Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Completed samplers : Elizabeth Harborne & Ann Scutt + Continuing on with Margret Gatis

Here are the details and pictures of the completed samplers.  I had intended to post the fully framed Elizabeth Harborne but doubt I will get the time to do this right now,  so for now I just stuck it into the frame intended for it.  If I get the time to lace it and frame it in time I will post it.  I still have to choose and order the frame for Ann Scutt.  Now that it seems that there is a lull in snow storms for the latter part of the week we will be busy playing catch up in the office so cannot be sure if I will feel like lacing and framing this up in the evenings...    
   

Elizabeth Harborne 1647 - an adaptation :                            
Threads : AVAS silks
Fabric : Zweigart Belfast (32ct.) linen - Cream 
Started on :  Wednesday evening, May 15,2013
Completed on : Saturday morning, January 25,2014
# of days of stitching (averaging 3 hours/day): 30
Framed up on :
Elizabeth Harborne - frame check
 



Ann Scutt 1675 - an adaptation :
Threads : AVAS silks - added a darker gold tone in addition to the one recommended
Fabric : 35ct. Ivory linen
Started on :  Tuesday evening, December 24,2013
Completed on : Tuesday evening,  February 11,2014
# of days of stitching (averaging 3 hours/day): 12
Framed up on :

Ann Scutt 1675 - an adaptation




Here is the progress on Margret Gatis since my last posting - Day7 & 8
 ... got a fair amount of the sampler marked for the next few bands thanks to the snow days.  However, did not get much stitching done because of some of movies we watched during the storms.
Margret Gatis - Day 8
Margret Gatis - Day 8
                                                        
 All of these samplers have been a lot of fun to stitch - all of them were reproduced by The Scarlet Letter.
Thanks Marsha for choosing to reproduce them!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Ann Scutt, Elizabeth Harborne & Margret Gatis

Hi again!
Took some quick photographs of the 3 SL samplers that I have been actively working on these past months.  Will write in more detail but I know some of you wanted to see them... Ann Scutt and Elizabeth Harborne are 'finished' - Margret Gatis is not.

At the moment I am still contemplating if I should extend some of the bands of Ann Scutt so that they all start and end with more or less the same width.  Normally when I stitch a reproduction sampler, I do not change things... this time on both Ann and Elizabeth I changed things so at this point neither of them are 'true reproductions'.  I had left the decision about the width to the very end to get a feel for the sampler... you'll note in the picture the margins marked from the widest bands ... the narrower bands on the top have bothered me right from the start and I had extended the satin stitched motif on the right at the beginning to make it more symmetric.
I feel that the narrower top part makes the whole thing look a bit off kilter - in some samplers this is quite a charming effect but Ann is quite a balanced sampler.... so I am thinking of extending the narrower bands on top. 
The other area that I feel was 'odd' was the solitary leaf in space on the right side in the band with the two flowers and coiled connectors further down (3rd band above the alphabet area).  I am thinking about stitching another coiled area and anchoring the solitary leaf.  Ann Scutt reminds me a bit of Mary Hollingworth in color and symmetry so that is why I am still considering this...

I would love to get your thoughts on this too...

By the way, you'll notice in the picture of the entire sampler (Ann Scutt) how restrained the use of the color red is - it almost seems like it was put in to be 'auditioned' but then it was decided not to use it at all and work the sampler in 3 colors only : blue, green, light gold.  I decided to use a darker gold (same color family) because I felt that the lighter gold would not show up from a distance and the viewer may see an absence of color/stitching in some areas.  I like the overall effect of working in both of the gold colors - this way the entire sampler is visible to the viewer... samplers are now displayed on walls whereas in the 17th century they were rolled up and kept in a drawer as a pattern record. 

So, here are the pictures of the 3 samplers as they are at present....

All 3 samplers - 2 finished, 1 WIP
The Song of my Needle




All 3 samplers - 2 finished, 1 WIP
The Song of my Needle





Ann Scutt 1675
The Song of my Needle


Elizabeth Harborne 1647
The Song of my Needle


This adventure back into stitching samplers again after a long time has been a lot of fun.
Please do let me know what you think... I will revisit this 'width problem' in the next few days.
At this point because they are not 'true' reproductions because I added stitches etc. I want to 'finish' this sampler in a way that will make me happy to see it on my wall.

Thank you all for your kind comments and emails - I have enjoyed sharing my progress with you all "out there" and am humbled by your comments of my work inspiring  some of you to try your hand at some of these samplers that are considered 'advanced'.  Band samplers are a lot of fun, you can set smaller goals and achieve them one band at a time, learn new stitches etc. etc....they teach us a lot, not just in the needlework arena but also about the history, design and symbolism.  I am glad that this blog has enticed some of you to try ... it is a great adventure - one that we can fully control with just a needle and thread!

Another thing - many of you commented on the 'speed' of my stitching... I don't think that speed is an important thing.... I am a deliberate, disciplined, focused stitcher - I am not necessarily a fast stitcher - technique and quality of my stitching  is more important to me than anything else.  The only other thing that has equal importance for me is to spend my 'free' time doing something I enjoy and needlework fits the bill beautifully at present...
this is the first time I kept track of my days - most days I stitch for about 3-4 hours while 'watching' TV with breaks for meals etc.- on the snow days I averaged about 5hours during the day and the normal evening 2-4 hours...  so, I guess what I am trying to say is that I don't focus on the time it takes to complete a piece, I prefer to focus on each stitch and 'stay in the moment' of this great adventure.  I truly feel privileged to be able to spend some time each week doing some type of needlework...

Ann Scutt - Day 12 Completed the sampler

Thanks to the snow days last week and having time this weekend and stitching into the night,  I was able to finish Ann Scutt this evening.
This sampler is beautiful - it is a sampler that has many bands that are commonly found in samplers of this time period.  The unique feature of this sampler is the way so much interest is created by the placement of stitches and within the confines of a very limited color palette. Only 4 colors are used : blue, green, gold and a scant amount of red.  It is a good study in color and design, as well as stitch texture.
Even though this sampler is listed as an 'advanced' sampler I would strongly recommend it for anyone... it is 'logical' and easy to count and stitch because of it's fairly symmetrical bands.  The
stitches used are mostly cross stitch, satin stitch, double running and Montenegrin stitch in straight lines.  I added other stitches to keep it interesting and I wanted to study their effects - the stitches added were a variety of pulled thread stitches, fly, Algerian eyelets but in general, I do think that a motivated beginner could work their way through this one band at a time.

I will write more on this a bit later but here are some pictures of the last few bands for now :

Ann Scutt - Day 12 Completed sampler
The Song of the Needle 
Ann Scutt - Day 12 Completed sampler
The Song of the Needle 

Ann Scutt - Day 12 Completed sampler
The Song of the Needle 


Ann Scutt - Day 12 Completed sampler
The Song of the Needle 


Ann Scutt - Day 12 Completed sampler
The Song of the Needle 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Ann Scutt - Day 10 & 11

I have spent a few hours each day stitching away on Ann Scutt.  It is interesting to note that some of the bands look deceptively simple and easy to stitch when in fact they require pretty intensive stitching -  they are not difficult but just require more time than initially apparent.  The two bands completed in the past two days are perfect examples of this... I did change some of the stitches - added fly stitch, Montenegrin, and changed the direction / pattern of some of the filled areas.  The filling stitches were all the same but I wanted to try and see if I could add interest by changing the texture, light reflection and pattern.  I had not initially planned on changing anything on this sampler and stitch as a "true" reproduction"  but then I needed to add/challenge myself a bit just to break up the monotony of stitching the same thing over and over.
So here is the progress for Day 10 and 11 :

Ann Scutt - Day 10
The Song of my Needle

Ann Scutt - Day 10
The Song of my Needle

Ann Scutt - Day 11
The Song of my Needle

Ann Scutt - Day 11
The Song of my Needle


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Ann Scutt - Day 9

SNOW DAYS!.... I love them... they are Life's unexpected days off and we make it a point to take time to enjoy them and do things at home that we 'want to' ... they bring back the same feeling I felt as a child looking forward to summer vacations.
 
So, yesterday we had just such a day... lots of snow fell during the day from day break into the night -  large steady flakes, wet snow... spent time in the morning taking care of things that had to be taken care of ... made Irish Guinness stew and then we settled down to watching movies on Netflix and I decided to continue with Ann Scutt... even though my original plan was to go to Margret Gatis....

here is a picture of a branch outside during a lull in the storm:


SNOW DAY
The Song of my Needle
... how could one embroider SNOW... lots of techniques possible... look at the shades of white and grey - shadows and contrasts....  


 By early evening I decided to place all the remaining bands - all that is left is the alphabet bands below the bands... so here is the progress as of last night:
Ann Scutt - Day 9
The Song of my Needle

Ann Scutt - Day 9
The Song of my Needle
This morning when driving in to work we were greeted by a beautiful, snowy, sparkly day... everything was blanketed in wet blobs of snow that made the  tree branches bend under the weight...
Coming home for lunch right now was not so pretty... everything is melting, slushy... the entire town seems to be whizzing about getting supplies to prepare for tonight's storm... we are supposed to get more snow through the night.  My only concern now is power outages caused by wet snow and ice - that can be uncomfortable...but more snow days are welcome to me as long as we are not caught up in them and can relax at home and watch Nature's beauty from within and rejoice in doing something totally 'unplanned' ....a true luxury in all of our 'scheduled' normal days.  Who knows - maybe I will finish Ann Scutt thanks to the three snow storms this week!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Ann Scutt - Day 7 & 8

I have gone back to working on Ann Scutt again... stitched a little yesterday evening and then a bit more this afternoon.  This is a really easy sampler to work - the counting is predictable, the stitch placement quite logical and so progress is pretty rapid.  The dividing lines were charted for Montenegrin stitch while all the stitching within each band was charted for cross stitch, backstitch and double running stitch... well, I added some Montenegrin stitch within some of the bands for texture and to make the stitching more interesting... also changed a few other areas (veins in the leaf area - variation of original design) ...plus kept it all double running stitch/Holbein stitch to keep it 'fun'. 
I decided to establish a number of the bands yesterday evening and then finished them all today.
So here is the progress as of now :
Ann Scutt - Day 7
The Song of my Needle

Ann Scutt - Day 7
The Song of my Needle


Ann Scutt - Day 8
The Song of my Needle


Ann Scutt - Day 8
The Song of my Needle


Ann Scutt - Day 8
The Song of my Needle