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!