Friday, May 26, 2006

Happy Memorial Day!

Another month has passed since I wrote in my blog. I can't believe how the time just flies by. I have not really accomplished much in May but I did attend a super needlepoint workshop last weekend sponsored by The Sampler Guild of Ga of which I am a member. They had Carole Lake in for her Mary Queen of Scots lecture and to teach a canvas piece that she designed in honor of Mary's insignia. It is a fabulous piece which includes the four symbols that were most special to Mary aka Marie Stuart - the thistle for Scotland, the Tudor Rose to symbolize her joining (trying to join Elizabeth I), the Lily for her love and remembrance of France and the crown to show her reign as Queen of Scotland. It also includes her unique cypher in the center which spells Marie Stuart. We were in Marietta GA and visited Abcedarius a stitching shop while there. One afternoon after class we visited the old square in Marietta and some unique shops and had dinner at a great restaurant on the square called Sympatico. Got my thistle completed in class but had a real hard time with the buttonhole stitch used on the tudor rose. Didn't even attempt the long and short stitch for the lily but will get help from the local shop owner in the future on that one. I regretted that I was unable to visit the local yarn shop in Marietta and I understand they have a great needlepoint shop too - just not enough time to do everything I wanted to do.

In samplers - I am still working mainly on my Celle 1826 and my Long Dog design called Sarabande. Am dying to start a new design by Mariska, a belgium designer - it is called Nine Alphabets and is sorta a french alphabet type design. Still have not started my online class with Joanne Harvey - Hannah Prescott - need to get that underway - I think the colors are beautiful but would have been much more tempting to me if silk was included in the kit instead of cotton.

In rug hooking - man am I stagnant - In the beginning of May our local rug guild had our annual hook-in and I worked on the mermaid. I hope to spend some time on the mermaid again this weekend. If she never gets out she will never be finished. But she MUST be finished this year - must must must!

In knitting - I have had a lot of fun knitting in May. I picked up some lovely yarn while in Charleston in April along with a great simple jacket. After knitting along for about 4 inches I realized that the pattern stitch did not show up at ALL with this particular yarn. YIKES - So now I have purchased MORE yarn to go with my FREE pattern! I have restarted the jacket and am about at the same point I was at when I ripped out the first attempt. Need to get my Noro Silver Thaw jacket finished up so it will be ready for fall. Just need to do side seams on my ROwan Soft Tweed vest and it will be completed. Have several summer tops in progress or planned - better get busy on them. A leftover project from last year is a great looking summer cardi out of a hand dyed cotton from Peru with great buttons from the button shop in NYC I purchased while on a trip there in June last year. Better pull that to the top of the stack - it is close to completion and could possibly be used this summer or late fall.

Don't forget the moment of silence at 3pm on Monday to honor those who have served our country. Happy Memorial Day to all !!!!

Friday, May 05, 2006


I am participating in a SAL (stitch a long) on a world wide internet board of sampler enthusiasts called Legacy. Actually I am participating in many SAL's - some are getting more attention than others! Currently I am really enjoying working on a large sampler from the Celle Museum collection in Germany. It is a motif sampler - reminscent of a quaker sampler however I do not think they feel the stitcher was Quaker. Here is my current WIP - There are several north florida sampler enthusiasts and friends who are working on this SAL. Mine is stitched with Gloriana Charcoal silk and is worked on 36ct Vintage Lt Examplar linen from Lakeside. I have many sampler charts in my stash and a lot of them started or in various stages of completion. I have done cross stitch since the early 80's expanding my interest in decorative stitches in the 90's and for about the last 7 years I have mainly focused on samplers and the history that goes along with sampler making in the US along with the other countries in the world where sampler making was practiced. The historical aspect is almost more interesting than the actual stitching. Many samplers are reproduced and released as charts or kits to be stitched in the likeness of the original. I find it a fascinating interest and wish I had more time to devote to travel and study. My previous post covers what it is like to go to a sampler symposium. I am very excited to be planning a trip to the Ackworth Quaker School in Leeds England in the winter. This is a long planned event and will attract participants from around the world. Our studies will be focusing on the Quaker schools samplers and their makers. We will actually be staying in the Ackworth School - which has been in continuous operation as a school since the 1700's - Better quit watching Ghost Hunters or I'll be in BIG trouble in that spooky place! First Friday in May - so hard to believe how fast the time just flies by. Tomorrow is our annual Hook-In - our local rug hooking guild sponsors a hook in around the first weekend in May every year. We have 24 participants so far. It is a always a great day of hooking , food and fun. Maybe I'll get another WIP photo of another of my rugs to post on the blog. Until next time . . . . . . . .


I wanted to write a short report on the Charleston Schoolgirl Sampler Symposium while it was still fresh on my mind. Rachel Chesser reported that there was about 70% participation on their target number. It was small enough to be intimate and visit with everyone and large enough to be exciting and see a number of "sampler celebrities". My personal excursion was with two fellow Azalea Sampler Guild members and friends. We left Jacksonville FL in the late afternoon on Wednesday heading to Savannah. Our idea was to stay at an inexpensive hotel up on I-95 and go into the historic district to eat at Paula Deen's "Lady & Sons" restaurant - NOT - There were about 50 people on the sidewalk and the hostess said "No Ma'am we are sold out for this evening" RATS - She said people stop by the restaurant early in the day to book a seat for dinner. I had previously eaten at a wonderful locally owned restaurant on one of the historic squares called "the Pink House" built in the late 1700's - I was just as happy eating a wonderful dinner there with my two friends and we managed to dodge the rain all evening. Thursday morning we were up like a shot and off to Charleston. We had lunch near our hotel at Jestine's Kitchen. Good southern fare and the BEST fried green tomatoes I had all weekend. Carol and I were taking the sampler class in the afternoon and Karen was planning to go antiquing and exploring with Ellen. Taking a class from Kathy Staples is like being in a time capsule. She talks about the old south like it was a familiar scene to her. She just rolls off such interesting information like it was yesterdays news and not centuries old practices. Our class even included a guided tour thru the exhibit by Kathy - it was spectacular and the adaptation of the antique sampler is just so neat and of course the supplies in the kit were all top quality and wonderfully presented by the Sampler Dames. After the class we rushed down to the Meeting St Inn in the heart of the historic district to check into our room. It was lovely and just as nice as I remembered when I stayed there previously for a museum class. We even had a few minutes to check out the simply marvelous new yarn shop in town KNIT. I had to be dragged out of there because as my blog name suggests (woolwoman) I love yarn and knitting. We vowed to return at our first opportunity. The reception was just wonderful. Shrimp and grits along with finger sandwiches, fresh veggies, dips and libations made it just a fabulous experience. We had to drag our exhausted bodies back to the inn but were so excited about the coming events we didn't even quit talking when we hit the beds and I think it was midnight or after before I drifted into sampler dreamland. Friday was another super day - we had 4 lectures - 2 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon - I won't name the speakers because I don't have my notes handy and don't want to slight anyone by misspelling their names or leaving someone out. Suffice to say that they were all wonderful speakers and had the most interesting research to report on. We all walked down to lunch at Rue de Jean - I was very shocked that we had a choice of soup or salad and entrees and even a choice of dessert. It was a great food memory and I was soooo glad I had my knitting with me - no matter how interesting the speaker - it was really hard to stay focused after such a rich and filling meal. Friday night we had dinner reservations at Carolina's - one of my very fav local restaurants - We had a large party - about 20 of us - it was very nice to meet a few women from England and some other sampler nuts from near and far. It is always wonderful to visit with old friends and make some new friends. Saturday morning Kathy Staples wrapped up the lectures and then if you signed up for optional tours they commenced at 11am. I was lucky enough to be in the morning group of the walking tour. The afternoon tour got rained out but got a very cool private tour of the exhibit with Kathy - I don't think anyone was disappointed and everyone was dry and safe. The walking tour was fascinating - we saw so many lovely historic homes and buildings and even saw some of the homes and sites of the girls schools from that era. Saying that I was exhausted after that walk is a total understatement. I was BEAT - I am not used to doing a lot of walking and the stormy weather had brought in the humid heavy feeling in the air. We stopped for lunch again at Rue de Jean and it was very good. I was signed up for the archival tour in the afternoon and saw many more samplers and interesting items from behind the scenes. Upon leaving the museum Carol dropped Karen and I at KNIT - WHOO HOO finally able to peruse that yarn shop. Honestly there was so much stuff in there I was hard pressed to make a decision - I say hard pressed but not impossible. I came home with a bag of wonderful swirled merino wool to make a neat jacket - how appropriate it is called Argyle - better get knitting if it will be ready for Ackworth! Saturday night we met another group at COAST - a restaurant near the museum - not my personal fav but I think everyone enjoyed the evening. Sunday morning we decided to get on the road and catch lunch at the Cracker Barrel on the way. We finished up our last meal together and what a wonderful way to end 4 glorious days of total sampler saturation. I hope others will write about their experiences and views on this sampler event. I was at the one in 2001 and this one was equal if not better than before. If you missed it this year - be ready for the next one and do come and visit America's First Museum!