Welcome to the website of Attic Needlework & Collectibles, a retail needlework store located in Mesa, Arizona. Our store specializes in samplers, hardanger, and counted-thread embroidery.

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December 2010

December's sampler had a fitting winter flavor with a lovely holly band running through the center. The original"Emma Miles," reproduced by The Scarlet Letter was stitched in England in 1848. Cross, tent, counted satin and eyelet stitches were worked on an extremely fine glazed linen of approximately 50 threads to the inch, measuring 12-1/4 inches square. The border flowers are filled in with counted thread satin stitch, and the tiny vignettes of Adam and Eve are done in tent stitch over one.

"Emma Miles" from The Scarlet Letter
Shop model in progress with detail insets

October - November 2010

There are so many beautiful samplers available, both original and reproductions, that we couldn't pick just one for October or November, and so decided on a four sampler extravaganza over both months! The first three are reproductions from Milady's Needle, NeedleWorkPress, and Samplers Remembered whilel the fourth is a lovely original birth sampler from Chessie & Me.

Top left "On Christmas Day;" top right "Birth Sampler;" bottom right "Jane Tindall 1864"; bottom left "Margaret Brown 1838."

"On Christma Day" from Samplers Remembered was re-introduced to stitchers at this year's St. Charles Market, but The Attic has been lucky to have the model hanging in the shop for several years. At the designer's request we did not post a full picture of the sampler. Attic staff converted the original DMC to Needlepoint Inc. silk & more recently to a mix of Au Ver A'Soie, Gloriana's Florimel and Crescent Colours Belle Soie. Conversion charts are available with purchase of the silks.

Detail of top right of "On Christmas Day"
Mixed silk conversion (Florimel, Belle Soie, & AVAS)

Gloria of Milady's Needle provided two choices for stitching the reproductiong of "Margaret Brown". The first used Soie de Paris and Soie Perlee on a lighter background while the second used Soie 100/3 in the same color palette (based on the back of the original sampler) on a darker background. Jean fell in love with the pastel front of the original sampler and stitched hers with a mix of Belle Soie, Gloriana's Florimel, Luminescence and silk floss, and Dinky Dyes (this conversion chart is available with the purchase of the silks).

Reproduction palette on light fabric
Reproduction palette on dark fabric
Jean's model

Gloria of Milady's Needle provided more information on the original sampler, and the possibility of reproducing Margaret's sister's sampler, on her blog.

"Jane Tindall 1864" from NeedleWorkPress was the most requested to be reproduced sampler that has ever appeared in Sampler & Antique Needlework Quarterly. As charted the mix of Au Ver A'Soie and Gloriana's Florimel were stitched on Weeks Dye Works Confederate Gray.

"Jane Tindall 1864" on Confederate Gray
Silks on a buttery linen

NOTE: one of the Au Ver A'Soie colors is discontinued and the other won't be available for months; substituted colors will be sent.

Finally our first featured birth sampler from Chessie & Me. Simply titled "Birth Sampler", it featured this lovely verse:

When you are born, you cry and the World Rejoices. May you live in such a manner that when you leave this earth, the World cries and You Rejoice.

The sampler was charted for overdyed cottons, but we created a silk version (available with purchase of the silks).

"Birth Sampler" chart model (the linen was darker in natural light)
Silk conversion

September 2010

"The Garden Glade" from Carriage House Samplings was obviously inspired by Hannah Carter's exquisite canvaswork piece from the collection of the American Folk Art Museum, New York. For any of you in the area, Hannah's piece was part of an exhibition, "Women Only: Folk Art by Female Hands," at the museum.

Left: Original antique "Hannah Carter"; right: "The Garden Glade" (Carriage House Samplings).

From the museum:

Hannah Carter's elegant lady in a pastoral setting belongs to pre-Revolutionary Boston's most famous group of needleworks known collectively as 'fishing lady' pictures. It features some of the classic motifs of seventeenth-century English needlework, such as birds, insects, berries, oversize flowers, and verdant hillocks, combined with figures based on English and French prints of the period. It is one of a group of related pastoral embroideries worked by young girls from some of the wealthiest colonial families while attending Boston boarding schools. Today, 17 within a group of 58 related pieces actually depict the fishing lady, but only six makers have been identified, and the schools they attended have defied discovery. The patterns, based on English prototypes, may have been drawn and distributed by a Boston schoolmistress such as Mrs. Susanna Condy, who advertised her patterns as early as 1738. The canvasworks range in size from 10 x 12 inches to monumental chimney pieces 4 feet wide and are worked in crewels and silk threads on finely woven linen.

Top left: Paula's work in progress; right: Jean's WIP.

August 2010

Something different in August ~ the staff made suggestions all month long, or you picked a sampler you'd always wanted to stitch. Suggestions included:

top left: "John Foster 1885 Sampler" (Historic Stitches), bottom left: "1786 Practice Sampler (Milady's Needle), next: Jean's "Berlin Woolwork" in progress (The Needle's Prayse), top left middle: "Flower & Bird Sewing Roll" (Chessie & Me), top right middle: "Family Sampler" on silk gauze (Erica Michaels), top right: "My Beloved" (The Scarlet Letter), right middle: "Sara Cricks Pocket Roll" (Stacy Nash Primitives), center: "HSM 1805" (The Marking Sampler), bottom center: "The Language of Love" (The Drawn Thread), bottom right "Sarah Beard 1808" (Hawkins House), far right top: "Memories in Provence" and far bottom right: "Roses in May" (both Reflets de Soie).

July 2010

It was a two sampler month again that featured two Quakers: The Goode Huswife's "Julia Iden's 1804" reproduction and Cherished Stitches' "Sweet Land of Liberty".

"Julia Idens" from top left: original antique, Jean's WIP, Belle Soie conversion on Stitches 'n Spice linen, and on the bottom the NPI conversion.
"Sweet Land of Liberty" original design in the center with Jean's WIP in the top right corner and three thread choices (Florimel, Belle Soie and Sampler Threads) on the bottom.

Jean's progress on "Sweet Land of Liberty" using Florimel overdyed silks from Gloriana

Jean's progress on "Julia Iden's 1804"

We are out of the book "Idens" appears in (and cannot reorder), but you may still purchase supplies for the sampler.

June 2010

Another beautiful reproduction that languished in Jean's to-do basket for too long and, finally, she is enjoying the pleasure of stitching it. From Threads of Gold we are happy to feature "Sarah Abraham 1831." The fabric chosen was again from Australia's Stitches 'n Spice, Fern Gully, and the shop modified the colors from the chart a bit to include some variegated silks for the bouquet of gorgeous leaves in the exquisite border. The very dark brown charted for the verse with its childlike misspellings has been softened a tad as well.

Sarah Abraham. Inset: Jean's work in progress. Bottom: Jean's silk palette.

Eliza's many colorful motifs included flowers, baskets, birds, trees, and the two handsome roosters standing guard. She replaced the traditional alphabet with a meaningful verse of thanks.

May 2010

Our May Sampler of the Month, "The Eliza Hills 1856 Sampler" from Mary Riggs/HandWork Samplers, was a favorite of Jean's for nearly two decades. The shop model (below, top left) was stitched in 1995-2000 (yes, some things never change--it took Jean five years to finish this petite sampler, 152 x 160!) on 32c Willow Green Belfast with Au Ver A'Soie silks, and Jean always wanted to stitch it again on smaller count linen. The verse was over one, but the remainder of the sampler was over two. This English sampler was stitched by Eliza when she was 12.

From top left: Shop model on 32ct Willow Green, Au Ver A'Soie on a traditional sampler-colored linen, Needlepoint Inc. on a traditional sampler-colored linen, Belle Soie, and Jean's new model-in-progress using Belle Soie on 40ct CamoFudge linen (much more green in person; click on the picture to enlarge it).

Eliza's many colorful motifs included flowers, baskets, birds, trees, and the two handsome roosters standing guard. She replaced the traditional alphabet with a meaningful verse of thanks.

April 2010

We have chosen The Scarlet Letter's reproduction of the exquisite Mergery Dean 1748 sampler as our April Sampler of the Month. It features a lovely the meandering honeysuckle border, brilliant yellow flowers, two cartouches and no alphabet.

Marsha Parker of The Scarlet Letter says that "Once the design has been completed, the entire background is filled in with cross stitch." Not! Margery obviously didn't have access to the beautiful hand-dyed linens that we are so fortunate to have today, or she wouldn't have completed that painstakingly long task. If you are a purist and want to stitch it like Margery's, let us know and we will include the ecru silk with your order.

This mid-18th Century English sampler features a symmetrical honeysuckle border in beautiful golden shades that shine even brighter when stitched with the very luscious Au Ver A'Soie's Soie d'Alger and six shades of the new Filamell from Gloriana.

February 2010

We were thrilled to learn that Threads Through Time's reproduction of "Ann Rayner-1839," first published as a kit twenty years ago, is now available as a chart. Ann's original was stitched in Wakefield, a small town in West Yorkshire County, England. Wakefield was one of the towns in what was called the Heavy Woolen District--probably why Ann stitched her sampler with wool thread (shown below).

In the montage on the top right is Threads Through Time's reproduction, next on the left is Mary Louise's project in progress from the original DMC kit (the 30c linen is no longer available), on the bottom right is Tanya's project in progress with NPI silks on 40c linen, on top middle is our Belle Soie conversion on 40c linen (a big Thank You to our customers for sharing their photos with us).

We have conversions available for NPI, Au Ver A'Soie and Belle Soie.

January 2010

The first Sampler of the Month for 2010 was "272 Words" from Elizabeth/Primrose Needleworks. This chart arrived in an "auto ship" from a distributor, and Jean was absolutely captured by it. It is a bicentennial chronicle of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address stitched on linen. Jean has been a Lincoln fan for decades, and has many books on him, his wife, Mary, their family, and his presidency in her personal collection. Thanks to Primrose Needleworks, we all can stitch this American historical masterpiece. For more on the design process, the significance of the date and the timeless words visit Elizabeth's blog, "The Making of an American Sampler."

Jean chose to stitch hers on 40c Vintage Lakeside Linen over one (it went almost twice as fast, and gave her a slight chance of completing it by February 12) with Belle Soie. The letters filled in quite nicely on small count linen. Jean made a few modifications to over-one rules: wherever there was a / stitch hanging out there and not connected, she crossed it, and she has crossed all of the stitches in the single row around the border. They're nicely separated, and so a cross stitch over one worked and wasn't too crowded on 40c.

The chart model was stitched on 32c linen over 2 with 2 threads using 5-yard skeins of Gentle Art Sampler Threads.