Gratitude for our favorite things

We might not always be able to extract too much factual information from antique samplers--it's wonderful when we can--but sometimes the stitched images give us just enough information to imagine what was important to the maker. We recently added a new sampler to our collection stitched by Sarah Butler in 1783. It is a true sampler in every sense of the word (although, much to Vickie's sadness, it does NOT contain an alphabet).

Lost a post here or there...

We love technology; truly we do! It's what helps us create and deliver the wonderful samplers and needleework-related products. Sometimes, though, glitches and updates create snags here and there. We're reposting this photo because it somehow fell off the page during a recent update. Still thrilled about our presence in both Piecework magazine and Sampler & Antique Needlework Quarterly.

Class prep is great fun!

A rainy weekend in the mountains is just what we needed to get kits ready for our Summer School at the Attic class in three weeks. We snapped the work-in-progress photo as Maegan recreated parts of this little Victorian thimble case with red thread to tie in the "Six Shades of Red theme." Deconstructing the antique whithout doing damage is always a challenge. Not to mention repeating the thousands of blanket stitches some patient girl completed many years ago.

Fourth finery...

Well, the day started with major yard and pool cleanup following the first "monsoon" storm of the season. The upside is that today was pleasant and cooler than most July Fourth's in the desert. But, before the sun goes down and the fireworks begin, we want to share some Independence Day images with you. The first is the talented Bonnie Olson's finish of our new "Sweet Land" chart, completed just in time for July 4.

Selecting the right frame

We are having such fun preparing for the Fall Needlework Market in August. With a break from book writing and projects, we've had time to focus on some reproductions, and it looks like we'll have five samplers and two original designs for the show in St. Charles. As projects near completion, we start asking: How are we going to finish this? Hemstitch like the original? Frame? If it's pillow? Stand-up?

Introducing our new patriotic design: "Sweet Land"

Collaborating with artist Nancy Mills to bring you “Sweet Land” was a true delight! Back in February, her daily doodle on notebook paper (at left) was a charming pencil sketch that just begged to be repurposed as a cross stitch chart. Its free-flowing lines and casual playfulness expressed a bit of whimsy while capturing a sense of pride in our “sweet land of liberty.” Check out her talented and creative multi-media work at Five Times Blessed on both Etsy and Facebook.

Mother's Day greetings & musings...

These simple images from an old sampler (we promise to have it charted, stitched and available before Mother's Day 2015) bring to mind the words from a poem by Elizabeth Chase Akers Allen (1832-1911). It is one of Vickie's favorite poems about motherhood. Although she first heard the words as the lyrics to a folk song recorded in the 1990's, they were first set to music in 1862, and remained especially popular during the Civil War.