Willing Hands Needlework Design

"She seeketh wool and flax and worketh willingly with her hands"
Proverbs 31:13

Welcome to my blog! I created this blog to keep you updated on my teaching schedule, designs, new designs, kit availability,
works in progress and other stitching related activities. From time to time I'll also be adding extra info about goings-on in my life.

To see my current teaching schedule, teaching pieces and retired designs, click on "older posts" at the bottom of each page.

Thank you for visiting!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Bristol Sampler Stitching Bag

At long last I have a new design to debut!  Based on 1860's samplers from the Ashley Down Orphan Houses in Bristol England and including the new (to me) technique of English paper piecing, this design is fun to stitch and construct.
Following the tradition of the original samplers, it is stitched entirely in red floss on white linen.  The bag itself is worked with an alphabet and single motifs from the original samplers which were comprised of rows of alphabets and rows of repeating motif patterns.  The base of the bag is made of four patterns of red and white quilting fabric which have been cut into triangles and joined using the paper piecing technique.  The octahedron shaped pin cushion is constructed the same way.  The bag includes a solid red lining which forms a ruffle at the top and has sleeves to hold two striped ribbon draw strings, each of which ends in a small stitched tab with space for initials and dates on one side and tiny floral and geometric motifs on the back sides.  The bag is approximately 6 inches tall and 3 inches in diameter.
The "smalls" are: a needle book with wool felt needle pages and a ribbon spine, a paper pieced pin cushion, a scissor fob and a thread winder.
The two day class will focus on the paper pieced bag base and pin cushion, and making the red bag lining.  The kit includes Belfast linen, Gloriana silk floss, DMC pearl cotton, 6 quilt fabrics, wool felt, Gloriana silk ribbon, striped cotton ribbon, paper piecing supplies, skirtex, interfacing, sewing thread, needles, polyfil, color charts and detailed instructions.  The kit fee is $140 and the design is available for workshops beginning January 1, 2016.
Note:  kits for future classes may not include the exact red and white fabrics used in the model because I'm at the mercy of fabric companies which are prone to discontinuing designs, but I will make every effort to match fabrics as closely as possible to the original.  Thanks for your understanding!
I hope that you like it! 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

It's About Time...

that I updated this blog!

As you've probably gathered by now, I only write on my blog when I have a new design to present or a new class to add to my teaching schedule.  Today I have both.

Last year while teaching at the EGA Rocky Mountain Regional Seminar in Albuquerque I was wandering through the booths on Merchandise Night and found that one of my students had a table and was selling, among other things, a book that she had written.  The book is called "Pioneer Memorial Museum Samplers" and was written by Loree Romriell.  Of course, I bought a copy which she then autographed for me.

Most of the samplers in the book were stitched on the east coast of the US or in European countries.  The most fascinating aspect of them, for me at least, is that they were lovingly carried across the country in wagon trains and found their way to Salt Lake City where the museum is now located.  I imagine that some of them were at least partially stitched en route and I envision girls stitching away in the rocking wagons trying to relieve the boredom of the endless trek across the Great Plains.

Shortly after purchasing the book I was approached by the Swan Sampler Guild of Salt Lake City and asked to design a new project for them, to be taught in August 2015.  What a perfect opportunity to study the samplers in the book and adapt some of the motifs into a new design!  The biggest problem I had in this endeavor was deciding what format the new etui would take.  Then one morning in early fall I woke with the solution in my head - a book!  I don't remember dreaming about it, but there it was.  For the record, that is exactly how the Toy Chest Etui started.

The outside cover of the book is loosely based on a very simple sampler in the collection which is worked on "training cloth", which was made in an effort to assist young girls in stitching in nice neat rows.  The cloth is made by removing every tenth linen ground thread and weaving a colored thread back in so that it looks like modern day school notebook paper.  Students will do this as part of the project.

Inside the book, instead of pages, there are two boxes which hold smalls - a scissor pouch and fob and two thread winders.  The spine of the book is a pin roll and one of the inside box lids has a wool felt needle page attached to its lining.  The project was stitched on Platinum Belfast linen which I distressed after all of the embroidery was completed, to give it the worn and stained appearance of most of the original samplers.  Students may follow my lead on this or choose to leave theirs in pristine condition.

All of the motifs used were inspired and adapted from the samplers in the museum collection except the bee hive.  I felt that the design needed one since the bees and the hive, symbols of industriousness, are the symbols of the state of Utah.

I hope that you like it!