Sunday, October 14, 2012

Weekend of Stitches--Fun, Fun, Fun!!!

Last Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, I was fortunate to attend a 2-day class taught by Ellen Chester of With My Needle.  It was sponsored by House of Stitches in La Porte, Indiana, and it was the best stitching fun I’ve had in a long time.  In fact I was enjoying myself so much that I almost forgot to get my camera out.  I did manage to get Ellen and Linda to stand still long enough for this photo:

Ellen and Linda
 The main piece in Ellen’s newest teaching project, A Lady’s Worke Box, is a lovely box lined with dupioni silk, and having a stitched piece on the front and on the inside of the box lid.  The matching accessories consist of a  needlebook,  3-sided scissors fob, pincushion, and an adorable little hornbook threadholder.  Two threadwinders were also included in the kits.  With Ellen’s permission, here is a photo showing all the pieces:

We spent much of the first day working on the needlebook back, which is a miniature band sampler with several whitework bands at the bottom, each using a different specialty stitch.  I'm done stitching the needlebook back and will start working on the front soon.  Here is the back of my needlebook:

On Sunday we did more stitching, and then Ellen taught us how to assemble models of the  Jacob’s Ladder-style needlebook, using scraps of ribbon and cardboard pieces.  Her instructions were very methodical and easy to follow and even though I’m somewhat “finishing-challenged”, I am confident that I’ll be able to finish my stitched needlebook without too much trouble.  All of Ellen’s chart instructions are detailed, complete, and so easy to follow.

Sunday afternoon Ellen presented a slide show of some incredibly beautiful antique wooden work boxes and their contents. The workmanship on these boxes was unbelievable!  If I ever win the lottery, one of the first things I'm going to buy is an antique workbox of my very own.

Throughout the weekend, door prizes were given out, and Linda made sure there were enough that each of us received one. 

Before we left, Linda gave us lovely wooden tool blocks and rulers which were inscribed “House of Stitches Weekend of Stitches October 6-7, 2012”.  If you’d like to see a photo, check out Ellen’s blog at

If you ever have the opportunity to take one of Ellen’s classes, please jump at the chance.  She is an incredibly good teacher--knowledgeable, informative, very organized, and above all, interesting and FUN! 

A great big THANK YOU to Linda for bringing us this wonderful weekend of stitching!

Friday, October 5, 2012

A Gift from the Birds?

The other day I discovered a lovely new resident in my garden. I love the triple petals on the bottom of each flower!

I looked through my wildflower books, and it appears to be a wild lobelia.  Now, I live right smack in the middle of town, far away from wooded areas and fields, and I'm not quite sure how this little beauty found its way to my yard, but I suspect that birds may have helped it find a new home by unwittingly transporting  its seed.  I wish I could get them to bring only flower seeds to my garden, because I also found sprouts of poison ivy that had appeared out of nowhere.  I guess every silver lining has a cloud!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Baltimore Market Releases

 Three C Street Samplerworks designs were released at the Baltimore Market earlier this month.  First is the Jane Rushton Sampler, a reproduction of an 1829 English sampler from my collection, and the second in a series of reproductions featuring Solomon's Temple motifs.  (The first in the series was CS-109, Ann Bagley Sampler, a reproduction of an 1824 English Sampler, which was released in late 2011.)

Jane Rushton was from Newark on Trent, which is likely where she stitched her sampler.  I've done some genealogical research on Jane and her family, and the chart includes a bit of her family history.  I found it interesting that one of Jane's children, Dennis Wood, emigrated to the United States around 1890, settling in Delaware, where he married and raised his family.

Jane's sampler has two of the temple motifs--one at each of the bottom corners.  As you can see, these Solomon's Temples aren't the elaborate temple buildings seen on many samplers, but the smaller motifs which are sometimes called Solomon's Porch or Solomon's Gate.

I matched the colors to the antique sampler which was amazingly unfaded for being over 180 years old.  I chose to stitch the reproduction on natural linen in order to replicate the aged look of the linen.

The second market release  is an original design Tree of Life Birth Sampler which was published in the Winter 2009 issue of Sampler & Antique Needlework Quarterly.  That issue is out of print, and I received several requests to release it as a chart.

It is stitched on Meadow Rue linen by Lakeside Linens.  I chose traditional sampler motifs for their special meanings: the tree of life signifies all living things on earth, the storks denote parental love, the crown stands for eternity or eternal life, the eight-pointed stars symbolize the Star of Bethlehem, and the pierced hearts signify divine love.  And I added the bluebirds for happiness.

Last but definitely not least,  is the Anna Brambles Sampler,  a reproduction of an 1864 English sampler from my collection.  I have always been partial to simple marking samplers, but I must admit the first thing that drew me to the sampler was the name Anna Brambles.  Doesn't it sound like it should belong to a little animal character from a children's book?

I generally stitch my own models, but Linda Rinkel, owner of House of Stitches in La Porte, graciously volunteered to stitch Anna so that the model would be completed in time for Market.  (Her stitching is impeccable, by the way!)

Anna is stitched on Lakeside Linen's luscious Pecan Butter linen, which closely matches the aged linen on the antique sampler. 

I was fortunate enough to locate Anna in English records, and the chart contains brief notes on her family.

Now that Market is over,  it's back to the drawing board--or rather the computer and the embroidery hoop.  I'm charting several "new" antique samplers, one of which will be the third in the Solomon's Temple series.  And I'm currently stitching the model for my reproduction of an English sampler that was stitched in 1827  by 13-year-old Ann Leech, probably in the town of St. Bees, Cumbria.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Welcome to the New C Street Samplerworks' Blog!

It's time to join the blogging world so there will be a place to see all the current designs, as well as news of future designs.

First, perhaps I should tell you how I became a designer.  I have been doing needlework in one form or another since my childhood. I embroidered my first sampler when I was 8 or 9 years old after seeing an antique sampler at a museum.  I was intrigued to see that it had been stitched by a girl about my age, so I went to Woolworth's and bought a little stamped "God Bless Our Home" sampler and stitched it in bright primary colors.
 Not knowing any better, I used all six strands of floss!  I never finished the sampler, but a few years ago I framed it and it is now hanging on a wall in my stash room as a reminder that I have learned a few things over the years.

In the 1960's I joined in the crewelwork craze.  I was especially drawn to the old Jacobean designs, because in addition to my passion for stitching, I have always been a history junkie.  Then I discovered evenweave fabric, and I knew I had found my true calling!  There were few, if any, counted thread patterns in the early 1970's, so I began designing my own samplers as gifts for family and friends, as well as for myself. 

In 1995, friends at my local needlework shop House of Stitches badgered me into designing a sampler for the “Lifetime of Memories” contest sponsored by DMC Corporation, Just CrossStitch, McCall’s Needlework, and Crafts Magazine in honor of the DMC Corporation’s 250th Anniversary.  I was dumfounded when I received a call in 1996 saying my design, “My Grandmother’s Flower Garden” had won first prize!  There were lots of fun prizes, the best of which was a trip to the Spirit of Cross Stitch show in Sacramento, California.  And my sampler got to travel to France, where it was exhibited at the DMC International Embroidery Exhibition, as well as being pictured in the catalogue for the exhibition.  It was then I began considering the possibility of designing professionally, and C Street Samplerworks was born.

It took a few years before I got up the courage to submit designs to Sampler & Antique Needlework Quarterly, where a number of my designs have been published over the years.  And in 2010, Norden Crafts began distributing my designs, and now here we are!

All currently available designs are listed on the left side of this page.  If you click on a sampler, you will be taken to another page with a photo and information on stitch count, design size, and linen used.  If you want to know anything else about the designs, I’ll be happy to answer your questions.

And please let me know if you have any suggestions for what you’d like to see in future designs.  I’m looking forward to hearing from you!