Oh my, the countdown to the Nashville market is on, and I barely feel ready!
This market is a special one to me because I'll be releasing my very first Bring-Your-Own-Fabric kit. I've always loved kits because they take the challenge out of pulling everything together, and they're easy to grab-and-start when I need something new to work on. And while I've always toyed with the idea of releasing a kit myself, I've held back because of the simple fact that not everyone may like the same linen color or count I choose to work on.
So I lamented a bit about it to my good friend Pat, and she suggested this: "Why don't you just do the chart and threads?" And I thought, "Of course! The chart, the threads, and the finishing trim!" And that's how my very first B.Y.O.F. kit came into my imagination.
As a stitcher, one of the things that I find so appealing is a bowl full of pin cushions or other "smalls" that I stumble across online (or better yet, in person!). I suddenly get this extreme urge to hunt down every design I see represented in that bowl so that I can have one of my own collections - Patriotic cushions, Christmas cushions, Halloween cushions - I want them all! (Isn't that one of the best parts of this wonderful hobby of ours - to find something that makes our hearts sing? Or all-out bellow, like mine does?)
With that in mind, I've decided to release a series of small designs, in various themes, to satisfy that part of me that needs to just put stuff in bowls. Which brings me back to my first-ever chart-and-threads-and-trim kit, which will release at market.
I'm calling this endeavor the Serial Bowl Collection. There will be different themes in this collection in the coming months, but the first theme is going to be titled Sampler Lessons, which are designs bearing some of the honest and valuable teachings that young girls stitched onto their samplers long ago.
The photo above shows the luscious threads from Classic Colorworks that will be carded up and included in the chart pack, and below you'll see a peek at the finished design.
Also included in this pack will be the chenille trim from R&R Reproductions for the finished cushion. As for fabric, I've got listed on the chart what the model uses, but of course you can go smaller, bigger, brighter, or more neutral, if you'd like. There are so many beautiful fabrics that your shop owner can get for you, so pull out the thread card and do a few floss-tosses onto different colors of fabric to see what suits your eye the best.
Remember, our stitching is for our fancy, so whatever you find beautiful will go beautifully in your home. Don't worry about "what looks right." If it is lovely to you, it will make you happy to stitch it!
I hope you like my first go at this... I will be bringing a limited number of these packs to market, but I haven't decided yet if, after market, I'll continue them in their packaged form or if I'll go forward with just the chart. Since I've never done this before, I have no idea what to expect, so I really don't know what my plan is after this first run.
Please let your shop owner know if you are interested in one of these packs, and hopefully she or he will find me at market! It's going to be an exciting one!
Ann and Pat and Tanya and I are thrilled to have so many of you sign up for the Colonial Gathering club! We are really looking forward to what this year brings, and I hope you like the first release for the year, called Hurt Not the Earth.
For those who signed up (at the Dyeing to Stitch website), you'll be receiving your kits in your mailbox shortly - the first round has been sent, and they're moving on to the next ASAP! Each kit includes the chart, linen, needle, threads, trim, and backing fabric so that you can create this little Colonial cushion, inspired by John and Abigail Adams.
In just a couple more months you'll receive Tanya's release, and I'm so excited about it! She's given me a little hint, and I can't wait to see what she's come up with. As you know, our theme this year is based on things we love and imagine about Colonial life, and it just so happens that I love exactly what Tanya has chosen to be her inspiration. (She's such a fun friend and club partner!)
Again, if you'd like to join the Colonial Gathering club for 2015, we'd love to have you!
I'm so excited to announce that we're beginning another year of Colonial-inspired projects! I really hope you'll join us if you haven't yet! All of the information is below...
And now I'd like to present to you the first sneak peek of this new season of Colonial-Club-Stitching; this little cushion was designed by me, and was inspired by one of my favorite Colonial figures, Mr. John Adams, who wrote the following paragraph in a letter to his wife and "dearest friend," Abigail:
"...I begin now to think All time lost, that is not employed in Farming. Innocent, healthy gay, elegant Amusement! Enchanting Employment! How my imagination roves over my rocky Mountains and through my brushy Meadows!" (Philadelphia, January 22, 1794)
Tanya and I, and the ladies at Dyeing to Stitch in Virginia Beach are really looking forward to this new year, and we hope you like what we've got planned for you!
Yours, ever, ever, ever yours (as Mr. Adams signed),
Each year at Christmas we try to get a family photo of all of us before we open presents, and each year my family groans when I set up the camera because I inevitably forget how the timer works, and they're left to stay in each other's personal spaces while I read menu settings.
I always snap a few pics to see if everyone fits in the frame and is mostly in focus, which means I'm never in the first photo of the session.
When I think I'm satisfied, I give the "You ready?" call, click the 10-second button, and scurry next to anyone who will have me (all the while asking fretfully, "Where am I supposed to go? Where do I sit?")
After the red light blinks and we hear the "click" of the shutter, I tell everyone in my best Photo Nazi voice to stay put, because they all know I will need to take another one to be sure.
I test the camera again, while they preen and chatter, and my brother has no idea that I've captured a real smile on his face...
"Where do I sit?? Sabrina, is there room for me??"
And just when they think I am finished, I capture the essence of who we really are on all the other 364 days of the year.
I was originally planning on posting my "Farewell to 2014" post, but decided to do this one first. :) I know it's a little late, but I hope you all had a really nice Christmas, filled with lots of laughter and love.
I saw a commercial this morning on the In Touch Ministries website that showed a dad calling each one of his family members down to the living room. They had no idea why he wanted them all together, but they soon found that the reason he took the time to interrupt their routines was so that they could all rediscover why we celebrate such a beautiful holiday... he said "Last year I woke up the day after Christmas, feeling like I'd missed something."
I'm ashamed to confess that I've felt that very thing before.
So before the season is once again past, I'm going to take the time to remember and celebrate what I should have been dwelling on all along: not frenzied shopping and repetitive list-making and seeing to it that all the sticks of butter are at room temperature so I can bake all those cookies, but rather the One whose birth was the first Christmas gift to us all.
Please enjoy this complimentary chart from my heart to yours. And Merry Christmas!
Click here for the printable chart, and not on the images: Download Christmas Ornament 2014 PRINTOUT
(Pictured below are some different fabric options, just to give you an idea of what you may want to work with.)
And if you haven't taken the time yet to read the "story" of Christmas, here is something else you may want to either pull up on your tablet/laptop/computer, or print out. The link to print is at the bottom of the image.
Those of you who have been reading my blog (what little of it there is) for the past several years, know that each year my mother and I exchange samplers for our annual Winter Sampler Exchange. It's the most fun time of the year for us, and each year we've had different ways of doing it, all while trying to keep what we're stitching a secret.
The only rules to this exchange are:
1. The stitch counts need to be similar. (This rule came into effect when one of us was highly embarrassed one year when her stitch count was a bit on the lean side after her mother presented her with the densely-stitched Garden Glade.)
2. The piece must be framed by the enormously-talented Jill Rensel of frame fame. (Jill knows that she will be hearing from us around the end of each summer, begging her to please-please-please hurry because Mom and I have ants in our sampler pants once the pieces have been dropped off at the post office.)
This year my mother suggested we have a theme to our exchange, and she decided that the theme would be Christmas. I agreed, after which she exclaimed excitedly, "Oh this will be so fun, and I already know what I'm going to stitch for you!" Then I heard her say with coyly-downcast eyes, "If only you would design something for your mother.. that would be so nice."
I knew then that I wouldn't have much say in the matter, especially when she looked directly at me and added the two words she knows will make my knees buckle:
But I'm a grown woman now, and grown women do what they must...
One more thing that those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know: I am completely joking when I portray my mother this way. She is truly the most loving mom in the world, and our exchange was just as fun and exciting as it's always been! My mom stitched the most beautiful sampler in red for me, and I am so in love with it! And as usual, Jill couldn't have been more spot-on with her choice of moulding for it!
I did, in fact, design something for my mother. It's called Merry Brew, and when it was finished, I felt that it could use some of Jill's legendary hand-painted mats! Jill didn't disappoint, and I was so happy with the beautiful work she did on it!
I wish I had a picture to show you of my mom's reaction.. it truly was priceless, and we both had so much fun laughing and chatting about how we chose to stitch what we did for each other.
I may not ever make up for the Great Garden Glade Debacle (at least in my mind), but I do know my mother was very, very pleased, and so was I!
Next year's theme was my suggestion, but it's not in stone just yet: Houses.
Merry Christmas, and thank you for tuning in to this year's episode of our Winter Sampler Exchange! ;)
P.S. For those of you who saw our exchange pieces on Instagram and asked about Merry Brew's release, I will most likely release it next autumn. Thank you so much for your kind words and lovely compliments! They made my day!
Sweet Rindy Richards told me that she saw my Shepherd's Bush class piece on the net today, as Sue Ream (Hi, Sue!) had stitched it... and that's when I realized that I've never shown what my class piece was!
My friend-and-framer Sherri Berkman was the model stitcher for this one (hence, the SB initials at the bottom, which several people thought stood for "Shepherd's Bush"), and once again, she surprised me with the moulding. I could not have asked for a more beautiful frame to go with this piece, which features a rabbit dashing through the woods, and crossing over a narrow thread of river. :) The retreat's theme, as you may remember, was "Over the River and Through the Woods," and I loved how each of the teachers interpreted it.. what a warm and cozy theme it was to work with!
The little scissors fob to the bottom left corner of the model was also stitched by Sherri as a surprise to me. I was so thrilled to receive it, and will always remember her kindness and generosity, as she was going through a very difficult time in her personal life when this model was being stitched. I'm so touched that she would do that extra thing for me.. both sides of the fob are stitched over one linen thread (the reverse side has an acorn and leaves taken from the design). Thank you so much, Sherri. It meant so much to me.
The scissors attached to the fob are the gorgeous work of Paula Sibbald from Kelmscott Designs.. I begged her to come up with something special for my class kits, and her response to me was, "Well I was just working on a new pair of scissors, and wasn't sure what I'd put on them!" This was certainly good news for me, and she took my "OH PLEASE DO ACORNS, PLEASE DO ACORNS" to heart. Thank you again, sweet Paula! They turned out beautifully, and I was thrilled to be able to include them in my class kits!
I suppose the rabbit is now crossing a frozen river through barren trees at this point, as fall has moved on to another year. And as usual for me these past couple of years, I'm running behind it, hollering, "Wait! Wait! I've been so busy, I never got to say goodbye!" Because of this busy-ness, I decided last month that I wouldn't release any new designs for the remainder of 2014, but rather I would take some time and enjoy the season for a while. My next releases will be in Nashville in February. I truly hope to see lots of you there, and I hope it will feel like Christmas all over again, only with spring colors!
Now, I think I'll go ask God for some snow, because that truly is one of His winter gifts to us - especially when topped with a red cardinal.
Wait... Did someone say winter gifts? I see a new sampler in my mind...