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.