Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Welcoming August with Three New Designs


I hope everybody is having a wonderful summer.  Our temperatures have been very pleasant here in northern Indiana.  We had a very rainy June, and having to mow the lawn every few days certainly cut down on my stitching time.  Now we could use the rain, but I’ve been stitching more often than mowing, so I’m not complaining too much.

Here are three new C Street Samplerworks designs which will be introduced at the St. Charles Market, August 16-17, 2014.  You can ask your favorite needlework shop to pre-order them for you:

 Corinne’s Sampler


In September of 2013, my great-niece was born.  Her birth was quite an occasion, as she was the first baby born in our immediate family in 29 years.  Of course I had to design and stitch a birth sampler for her!  I chose a Dutch theme because our Corinne has Dutch ancestry by way of three of her four grandparents.

“Corinne’s Sampler” is stitched almost entirely in cross stitch on 32ct Lentil linen by Lakeside Linens, using DMC floss.  The stitch count is 119 wide x 129 high, and the design size is 7.4 inches wide by x 8.1 inches high.  The grass in the model is done in satin stitch.  But if you aren’t a fan of satin stitch, don't worry--go ahead and stitch the grass area in cross stitch.  I promise that it will look just fine either way.

Corinne’s Sampler could easily be made into a wedding or anniversary sampler.  Instead of stitching baby information, substitute the names of the couple along with the date of the wedding or anniversary, using the upper case alphabet in the sampler, and the lower case alphabet and numerals provided on the chart. 

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He Saith to the Snow


 In commemoration of our recent record-breaking winter, both in snow accumulation and in below zero temperatures, I designed this little sampler.  The Bible verse (Job 37:6) seems fitting, because last winter the snow certainly was upon the earth in the Midwest, as well as other parts of the country.

“He Saith to the Snow”, all cross stitch over two, is stitched on 32ct Examplar linen by Lakeside Linens using Gentle Arts Sampler Threads, Weeks Dye Works, and DMC flosses.  Stitch count is 91 wide x 99 high, and the design size is 5.7 inches wide x 6.2 inches high.

I like to think that the people who live in that little house are cozy and warm despite the wintery weather surrounding them. 

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Age Improves with Wine



This little design is dedicated to all my friends who, although perhaps not quite as old as I am, still appreciate the healing qualities of the occasional glass of wine.  This would make a perfect little gift for a friend who is facing one of those pesky “milestone” birthdays.  

“Age Improves with Wine” is stitched on 32ct Examplar linen by Lakeside Linens, using Gentle Arts Sampler Threads.  Stitch count is 63 wide x 63h, with a design size of 3.94 inches square.  I chose to have it framed, but it would be great finished as a cupboard hanger or an ornament.

Most of the design is in cross stitch, but the corner grape motifs are stitched in Smyrna cross, and half of the smaller grape bunches in the border are stitched in four-sided stitch.  However if you’d rather, just stitch the whole thing in cross stitch.

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A note about overdyed floss:  I love stitching with overdyed flosses, especially those from The Gentle Art.  But as most of you know, the dye lots of all of the brands can sometimes vary.  For this reason I generally list DMC equivalents for comparison.  I match the DMC to the actual skeins of overdyed floss that I use in the design.  Each DMC equivalent listed in my charts is as close as I can find to the particular dye lot that I use when stitching the models.

I never use conversion charts of any kind, because although suggested individual colors in the charts can be a close match, they are often just a bit off.  And when you combine several colors that are just slightly off, they can clash with, rather than complementing each other.   That is why I always match colors by hand. (Make that “by eye”!) 

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Currently I’m working on the model for, a reproduction of an 1855 English sampler stitched by Mary Maylett.  It has the first verse of the beautiful hymn “Jesus Lover of My Soul”, and among the motifs are two sweet little fallow deer.  Mary was born in 1844--100 years before the year of my birth, which makes me feel connected to her.  (It also makes me feel very old!)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Two New Releases from C Street Samplerworks


Door Prairie Barn Sampler

One of the most notable landmarks in my home town is the Door Prairie Barn, built in 1878 by Marion Ridgway.  It is quite unusual because it has nine sides.  It must be one of the most photographed structures in the area--I have seen photos of the barn taken in the summer, fall, winter, and spring.  It has also been the subject of countless paintings by artists both amateur and professional.

Door Prairie Barn, La Porte, Indiana

Years before I had released any C Street Samplerworks charts, I designed and stitched a band sampler featuring the Door Prairie Barn.  It was for my own pleasure and I had no intention of charting it.  However over the years, several local stitchers expressed interest in the sampler, so I finally published the chart.  Since the sampler depicts a local landmark, I didn’t expect the chart to be popular nationally, so at first it was available only through House of Stitches in La Porte, Indiana.  But I found that stitchers in other parts of the country were buying the chart.  So the Door Prairie Barn Sampler chart is now available to local and online needlework shops through my distributor Norden Crafts.

Door Prairie Barn Sampler
Several of the bands reflect motifs that have come to be associated with the barn and the area.  For a number of years the field in front of the barn was planted with thousands of golden sunflowers.  Other years pumpkins filled the field.  I included a band of maple leaves, because La Porte, with its tree-lined streets, has long been known as The Maple City.

I spent many enjoyable hours researching the barn, including reading through 19th century newspapers for advertisements to find the names and breeds of the horses owned by Mr. Ridgway.

The verse on the sampler reads:  "South of LaPorte, Ind. stands a nine-sided barn built in 1878 by Marion Ridgway.  On eight sides are stalls, each with its own door and window.  The ninth side is the main hall.  Ridgway was a breeder of horses—Normans, Clydesdales, Percherons, Morgans, Cleveland Bays and Hambletonians, with noble names like Grandee, Duke of Lexington, Lucas Brodhead, Greensburg, See-Saw, Nevoy, Constellation, and Bordeaux."

The sampler is stitched on 28ct Dirty Linen Cashel by Zweigart, and uses 12 colors of DMC floss.  Stitch count is 116 wide by 245 high, and when stitched on 28ct linen the design size is 8.25 inches wide by 17.25 inches high.  Stitches used are cross stitch over two threads, cross stitch over one thread, vertical satin stitch, back stitch, straight stitch, herringbone stitch, rice stitch, long-legged cross stitch, Smyrna cross stitch and four-sided stitch.

Hannah’s Conversation Sampler

The second release, also available through Norden Crafts, is a reproduction of a circa 1830s English sampler stitched by Hannah Wilson, aged 11.  I was first attracted to this sweet sampler by the purely secular verse about the art of conversation.  It was such a change from the more common, and sometimes depressing, religious verses.  Then I noticed that the central motif at the bottom was a variation on the small Solomon’s Temple motifs that are among my favorites, so I knew I had to add Hannah’s sampler to my collection.

Here is a photo of the antique sampler:

Circa 1830s English Sampler by Hannah Wilson
It is stitched on an off-white linen which has a horizontal thread count of approximately 19 per inch and a vertical thread count of about 17 per inch, and the stitched area measures approximately 7.75 inches wide by 12 inches high.

The reproduction, shown below, is stitched on 32ct Homespun linen by Lakeside Linens, using 6 colors DMC floss, and is worked entirely in cross stitch over two threads.  The stitch count is 149 wide by 202 high, and the design size is 9.25 inches wide by 12.63 inches high.

Hannah's Conversation Sampler
Wouldn't you love to know more about this little girl who preferred to stitch a verse about the lively art of conversation rather than one of the more usual religious verses? Unfortunately, she is likely to remain a mystery to us.  The sampler isn't dated, and "Hannah Wilson" was a very common name in 19th century England, so I have been unable to determine which one of many possible Hannah Wilsons stitched the sampler.  I like to think that she must have been a very special girl, though.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

New Designs


For the past several weeks I have been busy putting the final touches on the charts for three new designs, and late last week I breathed a great sigh of relief when I took them off to the printer.  The designs are scheduled to be released through Norden Crafts at the St. Charles Market, August 22-24, 2013, and you can ask your favorite needlework shop to pre-order them for you.

First is an original design, Evergreen Friendship, which I have dedicated to my wonderful friend Mary.  We met in the summer before our junior year in high school over 50 years ago, and she has been my dearest friend ever since.

The verse I chose for the sampler is one which was popular in autograph books in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
  
Evergreen Friendship

The model is stitched on 32ct Pecan Butter linen by Lakeside Linens and is stitched with 6 colors of Gentle Arts Sampler threads, one of Weeks Dye Works, and one of DMC.  The stitch count is 133 wide by 113 high and the design size is approximately 8.3 inches by 7.1 inches.  It stitches up quickly, and would make a great gift for your own best friend.

The next design is God Bless My LNS, a little tribute to Local Needlework Shops everywhere.  (Where would we be without them!)  I have dedicated this to my beloved LNS, House of Stitches in La Porte, Indiana.  Linda and her staff have been providing stash enhancement opportunities to area stitchers for over 26 years, and for the past few years have also been doing the same for stitchers all over the world through their website http://www.houseofstitches.com

God Bless My LNS

The model was stitched on 30ct Straw linen by Weeks Dye Works. using ThreadworX overdyed cotton No. 1154 “Bradley’s Balloons”, which contains a delightful rainbow of colors.  Since only one color of floss is used, it would be easy for you to choose your own favorite floss and linen colors if you prefer a more subdued color scheme.  The stitch count is 67 wide by 67 high and the design size is 4.5 inches by 4.5 inches. It stitches up in no time at all and will fit nicely in a standard 6-inch by 6-inch frame. 

And last, but far from least, is the Ann Leech Sampler, a reproduction of an 1827 English sampler, one of my very favorite samplers in my collection.  I adore the bright colors and the wonderful assortment of motifs in this sampler.  It was a joy to chart and stitch.  Here is a photograph of the antique sampler:

Antique Ann Leech Sampler

 The antique sampler was stitched with silk and wool on a linen fabric that has a thread count of approximately 28/30.  The sampler measures about 12.75 inches wide by 16.5 inches high.  Even after 186 years, the colors are amazingly vibrant with very little fading.  Most of the stitching is over two linen threads, with only the lower case letters in the verse and the signature areas stitched over one thread.

The verse on the sampler is from “Pilgrim’s Song”, an early Methodist hymn.  The words were written by English clergyman Robert Seagrave (1693-1759?). and first published in his in his ‘Hymns for Christian Worship” London, 1742.  There is a wonderful website where you can read the words to the entire hymn and at the same time hear the lovely melody:  http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/r/i/risemssw.htm

Here is a photo of the reproduction model:

Ann Leech Sampler Reproduction

 The model is stitched on 29 count Natural Glenshee linen using 18 colors of DMC floss.  It has a stitch count of 178 wide by 254 high.  The design size is approximately 12.3 inches wide by 17.5 inches high, which is a bit narrower and a little longer than the antique sampler. 

The DMC colors are almost perfect matches for the colors in the antique, and the Natural Glenshee linen gives an aged look to the reproduction.  And stitching the over-one areas are a breeze on Glenshee.


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Finally, I’d to share with you a "gift" that I found in my backyard the other day.  This lonely, lovely little petunia somehow managed to seed itself and grow in an arid crack in the cement in front of my old barn-like garage.  I had no idea it was growing there, and finding it in bloom was a surprise that made my day! 


Bloom Where You’re Planted