Saturday, June 13, 2009

Long Lost Love

I've mentioned before, a long, long time ago, that I used to do quite a bit of needlework. There was a time when I had at least one, sometimes several pieces in progress at all times. In fact, my hands used to be dry and cracked to the point of pain because I was so scrupulous about washing my hands in order to work on my precious samplers.

A few years ago, my needlework mojo dried up quite suddenly and unexpectedly. I put all of my fancy fibers, beautiful pieces of linen, and tons of charts and patterns away. This happened to coincide with me learning to smock and finding a new "love" and with some devastating family disruptions. There suddenly just wasn't enough time, energy, or money, and something had to give.
Lately I have been feeling a stirring of renewed interest in needlework. I don't know yet if it will blossom into the full blown love and obsession it was before, but I am content to wait and see what happens. In the meantime I thought I would share a few pieces with you now and then. I have stitched up tons of things- mostly samplers- so many that I can't even remember all of them. Most of my finished pieces are hanging in my Mom's house in Georgia, but I do have a few things tucked away waiting for me to have them framed so they can hang in my home. I also have quite a few UFOs which need to be brought out into the light of day and finished. I may share some of those as well.
I was, at one time, an aspiring needlework designer myself, so I plan to share some of my original designs and offer some of them to you free of charge. It's a shame to let them languish away in a dark box- they should be shared. Maybe someone else will get some enjoyment out of them just like I got when I was designing them.
I'll leave you today with a few pieces that I stitched when I first became a linen/evenweave convert (no more Aida cloth for me) and when I first started branching out from cross stitch into other stitches. Unfortunately I cannot credit the designers of these first four pieces. I found these patterns in a magazine in the late 90's, and I no longer have the magazine.
The first pieces is a beautiful and quite large sampler

It's mostly cross stitch in rich colors, but it does have some satin stitching, herringbone, french knots, and bullion knots. It's stitched on 28ct Ivory Jobelin, I believe. (Sorry for the green tint to the picture. I assure you it's due to my camera and lighting conditions.) None of these pieces I'm sharing are blocked or stretched, so that is why they are a little bit crooked.

This one is also mostly cross stitch except for the verse and the border. It is stitched on 28ct ivory linen that I bought prepackaged at Walmart- back when they had a decent selection of needlework supplies.

This one was one of my early hardanger pieces. I LOVE hardanger. This is also one of my first pieces using Caron overdyed threads. I can't remember the name of the color combination, but I think I used heavier Watercolours cotton for the kloster blocks (the outline blocks) and satin stitching, and thinner Wildflowers thread for the weaving in the cut-out areas. These threads are wonderful because the colors change as you stitch. I still need to add a verse or something to the center of this one. This one was stitched on 28ct white evenweave fabric.

Here's a little sampler with a strawberry theme. This one is stitched all in DMC floss in red, green, blue, gold, and ecru on 28ct ivory linen. (Once again- sorry for the green tint.) This one was a lot of fun and quick to stitch with lots of specialty stitches.

And here is one of those UFOs I mentioned. This one is from Full Circle Designs and features pumpkins. I have lots of patterns with pumpkins. My son Bryan has a thing for them- we have a collection, and so I pick up pumpkin patterns here and there. This one should be quick to finish. It's stitched in Sampler Threads on 32ct linen. I'm not sure of the color but it's a rustic beige/tan.

And finally, this is a small piece of my main UFO, which I need to hurry up and finish. The picture from the beginning of the post is also a portion of this piece- Heirloom Anniversary Sampler from Victoria Sampler. I am modifying the design, however, to be a birth sampler for a special little family friend. The colors are soft rose, taupe, ecru, and sparkly platinum on 28ct Platinum Cashel linen (a warm pale grey). The sampler features all kinds of stitches, hardanger, silk ribbon embroidery, and is sprinkled with beads and metallic thread accents. I have already made it once for my parents as an anniversary sampler, and I thought it would adapt nicely to a birth sampler. I just need to get myself in gear and finish it!
The day is young, and as you can see, I have plenty to work on. I might even get a chance to clear off the kitchen table and cut out a sewing project. I'm off to stitch/sew.


Shannon said...


Myra said...

Really nice work. I, too, used to only cross-stitch, in fact, did that when I was pregnant/bed-resting. The about 2 yrs ago discovered quilting and sewing. I recently pulled out some items I started while waiting for Hayley to be born, including her stocking and have tried to work on them a bit. My eyes got worse for that type of work while I was pregnant, hit the big 4-0 then. Maybe I will get a few done if I do them in small bits.

Julia said...

You are very talented. I have done some needlework. Now I mostly do embroidery on my grands dresses and such. Do you do your own tread pulling. I am so impressed.

Vicki W said...

Those look like a lot of the same kinds of projects that I did. I also love hardanger the most and, should I ever finish the darned cat cross stitch, I will do another hardanger project. I have given away all of the ones I did.

Blakely said...

Absolutly Beautiful!! I love pumpkins too.

The Slapdash Sewist said...

Love that UFO from the top and bottom pics. It looks like a lot of work but for a gorgeous result.

Anonymous said...

stunning! Isn't it peaceful coming back to something you stepped away from for unhappy reasons? This must mean life is good.
I have always said that if I didn't smock, I would stitch samplers.

angie.a said...

Wow, those are all gorgeous. I'm shocked! (Well, no not really. I know how talented you are!!)