Thursday, December 8, 2022

Eliza Stringer Sampler

In preparation for my participation at the Great British Sampler Weekend in the UK in 2023, attendees were invited to stitch this small teaser of a sampler. This was stitched on 32-count overdyed Lugana by Fabric Flair in the colorway Mushroom Slushee using overdyed threads from Weeks Dye Works and Classic Colorworks.

I continue to also do related covered buttons for my Sampler in a Jar. This sampler is a reproduction originally stitched by Eliza Stringer at the age of 6.

I'm looking forward to returning to England with plans to visit London, Cambridge, Windsor, Bath, and possibly the Island of Wight, as well as attending the stitching retreat in Swindon.

The Sampler

Covered buttons that complement the sampler

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Old Nantucket

Another April finish!  This sampler is from Little House Needleworks, entitled 'Old Nantucket'.  It tells a story of the whaling industry in Nantucket and the women who waited for their men to return.  Stitched on Fabric Flair's Old Library Marble 32-count Evenweave, stitched 1 over 2 and 1 over 1 using a variety of overdyed threads.

I especially love to stitch ships and ladies.  I changed the color of this lady's dress to a daring red and used a different overdyed thread color for the house to give it the weathered look since it sits so close to the sea.  It was a hard life for everyone in the whaling industry on Nantucket Island, as the whalers had to sail further and further from home to find the dwindling supply of whales and to locate the sperm whale, which had a finer whale oil.  Voyages to find the whales could be 2 to 3 years long and the brutality of the profession resulted in about 25% of woman over 23 losing their husbands to the sea.

Monday, April 18, 2022


A newly completed sampler and another Jane Austen related piece. This is Longbourn by OwlForest Embroidery. It is stitched on 32-count Lugana Stormy Night, using DMC threads in 1 x 2, 1 x 1 and satin stitches. This is part 1 of a 3-part series; coming up next is Netherfield followed by Pemberly. Completed piece is 11" x 11".

The chart came all the way from Russia. It took about 30 days to get here and, luckily, it arrived just before Evil Putin launched his attack on the Ukraine.

Friday, January 21, 2022

A Ball at Netherfield

My goal for 2022 is to complete at least one WIP (of which I have many) each month along with working on all the SALs, other WIPs and a few planned starts.  Here is my January finish, the second in a series of Jane Austen samplers I've got in my queue.  This is A Ball at Netherfield by The Stitching Parlor.    It is stitched on 32-Ct Evenweave on Fabric Flair's Victorian Roses.  Most threads are Classic Colorworks, plus beads.  1 over 2 and 1 over 1 crosses plus some satin stitch and box stitch.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Medieval Stitch-A-Long 2021

 My sixth finish for the year is a lovely design by Mimi of Flanerie au fil des Saisons in Paris, France.  Stitched over 12 months in 25 parts, it pictures a Medieval woman wearing an Escoffian, a headdress worn in the Late Middle Ages (1250-1500 AD) along with many Medieval motifs and a variety of alphabets.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Solitude Stitch-A-Long (SAL)

 This sampler was done in 20 bi-monthly parts during 2021.  The sampler is now completed; I also stitched some  of the motifs from the sampler on the leftover fabric and created some covered buttons.  The buttons will be part of a Sampler in the Jar project I've embarked upon after seeing some YouTube tutorials about the idea.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Miss Bingley's Library

Just finished my first in a series of Jane Austen-related samplers.  This is Miss Bingley's Library by Plum Street Samplers and was stitched on 32-Count Lugana using Classic Colorworks and Weeks Dye Works threads.

I think this design is just hysterical, since if you are familiar with Jane's Pride and Prejudice you realize that Miss Bingley only touted books to impress Mr. Darcy, and probably never actually read a book in her lifetime.  And she thought so highly of herself and knew she was above most everyone, that the designer put her on top of the roof.  Too funny.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Dreaming Frida

 Dreaming Frida is a small sampler that was a Barbara-Ana Designs stitch-along.  This is a small sampler, just 7.5" wide by 3.5" tall, but she is very special.  I stitched the pattern using the called for DMC threads on a 32-count Zweigart mystery linen, sort of a light ecru shade.  I maintained the pattern without any changes, except that I stitched the face 1 thread over 1 linen thread so as to add dimension and detail.

I love the colors - so vibrant and remindful of Mexico and the US Southwestern areas.  Frida is well represented with keys, flowers, houses, and impressions of the desert.  Note the skull earring.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Anna Morgan 1845 Sampler

 Anna is a sweet English reproduction sampler from Scattered Seed Samplers.  This sampler is different from samplers of her day because there are no tedious alphabets or numbers bands which may indicate that Anna was a bit older and had time to stitch a more whimsical piece.  There is no history on this girl since it is such a common name.  I made minor changes to this chart with thread color and added my signatory alongside Anna's.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Ann Morison, c. 1830 - A Scottish Reproduction Sampler

This sampler is a Hands Across the Sea reproduction release for Traditional Stitches' 20th Anniversary.  Traditional Stitches is a needlework shop in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  

I usually make minor changes to reproduction samplers (which makes them an adaptation) because I think it is important that anything I stitch is differentiated from the original stitcher and because as I stitch I am creating my own historical document.  It is essential that the little girl who originally stitched the reproduction be honored, but it is equally essential that the modern day stitcher be remembered too.

I wanted to pay homage to my mother, Marion, and her 3 sisters, Gert, Kay and Anna, who passed away on Christmas Eve in 1923 of diphtheria in San Francisco during the epidemic of 1921-1925.  Anna was nine years old.  The vaccine became available for diphtheria in 1923, but evidently it hadn’t gotten distributed in full force before Anna became ill.  Thus, instead of stitching two more rows of alphabets as Ann had done, I entered The Conners sisters' names so they are remembered.

 I put in my name, age, and year in the bottom motif area.  Ann had placed initials of her family members in this area but since they were not applicable to me, I removed them.

Monday, May 18, 2020

French Cottage with a Purple Door

I stitched this 5"x 5" cottage in 2019.  It is a freebie pattern from The Victoria Sampler.  I changed a few of the colors and the title - yep, I really like purple doors.  The other major change I made were the trees.  I stitched them with hundreds of French Knots and allowed the tree to fall out of the frame to add some realism to the piece.

My niece, Alexis, really liked the piece, so I did a finish around a 5" x 5" wood-lined canvas, lining the back with some purple batik and adding the final touch of ruffled satin ribbon around the perimeter.  I sent this to Alexis as a belated birthday gift for 2020.

Just love that purple.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Arsenic and Old Lace Sampler

One of my favorite movies is the 1944 Arsenic and Old Lace starring Cary Grant.  The movie is based on a play written by Joseph Kellering, which was one of the plays done during my freshman year in high school.  I had auditioned for a part, but was not chosen.  However, my oldest friend, Sherri, did get a part.  So I stitched this for Sherri for her birthday.

This sampler really does a great job of telling the story with imagery.  The two aunts are entertaining their male boarder with a glass of arsenic-laced wine in the dining room, while underneath him in the basement are the coffins of other male boarders who were earlier victims of the dotty aunts.  He is doomed.  Too funny.

Before sending this off to Sherri I molded it around a 8x10x1.5 wood-framed canvas.  I then filled in the back opening with batting and added fabric on the back with a black ruffled ribbon edging topped with a red silk flower.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

The Nantucket Girl's Song and the Sinking of the Essex 1821

Yay, a second finish for 2020!  I had a wonderful journey stitching Plum Street Samplers 'Nantucket Girl's Song', which tells the story of the sinking of the Essex whaleship in 1821 alongside part of the capricious poem from the journals of Eliza Spencer Brock.  Eliza lived from 1820-1899 and actually traveled aboard the whaleship Lexington with her husband for several years in the South Seas.

While stitching this sampler I listened to the audio book by Nathaniel Philbrick, 'In the Heart of the Sea', which detailed not only a fascinating history of Nantucket's whaling industry, but the grueling work of the whalers, the dangers they faced, and the details of the horrific sinking of the Essex and the travails of the survivors.  The book mentions Eliza's poem, which was the inspiration for the sampler.

I also found a song sung by Susan Berman of the entire poem.  So much fun.

Pun intended - this experience was the Perfect Storm.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Ann Roberts Sampler - Completed

I finished the Ann Roberts Sampler, a reproduction charted by Hands Across the Sea, in slightly less than 4 months and enjoyed the journey.  The sampler is actually rather amusing and reflects what was probably a rather precocious young girl's stitching.  There are tiny people next to dinosaur-sized sheep, odd motifs in the sky, a huge house situated next to a rather diminutive church.  In between the two larger building is a teeny tiny house; I'm not sure if it is an outhouse, a servants' quarters or a place for when the poor relations come to visit.  Ann also made some minor errors, most notably in her border and in the brick pattern of the large house which I retained.   I made a few errors here and there, but was able to compensate making them relatively invisible.  I also changed some of the colors for improved contrast. All in all, this was a fun stitch.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Cross Stitch and Counted Thread Work

I returned to my first love, doing thread work on linen.  I started doing embroidery as a young child, about 65 years ago, and it still is my most favorite form of textile work.  There is a communion that exists between hands, heart, and brain that is most satisfying.  I've stitched many samplers over the years and have embarked on an incredible stitching journey for 2020 which includes 7 SALs (Stitch-a-longs).  This is a bit OCD, I admit, but I couldn't choose just one.  These SALs are expected to worked over the next 12 months, some have prizes associated with their completion.  Here is my January posting for the WIP (Work in Process) so far.  Being able to switch between these lessens the chance of me getting bored - at least that's what I tell myself.

Ann Roberts Sampler

Witches' Familiars Sampler

Dorothy Walpole Sampler

Burgundy Band Sampler

Modern Folk Embroidery SAL 2020

Linens & Things Mystery Sampler

Seasons Sampler

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Shh! Shawl

I made this shawl for a friend for the holidays.  It's an easy knit with minimal lace knitting down the center back.  The shawl has a wingspan of 75 inches and 33 inches at center back.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

I'm slowly trying to clear my backlog of stitching projects as I have a scandalous amount of UFOs (don't we all) and large stacks of kits and charts that will require me to live to age 150 to complete. And I have more on order! 

I just finished this wooden needle-keep box that I think I purchased about 20 years ago. The stitching area is only 4" x 1.5", so you'd think I could have finished this a long time ago. In this small space are the following stitches: Cross Stitch, Back stitch, Straight Stitch, Long Arm Cross Stitch, Plait Stitch, Pulled work, Herringbone, Chevron, French Knots, Fly Stitch, and Smyrna Cross - plus beads.

Inside is a selection of Tapestry needles, Milliners Needles, and Beading Needles.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Just Cozy Faroese Shawl

I have been wanting to knit a Faroese shawl for some time and finally completed this one.  The shawl has two wings with shoulder shaping, a center lace panel, and lace edging, all of which are distinguishing features of Faroese shawls.  The overall look is that of a butterfly.  The shawl style is named after the Faroe Islands where the style was developed.  The islands are part of the Kingdom of Denmark, located NNW of UK and halfway between Norway and Iceland.  About 50,000 people live on this archipelago.  Shawls made by the islanders are highly prized.

Center Lace Panel (Gusset)

Bottom Lace Edging

Dust of Snow Shawl

Another recently completed shawl pattern by Helen Stewart entitled 'Dust of Snow'.  I love the springlike pastel gradients in this yarn.

Ribbon Embroidery Revisited

I've been hankering to get back into Crazy Quilting and Silk Ribbon Embroidery.  To that end I've been doing some online classes.  Some of the completed class projects are shown below.


Ribbon Lady

Whimsical SRE Flower Arrangement

Completed CQ Rectangle

Lace Sampler Stole

Here is a stole I recently completed with a lovely pocket embellishment in which to tuck an antique hankie.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

The County Fair

It's been several decades since I entered crafted items in the local county fair and I decided to get back to it this year by entering 17 of my finished projects in various categories.  This all happened at the Josephine County Fair held in Grants Pass, Oregon.

I entered items in crochet, knitting, quilting, counted thread work, mixed media and scrapbooking.  I came away with 14 ribbons:  11 First Place ribbons, 2 Second Place ribbons, one Honorable Mention ribbon, and 1 Best in Class ribbon.

3 Small Quilts:  A Day in Carmel, The Mermaid Goddess, and the Koala Fabric Postcard

2 Cloches:  A young girl's Xmas Cloche and a Wee Baby Cloche

2 Counted Thread Items:  Needle Roll and Scissors Case

Crocheted Tassel Scarf

Crocheted Baby Blanket

Knitted triangle scarf with beaded and ruffled edge

Quilted Journal Cover also got Best in Class

Scrapbooked Frame featuring my mother at age 9 months and age 18

A Mosaic Scrapbook page featuring the Heceta Head Lighthouse and other seaworthy photos

A Knitted Lace Shawl