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  πŸŽΎ and then the Preakness horse races πŸ‡ 🐎 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 πŸ‡ 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.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Status on Agnes Begbe & sharing some Facebook activity ...

My hope is that we all find a peaceful way to live ...

Just a quick status report on the Scottish sampler Agnes Begbe as of this Sunday evening: 

On one of the Facebook needlework groups, I came across this comment by one of the members this Sunday afternoon  :
“So I have what is probably a silly question and hope you all understand my newbie-ness.  Can anyone tell me what, if any, is the difference between Edinburgh, Belfast and Cashel linen?  Is it just the location where it is made or do they have different weaves or textures perhaps?  Thanks!
now, those of you who know me or have been following my blog, would know that I don’t believe in ‘silly’ questions and all of us are ‘new’ at something just about every day in our lives ... so I chose to read the comments/ answers that followed this question.... 
and some of the answers were getting me a bit confused - and so, next thing I knew I was answering the question (!)

I was just thinking that this may be of interest to some of you but you may not be in that Facebook group so am posting this to my Facebook page and my blog.  It is just a quick copy and paste - hope you don’t mind.

So here is my answer/ I have deleted the name of the person asking the question :
  “good question ... all the names are ways of distinguishing the weave of linen... Zweigart chose to use names of cities that were once major textile manufacturing places.
In America, this means that the linen threads are counted in the warp and weft directions in a 1” square of fabric.... then these are the names and examples: 
20 count = Cork
25 count = Dublin
28 count = Cashel 
32 count = Belfast 
36 count = Edinburgh 
40 count = Newcastle 
55 count = Kingston 

And so on ...

22count is also used for Hardanger...
By the way, Moygashel linen is a beautiful linen for clothing - named for a small town in Northern Ireland”

And then another person asked a question : “I've seen other types like legacy and so on. Are they evenweave?”

And here was my response :

 I was wondering if I should continue on in my previous reply ... this is also a good question....

So, basically, if you read my explanation above, I talk about the count of linen threads within a 1” square which then is used in America to give the linen a ‘count’ = # of threads in a 1inch square of linen fabric.

Now - linen is then further categorized to be an evenweave or an unevenweave ... determined by if the count is the same or different in both warp ( threads that travel from top to bottom on the loom  and weft  ( threads that are woven by the shuttle and go from left to right ) - a different count of threads in both directions makes it an uneven weave - so your cross stitch can end up looking fat and squatty or elongated depending on how you decide to use the fabric ... so, to me, this makes cutting and using the fabric ‘correctly’ very important although I know many people do not pay attention to warp or weft.

Legacy linen is another company just like Zweigart or Wichelt.

Then there are companies like Lakeside Linens, R&R etc - they take yardage from Zweigart for example and dye them further ... 

Hope this helps ...

There was/ is still a fair amount of activity on the other group ... I think most of you know all the stuff I wrote above but maybe it will clarify things for some of you in other countries or newer to needlework on linen....

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Frances Burwell & Agnes Begbe - a finish & a start

This Sunday finds me working on samplers again after a busy week and weekend.
 It feels good to get back to taking time to assess  all aspects of life , edit and organize every thing in greater detail once again.... working on all systems in the office and at home one area at a time;

Anyway, I had mentioned that I had finished Frances Burwell ... it is a fun and easy sampler to work on and quite an attractive one... it really surprised me.
Frances Burwell by The Examplarery
 Colonial  Williamsburg collection
35 ct linen and DMC threads

I started a Scottish sampler, Agnes Begbe, by the Examplarery quite on a lark last weekend. It is another fun stitch and I have worked on it off and on in the evenings this past week ...
I had organized the threads etc many years ago but never started it - guess Scotland is on our minds these days.  We plan to see Dougie MacLean in concert  again early this week... so perhaps that is what influenced my choice ?!
Here is my progress to date :

Agnes Begbe Kit  - The Examplarey ... one week’s progress ...
35 ct linen and DMC threads as provided in the kit 

Wishing that you enjoy each moment with your needlework!  This sampler will be a good project to work on in the evenings in this busy upcoming week! Nice to just sit quietly in the evenings and hear the soft rhythmical chirping of crickets and frogs beginning to wake up from their winter slumber ....

Sunday, March 31, 2019

A perfect weekend - quick update

On Friday I was online communicating with a needlework friend - I went upstairs to check my stash... my intention was to help her but just focus back 100% on my silk embroideries.

Well... since I had finished Frances Burwell (top right in photo below) and had no real easy project around for evening stitching on those busy weekdays  and since I needed a side project ... I ended up ‘shopping my stash’ and started another “easy, busy days/ travel project’ .... a Scottish sampler this time : Agnes Begbe reproduced by Joanne Harvey of The Examplarery.

Looking forward to Federer at the Miami Open Tennis Finals 🎾, stitching and setting up this new project and then later listening to music and organizing my projects for April and maybe finally updating my blog!  

A great weekend in my book ... all meals are ready to go so just relaxing today... love being back to my old organized ways ...  frees up time to enjoy things we love to do!

Sunday, February 24, 2019

This Sunday’s musings ...

Just a quick post to update you ... thank you all for your questions and kind comments.

For those of you wanting to purchase The Examplarery’ s Frances Burwell sampler,
There are a few options : - you can have your Local Needlework Shop ( LNS ) order it from Joanne Harvey; you can order it via an online LNS, or you can order it directly from her ( although I think she prefers one goes through shops and does not have a website ).  You can order it , like I did, from Colonial Williamsburg (- search online for : shopcolonialwilliamsburg and then type in the name of the sampler ‘Frances Burwell’ ).

And here is a quick photo journey through some of things I am keeping busy with this weekend :
Thinking about technique and colors and preparing my next Japanese Embroidery project , 
God willing 

Facebook ‘reminded’ me earlier this past week that it has been three years since I finished stitching  Frances Cheyney ....  it now lingers safely in my one of my ‘finished embroidery cabinet drawers... one day I will make the time to finally get all the projects in the cabinets framed and on some wall in the home or office ... some day !

Just now, I am just grateful I can continue to enjoy my passion of just the process of stitching .... grateful that despite time and quirky health challenges these past years, I have been able to start and finish quite a few projects in various techniques... I realize I did not ‘blog’ or ‘broadcast’ all my embroidery. 
Just some progress photos on Frances Burwell and thanks to a snow day...
Now am on the last band and ‘almost done’ with this sampler which has pleasantly surprised me with the use of color, simple stitches and textures , and simple cotton threads (DMC in the kit )

Make each day count - 
Time flies and waits for no one ....
I have learned to appreciate and make the most of every day!
Grateful that I am blessed with a profession I truly enjoy, and that I continue to be  interested in 
ALL my old hobbies and also for the new ones I am discovering.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

An unplanned sampler start : Frances Burwell by The Examplarery

I started the Frances Burwell sampler by The Examplarery on a whim while watching the Australian Open tennis championships - didn’t like the idea of just sitting there in front of the TV and also needed a way to stay awake at the weird hours if I wanted to watch the games ‘LIVE’.  After enjoying stitching on Frances Burwell and watching the Australian Open tennis games I have been working on this sampler off and again. 

I had skipped to what for me were the more ‘boring and repetitious’ parts during the games and leaving the more interesting bands as an incentive for me to return to it so that it would not be relegated to the ‘WIP (works in progress) drawer’ and be one more thing ‘pending’ on my list of things to do.

I have been remiss in posting some things that would be worth sharing - it may help some of you ... I will in the near future I promise.  

At the moment I am finally getting all my own ducks in a row and need the time to think and plan my path again - just grateful that I now can finally do so like I used to without making any caveats anymore ... my hands and my stamina are finally on track so my mind is free of trying to reign in my ideas and compensate and be patient for a bit longer.

This sampler has proven itself to be a good one while busy organizing things in my stash and in my mind ... 
here are just some photos for you all to see the beauty of this sampler ... Joanne Harvey’s instructions make it fun and easy also for ‘distracted, tennis watching stitching’ !
A perfect solution for stitching from stash on a project that otherwise would have remained in my stash for a lot longer ...

Added on February 11,2019
Some of you have asked me here, via email and on Facebook messages as to where to get the kit.  I know that one could get it directly from Joanne Harvey but I purchased my kit directly from Colonial Williamsburg - you could call them or order online ( and then put the name of the sampler in their search area - it is hidden somewhere in their ‘for the home’ tab).  I am sure any brick and mortar shop or online shop in your area could order it for you too.