Thursday, 29 August 2013

BlackWork Sampler taken from pattern 1811 - M. Pollard

Started a mammoth project recently, its a blackwork sampler of motifs worked on a 35 count on linen using single strand silk thread. I bought this a few years ago from Ebay thinking it was quite a straightforward simple pattern, however when it arrived and I saw the pattern properly I knew it was much bigger than I had anticipated. It has 15 plus motifs plus filler patterns but I must admit now that I have started it, I'm really enjoying the intricate stitching involved.
The above photo is of the central motif which unusually has a second colour. This is the only place it appears in the pattern, the rest is worked in black cross-stitch.
It was designed by Martha Pollard who was a pupil at the Quaker School of Ackworth (1809-11). It was common practise for girls leaving school to make such samplers for friends or instructors. It was also a way to practise and record their stitching quality, so they could use this skill when they went into service and needed this skill to embroider monograms onto linens
Stitching and embroidery was certainly a skill that its makers wanted to pass along to their children. There was a problem, though. Centuries ago, there were no printed books available to record needlework stitches and patterns. Therefore, accomplished embroiderers began to work the stitches on small pieces of cloth for use as "samples" of what the stitches should look like. Young girls would practice their stitches and techniques by making samplers. And when they grew up, those who were poor or orphaned used their samplers to help them obtain positions as embroiderers, in much the same way as artists today use portfolios.
As books grew to be more commonplace samplers were no longer needed as teaching aids, and they became more decorative than functional. The stitches used to make them also changed, from embroidery, drawn thread work, and cross stitch to only cross stitch.
Today's samplers are almost all cross stitch as is this one I am now working on.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Flower Pin Cushion using LuLu's old dress and a Cath Kidston cross stitch pattern

  In the last post I mentioned my Gran's handmade patchwork quilt which I am busy restoring back to a useable quilt. It had got me thinking that it would be lovely to make a memory quilt for Louisa from some of her favourite dresses and baby clothes. I also thought that we could use some of her first duvet covers and baby blankets.
I had seen this pattern for a flower pin cushion by Anna Marie Horner (link for the free pattern here).  Its a very popular pattern on the internet and there are loads of variations. I particularly like the miniature patchwork center one on  Pinterest. Rather than buy fabric especially to make this pincushion I used some of fabric already stashed for the memory quilt. The petals are from a beautiful first dress of Louisa's and for the base I used skirt fabric from my Mom. I decided to cross stitch the center fabric with a Cath Kidston rose pattern. I've used this a number of times as it is perfectly proportioned for smaller projects and I adapted the border to fit the circular space.
 I love the finished result, small it isn't, but hey, who said pin cushions had to be teeny tiny.x

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Gran's Vintage Handmade Patchwork Quilt & Embroidery from Alicia Paulson Patterns

I have had ain my possession for many years (20+) a patchwork quilt that was made by my Gran probably in the last ten years of her life. Its special in many ways to me, its handmade and I can remember her making it, I was allowed to cut out the cards that backed each hexagon. The fabrics she used were from items of clothing that she/granddad/family wore, so that when I look at this quilt I can picture gran in her apron or granda in his favourite shirt. I also remember it placed on the spare bed in the room that used to be my mom and her brother's room. I can picture it now so clearly in my head as though I was standing there now, even though the house has been sold, completely renovated and now has other peoples belongings occupying that space. It was stitched on top of a nasty nylon bedspread and that is how it has stayed for all these years. I was given some wadding/backing from one of the ladies at my knitting club a while ago and it is the same size as grans quilt so I'm now unpicking and attaching it to this to make a small quilt. The shape isn't a perfect rectangle but I like that it isn't so I'm going to keep the funny shape as I make it up.
I've been embroidering Louisa's pillow with her name from Alicia Paulson's daisy chain pattern. It looks lovely but I want to further embellish it with embroidered flowers and a bunny or two. I've also finally completed her cross stitch sampler which came up a lot smaller than I envisaged, which is mad as the completed size is given in the book. It is such a delicate stitch that looks like lace, I love the contrast you get with the white floss on a darker background. I'm now looking for a suitable frame for it.
The roses this year have been beautiful, these are in our back yard in a pot and they never fail to disappoint. They are a cutting from Dad about 6 years ago and smell just like roses should.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

"So fall asleep love, loved by me, for I know love, I am loved by thee" Robert Browning

A Woman's Last Word by Robert Browning


Let's contend no more, Love,
 Strive nor weep:
All be as before, Love,
 —-Only sleep!


What so wild as words are?
 I and thou
In debate, as birds are,
 Hawk on bough!


See the creature stalking
 While we speak!
Hush and hide the talking,
 Cheek on cheek!


What so false as truth is,
 False to thee?
Where the serpent's tooth is
 Shun the tree—-


Where the apple reddens
 Never pry—-
Lest we lose our Edens,
 Eve and I.


Be a god and hold me
 With a charm!
Be a man and fold me
 With thine arm!


Teach me, only teach, Love
 As I ought
I will speak thy speech, Love,
 Think thy thought—-


Meet, if thou require it,
 Both demands,
Laying flesh and spirit
 In thy hands.


That shall be to-morrow
 Not to-night:
I must bury sorrow
 Out of sight:


—-Must a little weep, Love,
 (Foolish me!)
And so fall asleep, Love,
 Loved by thee.
© Robert Browning.
For Hazel - thinking of you. xxx


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