Wednesday, March 31, 2010

QUAKER MINIATURE SAMPLERS, a needlepoint canvas, an ETHNIC sampler, etc.

Meant to blog yesterday but ended up spending the afternoon trying to get my various printers to print—with no luck. Over the weekend I had upgraded my Mac operating system to Snow Leopard. Well, this upgrade played havoc with my printers. Finally got one to work this morning by turning it on and also my old Mac G4 computer. It is slow printing but I was able to get something to print off the Mac Intel computer. Hooray! Now to try to get the Intel Mac to print by itself. It is not recognizing the 3 different printers that I have hooked up to it. This gets the old brain working to try to fix the problem.

Also had my Tuesday stitch/group and there were seven of us chatting and working on our projects from 10-12:30 yesterday morning. It is such a nice relaxing time with lots of sharing going on. One of the gals brought some painted canvases that a customer of hers sent her. The customer no longer wanted them. My friend shared them with us, and I chose several. They run the gamut from a huge "tapestry" piece to Venus on a Lily Pad. You'll laugh when you see that one. It is hilarious. Had to pick it out and try it! She is Something—with a capital S!! Maybe I'll start her when I finish the Quaker Gentleman.

Hey, you can't always stitch just samplers...


In stitching my Quaker Gentleman piece, I miscounted in one area and found that I don't have room for a certain motif so I searched through my miniature designs for a substitute and found a nice anchor that I hope will work. In looking at the gauze charts, I saw my 4 miniature Quaker-style samplers and thought I'd show them to you here on my blog. They are really fast to stitch and very satisfying to complete. In 2000 Joan, a friend of mine from Charlotte, NC, asked me to design a miniature Quaker sampler. I took  the challenge and designed my Quaker 2000 sampler. It measures 1.5" x 2". The next year I came out with Quaker 2001. I skipped 2002, but Quaker samplers were growing in popularity so I designed Quaker 2003 (3" x 3") and Quaker 2004. Aren't my names original? Of course, in those years there were not a million Quaker designs out there.



1989 small sampler Xmas stocking


Our Sampler Group that I have told you about once did a group Ethnic Sampler. Each person chose a country and supplied charts of cross stitch pertaining to that country. We did it on a wide piece of linen banding that was probably 25 count as it seems huge. It was a big, fun project. This was also in 1989.

MSI SAMPLER du jour—

SARAH WARD aged 13 in 1721
originally appraised at $12—sold in a group of 2 samplers for 483 pounds
I used to think it was English but now that I look much closer and with more years of learning, I think it is Scottish because she lists the names of her parents, James and Ann Ward and also the initials of probably her siblings as they all have the last name beginning with "W."
cross, eyelet and satin stitches
Note how the silk thread in the satin stitches still shines. 
Remember that the bright blue is the photo stand where I laid the sampler to photograph it.
approximately 49 count linen—8" x 12"

Both carnation and honeysuckle borders


Adorn ThySelf With Grace Prise (sic) Wisdom
More Then (sic) All the Pearls upon the Indian Shore

It's the warmest day this year so far here in Chicagoland. Spent time at yoga class this morning and stopped off at the library. Of course, a million of the books that I had requested over the past weeks all came in for pick up because it is spring break in town. Hope to get some reading done over the weekend. Just finished the new Mitch Alboum (sp?) book about a rabbi and an unusual minister. It's a very nice book that I would recommend. Mitch is called by the rabbi to write his eulogy and he learns a lot about both the man and life in their discussions over 8 years. He meets the Detroit minister through some of his (Mitch's) charities and there is a nice comparison between the two men of God.

Hope spring has come to your neck of the woods! Nancy 

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Have had a busy weekend since Thursday. Time seems to fly. Spent a lot of time on paperwork. Where does it all come from? Took a genealogy class at my local library yesterday morning but it was pretty much worthless as the speaker—a reference librarian—was not very polished or organized and the class was a mix of people who had previously used the library databases to those who could barely navigate a computer. The other night I started a book that sounded interesting—Mennonite in a Little Black Dress. It is a true story and the gal teaches at Hope College in Holland, MI, but somehow I did not like her tone so back to the library it went. Am now reading the latest Barbara Delinsky book Not My Daughter or something like that. It is good and I always enjoy her books. Bill, Alice a friend of ours, and I watched the Michael Jackson video This Is It last night. I had heard it was good and know a friend who saw it twice in the same day. I can't say I loved it but it certainly was interesting to see how they put together a huge show like that. There were 50 sold out concerts around the world for which this show was being prepared. Can't imagine returning all that money. Interesting to study Michael Jackson and wonder why he was so extremely popular around the world. Felt sorry for the poor guy. Loved his dancing.



This English sampler by 12-year-old Mary Sowell is dated March 17, 1711. It on 46 count linen and measures 8" x 16.5". Stitches used are cross, eyelet, double running and satin. The original appraised price was $20. 

One thing that you might find fascinating, and that I don't think I mentioned in a previous post, is that the Museum sold all the samplers except for the two American ones at auction at Sotheby's in London in 1998. Isn't that interesting. In November 1992 I had made a large notebook for them with a photo of each sampler and the pertinent facts about it. My name and phone number were in the front of the notebook; however, they never even notified me of the sale. Why did they sell them in London? In 1998 the estimated catalogue price was 450-600 pounds. The sampler went for 2530 pounds. 

This is a small sampler that I designed for the Hinsdale Embroiderers Guild in 1992. Here it is stitched on Congress Cloth a 24 count needlepoint canvas, but, of course, it can be stitched on linen as well. They wanted a name tag for their members. I included cross, satin, queen, eyelet and other stitches. On 32 count linen over 1 thread it is 3" x 3".


I  have always loved doing all kinds of needlework. I especially love pulled thread. This is a piece taught in 1988 by Sally Simon at my American Needlepoint Guild. It was stitched on Congress Cloth and was a sampler of pulled work/white work stitches and techniques. I did two of them but must not have taken a photo

I stitched another Sally Simon piece I made in 1992. 

I must have been in the pulled thread mood in 1992!

These are rolled in an acid free box. I really should get them framed and hung on the wall except I don't have a lot of wall space left in my house—the reason I'm stitching anything new over 1 thread! Better go. Have to get a quilt finished. Promised myself I'd complete the quilting this weekend. Am practicing techniques on my long arm machine. --Nancy

Thursday, March 25, 2010

QUAKER LADY/GENT; READING; MSI samplers, Betsy Leach, etc.

While we were charting the Carrie B. Neely samplers at the Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago, I made a notebook of all the samplers in the collection and sorted them by date whenever possible. I will try to discuss one or two in each blog starting with the earliest ones. This is the first of the samplers received by the Museum in 1939. The bright blue is the background where we laid the samplers for photographing. This sampler was stitched in the 17th century in England. It is on a 47 count fabric and is about 8" x 14". On it are double running and stem stitches. It was originally appraised at $10. Note that it is unfinished. I believe that it had been framed and that the glass on the frame had cracked and coal dust had settled on the fabric leaving the dark stain.

This photo is a bit closer for viewing.


The Betsy Cheesman Leach sampler is owned by me. It is English. 

This is the reverse side. Remember that when I took all of these photographs, I used an old Nikon camera of my husband's. No digital cameras in the early 1990's. We found the reverse side of many antique samplers to be quite a mess!

The sampler was framed with several layers of cardboard and...

a zillion nails (I used to know how many!) in the back of the frame!


I finished the Quaker Lady design by Jardin Prive and have started on the Gentleman.

I am working on 28 count linen over 1 thread with 2 strands of floss. I am using half cross stitch—continental and basket weave stitches. Some times I make the stitch from lower right to upper left to get the Quaker medallions looking right. Don't worry that he is not straight. I have the linen a little warped in my frame. Think I'll make his pants red. Almost all of the black is complete.


This is a little piece that I finished last fall. Our Sampler Group has been meeting for 25 years and we had a big celebration in July 2009. There are now eleven of us in the group and we meet monthly. We used to make a big deal about lunch but are now bringing our own to the meeting. Mary and Marcia designed the sampler and I stitched it over 1 thread on 35 count linen with various over dyed threads. I had had the frame on hand and tweaked the sampler to fit in the frame—which it does—just barely— and I changed the colors and some of the motifs. It is quite small which is why I like stitching over 1 thread.



I just finished the book BREAKING OUT OF BEDLAM  by Leslie Larson. It is pretty hilarious. Found out about it in the AARP Magazine. It's the story of Cora Sledge who is "kidnapped" by her 3 children and moved to an assisted living facility in San Diego. Cora is 82 and starts out at 300 pounds but she changes throughout the book both in size and thoughts. She weans herself off the pills and junk food she has been eating forever, starts "exercising," falls in love, and becomes a new person. The book is a series of journals that she writes of her life at The Palisades and her life before she went there. Cora tells it like it is. In the front cover of the first journal she writes, "Do not read until I'm dead." I can't seem to do this book justice, but it is a funny, tender book that I think you'll enjoy.

Got to go walk Murphy before his dinner. If you have any ideas for this blog, write and let me know. Talk soon. --Nancy

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Had my Tuesday stitch/knit group here this morning. There were 7 of us and we were noisy. Always something to show whether it be a magazine, book, project, etc. We had a grand time. I worked a bit on Quaker gentleman and also cut foam core board for 2 finished pieces in order to frame them. In addition to all the yak yak, we get a lot done at this group and inspire each other to finish projects.


Jane Pawson stitched her sampler in Utterby, Lincolnshire, England in 1803. The tissue paper on the back of this sampler happened not to be attached well, and I was able to check out the very bright colors on the reverse. This sampler is about 15" x 16" and is worked in cross stitch only. The verse is done over 2 threads of the linen so it is perfect for a beginner stitcher.

The house above looks to me like a Swiss chalet though I know it is not!

Look at the bee skep to the left of "Uterby" and the bees buzzing around it. 
There are many variations of strawberries in this sampler, as well as, striped tulips.

This is the reverse of the sampler. 
Now you know why I chose that bright pink for the large carnations and roses.

I stitched this sampler on 28 count sandstone linen.

The last sampler that we reproduced from the Museum of Science and Industry is the Ann Nelson sampler of 1826. Ann stitched her sampler on wool using wool thread though I do not think this is a Scottish sampler.

Ann used square stitch for the top alphabet. There are six eyelet stitches on the sampler plus some back stitch. I almost forgot to mention that little tag at the top left of the sampler. Most of the samplers at the Museum had that tag. It is like one of those old dress price tags with the wire ends. When the samplers were given to the Museum in 1939, each was tagged with the museum accession number and the value of the sampler. I don't think any were valued higher than $50. Jane Pawson below was appraised at $12. Trinie Pieters, the Dutch sampler from a few days ago, was $5. Yes, $5! Ann Nelson was also $5. Sarah Coulthard from a few days ago was $12. 

Look at the faces in the sun and moon!

Ann labeled Adam and Eve so that you would know who was who!

I stitched the model on 28 count sandstone linen with wool Medicis thread. This is a fine wool thread which, I believe, is now discontinued in the US. With the chart I include a conversion chart for DMC. The finished size is 14" x 18". There is no way to trace Ann as she did not stitch either her country or town on her sampler. 

There were many more samplers in the Carrie B. Neely collection at the Museum. I will talk about them in future postings. Thought I might not have enough to talk about, but I have a "zillion" samplers and other pieces of needlework to discuss and show you!

These two are not exactly Adam and Eve, but I did stitch them when I was about 10 in 1956. The centers were preworked and I filled in the background. After I finished, my grandmother took me to down town Marshall Fields to get them framed. I have been trying to get my grand daughters to stitch, but they are not very interested. Too bad. We discussed today at my stitch/knit group how wonderful it is to have friends who like stitching as much as we do. Until next time... Nancy