Saturday, July 26, 2014

SFS #7 + A FC Forget-Me-Not Bouquet!

Wowzers, it's so unusually hot here this summer and I'm really feeling the heat! Don't get me wrong - I'm not complaining; I know a lot of people are loving this heatwave. But I usually stitch with everything spread out across my lap and piled up on every nearby available surface, so it's just been too much to manage for me. Thankfully, fine crochet has come to my rescue; it just needs a hook and some thread :)

Thanks to the wonderful comments on my last post about the Vintage Needle Arts Sampler, I have decided to make my own littler sampler of samples :) But instead of planning everything out right away I'm going to start making some things and hope they all come together at the end! This will be a great chance to use some of my most Special Stash, and to try some new techniques ;) Like this pretty fine crochet posy:

It's my own Variation on this lovely FREE Violets Pin by Maggie Petsch for Kreinik:

The original uses strands of the super sparkly Kreinik Blending Filament crocheted together with the cotton, which is an interesting idea and would be great for special occasions. It's a very adaptable pattern and is fairly easy to stitch, the tricky part was figuring out the assembly! It's also a little large for a brooch but cute as an ornament:

I really love the backing doily, the little loops were fun to do and add a lot of detail :) To make the Violets into Forget-Me-Nots, I just made the first round yellow and used a Magic Circle so the stitches would pull more tightly together. The Violets had four small petals and one large, so I made all five of mine the same size. I also shortened the stems a little so they wouldn't trail over the bottom edge, and added the little white crocheted bow in place of the ribbon, which took some finangling LOL!

The biggest change I made is actually one you can't really see. The flowers and stems were supposed to be stitched directly to the middle of the doily, but all the tacking and darning stitches from the coloured threads would show up on the white back. Since this will be an applique of sorts, the back won't be seen, but I wanted to see if the pattern would work as an ornament too. So I made a false front simply by repeating the first three rounds of the doily and stitched everything to that!

And as I was joining the two pieces, I noticed that the false front and doily back formed a little pocket, so I added a bit of fibrefill stuffing and the posy just came to life! All the flowers mounded up like a real bouquet, the stems flared out and the ribbon bow stood out more! You can see the effect more on the back here:

And from the side you can see how the flowers (I made seven in all) layer together:

I'm so pleased with how this turned out! I think it's a wonderful start to the Sampler of Samples (I really have to come up with a better name, but we'll call it that for now LOL). And it can easily be changed to other flowers; add a sixth petal and work them in pink and you have Cosmos, with white you'd have Daisies.

Forget-Me-Nots are a humble little flower and often overlooked, but I have always loved them for their cheerful look and the wonderful sentiment. They also seem to me to be very determined; we've been very fortunate to have a few growing wild on the lawn every year, and I've even seen them pop up in sidewalk cracks :)

My SFS Total for Month #7, July:

I'm happy to report that for only the second time ever (the first being March) my total is $0.00! That leaves the Monthly Budget of $25 free, adding up to the grand sum of $97.03 in my Bank. I'm hopeful that I'll hit the $100 saved mark next month, which will be encouraging to see even though it's all imaginary money LOL!

Wonderful News: Mel, the Host of Stitch From Stash (SFS), has just had her blog Epic Stitching chosen for a magazine feature and she's having a Great Giveaway for her Followers to celebrate!!! Congratulations Mel - well deserved :) (Disclosure - sharing the news does give me an extra entry, but I'd share the news anyway!)

UPDATE: The Giveaway has now been drawn :) Congratulations to the Winners!

Friday, July 11, 2014

A Unique Vintage Needle Arts Sampler

Just a quick post to share a truly remarkable sampler that I saw the other night on Antiques Roadshow! It was from the "Vintage Toronto" broadcast, which updated the prices on the objects originally assessed in 1999, and this has been the show's only Canadian adventure to date (although we did have a spin-off for a while).

The Sampler was stitched by *Maria Taylor - the bottom center panel with the neat drawn-work edging has her information - as her application for the position of Home Economics teacher in 1879. What is amazing to me is not only all the small samples of different needlework types but the way it is presented, in the beautiful frame with the hand-made triangular rickrack around it! Needless to say, she got the job :)

(*In the Appraisal Transcript, the Appraiser says "Harriet" was the stitcher and the owner - the stitcher's grand-daughter - does not correct him, but in the last photo of the slideshow, it is clear that first letter is an M, as it is identical to that letter as she stitched it for "St. Marie's School", so Maria is my best guess at the actual stitching!)

The pictures on the website are a bit blurry, but you can see the full video of the Appraisal here at PBS, and it is well worth watching!!! Maria was an amazingly talented stitcher, and has everything from teeny tiny knitted socks to perfect miniature dresses (the sundress and crocheted hat above her signature panel is especially cute). I'd love a clearer look at it, but I noticed panels of needle darning and weaving, hand quilting, smocking, embroidery and needlelace work.

In the center is a wonderful petit point design of a handsome hound:

And my very favourite aspect is the impossibly delicate sheet music bars, from "Home Sweet Home", above the hound panel. The detail is so incredibly fine and accurate, I think you could actually play from it! And it's such a lovely sentiment :) 

It sort of sums up the whole display - the samples are the epitome of the domestic arts, which speaks to the importance of the idea of family life at the time. Because when she made this spectacular Sampler, not only was she applying for a paying job as a teacher but she was - like most women at the time - also proving her competence in "home making" skills which would be an asset in a marriage match. 

Her full-sized work must have been gorgeous, and we know from the conversation that she did marry and start a family. I imagine that her children must have been beautifully clothed :) What a lovely testament to a very talented lady's abilities! 

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find any information on whether the Sampler was sold, but hopefully that means that it will be passed down through the family and treasured for generations to come. It's truly priceless as an heirloom but it has also maintained it's monetary value at $1500 to $2500, from 1999 to 2013 :) 

Personally, I find this piece to be incredibly inspiring! I've become very interested in trying different styles of needlework lately but I'm wary of committing to an entire project in one style. Especially since the fine linen work - drawn thread, darning, weaving and the like - are so tedious to work. I was thinking of doing little samples, but had no idea what to do with them when finished, and that seemed wasteful.

I really like this idea of framing them all together in a display, although I would try something on a MUCH smaller scale LOL! Maybe an 8 x 10 frame ;) What about you?

PBS also has an archive of all their Needlework Appraisal Videos - Happy Browsing!