Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Fashion During the Time of Mary Todd Lincoln

On my way home from teaching at the Stitchville USA's Spring Fling, I decided to stop overnight in Springfield, Illinois. Springfield is the capitol of Illinois, and Abraham Lincoln lived there from 1837-1861. In fact, he was living there with his wife, Mary, when he was elected as our 16th president. There are quite a few attractions in town relating to Lincoln. I decided to spend a bit of time visiting some of them before heading home.  

The first place I visited was the Lincoln Presidential Museum. There were several interesting galleries and even a replica of the Indiana log cabin where he once lived. My favorite gallery was Mary's Blue Room. It was so much fun to see a life-sized mannequin of Mary Todd Lincoln in her finery.

Did you notice the worke box on the table?  I sure did!

Next are some beautiful dresses that Mary's "social rivals" wore.

Since returning home, I found this marvelous video showing some of Mary's beautiful outfits. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did.

A needlework friend recently told me about a wonderful book, Mary Lincoln's Dressmaker. I'm looking forward to learning more about Mary's dressmaker, Mary Keckley, and the special relationship these two women developed.

There wasn't enough time to explore all the museum galleries, so I need to return to the area sometime. I had enough time to stop at Union Station, a railroad station that opened in 1898. The station now houses special exhibits. Currently the exhibit features items from the 2012 movie Lincoln directed by Steven Spielberg. Spielberg insisted on an accurate portrayal not only of the facts, but also the sets and the costumes the actors wore.

Here are photos of two of the costumes actress Sally Field wore when she played the role of Mary Todd Lincoln.  

And here is an embroidered notebook belonging to Mary Lincoln that Sally Field was allowed to use in the movie.

Since this blog post is running long, I'll wait until next time to show you photos from the Lincoln home in Springfield.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Stitchville USA--Oh My!!

Visiting Stitchville USA (in Minnetonka, Minnesota) has been on my dream list for quite some time.  I had heard so many marvelous things about the shop. I was able to visit the shop on Friday morning since my class didn't begin until that afternoon. I quickly discovered that some of the Spring Fling-ers had the same idea.


The shop is enormous! Over 4200 square feet with over 1200 models!  (Yes, you read those numbers correctly!)

Here are some glimpses inside the shop.

Those are beautiful wools on the bookcase.

...and the fibers, oh my!  I don't think I've ever seen such a vast array!

...and there were even more fibers....I just couldn't photograph them all.

Here are some more models and "goodies".

...and look at the beautiful linens!

And if that wasn't enough, look at all the incredible goodies in this display case!

Here are close-ups of some of the things inside the display case.

Stitchville USA was originally started by Deb's aunt. When her aunt became ill, Deb decided to buy the shop. That was back in 1988, and the shop was only 800 square feet. Today it's five times the size of the original shop. I bet Deb's aunt would be thrilled to see what she has done with the shop to make it one of the premier needlework shops.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Stitchville USA 2015's Spring Fling

How much fun it was to be amidst 58 enthusiastic and talented needleworkers at this year's Spring Fling sponsored by Stitchville USA! I had heard how wonderful this retreat is, and now I understand why. 

The retreat is held annually at a wonderful conference center not too far from Minneapolis. The class room was large and had wonderful lighting, both natural and overhead. The meals were yummy! The conference center is located on a lake. Quite a few of the retreat attendees took a walk around the lake. I wish I had done so myself, but after standing on my feet all day during class, I was too tired to think about a walk. Maybe next time....

The class project was Kindred Spirits. It was nice to have the time to go at a more leisurely pace than is usually possible. There was a short lesson Friday afternoon, and another that evening after dinner. Then on Saturday we had a morning and afternoon session. Sunday there was a morning session during which I went over the assembly process with lots of mock-ups. After lunch, we just wrapped up things.

I was delighted to see so many completed With My Needle projects on the Show and Tell table. It was a pretty impressive display! Thank you, ladies, for bringing your work for all of us to admire.

Deb, the owner of Stitchville USA, ran a boutique in the back of the room.  I brought quite a few of my models.

At the end of class on the last day, I tried to get photos of as many of the students as possible.  (I fell quite a bit short of getting everyone's photos.)

Most of our class time was spent working on the pincube part of the project.  The students made amazing progress in class.  A few days after I got home, I received this photo from Bev of her completed pincube. I bet there are others who have also completed the pincube.

Thank you to everyone who made my time at this year's Spring Fling such a wonderful experience! I hope our paths will cross again in the not-too-distant future.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

October Classes in Seattle

I'm looking forward to returning to Seattle this October to teach three classes. 

You can get information about the classes and contact information on the teaching page of my website.

(You must be present in class to get the class kits.)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Stitch Niche in Arlington, Texas

I was tickled pink that while in the Dallas area I was able to visit The Stitch Niche in nearby Arlington. It was so great to once again see the shop owner, Kathy, and to visit her lovely shop.

The Stitch Niche first opened in 1968. It has been in three locations and has been in its current location for 25 years. Kathy has owned the shop since 1997 and is the fourth owner. Just a few months ago she was able to double her shop size.

Twice a year Kathy offers stitching retreats. In fact, on the day I visited the shop, she was busily getting ready for a retreat the following weekend. The retreats are "four-nighters" and typically 48 needleworkers attend. This weekend, Kathy is trying something new, a lock-in from 6pm-midnight.  Hmm, can you imagine being locked in a needlework shop? What fun!

Kathy enjoys having stitchers drop in and stay. She has a table where you can sit and stitch to your heart's content. She told me there are some stitchers who drop in regularly for an hour or two several days a week. In fact, there was one there when I visited.

Lot of fibers...

And luscious linens...

Lots of models on the walls and tables and in display cases...

Lots of pretty frames...

Catching up with Kathy...

Here I am with Doris (a shop employee) who wanted to show me the progress she'd made since Sunday's Long May She Wave class with the Tudor Rose Sampler Guild. 

This is an antique sampler that Kathy owns. It has been reproduced for your stitching pleasure.

And here I am with Kathy right before I had to leave. 

Kathy, it was so nice to see you again and at long last visit your shop.