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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

          For those who've been waiting for its release -- Good News!  Cottage by the Sea, a Salty Yarns shop exclusive, is now available for purchase.  If you are interested, you can purchase the chart at:
          A little story about how this design came to be -- My local needlework guild, the Delaware Valley Historic Sampler Guild, has a retreat twice a year in Ocean City, MD at the Lankford Hotel.  Sally, the owner of the hotel and the shop, Salty Yarns, jokingly asked if I would design a "beach" themed sampler for the shop.  I knew that I did not want to design a sampler with beach pails and umbrellas or sea creatures - I really wanted to do something different.  The sampler actually evolved from the verse I composed and the above picture is the final result.  I hope you like it.
          Here is another picture of Cottage by the Sea, but with enhanced detail.  The colors, however, are more muted as in the first picture.
A number of people tell me that the design reminds them of Mackenzie Childs pottery.  If so, this is totally by accident, but it does have the characteristics of the check and roses on some of the pottery.  To be honest, I love checks and try to use them whenever I can in my designs.  The roses are my interpretation of the wild coastal rose that blooms along the dunes in New England, the Rugosa Rosa.  It is a rather flat rose, but has a wonderful fragrance and, so,  the theme built from there.  Here is a picture of the Rugosa Rosa:

           After I designed and stitched the sampler, I had a wonderful idea for a needlework set based on the design.  "Cottage by the Sea Sewing Set" won Best in Show and First Place at the 2nd annual Rehoboth Historical Society's Needlework Exhibit, and will be available as a teaching piece sometime in the future.  Here is a picture of the design:
          Sally, is now semi-retired (or so she says) and her wonderful daughters, Sara and Mary, run the day to day business affairs of the hotel and shop.  If you ever have a chance to visit Ocean City, MD, or better yet, book a stay and the Lankford, please stop by the shop - it is filled with eye candy for the stitching fanatic (and the knitter, too).  Have a great summer, everyone!
                                       Yours in friendship and stitches,

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Summer Has Arrived!

     And I just had my air conditioner repaired -- not a minute too soon!  Whew!
     I have a lot to report since last I posted.  The class at the Schwenkfelder Museum's "Penn Dry Goods Market Days" went very well.  It's always a good thing when no tomatoes are thrown.  I met some very nice people and may be invited to teach in several places in 2015!  How cool is that?
     I know I hinted about a new design that I wasn't able to disclose, but, now I am happy to be able to show you a picture of the design and tell you a little about it.  Earlier in the year, I was asked if I'd be interested in designing a sampler based on the style of antique samplers from Delaware.  After a little research, I settled on a beautiful footprint to follow for my model.  Since it is a Delaware Sampler, I decided to incorporate symbols from the "First State" into the design:  The Blue Hen, our State bird (as well as the Cardinal, as it was the Blue Hen's runner up); Holly, our State Tree; Sweet Goldenrod, our State herb; Peach Blossom, our State flower; Ladybug, our State insect; Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly, our State butterfly; Grey Fox, our State Wildlife; and Strawberry, our State fruit.  Below is a picture of "A Delaware Inspiration", my design.  See if you can find the State symbols.
I drew my inspiration from the "Fruit and Flower" style samplers that were stitched by schoolgirls in New Castle County, Delaware.  Below are two examples of the style.

The border of these samplers was stitched using satin and stem stitches.  My interpretation uses cross stitches and a few specialty stitches thrown in for fun.  I will be teaching this sampler at the Delaware Sampler Symposium in November 2013.  More news to come ...
     Now, on to the task at hand.  I am attaching June's stitching schedule for A Maryland Inspiration.  Hope everyone has a wonderful June!
Yours in friendship and stitches,
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Hello everyone,
      I hope you’ve had a wonderful spring and that you’ve made progress on your Maryland Inspiration sampler. Since this is June’s schedule, it means we have reached the half way mark in our stitching. I know that the house and roof are quite a lot to stitch, so if you did not finish it last month, I hope you can do so this month. 
     We are going to move on to the detail work on the house. After you’ve finished last month’s assignment on the house you will be ready to do the backstitching. This will give dimension to your shutters and door and make your house come to life! 
     You will also be stitching the grids for the window panes. You will notice that I’ve given you two ways to do the grids – backstitching, or over one. Diagram 1 shows the over one choice and the backstitched choice. Either way you will have to pay attention to the compensation for the center window over the door. Both are clearly illustrated in the Diagrams. If you choose to backstitch, please don’t forget to go over the area indicated in the diagram "2 times" to give definition to the upper and lower sashes.
      If you are all caught up and ready to do the detail, then I would like you to also stitch the over one sections in the left set of cartouches. When I stitch over one, I always use a small hoop. For me it is a lot easier to see and do the stitches when the fabric is tight. Since this is 40 count linen and you will be stitching over one, I suggest you use the tent stitch on the motifs in the cartouches. Your stitches will look less bulky and it will be a lot easier to do your stitching.
Here is a link with diagrams and instructions to do the tent stitch:
Click on the menu at the top of the page where it says "Stitches" and it will take you to a page with a selection of stitches on the left hand side of the page. You will find the tent stitch option there.

     Well, I hope I haven’t given you too much to do. As always, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me at and I will do my best to help you. This is a large sampler and I apologize for the equally big assignments, but I am hoping we can get through the entire chart by November and free up your Christmas holidays for other things. Besides, wouldn’t it be nice to treat yourself to the gift of your sampler being framed and ready to hang on the wall for all of your holiday guests to see?!

Yours in friendship and stitches,

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Oh!  I almost forgot.  "Stone House on the Brandywine" is now available for purchase.  Please contact your LNS and they can contact me regarding how to purchase the chart for sale.  Thanks so much for all your support.  It is much appreciated.