Have a Cuppa

Have a Cuppa

Bio photo of Sharon B

Well it’s been a wonderful week and I thought it was time to pull up chair and share a cuppa so pass the biscuits and settle back. A bit of time off has been fun.

It’s spring here, the sun is mild and I have had some relaxing days pottering about the garden. It has needed it as it has not been touched for a long time. Actually I have not done any real work out there since I was sick earlier in the year.

Jerry who was also on leave, in the meanwhile has been in the shed turning pens. This is one he made for me.


There is a new blog on the block Au Fil du Jardin. Some readers and students will know Vero already. She plans to blog about textiles and her garden. Pop over and check it out, leave a comment and make her feel welcome.

The postman bought me lovely surprise too! Not one, not two, but three books by Linn Skinner of The Embroideress

The first I flicked open was Alphabets from a little red book . Regular readers will be aware that I am a bit of a needlework sampler freak. I just love them. If you are not a needlework sampler freak you will not understand the fascination sampler enthusiasts have for charted alphabets. They love them and I include myself in the group.
Next out of the parcel was Another 100 blackwork charts which is another total delight and many of the small motifs I can see being used in crazy quilting. Traditionalists will probably blanch at this but you can use waste canvas on crazy quilting and include small motifs that are normally worked on evenweave fabrics.

The Final book did me in. In Bands from Hans Hoffer’s pattern book Linn has charted many of the designs from a book printed in 1545. Anyone interested in historical embroidery will love this.

Unfortunately it bought on a crisis for me. I have a confession to make. I suffer from an affliction – I can not for the life of me follow a pattern. Technically I can follow a pattern but I always get a little way into a project someone else has designed and invariably have to change it. It’s like this with everything. I was one of those kids that got ‘can’t follow instructions’ written on their report card. It was not can’t but wont. I can’t follow a recipe I have to change it, add something else or substitute this ingredient for another. It has lead to some outrageous successes in the kitchen but also many failures. It’s the same with knitting patterns – I start and then decide that if I try it this way or that way it would be more ‘interesting’. Well I have made some ‘interesting’ garments as a result! Crochet is the same which is why I love freeform crochet.

Now for at least the last decade I have wanted to stitch an reproduction sampler. I have done oodles of test pieces to master various techniques but I know what will happen if I try and work one of these. Within 20% of stitching I will be redesigning it, which defeats the purpose of a reproduction some what!

But with Linn’s books I could piece together my own sampler picking and choosing odd bands and motifs along the way. It would not be a historic sampler as such because it would have a contemporary twist to it but it might satisfy a very bad urge! Perhaps this urge will pass, but I don’t think so, particularly since I have thought of a way to do it that fits my personality… Enough said. Thanks Linn for the crisis!

Sharon waddles away dreaming about sampler sayings, alphabets and blackwork bands … shakes head and says no I have too many projects on the go … a little voice says but you LOVE samplers … shakes head again…

and says to self, NO you have too much on right now … but … you love samplers the little voice whispers… stamps foot and states quite categorically no you are working too many things now … but … but… but!


  1. sharon..I knew about the time difference. The season difference in your part of the world is what kills me. I have a good friend in South Africa who drives me crazy every Dec. by sending a Christmas card with pictures of robins and apple blossoms while I’m sloshing around in wet cold snow up to my chin.

  2. Bear with me on this, it has to do with CQs,mostly. I’m going to sound like a shill for Nordic Needle.Can’t help it. They’re good. Besides the yearly catalog,they put out a sale and new product catalog 3 times a year. In these they have coupons for free stuff if you send a twenty five dollar order. December’s coupon is for a 60″ string of oval white 3×6 mm pearl beads.I’m bringing this up now because they tell me the coupons are only available with the print catalog,not on their website.

  3. Akisita – of course share info with people I am only too happy for people to share

    In case you were wondering why comments sometimes take some hours to be approved I am in Australia and often asleep when many readers are awake as I am in opposite time zones. I also work so there is a another big chunk of time taken away form the computer. But I alway approve anything related to the general subject of textiles

    As a tip for you and anyone else who mught find it useful too – feel free to leave the name of the site so people can google it or you can copy and paste the URL into the comment – you don’t need to make a link.

  4. o.k. As someone who is also a sampler addict, I simply have to make sure you know about this one. Long Dog Samplers ..that’s the website name.. is a French co. that has really glorious things available. I’m in the U.S., so I get them through the Nordic Needle catalog (which has tons of other great things) but I’m sure there must be a distributor somewhere near you.

  5. sharon, a question, please. As I explained in another post, this computer will not allow me to make links. I can only give the title of a website and ask anyone interested to Google it. I have stumbled across a few things that I feel are exceptional enough that I’d like to share them, but I don’t want to create difficulties for anyone. Should I mention the sites or not???

  6. Yes Linn’s books are inspirational in that way. I meant to declare in the article that although I have been friends with Linn for a long time I am not affiliated with her. I in other words I do not stand to gain financially from a positive review of her books

  7. Thanks for spreading the word on these most compelling books, Sharon. I’ve immediately ordered two of them!
    I recently tried one of Pam Kellogg’s patterns using waste canvas on a little CQ block, (for the first time) and definitely want to do MUCH more of that. The letters and the blackwork patterns, esp. because they are of such ravishing historical design, will suit my needs exactly.

  8. Sharon, you are doing just what those early stitchers did. They DID NOT stitch reproduction samplers. They looked at their pattern books, at their friends’ stitching, at art contemporary to them, at books of fantastic plants and animals and then they stitched their own sampler of the best of the best (in their opinion).

    It is easy to understand the aesthetics of a particular period and then to design a sampler true to the period but uniquely your own.

    Get on with it.

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