Out of My Comfort Zone

I always like to have a New Year’s Day start and this year was no exception.  I wanted 2018 to be a year where I not only focused on whittling down the enormous pile of WIPs, but I also wanted to work on something that would stretch my skills a bit.  Last year I started the year off with Williamsburg Remembered that so intimidated me that I quickly lost interest in working on it (much to the chagrin of the ladies I was supposed to be SAL-ing with).  But after spending so much time in 2017 catching back up on one of my absolute favorite blogs (who sadly has since quit blogging), I kept being so inspired by her projects and the level of skill that she demonstrated that I thought I needed to step up my game a little bit.

Back in 2010 Amy Mitten designed a piece for our guild‘s tenth anniversary.  It was a mystery sampler that turned out to be an amazing Adam & Eve piece with a large Tudor Rose at the top (for the Tudor Rose Sampler Guild).  Be still my heart.  We started off stitching in the rose in class, but when Amy passed around her model we quickly saw how beautifully aged and mottled her piece was.  Not at all like the (I think it’s) Lambswool that we had in our kit.  Amy explained that she had tea-dyed her fabric to give it that look.  The photo above is of the top half of the sampler.  Gorgeous, right? And I love those splotches of color she said were from Orange Pekoe tea.

If you’ve been reading my blog here or watching my videos for any length of time, you know that getting stuck or frustrated with a piece is usually the last time it sees the light of day.  I wanted to tea-dye my fabric but I’d just stitched that  big red flower with hand-dyed silk.  Dilemma!!!

When I decided at the end of last year that I really wanted to pick this piece up again and that I wanted it to be my New Year’s (re) start, the first order of business was to rip out all my stitching.  I was able to salvage most of the silk, but unfortunately not all of it.  Once I had all my stitching out, I did some tea dyeing on my fabric.  I dunked it in tea for a bit and then let some tea bags sit on the fabric for a bit as well.  I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

It has a lot more life to it now than just the basic lambswool linen.  I love it.  So, that done, I was ready to go on January 1.

I started by restitching the foundation for the Tudor rose.  The petals will be 3-dimensional and eventually added.

Managed to get all those little leaves done.

Double running stitch for the trunk and branches (the trunk and branches become the tree Adam and Eve are beneath).

And I finally got to add the first of the leaves in the color Venom.  Absolutely love how it’s looking and while challenging, I just took it one step at a time.  This is what I got done in basically a week of stitching before I moved on to something else.  I’m anxious now to pick this back up and work on it some more.

Here is what the whole thing will look like when finished.

Pretty fabulous, no?

I am grateful for inspiration to practice new skills.

Revisiting Victorine

Way back in January of 2012 I decided to start the gorgeous Victorine Delacroix sampler from The Essamplaire.  A friend and I conspired and bought kits for this piece during a sale and decided to splurge on getting the silk kit rather than the DMC.  Soooo happy I did.

The photo above shows my progress on Victorine as of the last time I worked on her, which was quite some time ago.  Here is a not so flattering photo of the original from The Essamplaire’s site.

Admittedly, it is a little harder to fall in love with her based on this photo.  But she is a stunner in person.  So, back in January of this year I was having the hardest time settling on anything I really wanted to stitch on so I decided to dig some options out of the vault.  Victorine was calling to me, so I pulled her out and started on the motif to the right of that basket of flowers.  I so love the contrast of those pistachio and lime greens against the drab colored flowers.

I only worked on her for a couple of nights, but it was enough to rekindle my love affair with her.  It was also enough for me to start and finish that motif including the over one heart and initials in the center.

So pretty.  I’m stitching her on the 40ct linen that came in the kit and the silks are AVAS.  Luscious.

I am looking forward to that satin stitched ribbon-looking inner border and the navy baskets of flowers down below.

There are some beautiful photos of a Victorine in progress over at Corgi Cottage, if you need further enabling.

I am grateful for sampler stitching when I’m feeling unsettled.  

Salem Notforgotten

Late in 2016, a lovely fellow stitcher posted on Facebook in one of the stitching groups a suggestion to do a SAL beginning in June to honor the 325th anniversary of the Salem Witch Trials.  She had suggested we all stitch this beautiful piece by Notforgotten Farm called Salem Village.

While I love that piece (really anything by Notforgotten Farm) I decided that it was the perfect opportunity to stitch a piece that has been in my stash since 2008 when Karen V (sadly no longer blogging) gifted it to me – Salem Remembered by The Primitive Needle.

Part of the reason I have been wanting to stitch this piece was to honor my ancestor, Susannah Martin, one of those accused and put to death during the trials.

In doing some research on Susannah I found this: Lone Tree Hill, a famous historical site, bore a tablet on its westerly side marking the site of George and Susannah’s home. The boulder which marked their homestead has been moved to make room for a highway, and it can be found on the map where the highway crosses Martin Road in Amesbury. The marker lies nearby. George was one of the largest landowners in Amesbury. The inscription on the marker reads: “Here stood the house of Susannah Martin. An honest, hardworking Christian woman accused of being a witch and executed at Salem, July 19, 1692. She will be missed! A Martyr of Superstition. T.I.A. 1894.”

“A martyr of superstition” really says it all about this horrible time in our history.

It was important to me that in undertaking this piece I wanted to really delve into each of the names I was stitching and to reflect on what they endured.  We started the SAL on June 10th and I proceeded to complete each of the names by the date that they were put to death, beginning with Bridget Bishop the first to be executed.

I stitched this piece on a 40ct Lakeside Linen of unknown color with my own conversion (using what I had on hand).  I used Belle Soie Moss for the motifs and border, Silk N Colors Chestnut for the names, Gloriana Antique Gold Dark for the centers of the stars, and Silk N Colors Tuscan Olive (called for) for the background around the stars.  I wanted Susannah’s name to be prominent so I chose to use Belle Soie Red Fox for her name as well as for the stars.

Further information from my research: On Aug 29, 1957 the State of Massachusetts voted to wipe from the books the convictions of six women that had been unjustly accused of being witches 265 years earlier. Then Gov. Foster Furcolo signed the legislative intended to clear Susannah Martin, as well as: Ann Pudeator, Bridget Bishop, Alice Parker, Margaret Scott and Wilmot Redd.

However, while taking a graduate course on Salem witchcraft during the late 1990s, Paula Keene discovered that, although the legislators intended to pardon all six of the women in 1957, only Ann Pudeater’s name was listed on the official documents. Susannah Martin, Bridget Bishop, Alice Parker, Margaret Scott and Wilmot Redd were simply listed as “five others convicted of witchcraft.” Keene and state representative Michael Ruane worked together to redress the issue.[6]

On Halloween 2001, due to Keene and Ruane’s efforts, as well as the efforts of many of the descendants of the accused witches, Susannah Martin, Bridget Bishop, Alice Parker, Margaret Scott and Wilmot Redd were finally, and truly exonerated by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

On September 22, 1692 Martha Corey, Alice Parker, Margaret Scott, Ann Pudeator, Mary Easty, Samuel Wardwell, Wilmott Redd and Mary Parker were hanged at Gallows hill. These were the last hangings to take place during the Salem Witch Trials. I didn’t quite make my goal of finishing the last set of of names by the date of their death, but I had them finished by the end of the month.  And frankly, it’s quite chilling to realize that eight were hanged on the same day.

I started this piece on June 10, 2017 and finished it on October 3, 2017.  In the dedication of a new memorial at Proctor’s Ledge on the 325th anniversary the following was said.   “We would like to think that we’ve learned from the evil and traumatic choices made 325 years ago. We would like to think we’ve become better people,” Barz-Snell said. “The truth is the lessons of Salem are not just learned once, but must be learned and relearned by each generation.”

“From this time forward I hope that residents and visitors to Salem will treat the tragic events of 1692 with more of the respect they are due,” he said. “We need less celebration in October and more commemoration and sober reflection throughout the year.”

 

I am grateful for honoring my history.

Ten Years in the Making

As promised, I thought I’d share my 2017 finishes on the blog.  I already shared Mermaid Fraktur here, which was my first big finish of the year.  The next thing I decided to focus on was the Papillon Creations Mystery Sampler that was published in five parts in The Gift of Stitching magazine.  I started this piece when it first came out and copied Carol’s choice of 32ct Sandcastle by Silkweaver with the called for Vikki Clayton HDF silks.

As I mentioned, I started this piece when it was first released in March of 2007.  I completely fell in love with that beautiful red silk A.  The colors were just so pretty and the specialty stitches gave it a fun texture.  This piece has long been languishing though and the reason for that is  because I could already tell I was going to run out of one of the silks.  There is no worse feeling than knowing you’re going to run out of a thread that is no longer available.  Vikki had long since closed down her thread dyeing business.  But, I decided this piece had sat too long untouched and so I put it on my Year of WIPs list.  And in March of this year I pulled it out of the closet to stitch on.  I’d basically finished parts one and two and was mostly finished with part 3.  This is what it looked like when I took “before” photos for my Year of WIPs album.

When I picked it up though, I just really wasn’t feeling the love.  I was having a hard time actually wanting to stitch on it.  In fact there were nights I just didn’t stitch because I didn’t want to stitch on this.  But then I went to a stitchy meetup at my LNS and brought this with me, since it was already on the q-snaps and strangely enough dedicated time on this piece got me in the groove with it.  So, I just kept going.  And then the inevitable happened.  I did, indeed, run out of one of the colors of silk.  I posted my saga on Instagram and before I could even blink the sweetest stitcher offered to send me her spool of that color so that I could finish my piece!  So, I worked around that color and kept going.  And when it arrived a few days later, I was back in business.  Sort of.

The silk I’d run out of is that blue/green/teal variegated of the peacock.  And her skein was close but was more blue/teal with no green.  But, at this point I was going to make lemonade out of lemons regardless and get this done.  And of course the biggest motif in the whole piece was down in that bottom right corner (part 4) in Deep Sea.  So, I fudged it.  I pulled a green that was as close as I could get to the original and I interspersed that green with the teal/blue of the borrowed Deep Sea.  And I think it looks fine.  With everything going on in this piece, it doesn’t really catch your eye.  So I’m pleased with that.

Part 5 of the pattern was the center, and the designer actually gave three different options for the center.  One was for a marriage or anniversary, one for a birth announcement, and one was an alphabet with a big peacock in Deep Sea.  When I started this piece I’d intended to stitch the peacock.  But, by the time I was actively working on this in March I decided that it would be a great piece to commemorate our tenth wedding anniversary.  I hadn’t stitched anything for the occasion, so this would be perfect.  And, if I pushed hard, I could finish it in time to give to Eric on our eleventh anniversary in April.  So, I decided to go for the anniversary choice for the center.  And it’s kind of Adam & Eve-ish too, so that’s a bonus.

I did the personalizations – the years, the 10, our initials.  And there were two cartouches on this piece that were charted with nothing in them.  I decided to put an L in the top one (right above the peacock) and then at the bottom I had just enough room to put Texas – where we met and were married.

I finished it literally the day before our anniversary and then was in a panic about how to frame it.  Square frames aren’t easy to come by and usually the biggest you can find them is album size (12 x 12″).  I needed 15 x 15″ at least.  But that evening when we were out shopping I spied a piece of pre-framed “art” at Garden Ridge that appeared to be the perfect size.  So, the next morning while Eric was sleeping I slipped out of the house and went to purchase it.  I popped out that “art” and had already laced and pinned my piece so I could pop it right in.

And I’m thrilled with how it looks.  And I’m saddened by the fact that this piece literally took me ten years to finally finish it for what turned out to be a sum total of twenty stitching days once I picked it back up again.  That’s right, twenty!!!  UGH!  So March 2007 to April 2017 and commemorating our ten year anniversary back in 2016.  Which I wouldn’t have done if it hadn’t been sitting here unfinished.  So, maybe it’s perfect timing.  And thank goodness through the kindness of stitchers who are willing to bail a girl out when she runs out of silk!!

I’m so happy with how it looks and I’m happy to have it done finally.  Happy ten years, my love.  Here’s to another ten.

I’m grateful for ten years and the kindness of stitchers.

Flosstube Episode 45: Party Girl

 

Thank you so much for tuning in to the Cozyegg flosstube/podcast! In this episode I share another Year of WIPs finish, seasonal stitching, and my Chatelaine.
Finishes:
  • Primitive Wizard of Oz by Midsummer Night Designs – Classic Colorworks, Weeks, PTB, and DMC on 40ct Natural Gander linen
WIPs:
  • Village of Hawk Run Hollow by Carriage House Samplings – stitching with DMC on 36ct Lakeside Vintage Light Examplar
  • Noel ornament by Catherine Theron (Theron Traditions) – stitching with GAST & Weeks on 40ct Weeks Confederate Grey
  • Jenny Bean’s Christmas Sampler by Shakespeare’s Peddler – GAST on 40ct Navy Bean by Lakeside
  • Mystery 9 (Le Potager du Roi) by Chatelaine Designs – silks and PTB on 32ct Lavender Mist Zweigart

Thanks so much for watching!

I am grateful for the vision and talent of Martina – she brought an enormous amount of beauty to this world and to our stitching.  She will be truly missed.