Sunday, April 10, 2016

April Meeting

Now who would have expected to have this view out the window of our meeting room in  April?  Time for pull up a chair, pour a cup of coffee and settle in to read what we are up to.

Announcements and Information -
  • Brandywine EGA - we have been invited to join the Brandywine EGA when they host Joan Ippolito Christiansen.   Her book, The Needlepoint Book, is the go-to reference book of stitches.   The date is April 22nd.  This date does conflict with the Spring Retreat in OCMD.   For non-members of the Brandywine EGA, the cost is $15 to attend the meeting.
  • Wayne Arts Center - A judged and juried quilt exhibit is running now until April 30th.  Admission is free but donations are requested.
  • Penn Dry Good Days - May 13th and 14th, Schwenksfelder Museum, Pennsburg, PA
  • May Meeting - Donna A. will instruct us in making a beaded scissors sheath.   The final actual price for the kits is not known but it will be under under $10.  You will be supplied with either pink or blue scissors in your kit.  If you have some favorite or specialty beads at home, please bring them to the May meeting.
  • Allentown Art Museum - An exhibit of samplers now until May 29th.   Kathy Staples will give a lecture on May 16th. 
  • Rehoboth Historical Society - Their needlework exhibit will be on display until May 22nd.   They are open Friday-Saturday-Sunday-Monday.   I previously posted they were open on Thursday's but that is not accurate.
  • Winterthur - Registration is now open for the October 14th and 15th Symposium.   There are several classes, exhibits and tours available.   One tour is to the Westtown School - Well worth it.
  • June - Joan Tierno, of Lamplighter's EGA, will be demonstrating needle painting.   All supplies will be provided except for a 5-inch hoop.  The cost is $15.   If you need a 5-inch included in your kit, please add $2.   For the Jersey Girls who are members of Lamplighters that may have already completed the pansy pattern, Joan is offering a different pattern.   Please let Caryl know when you sign up if you need the substitute pattern.
  • July - Stash Garage Sale
  • August - Barbara Hutson of Queenstown Samplers will be at the meeting.   She will host a trunk show as well.
  • It is not too early to start thinking about our annual Holiday Luncheon and gift exchange.   Start working now on your stitched, sampler themed piece for the exchange.
  • Contribution - A contribution in the name of Jean Milliken has been made to the A. I. duPont Child Life Foundation.   The foundation provides toys, books and craft items to children at the hospital.   More information will be provided in the newsletter if you would like to make a personal donation.

Swan Sampler Guild  - It is very troubling to learn that the Swan Sampler Guild is folding due to lack of interest by local members to take an officer position.   This is a sad occurrence.   Just like we see all too frequently the brick and mortar stores closing, we can't afford to have great needlework groups disappear.   Please stitchers, whether you belong to DVHSG or another group, please consider taking an office or support position when your elections occur.   First of all, give yourselves more credit - you have run a household,  most likely on a budget; you have corralled spouses, in-laws and children;  you know more than you think; and you have a lot to offer.    Every position in a group has a predecessor and with our group I know they would be more than willing to share and guide you until you got your footing.  I kid you not, it can be a lot of work but many hands make a job easier!  With all I have learned from DVHSG, friendships made, experiences I've had, memories cherished, I for one would seriously mourn the loss of my needlework group.  Don't be timid may surprise yourself!

Show and Tell

Earth Threads design stitched by Jean T.   

 Of Female Worth design, stitched by Jean T.

 Betsy Steiner band sampler by Jean T.

Turbo stitcher Jean, finished the class piece from last month with Betsy Morgan.   Francine C. finished hers as well and made a scissors fob to match but I didn't get a picture.  :-(  Sorry Francine.

The pin cushion is a Hands On Design piece.     
Isn't the Christmas themed strawberry cute?   Both also Jean T.
I am beginning to wonder if Jean slept at all during March.

 A counted canvas piece by Jean T.

 This is sampler hill,  stitched by Carolyn N.  

 Christmas Tree is a JBW Design stitched by Carolyn N.

Carolyn shared how a leak in the bathroom turned into an entire bathroom makeover.   Her new theme is patriotic.   I bet we will see more red, white and blue pieces from Carolyn.  

Lynn D. stitched this.   She told me she makes one as a graduation gift for family members.   Now that it is stitched, she will make this into a pillow.  What a nice tradition she has started in her family.

Patty H. shared her Round Robin piece done as a group project at DVHSG years ago.

 Not sure who the stitcher was of this needle book.

 Patty H. shared this Christmas themed piece.

 Another finish of Patty H.  Another person who got little sleep in March.

Karen K. won a 2nd place  at Woodlawn for her adaptation of the Girls of the Guild Sampler. 
Karen stitched this verse below instead of the alphabet as charted.

Patrick stitched this woodpecker.   It was an ornament pattern that he adapted so he could mount it on a stick and put in a potted plant.   Clever clever 

And now, the meeting....

We were lucky to have Mary Uhl Brooks, author of the Threads of Useful Learning, speak at this month's meeting.   Mary works for the Westtown School in West Chester PA.   The school, established in 1799, is still an active Quaker boarding school with an enrollment of approximately 700 students from 18 states and 17 countries.    And the fourth graders still learn to stitch samplers.  

Westtown has a collection of 140 flat samplers, about 70 of which were stitched while the girl was a student at the school   Other samplers have come to the school from the families of girls who attended Westtown.  In her book, she has identified  about 250 stitched samplers that can be tied to Westtown Samplers.   The index in her book is fabulous.  That said, the whole book is fabulous! (Still available at the Westtown School website)
Not only does she have the student's name, their home town, their age, their years of attendance, she has the location of the identified sampler credited to the girl.  
 See Mary Canby's darning sampler below.

Westtown was developed in the Quaker tradition with the mission of plainness, simplicity, peace, and integrity.   After the Revolutionary War, the school was established to insure the survival of the sect.  Westtown was greatly influenced by the Ackworth School in England that opened in 1779.  Rebecca Jones, a minister, traveled to England, visiting both the Ackworth School and the York School.  Elizabeth Bellerby, the first  sewing teacher, was a student at York school in England.    

Mary shared with us the information given to parents of students in 1799 when the tuition was $16 a quarter   -  "girls are to bring with them a pair of scissors, thread case, thimble, work bag, and some plain sewing or knitting to begin with".  Sampler sewing was removed from the curriculum in 1841 but returned at a later date.

Prior to 1841, sewing was done for useful purposes not meant to be for adornment.  A darning sampler would be useful to a young girl.   She would learn to stitch and replicate  the weave of different fabrics.  The Mary Canby Darning Sampler stitched on the blue green, circa 1813, and was probably stitched on the blue green because that was the fabric available that year.  Mary was the daughter of Francis Canby of Delaware who was on the board of Westtown.
 Mary Canby's Darning Sampler hangs in an alcove by a window seat in the main hall at Westtown.  (pictures above and below from Mary Uhl Brook's book)

Mary Brooks spoke on marking samplers and the hanging bell flower motif so often seen on a Westtown piece. Over the years, the design evolved and borders were added. 

(image from Amy Finkel's website)
Architectural samplers were completed on the view of the school  As seen on the cover of her book and were stitched in silk on linen circa 1804.    In the minutes of the meeting of the committee that oversaw the curriculum of the school they thought this type of stitching to be  "superfluous needlework".  The 'committee' requested.... the mistresses encourage the girls to not stitch these samplers.   Their feeling was needlework was for function.    Embroidering a piece of needlework for display would not be humble and not have a function exception for vanity.  At Westtown, tassel's were even removed from needlework bags, etc. as they were also considered too showy.  At other Quaker schools they were not so rigid.  There are some excellent examples from Burlington County, NJ Quaker school of the same era.

Mary Brooks spoke of the similarities between Mary Wigwam works at Ackworth and Mary Hill work at Westtown.  Mary Hill's medallion sampler mimics Mary Wigwam's.   And while this are not plain, have color and are stylized, these did not seem to be discouraged by the school. Knitted pinballs were discussed as well.   It brings the age old question....which came for the pinball or the medallion sampler?  

(pinball images from Pinterest)

(image from Mary Hill's sampler from Amy Finkel's website)

Spot motifs were monochromatic 1801.  Only done for a limited time.  
(image from Pinterest)

(image from Pinterest)
Extract samplers were plainer.  There was a border and they included a portion of a writing.  Students were not allowed to bring books to school.   The school  committee approved and provided all books in an effort to steer the students in the right path. In this way they could further influence and guide the students.   It would be from these selected books where the verses  were found.  A favorite of Mary's is  - 

"Time and silence.  
Prize time and improve it. 
Learn silence and love it"

This really speaks to the Quaker ideals.   It is thought that stitching the words would help reinforce the ideals in the students.

Globes were not influenced by Ackworth or York Schools but many were created at Westtown.   Geography, maps and use of globe were part of the curriculum.  These globes are stitched in silk in a several step process.  The orb was created in linen, a silk overlay which was segmented was added.  The orb was stuffed with raw wool, then inked on the silk so show the oceans and continents.  Longitude and latitude lines stitched.   These were made in pairs:  a terrestrial and celestial.  These were teaching tools for sewing and for geography and were useful as the Quakers pursued the spiritual study intertwined by study of the physical world.

 Pat Y. shared the Westtown pieces she has stitched.  

The 'bell flower' is seen at the top of this marking sampler.

Most patterns for Westtown Samplers are out of print but Margariet Hogue has charted a few Westtown samplers and patterns may be available through The Essemplaire.  

Wow!  Do we have great programming or what?!

Now is was off to Charlie Brown's Restaurant in Woodbury, NJ followed by a tour of the Gloucester County Historical Society's sampler display and their Downton Abbey themed exhibit of period clothing.  

Footnote:    Thank you ladies for your praise and appreciation of my blog posts!  It is fun to be able to document all we do and to hopefully be an inspiration to others who surf the internet for samplers and cross stitch. RT

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