Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Hodgepodge (A Trio of Samplers and Reindeer Cookies)

I was so excited to pick up Rebeckah Roundey last week from Carol, my framer. I love the frame we chose!! I haven't yet decided where I'll hang her.

I've been devoting my stitching time to Frances Eden. Here's a photo I took about a week ago. I've made a fair amount of progress since then--mainly the motifs on either side of Adam and Eve. I'll most likely be able to finish her in early 2015.

Unfortunately, the charts for both Rebeckah Roundey and Frances Eden are out of print. They were charted by Mary Riggs (Handwork Samplers) who is now retired from designing. 

I'm not sure if I ever showed you Mary's Sampler once it was framed. I stitched my version of this design by Paulette (Plum Street Samplers) last December but wasn't able to get it framed until January. This Christmas I have it on display on a brass easel.

Last night we had a special guest for the evening while his parents went to a Christmas party.

After dinner, we made reindeer cookies. Garrett, now 4 years old, really enjoyed it. He decorated eleven cookies--nine to take home and two for him to enjoy with his grandfather.

We're looking forward to an early family Christmas celebration this weekend. Perhaps we'll even make more reindeer cookies with our other grandson, Haiden.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Queen City Sampler Guild 2014 Christmas Party

On Saturday I attended The Queen City Sampler Guild annual Christmas party. This is my local guild, and their party is always a fun time with lots of socializing, show-and-tell, an (optional) ornament exchange, lunch, and lots of door prizes.

Here are a few photos of the ornament exchange tree.

This year there was a Quaker challenge: stitch something Quaker during the year. I didn't participate because I have already stitched lots of Quaker samplers and other Quaker-inspired projects. In fact, there are already seven Quaker samplers (five Ackworth reproductions and two others) hanging in our bedroom. There are six more Quaker samplers hanging in my office (With My Needle models) and nine three-dimensional Quaker projects (sewing cases, boxes, books ,etc.) in a glass-front bookcase.

I thought you might enjoy seeing photos of some of the Quaker show-and-tell projects that were on display at the party.

In the photo above on the right, you can get a glimpse of An Emblem of Love (one of my designs) stitched by Sue H. I hope to soon get a better photo of her sampler so I can share her lovely work with you.

Charts for both multi-color and single-color versions of the design are included in the chart package. Sue B. stitched An Emblem of Love in two shades of blue and put the finished stitched piece in a Whitman candy tin.

Lynn K. stitched my Quaker Pattern Book for the guild Quaker challenge. She personalized the book cover with the year, our guild's initials, and also the words  "Quaker Challenge".

There were only a few non-Quaker projects on display.

Lynn K. also brought two of my other projects she had stitched. She told me that this was her With My Needle year. Here are her Strawberries So Fair and her Mrs. Waddelow's Huswif.

Earlier in the year I showed you two other With My Needle projects (A Lady's Worke Box and A Work'd Pocketbook) Lynn had completed. This year she also stitched Family Ties as a gift for her son and daughter-in-law. She didn't have the project with her on Saturday because she has already given it to them.

Last year I taught A Lady's Worke Box for my guild, and I was thrilled to see five completed ones on Saturday.

Here are some close-ups. First is Susan W.'s box.

Next is Ann M.'s box.

And here is Sue B.'s box.

This is Janis R.'s box. (I'm sorry that the photo of Janis' box is so blurry.)

And last is Diane L.'s box. (Janis and Diane are sisters.) Diane likes to make lots of changes to designs, and this project was no exception. Diane changed the color of the house from blue to yellow, and added a verse to the linen panel on the inside box lid.

It was so much fun to see the five boxes side by side!!

You may remember that several months ago I finished the Snooty Parrots sampler. Jana B. also stitched this sampler. Here is a photo of our two samplers side-by-side. I stitched mine on 36-count linen, and Jana used 40-count on hers. We both made some changes to the original design.

I co-founded the Queen City Sampler Guild in 1995, and January will mark our 20th anniversary. Many of us will be stitching a special five-part mystery sampler in commemoration. The sampler was designed by Theresa Baird, Heart's Ease Examplar Workes. We hope to have many completed ones on display at next year's Christmas party.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving 2014!

Every year for Thanksgiving I like to publish a wonderful article written by Debi Feyh, Marketing Coordinator at the Nordic Needle. Debi describes a typical Thanksgiving dinner using a "cornucopia of stitches". This special article was so brilliantly written that I asked if I could publish it here. Debi responded "yes", so here it is once again. I hope you'll enjoy reading this delightful article.  I think you will enjoy it regardless if this is your first time or you've read it before.

Many countries and cultures have a celebration giving thanks for their harvest and good fortunes. Canada has already celebrated their Thanksgiving Day which occurs on the second Monday of October. This Thursday is Thanksgiving Day for Americans. Abraham Lincoln had proclaimed the last Thursday of November to be the official holiday. That was later changed by Franklin D. Roosevelt to the 4th Thursday of the November.

While doing research on Thanksgiving, I found that the original meal was quite different from today's "traditional" dinner. According to Kathleen Curtin, Food Historian at Plimouth Plantation, their menu may have looked like this:
Seafood: Cod, eel, clams and lobster
Wild fowl: Wild turkey, goose, duck, crane, swan, partridge, and eagles
Meat: venison, seal
Grain: wheat flour, Indian corn
Vegetables: pumpkins, peas, beans, onion, lettuce, radishes, carrots
Fruit: plums, grapes

Besides food, people often associate the cornucopia with this holiday. This word dates back to 1508 from Latin, cornu copiae meaning a "horn of plenty". We often see it used as a centerpiece overflowing with fruits, nuts, and vegetables.

Okay, I know you are beginning to wonder what this has to do with stitching....we thought it would be fun to see if we could provide you with a CORNUCOPIA of CANVASWORK reflecting the menu from the first goes!

Let's start with the cornucopia. We know there were baskets used to gather and serve foods. Most of them were probably woven so these stitches come to mind: basketweave stitch and the wovenstitch .

For our meat, I would offer up these possibilities-the Turkey, Herring(bone), and Shell(fish) Stitches.
The turkey on their table was much different from the commercially grown turkey of today. It had a very colorful plumage which Columbus associated with the peacock. He referred to the bird as "tuka" which means peacock in India. Another source said that the name came from the Native American's word for the bird, "firkee". Yet another source said it came from the Hebrew word "Tukki" which means large or big bird. I find that funny because Big Bird's costume from Sesame Street is actually made from white turkey feathers dyed yellow....literally making him a Big Bird! Back to our subject...turkey(work) and herring(bone).Shell (fish) of various types were part of the celebration. Let's add them (shell stitch) to our "menu".

Our cornucopia will have a variety of leafy vegetables and something the colonist called wild rice.

First let's explore our leaf stitches, which are very versatile.
Next we have the wild rice. However, according to the International Wild Rice Association "Wild Rice is (not really a rice, but) an aquatic cereal grain that grows 'wild' in isolated lake and river bed areas located primarily within the continent of North America. This evolutionarily ancient grain has been found in layers of the earth dating back some 12,000 years." Just like the rice recipes we have today, the rice stitch has many variations.

The Colonists had corn and wheat flour available to them for their baked goods. We use Indian corn today as decoration primarily because it is a very hard corn, taking a long time for preparation. The Indians at the First Thanksgiving were from the Wampanoag tribe.

The next two stitches are very similar in construction: the wheat stitch and the cornfield stitch.

Pumpkin pie would not have been on the first Thanksgiving menu. However, pumpkin soup was a staple on many tables throughout the year. A pumpkin is a member of the squash family, so does that make it a fruit or a vegetable? It is a fruit, which is defined as being a seed or containing seeds. Therefore, nuts, peas, tomatoes, and even beans are really fruits. Vegetables are plants that don't have seeds. They include leaves, such as cabbage or lettuce; roots, like carrots; bulbs, like onions; and tubers such as potatoes.

Not many sweets would have been present at that first meal. One reason is because sugar and flour were expensive and hard to come by. One possible dessert was a Betty which was a baked pudding where the fruit was layered with bread crumbs. A Cobbler was another probable offering where the fruit is put in a pot and biscuit dough was dropped on top then baked. Both of these desserts were baked probably in a Dutch oven. I was unable to find a "fruit" stitch so we will finish with the Double Dutch (stitch).

I hope you enjoyed our Thanksgiving Day twist. There is so much you can learn about that first Thanksgiving and about Canvaswork, with hundreds of stitches and variations.

Thank you to Debi and to Nordic Needle for allowing me to reprint this article in its entirety. If you don't get the Nordic Needle newsletter, you might want to sign up for it at their website.

As you gather with family and friends, take time to give thanks for all your blessings.  I know we have so much to be thankful for.  Thank you for all your kindnesses and notes through out the years.

Hoping that you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

On the Road Again (part 3)

On our last day in the Somerset, New Jersey area we drove down to Princeton to see the New Jersey sampler exhibit at the Morven Museum. What a treat that was!!

The Morven Museum is located in a house built in the 1750's by Richard Stockton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. It later served as the governor's mansion for five of New Jersey's governors. We began our visit with a tour of the bottom floor of the home.

Next we headed upstairs to the sampler exhibit. There are 151 pieces of New Jersey embroidery on display. The pieces date from 1716 to 1860 and were worked either by New Jersey girls or by others at New Jersey schools. Most of the embroideries are samplers, but I did see one embroidered pocketbook and an embroidered globe.

We were very lucky to be at the exhibit about the time that Dan Shied gave a tour. He invited us to join the group. Photos of the exhibit are not usually allowed, but Dan was able to arrange permission for me to take several overview photos of some of the rooms for this blog. (Thanks, Dan.)

Here, Dan and I are at the beginning of the exhibit. He was very knowledgeable and personable. How lucky we were to "happen" upon a tour he was leading!

After the tour, we went to the gift shop. There were lots of wonderful things, but I focused on the sampler exhibit goodies. There were charts for three samplers from the exhibit (reproduced by The Scarlet Letter, Queenstown Samplers, and Mary Shied). I know that the Mercy Hopkins sampler has also been reproduced because I stitched it in 1998. The original sampler belongs to Colonial Williamsburg, and it was reproduced by Joanne Harvey (The Examplarery). Funny what you can find on the internet--when I googled "Mercy Hopkins sampler" I found a note I posted 16 years ago soon after I completed the sampler. (To read my posting, first click on the link above, and then you might have to click on the Examplar posting to open it.)

Here are the goodies I bought--two books and a set of sampler cards.

Thank you to the various museums and private sampler collectors who made this exhibit possible by loaning their pieces.

The sampler exhibit will be open through March 29, 2015. I hope you'll try to see it. I promise you, it is well worth the trip!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

On the Road Again (part 2)

The chemistry symposium Tom attended started on Monday morning and ran for three days. While he was attending lectures, I hung out with my friend Sara, whose husband David was also attending the symposium. (They used to live in Cincinnati but now live in Battle Creek, Michigan, and we hadn't seen them in a long time. It was so nice to be able to spend time together.)

On Monday, Sara and I went to the Crate and Barrel outlet store. It seemed to take forever to get there. The navigation system on Sara's phone had us getting off and on the NJ turnpike three times. We would go a couple of miles, and it would have us get off, and then before we knew it we were getting back on the turnpike. I felt like we were going around in circles, and I even began to wonder if we were on Candid Camera. Once we finally got to the store, we both found some treasures. I used my phone to get us back to our hotel, and it had us on the turnpike only one time versus the three times we were on it before. 

That evening we had dinner at a fantastic Italian restaurant, Luca's. Here we are with David and Sara and Larry. David and Larry were speakers during Tom's award session. There were supposed to be four speakers (including Tom), but, sadly, one had to cancel due to illness.

Several years ago I discovered that Larry (seated next to Tom) and I are distantly related (8th cousins) through my mother's side of the family. Can you imagine my surprise to learn that I'm related to one of Tom's colleagues? It's truly a small world after all.

Look at Tom's yummy dinner. Those are figs on top of a very thick pork chop. I wish I had taken some more photos.

Tom's award session was Tuesday morning. Here he is with the plaque he was given. It's a good thing we drove, because it is quite heavy.

Several people have asked about the award. It was for his work in chemical separations. I think this article describes it the best.

After Tom's talk, Sara and I headed off for a day of antiquing in Lambertville. We found a huge antique shop!!

On Wednesday, Sara and I decided to take the train into NYC. We were each meeting friends for lunch at Grand Central Station. The train went only as far as Penn Station. We decided that since the weather was pretty nice and we wanted to see the city that we would walk from there to Grand Central Station.

Along the way, we stopped at a wonderful ribbon and trim shop. Although we saw lots of beautiful things, neither of us bought anything. I think we were both overwhelmed.

Then it was time to meet our friends for lunch. Sara was meeting a childhood friend. They were neighbors growing up in Virginia. I was meeting Margaret C., who many of you may know either in person or from her blog, Days of a Sampler Lover. Margaret and I have corresponded over the years, but we had never met in person until Wednesday. How much fun it was to meet her at long last!! (Thanks, Margaret, for coming into the city to have lunch with me. It was a thrill to meet you.)

After lunch, Sara and I went shopping. Little did we dream that we would be offered champagne at Lord and Taylor as were leaving to meet our husbands for dinner in the "Big Apple".

Thursday was our final day in the area, so the four of us went to the Morven Museum in Princeton to see the New Jersey sampler exhibit. I'll tell you about that in my next blog until then...