Thursday, September 8, 2016

And here we are at Summer into Autumn - Beatrix Potter, more samplers, and summer travels.

Today was one of those glorious September days, with moderate temperatures, clear blue skies, and leaves starting to turn gold - some of the trees were already entirely changed into their autumn splendour.  Our springtime wish for more moisture was fulfilled more than we could imagine, with record rainfalls in July, and even now our grass is green and thriving, most unusual for late summer in this prairie and foothills region.  

And stitching, of course continues :)  One highlight for me was a celebration of Beatrix Potter's 150th birthday at a summer Guild meeting.  Not only was Beatrix a remarkable artist and author, but also a keen botanical illustrator with a special expertise in fungi and mushrooms.  She was also a sheep breeder and farmer in the Lake District and an early benefactor of the National Trust.  And in addition, she not only appreciated and displayed needlework in her home, but was a stitcher herself, and researched historic clothing at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London for The Tailor of Gloucester, my own favourite of all of her books.  In honour of Beatrix Potter (Mrs. William Heelis in her later life), I've included a photograph of a little figurine of Benjamin Bunny owned by a dear stitching friend. 

My project I've mentioned before, of the schoolgirl sampler originally stitched by a girl whose family were early farmers in Ontario, is now finished, but I'll include it here when I have more photographs of the area where she lived (this research is in preparation for a presentation to our Sampler Guild later this year).  Janet Burnet, the Scottish sampler reproduced by The Scarlet Letter, gets some attention from time to time when the light is especially good and I can focus on the careful counting needed for the lovely design. 

Misty Mountain
But I do indeed have several other pieces completed, especially three designed by Jeannette Douglas, the Calgary designer who's increasingly appreciated by a worldwide community of keen stitchers.  The first one here is a tiny earlier design, Misty Mountain - I love it for its evocative tones that remind me of the mountains close by, and for the specialty stitches that add the textural elements that are so essential for those of us who want our stitching to have not only beautiful colours and a pleasing design, but a tactile dimension as well.  

Appalachian Spring
Jeannette's Appalachian Spring design has become another favourite, with its title  reminder of Aaron Copland's orchestral suite, and its colour choices the cheerful hues of spring flowers.   Not quite as tiny as Misty Mountain, it's an exquisitely delicate piece - I'm still looking for the perfect frame for it, though I may yet decide to add hemstitching to it for a needleroll or pillow finish.   

Toronto Sampler
And finally, the larger-than-I'd-realized-it-would-be "Toronto Sampler" - so many motifs that remind me of my home town - some historic, like Casa Loma, some natural, like the harbour, some iconic and more modern, like the CN Tower.  And having lived in Toronto for many years, each element holds many memories too - dances and tours at Casa Loma; many many miles travelled back and forth to school and work on the "red rockets" - the streetcars and trolley buses; strolls along the waterfront and ferry rides across to The Island for picnics; the colourful markets, the beautiful public gardens - so much to enjoy and appreciate.   I'm not sure yet whether I'll frame this piece or make it into a wall-hanging or banner.  And please excuse my photographs here - I'll try for better ones in a different light before long, and the linen will smooth out in the framing or lacing process that's still to be done.     

Two other recent finishes still need beads and/or charms to complete them - Charland's Gratitude Sampler and By the Bay's Winter Hill.   

We've travelled to some of our western destinations this summer again - to a friend's ranch in the foothills of the Rockies for the yearly gathering for cattle work in the corrals; to the Cypress Hills of southern Saskatchewan for a visit to one of our favourite places, with dear friends, flowers, bees, extensive vegetable gardens, chickens, pigeons, dogs and cats, even llamas;  and to local beauty spots closer to home - we even discovered a well-hidden botanical garden only a short distance down the road.   

Until next time, do enjoy your own stitching and other creative joys,  and please add a comment or contact me if you have any questions about the designs or anything else I've mentioned - I love to hear from my special group of readers any time! 


  1. Did you see they found a new BP manuscript? No illustrations so Quentin Blake is doing the honours for it. If you've not heard of him - very well known in UK children's artist, do google him, I think you'll be enchanted.

    Love Jeanette Douglas too, there is an FB group, did you know? Melissa and I belong.

    Love all your stitching......Toronto, one of my favourite cities!

    1. Thanks for your comments, Gillie - it's always lovely to hear from you. Yes, I'd heard of the new BP manuscript, although I'm not quite sure about Quentin Blake, give me a little more time - my heart belongs to Beatrix LOL - but we'll see ..... Yes, I'm a member actually of TWO Jeannette Douglas FB groups - good to see that so many stitchers appreciate the artistry and detail of Jeannette's inspired designs.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, Meari - I do love stitching samplers :) And thank you for your stitching and finishing tutorials - I've used the needlebook instructions, though mine doesn't look quite as pristine as yours!

  3. Un trés joli sampler,un air de vacances avec son phare et ses petits bateaux!merveilleux ainsi que les autres posts
    dont j'ai admiré les belles photos
    Have a nice week end