Friday, September 13, 2019

This evening’s study

Many of you have emailed or messaged me to find out if things were okay ...
I have been weaning myself off of Facebook and trying to not ‘waste time’ finding and posting fun stuff on social media but using my time instead to focus back on my own work.

This has been a summer full of ‘events’ ... mostly good and exciting events - I got to see some places that I had only dreamed about and imagined from books I have read ... only 
to see that my imagination fell short of the grandeur and magnificence of the actual places.  

Anyway, just finished all the samplers I had earmarked this summer for ‘tennis watching/
travel’ projects ....  a bit after the USOpen tennis 🎾 BUT the games this year were amazing and made it impossible to stitch even easy cross stitch samplers!

So, this evening found me looking in my stash for something to replace that category of projects ...
Came upon some of my Rhode Island Balch samplers in the ‘1-2 year start/ travel projects’ files.  This lead to my trying to remember all the ones that have been reproduced and their chronological order.... couldn’t remember or put my hand on the book where I had read things when I was studying the Balch school etc ....
Went online and found a nice article which may be of interest to some of you :

Anyway, I know I have neglected to post for a while - will do so shortly... fun and easy stitching this summer ... 

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Some thoughts - continued

I had begun writing a blog post last Friday at a time when I was not feeling too great ... my stomach continues to be touchy and is stopping me from getting much done in any area, but I digress.  I thought I had put the post in the 'Draft area' because I got sidetracked by 'technology'.  I realized that my lengthy post in March after returning from Advanced Class at the Japanese Embroidery Center where I attempted to share some thoughts and reasons had never posted (!) and  was sitting in the Draft area.   Anyway, this is just to explain the rather abrupt post on Friday - I had planned to insert some photographs of my slower than planned progress on the Norwich Sampler.  I will rectify this here now for those of you who are following this simple but charming cross stitch sampler with interest:

Part of what I was trying to say also in my last post was that I have restricted my blog posts mostly to samplers and western embroidery and that I have shared many more things on my Facebook page - shared links and articles there (too many perhaps) on a variety of topics.  I do think that many of them have the common underlying threads of mastery, passion, focus, heart. I know that many of you are not on Facebook but may find some of the embroidery related links I find through my 'research' as I browse the internet just as interesting.  Even though I like the 'sharing' on Facebook, I do wonder about the communications and about some of the ways people just 'take your posts and share' without giving credit or thanks or taking the time to comment or say anything.... it is similar to what puzzles me here on this blog -  few people comment here or subscribe but when I look at the statistical analysis there are some posts that have over 500 views and some of the whitework closeups I so naively provided in full resolution because of 'everyone wanting to see more details' without even 'marking/watermarking' my photographs are over 1000!
It is also interesting to note that when I provide a link to the new blogpost on Facebook, traffic increases, comments and likes ensue there but rarely here ! I have met many people who have told me in person they love to read my posts but I had no idea they did since they had not subscribed or commented.  Some of my needlework friends want me to share on Instagram ... I have watched some of the things there and it puzzles me even more ... videos are available briefly there and then 'disappear' just as quickly as they arrived.  I must confess I do not understand the ins and outs of 'technology', of bombarding /marketing laterally on various platforms with the same images.  I know that this constant bombardment of info must be effective,  people are earning money somehow or launching/promoting their business in this manner.  The sheer string of # (hashtags) attached to each post is interesting to observe.  I know there are a number of things I have to sort out, a number of decisions to make - all of that takes time.  And, again, I am not writing all this here 'looking for likes or comments' - just trying to assess if it is worth my sharing anything at all - all of this takes time; no problems with me on that IF there is relevance and IF this has a value.  There are certainly a multitude of images of all sorts of embroidery available on the internet and I certainly don't want to add to the 'noise' since I am not an expert.  There are plenty of people with much greater knowledge of techniques and historical context.  I addressed this in my March post - suffice it to say that the world of the professional embroiderer is a world that inspires me.

For now,  I hope I can figure out how to attach some links to my blogposts here and also to find out if you feel this is of value.

Here are just three links I have shared on my Facebook page many times before

Joy Jarrett of Witney Antiques on Samplers

An interesting video with the director of the Cluny museum

making a tapestry :

After seeing some of the discussions on Facebook regarding providing details on samplers because of people 'stealing' the information,  I have gone back and reduced the size of all my images here even though I know that this is no 'protection' per se and that those 'stealing' have already gleaned all the information and incorporated it.  The reason for me to go back and do this is not to 'protect' my embroidery ... I have my work and pictures and some of my own smaller designs that I so enthusiastically shared have already made it to Pinterest etc.  The main reason is to try and 'protect' the work and copyright of the designers of the samplers. Most of them provide closeups of the original samplers on their websites anyway and share good pictures on Facebook so that I can 'study' and 'compare' or further research things on my own as I am apt to do but it was never my intention to provide people with clear magnified pictures... I have described and shown closeups of many techniques - the idea was to share my experiences and show some ways of how I work through my projects - some of the questions being talked about on social media now have been addressed in previous posts here - just studying some of the pictures provides many clues.  I sincerely hope that showing such detail did not harm the business end of things for some of the designers.  I know from a few of them that my blogging about certain samplers or crewelwork pieces brought in some orders for them.  I do hope that will continue... I choose to believe in the goodness of mankind.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Some thoughts ..

I am closing in on completing the Norwich sampler shortly - it had been an easy project and I must admit I wondered if I should ‘add’ other stitches ‘just’ to break up the monotony of simple cross stitch.

I have shared many  posts on my Facebook page on sampler stitching

Sunday, June 9, 2019

A Sunday update - the Norwich sampler

A beautiful Sunday - enjoying the French Open 🎾 at Roland Garros .... 
an excellent weekend witnessing immense passion, heart and skill in tennis and at the Belmont horse races yesterday 🐎 ....
Hard to watch and stitch on the sampler ... so will be a bit behind in finishing the Norwich sampler ! 😉 

A simple but fun sampler ...  this was a progress photograph from a few nights ago - closing in on the last band now but won’t finish tonight - the games are just too good to watch and stitch! 
 A Norwich sampler by the Examplarery ...

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Band samplers ...

The ‘theme’ this weekend on one of the Facebook sampler groups is ‘band samplers’.  Here are just some glimpses of some of the  band samplers I have stitched and shared on my blog ... in the past, I used to mostly stitch band samplers that were considered ‘advanced’ - now, it seems I am stitching fun and easy projects lately - getting carried away by all the  fun samplers I see on Facebook groups ...
Got to get back to my own, ‘old / disciplined’ ways .... samplers will remain standbys - tennis 🎾 and horse races 🏇 and TV watching stuff ....

Will share my progress on the Norwich sampler soon ... have a great Sunday !

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Quick update : Agnes Begbe sampler & a new start

The month of May ushered in lots of celebrations.... my parents 60th wedding anniversary, graduations from high school and universities in the immediate family and finally, signs of Spring!

Life on my end has been busy - the organizational review of all systems continues on the side - a lot of work but also a good feeling to slowly be getting back to ‘old routines’.

It seems like the posts where I express my opinions in needlework do generate a lot of interest - there are many ways and lots of things I know have worked better for me than others - I usually don’t share too much of that because I realize that most things are personal preference.  Please let me know if you would want me to share some of the tools and ways I have found to work for me ...

So, I know some of you are curious to see the recently completed samplers ... I will post  my working photographs today - I was waiting for good light to take better pictures.
Yesterday would have been a good day for this but I was too busy taking a day off and watching the Italian Open tennis championships  🎾 and then the Preakness horse races 🏇 🐎 after that!
So here are some photographs of Agnes Begbe : 

May 8,2019
Agnes Begbe  - The Examplarery
35ct. Linen & DMC threads in the kit 

And then, like it often is after I have finished a project, I feel extremely odd just sitting there and watching TV... I just didn’t feel like getting into something ‘complicated ‘ at the moment since the days are pretty filled with ‘organizational’ decisions and leave me quite tired at the end of the day. 
The other day when I was ‘helping’ a friend choose her next project I had made the big mistake of opening my file cabinets filled with fun and easy samplers suitable for travel etc.  I had taken out three samplers to show her ... Agnes Begbe was one of them ... and the next one was another sampler kit by Joanne Harvey.  Another kit I had bought a very long time ago ... I always like to begin a needlework project  on a ‘special’ day ( birthdays in the family, anniversaries etc ).  I had been resisting the urge to start a rather complicated Japanese Embroidery project on my parents’ 60th anniversary and sitting around after coming home from the luncheon celebration with them was just too ‘weird’ ... I knew we would be busy with a longer /larger celebration on Saturday  so, on Friday evening, I started this simple sampler instead :


It was fun setting it all up on Friday night and then having something fun and easy to work on while watching 🎾 tennis or horse racing 🏇 these past few evenings or watching some interesting videos on YouTube on music, musicians, history/ crafts etc etc ...  it turned out to be a perfect project since I was feeling a bit under the weather too...
So, here are some progress photos on this new project - A Norwich Sampler by The Examplarery... using all the kit materials - 27 ct. linen & 2 strands of DMC threads provided in the kit.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Completed Agnes Begbe - The Examplarery

Just a quick note - I will post in greater detail on this beautiful Scottish sampler by the Examplarery.
It was a sampler I started on a whim last month... it is a sampler that is not very challenging for me but was perfect for at least keeping my hands doing something  ‘needlework related ‘ during a very busy month.

This is just a quick post to address something I have seen many people discuss on social media and it is a topic I have addressed here on this blog many times before.  I know I have been remiss in following up with photographs etc for many years now.  The question on what materials to use, whether it is on ground materials like linen vs. Aida or congress cloth,  or what threads to use - cotton or silk or others - is an entirely personal choice.   I have noted a tendency for some time now where people discuss the counts of linen or their choice of silk threads as something that puts them in a ‘sophisticated league’ of sorts ... I really feel that we should first and foremost ENJOY our time with needle and thread, enjoy our hobby and use the materials that best suit our abilities, our budgets and our specific lifestyles at this moment in Time ... I enjoy seeing everyone’s work - it is all beautiful to me because it is first and foremost, a manifestation of our life’s energy, an expression of our creativity and just one example of how we choose to spend our time on this Earth.
I don’t feel that silk is ‘better than’ mere cotton threads - it is as always not so much about the materials we use but rather, for me,  more about our personal attention to detail and personal commitment towards Excellence.  And, over the years, I also know that ‘life’s circumstances’ change abruptly sometimes,  and one may be faced with physical or other  challenges that make it difficult to even make a ‘simple’ cross stitch as ‘easily’ as one once could.
Anyway,  even though this is a ‘reproduction sampler’ we will rarely / never have access to the type of linen or the types of silks people had access to in the 1600s, 1700s, etc ...

Many of you following me for a while know by now that I enjoy working and learning and continue honing my skills in a variety of different types of needlework.  I have taught many types of needlework before, actively teach Japanese silk embroidery, always  to a very small group of students etc...

I am grateful to have a profession I thoroughly enjoy and various hobbies - needlework is one of my favorite ones. When I look at the life and stresses and quality for work expected  of ‘professional embroiderers’ all over the world,  I am always inspired by their beautiful work but also thankful that I can just ‘enjoy’ needlework on a ‘hobby level’ .... so that is why I feel really sad when somehow lately some people are made to feel ‘inferior’ because they choose a lower count of linen or if they choose cotton threads over silk threads etc...
so, here is a quick photograph I just took of this sampler I finished last night - I used all the materials provided in the kit so thoughtfully put together by Joanne Harvey of The Examplarery.  I hope I can capture the sheen of DMC cotton threads for you ...  35 ct. linen and one strand of DMC thread was my choice instead of the 2 strands of floss recommended by Joanne ...
I will post a more complete post on this sampler and also on silk vs cotton threads soon ...
Hope this helps some of you ‘feel better’ .... like I always say : the main thing is to enjoy the process and the journey.... there is Beauty all around us and as always one can always find room for improvement of one’s skill - that is part of what makes Life such a great adventure !
Agnes Begbe- The Examplarery ... the sheen of cotton threads 
Again, these are just my thoughts - I have received many emails of late ... we should all support each other and be grateful of  the fact that in this world we can actually have the luxury to pursue our ‘hobbies’ whether they be with silk or cotton threads.