Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Kindred Spirits Project

Here is the only photo I took of the class, and clearly not of the whole class, just of the few stalwart folk who were determined to squeeze in a bit more stitching while the rest of the group lingered over lunch or shopped in Chris' hastily set up bedroom/shop.

Ann & Liz designed this little stitching journal around the Anne of Green Gables series.  The themes are friendship, kindred spirits and simplicity.  All of these concepts are to be found in the the beloved books by L. M. Montgomery.

Ann generously allowed us to photograph the stitched models of individual pages so that we would have a reference for our stitching at home.  The charts are a bit of a challenge for the habitual cross stitcher since they are charted as if for needlepoint.  It's a small adjustment remembering each box represents a single thread rather than a cross over two threads.  This makes the scale over one rather than the more usual over two.  Otherwise the directions are reasonably clear, even the directions for assembling and finishing the little journal.  That's an area where many charts fall short.  But, happily, this one does not.  As for the design itself: with a full page chart devoted to each page of the journal, placement of motifs is fairly clear.  The kit includes fabric, floss, needles and swatches of faux-faded cotton print quilting fabrics for all the extras: pin cushion, scissor pocket, etc.  One of the best pages of the entire packet is the page with all the specialty stitches clearly graphed out.  There are a number of stitches I have never done before: the tied wheat stitch, the Wessex flower, the Welsh Star & the Pistil stitch.  I foresee problems with the Pistil stitch since it involves a Colonial knot.  I can do French knots but I have never mastered the Colonial knot.  The stitch graph page is one that I can foresee consulting long after this project is complete and when I am designing my own samplers or smalls.   As a bonus, Ann provided another small chart using similar motifs and the same palette.  The accessory chart can be stitched over one or two and may be finished as a small pin pillow or as a scissor fob.  Like the main project, the colors are soft and old fashioned yellows, yellow greens, corals and pinks.  They remind me of the print house dresses  that might have been worn by homemakers just before WWII.  The overall feeling of the entire project is one of nostalgia.

Here are my photographs of the stitched models of the individual pages.

The Cover Page: this is the page where we all made our mistakes.  I stitched my 8 back-stitched page outlines first while cunningly listening to all the moans and groans of those who dove right in to stitching this first page.  Thus I learned from their mistakes.   I was able to consult the pioneers about proper placement of the first tied wheat stitch in the inner border and the length of the  tied herringbone stitch at the beginning and end of each leg of that border.  That is not to say I made no mistakes of my own.  I had to pull out the left side leg of the herringbone border because of a counting error.  Happily, I hadn't yet gone back and tied the herringbones, saving me some rather fussy frogging.  Another strategy gleaned from eavesdropping on those who dove right in: verify the correct placement before going back and tieing down the stitches.

This meant to be the back cover and space has been left for stitching initials and a date and or place.

A small fabric pocket will be placed within the stitched border.  It will hold the small paper needle book included with the kit.

A small gusseted pocket will be placed within the stitched border.  It is meant to hold a little glass vial of tiny buttons or button cards or a small spool of thread or all of the above.

A small pin cushion will be centered within the stitched border.  It will be made up as a log cabin quilt block from the fabrics included in the kit.  It will be further secured with a button right through the center.  Ann even provided the wool roving to stuff the pin cushion

This is the sampler page  Of the whole booklet, it is the only page meant to be stitched over two.

I regret that I can not show the remaining two pages.  Someone else in the class must have been using them for reference when I took the photos and I forgot to go after them later.

And now for a few photos of my own progress on these pieces:  It took me the first day and the better part of the morning of the second day to stitch the back stitched border of all eight pages.  It was not a particularly stimulating way to start off the class.  But I know myself well enough to know that if I had just stitched one outline and then started on the main design of that one page ... well that might become the only page ever stitched.

Having stitched all the outlines, I am going to feel compelled to complete each and every one.  And I am less likely to get bogged down by the fiddly counting required throughout most of the project or abandon the piece at the first mistake.As you can see, I am working the border first and am almost done with the final leg of herringbone stitches.  I do have to go back and tie the last leg and then do six tiny eyelets in the same red in the lower corners.  Then it is on to the large flower bands at the top and bottom of the page.  I'll be devoting much of my weekend to this project.

I also started the accessory piece and got the border stitched Sunday night while keeping my husband company as he watched TV.  I really wanted to have all the bits and pieces of this project "on the go" so I would be motivated to finish them all.  I stitched the OC of OCT last night after work and hope to stitch the T and get started on the Roman numerals for 2014 before work today.

And, finally, here is a photo of my Maine heart, stitched in the car on the way home.  These Victoria Sampler charts are the work of just a few hours and always teach a new specialty stitch, in this case: the diagonal Queen stitch.  I recommend them highly.  It is my hope to eventually have an ornament for every state that my husband and I have visited or in which we have lived or in which our children have lived.  I still need to stitch Washington, California, Vermont, North Carolina, Kentucky, Alabama and Minnesota.


Dani - tkdchick said...

That is going to be a lovely needlebook!

CalamityJr said...

I love the way the stitching journal will have a place to keep everything you might need at your fingertips. What a great idea! I'm really looking forward to seeing this come together.
I had also thought about stitching states from that series that have meaning to me. Keep us posted as you complete yours and I just may start my own history hearts.

rosey175 said...

I love the theme of your stitchy journal! Anne of Green Gables has always been a favorite of mine and the journal is such an interesting bit of stitchery.

Stitchinowl said...

I love seeing the progress of your stitchy journal. Thanks for sharing the photos.
Great idea about stitching an ornament for each state you lived in. I always wanted to make an arrangement of framed pictures, stitched or non-stitched, of something representing each state I've lived in.

Jo who can't think of a clever nickname said...

What a fantastic class project. It must be so nice to have the designer on hand to help with queries and hints. I am sure this will look beautiful when you have finished it.

I like the idea of stitching the different State hearts too. I don't think there is a series like this for the counties in England. Maybe I should start one...