Wow…I’ve discovered I’m a lazy cross stitcher! For years I’ve made my Xs without much thought. Until now, that is. Right off the bat, with Lesson 1, I’m training myself to use the Danish method of cross stitch. I was always aware of the technique which requires stitching half of the X in one journey then crossing over it on the return journey.This method requires much more thought about proper stitch placement!! Something else I’ve learned in Lesson 1 is to chart a  pattern as it turns a corner (think of the borders on a sampler, etc). I’m pleased because this will come in handy when I am designing my own projects. I have totally gotten my money’s worth out of this class already and I’m only half way through lesson 1! Stay tuned for more revelations.


Sampler Verse.92

July 27, 2010

“1. Labor for learning before you grow old for it is better than silver or gold.

2. When silver is gone and money is spent then learning is most excellent.” (stitched in 1732 0r 6)

~~Sampler Verse # 29, American Samplers, Bolton and Coe (1921)


This coffee-table style book, written by Lanto Synge, the former chief executive of Mallett Plc, a British antique business well-known for furniture and historic textiles, is very much an “art history” book. Synge sets the tone in his introduction when he states that “the history of decorative needlework is intriguing and diverse, with a world-wide richness and broad, human implications. A study of it takes us into many periods and facets of social history, since embroidery is one of man’s oldest skills, referring us to each branch of the fine and decorative arts and pointing to fascinating interplays of inspiration and design generally.” From this jumping off point, Synge discusses the important aspects of decorative needlework from the 5th century BC up to the 20th century.

From all of this information, one of the things that struck me most was a sentence at the beginning of the bibliography; and one with which I agree wholeheartedly. It is Synge’s opinion that “reading good descriptions of old textiles can be nearly as enjoyable for a reasonably experienced enthusiast as seeing them.” If you would like to see what else is in the book you can find it at all of the usual retail outlets.

I recently joined International Old Lacers, Inc. It’s a interesting name for a wonderful organization whose mission is making, studying and collecting antique lace. Check out their informative website here.

I mentioned recently that I joined the Embroiderer’s Association of Canada. I like joining different organizations to meet new people. Another reason I joined EAC is to take the Basic Counted Thread individual correspondence course…six lessons in 12 months, stitching, researching, collecting thread and fabric samples. Just my cup of tea!! The first lesson covers counted cross stitch; which I’ve done for years, but something tells me I will be learning something new. Check back to see what I’ve learned and how I’m progressing through the lessons.

Sampler Verse.9

July 18, 2010

“When in love I do commence

May it be with a man of sense…” (stitched in 1769)

~~Sampler Verse #9, American Samplers, Bolton and Coe (1921)

Hmmm…words that are still relevant today!

Reading Needlework

July 15, 2010

In a recent auction at Bonham’s in San Francisco a family register sampler sold for $8,540. It appears to be a wonderful example of this type of sampler and it reminded me how much these pieces of antique needlework can tell us. It’s easy to read this particular sampler (and those with verses) but we can also “read” the motifs and other parts of samplers to learn at least a little something about the girls who stitched them. I wonder if, years from now, anyone will have the same thoughts about what is being stitched today.

Click here to see the family register sampler as well as several others sold at the same auction.

The Antique Pattern Library (click on the catalog tab on the right) is an ongoing project to preserve needlework pattern books in the public domain. Right now the library holds hundreds of scanned pattern books for cross stitch, knitting, crocheting and other needle arts. They range from the 19th through the early 20th centuries. This digital library, started in December 2005, is regularly updated by anyone who has a pattern to share. I was very pleased to see several more books from the DMC Library as well as several beautiful books from Italy; the charts from which are just lovely! Also included on the website, links to other on-line vintage pattern books and the opportunity to join a Yahoo discussion group to converse with others interested in preserving these pieces of needlework history. Take a look. It’s well worth it!

There is an absolutely wonderful exhibit on the website of the Textile Museum of Canada called In Touch: Connecting Cloth, Culture + Art. It does a great job of showing the important cultural role textiles play throughout history. Click In Touch to check it out. Be sure you look at and listen to everything the exhibit offers. It’s well worth your time.

Check out Jennifer Cecere’s website. This New York based artist creates amazing pieces using lace and doilies. You can find her website at where you will see photographs of her work along with several YouTube videos; one of which I’ve included here in which she explains her artistic process. Enjoy!