to get the detail I wanted but it will be well worth the effort once it is stitched.  I hope you like the sampler.  It is named "A Time Forever Gone."

          Again, Happy New Year and check back by the end of January to see pictures of the Mayflower Rose smalls.

Yours in friendship and stitches,