Antique Sampler Dolores Serra

I started stitching a reproduction of an antique Alphabet sampler finished by Dolores Serra back in June trying to finish at least one letter a day each evening. In spite of a fact that I spent 10 days out of the June month in Castine miniaturing, I managed to finish 1 set of the Alphabet in Blue last month.

This sampler attracts my attention with its simplicity and purity. It is very enjoyable letter by letter, evening by evening to fill out the white space on 32 count Belfast linen with Au Ver a Soie silk.

Coming into July I am still trying to work on one letter each evening of the next set of the Alphabet but now in Red. The letters of this alphabet set are much bigger and take more time to finish, but very rewarding.

Happy stitching!

Natalia Frank

Back To The Studio

I have been absent for a while. Life has kept testing me and my well being. Now I am back to the studio and it is time to do some serious stitching.

Last April at the Bishop Chicago International show, surprisingly for myself, I was sold out. Everything what I have made: pillows, slippers, Christmas stockings, rugs I have had, was sold. I had to cancel the upcoming shows in Dallas and the IGMA show (shows that I signed up a year ago) due to the absence and inability to re-stock my inventory in the short period of time due to my specialization in miniature – needlework.

If you follow my Instagram blog you probably saw me making last 9 posts about working on my UFO’s projects that were started decades ago. I am working on them with double energy and can’t wait to finish all of them some day. At the end of each month I’ll post a progress on each of those 9 projects. I have more than 9 started frames in progress and will add a new to the list each time I finish one I am working on currently.

I have one more show this year – The Needlework Expo 2022 on-line show – and I am preparing new designs, some original and some reproductions of antique samplers for it.

I am planning to re-open my shop-studio for public without the appointments at the 1st of July this year.

These are all my plans for the rest of the year (stitching, stitching and stitching) and it is time to schedule the events for 2023. What about you? Are you vacationing? Are you stitching? What are your big plans left for 2022?

EGA National Seminar 2021 Magnificent Stitch

It is a little bit late but I can’t not to tell you about EGA National Seminar 2021 Magnificent Stitch that was held at the beginning of last month.

First of all, it was my first EGA National Seminar I have ever attended. I have been EGA’s member on and off for last 8 years, and only this year I had an opportunity to finally be able to be a part of this huge stitching community and enjoy the inspiring work of many very talented stitchers.

For those who doesn’t know, EGA is Embroiderer’s Guild of America, the organization that deeply dedicated to needlework and where needle art lives (www.egausa.org).

It is not only that it was my first time attending this kind of seminar, it was first time exhibiting my own work there. I entered one of a kind Micro Petit Point Carpet Tree of Life into The Golden Needle Awards. The rug measures 7 5/8″ x 9″ with fringe. It is stitched on 56 count silk gauze with fine over dyed Tudor Gloriana silk floss, 89 colors, 93 skeins. Total of 180,600 tiny stitches, 468 ends form the fringes on 2 sides of the rug. It took 11 weeks and one day to stitch the miniature Tree of Life carpet, 7 days went for blocking, finishing he sides and fringing. This miniature carpet has a long story and may be one day I’ll tell you more about it.

Miniature Tree of Life carpet in 1/12th scale earned three ribbons: The Viewers’ Choice, The Judge’s Choice and 3rd place in Canvas Category.

Unfortunately, following the policy of the EGA Seminar, the pictures and videos to take was not allowed. That is why I won’t be able to spoil you with all eye candy images of tremendously gorgeous work that was presented at the Seminar, and you know what, even if I would have posted the images, they do not do justice of how detailed and amazing the displayed work was in the exhibition room. So, I was just playing with my camera taking the pictures of Chicago at night.

Don’t be upset! There is a way for you to enjoy the glimpse of what was exhibited at the seminar if you watch the videos that were recorded by Gary Parr and Beth Ellicott from Fiber Talks https://wetalkfiber.com. Here is the link following which you can find all videos about EGA National Seminar 2021 Magnificent Stitch (https://wetalkfiber.com/2021/09/page/3/).

I am thinking about my first experience at the EGA National Seminar with a big gratitude to everyone who liked my work and voted for it; to the teachers; and of course to the organizers of this wonderful event in the time that is not easy. I already can’t wait to join the fun at the next EGA National Seminar in New York next Fall.

Hope to see you there,

Natalia Frank

The Next Year of The jubilee is 2037

The main reason why I love reproducing antique samplers is that each sampler, doesn’t matter of its size, year, condition, or theme carries a story, a little piece of history. My work on reproducing a sampler starts with a careful research. I study the name, year, stitches, the verses and its source. Some times one is lucky, some times – no luck at all. This is what happened when I picked up this 1887 sampler by W Beckwith. Searching by name didn’t bring any results.

The late 19th century original sampler worked in wool on even weave gauze and is absolutely charming. The following verse is stitched in the upper section of the sampler:

There is a little narrow way

Which is so very strait

That few the Bible say are they

Who enter at the gate

and finished with the words at the bottom

The Year of Jubilee 1887

I am not a religious person, but I do have Faith. I have never heard about the year of the Jubilee. I was curious to read and learn more about what the year of the Jubilee is. The first thing I have learnt that the word “jubilee” is derived from the Hebrew word j o b e l and means “ram’s horn”, the horn which was used as a trumpet, whose sound indicated to everybody the beginning of the jubilee year. The book of Leviticus is the source that tells us of the significance of the year of the jubilee, which is at the end of seven weeks of years, the fiftieth year.

So why did this happen at the end of the fiftieth year? The Bible places special emphasis on the number 7.

After all, there are seven days in a week, and the seventh day is supposed to be the Sabbath, a day dedicated to rest and worship: 7 x 7 = 49 years.

So, after seven years of Sabbaths, we reach the 50th year. A year dedicated to rest, to restoration of property, and to freeing people from debts, servitude, and slavery. Everyone got to rest during this year and was able to start off the next year with a clean slate.

The next year of the Jubilee is 2037. Do you think it is possible to have the year of the Jubilee in the modern world? I am not sure I’ll be there, but definitely would love to see.

A reproduction of an antique sampler by W Beckwith, 1887 is stitched on 40 count Zweigart Newcastle Silvery Moon linen with Treenway Silks and Classic Colorworks Belle Soie silk.

141 x 131 stitches

The stitched area measures approx. 6 1/2″ x 6 1/2″

The middle section of the sampler is stitched with a central crown which has a heart above, a floral motif flanked by two birds to its left and right and W. Beckwith’s name beneath which has a heart on either side. The lower section of the sampler is stitched with a central floral motif which has a dog standing on each side followed by a fruit basket and tree, each fruit basket with a heart and crown above. The whole piece is then surrounded by a strawberry border.

 I wanted to have a miniature version of this absolutely little charming sampler in my collection and stitched it on 72 count silk gauze with my favorite Au Ver A Soie Surfine silk making some changes though in the design. The stitching area measures 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″

Here are some pictures of the stitching process

Both patterns/kits could be purchased at www.artofpetitpoint.com

Happy stitching,

Natalia Frank

Sources: https://www.vatican.va/jubilee_2000/magazine/documents/ju_mag_01051997_p-78_en.html

https://www.christianity.com/wiki/bible/what-was-the-year-of-jubilee.html

Petit Point. What Is It?

You are always a student, never a master

My knowledge of Petit Point is not built on googling the terms from different sources on-line, especially those that do not relate to needlework at all. My knowledge is based on researching, reading old needlework, embroidery books, visiting the museums, observing the items, studying the stitches, collecting antique and vintage textile.

Holding a degree in Linguistics, proper terminology is essential for me. I think it is important to learn to talk clearly when it comes to any terminology, needlework is not an exception. Let us say simpler:  different terminology means different things.

You might ask me WHY?

Undoubtedly, proper terminology helps to fully understand specific topics.

It helps people to communicate more efficiently.

It increases clarity of the topic of conversation.

It stops from bringing false statements about a subject of discussion.

For a long time, since the 16th century, Petit Point has been identified as a separate type of Needlework. Many historic needlework pieces are done in Petit Point.

I do not know any other types of needlework that has so many controversial opinions than Petit Point.

People are giving different definitions to Petit Point, its stitches, ground fabric and use.

The art of Petit Point is sometimes wrongly referred to as Needlepoint. Someone calls it Embroidery, someone says that Petit Point is Needlepoint, someone simply refer Petit Point to small stitches of needlepoint. Another opinion is that Petit Point could be done only on silk gauze and it is another wrong statement; or that Petit Point is used only for stitching miniature pillows, carpets, etc. for a doll house. Petit Point is not a name of a stitch either, as many are confused.

So, what is Petit Point?

Petit Point is one of the types of counted needlework.

THIS IS HOW SIMPLE IT IS

Needlework term covers counted thread (needlepoint, petit point, cross stitch, black work, etc.), and surface embroidery techniques (for instance, stumpwork, ribbon work, bead work, crewelwork, needle painting, etc.). 

Then what is the difference between Needlepoint and Petit Point?, you will ask me.

Let me tell you it is not a type of canvas that determines a type of needlework.

It is the stitches and techniques that tell us what type of work it is.

The difference between Needlepoint and Petit Point lays in stitches that are used in these 2 related to each other but different types of needlework.

Needlepoint is the common name for the technique of covering a canvas ground with counted or decorative stitches. Therefore, there is a counted needlepoint and needlepoint on canvas.

The counted technique is also used in Petit Point. However, historically correct to say that Petit Point is done with Tent Continental stitch, a stitch that belongs to the family of Tent stitches (Basketweave, also called Tent Diagonal; Tent Continental; and Half Cross Stitch), stitches that are used in Needlepoint as well.

All confusion arises when it comes to the family of Tent stitches now.

The family of Tent stitches are:

Basketweave stitch (also referred to as Tent Diagonal)

Tent Continental stitch

Half Cross Stitch

All 3 stitches look the same on the surface ground,

but due to the different techniques they are executed, the backside of a stitched piece with a different stitch from the Family of Tent stitches does look different.

Now let us go back to terminology. Why is the group of these stitches called “Tent”?

It derives its name from the old word “tenture”, or “tenter”, the frame on which the material was stretched.

Why is Basketweave stitch called so?

Basketweave stitch is called so, because due to its technique and a stitch executed diagonally, the backside of a stitched piece with basketweave stitch resembles a woven basket.

Why is a Tent stitch for Petit Point given Continental name? Based on entomology of an old French word continent (adj.) the word “continental” referring to a needlework stitch means “holding together, continuous” due to the technique of a Tent Continental stitch when a stitch is taken across the intersection of each warp and weft thread on canvas (that is different from executing a half cross stitch). In this way of laying the stitches the closest rows of small stitches thus formed conceal completely material and produce short slanted stitches on the surface and long slanted stitches on the back side.

Happy petit pointing!

Natalia

I Don’t Do Mondays…

How many times through my life I have heard this expression! Today like never before I feel the true meaning of it. Today I am completely lost. I have not touched a needle, I have not opened a book, I have not been outside… I can blame it on over stitching last week, on the weather that brings humidity that makes hard to enjoy being outside, on the fact that I am out of my favorite coffee! I am glad this unproductive day is almost over…

Sitting comfortably in my chair, I am going through “the pages” of the very talented stitchers on the www.gmna.org.uk/meet_members.html. Some of these people are not with us anymore and it is a wonderful way to remember them and their little masterpieces. Just look at this miniature Gold work (Daphne’s quilt) by Daphne Turner.

King Charles Spaniel by Juliet Blake, original design from a Staffordshire pottery stitched on 140 count silk gauze. The dog measures just 2cm (13/16″) high. I have 136 count silk gauze and have never heard or seen of anything higher than that.

Floral design on a red circle ground by Eric Burke, stitched on 112 count silk gauze, actual size: 3.2cm (1 1/4″) diam.

Quilt by Dora Lockyer, Hexagonal patchwork quilt

1/8th. inch hexagons, 1/12th scale

I find their work very inspiring and on this note I will end my Monday today.

I wish a wonderful and creative the rest of week to everyone!

Natalia

Manage your Attention, not your Time

or, my new organizational strategy.

I admire people who are strong enough to stick to one project till it is finished. It is different in my little world of consciousness. I must try each idea that comes across my mind RIGHT NOW! This is how I do accumulate the projects that are screaming at me due to me missing a color and waiting for it to arrive, giving attention, and spending more time on a new design, or being busy with real life issues. 

Due to some personal reasons, I took time off to regain the energy for my obsession with Petit Point and other needlework. It is a fact that I have a lot of projects have been started and have not been finished. Particularly there are about 20 framed projects that need my attention. They include Petit Point, Cross Stitch, Goldwork. I have put a lot of thoughts into organizing all stitching projects giving a priority to the most important. I have searched on Google different ideas other stitchers are sharing on how to catch up with all UFO’s and concluded that none of them are working for me to reach my goal.

The expression “Manage your attention, not your time” makes more sense for me. Know your priorities, right?

I put on the list 16 prioritized designs that need my urgent attention and must be finished within a year. You can see them all below

Four of them, marked in red, are the ones that I am planning to work daily on, excluding the weekends.

Another four in green are smaller works and I am thinking about devoting an hour to each daily.

Those on the list in blue color are on a “waiting list” and each of them will be merged to the list above in green as soon as any project on the green list will be finished.

It means that each week this ladder will be changed with finished projects moving out of the list. I am exceptionally good at planning than at following the plan. However, at the end of the month, I will gladly report about how productive I will be and if this system works for me.

Happy new creative week to you!

Natalia

House on the Rocks, WI Part 2

The display model of Buckingham Palace was created by a British architect for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth 2 in February 1952.

The tour of the House on the Rock took more than 3 hours. It was worth to see the World’s largest Carousel in history. It contains over 20,000 lights, 182 chandeliers, 269 animals on the carousel. The carousel is 80 feet wide, 35 feet tall, weights 36 tons and was premiered on Easter 1981, and there is NOT one horse on the carousel. The carousel was moving and it was impossible to take a nice static picture, :).

Full size sleighs, it is one of them

There was another carousel-display with hundreds of dolls.

In 1979 President Jimmy Carter and his family cruised on the upper Mississippi aboard the steamboat Delta Queen. They travelled south from St. Paul, Minnesota so St. Louis stopping along the way to greet the crowds who lined the banks. While in Dubuque, Iowa the President signed this model of the Delta Queen.

There is still much more to show left, but I encourage you to visit this place if you are in the area.

House on the Rocks, WI Part 1

Visiting the House on the Rocks, Wisconsin was an amazing, one of a kind and at the same time overwhelming experience.

It all began in 1940s when Alex Jordan returned to Deer Shelter Rock where he had picnicked with his family years before. Over the years, he dreamed of creating a wonderful house, an artist’s refuge where he could pursue his interests in music, literature, and sculpture. What took shape on and around the Deer Shelter Rock is a truly remarkable achievement.

He couldn’t keep his retreat secret for long and in 1960 he gave in to public demand and opened the House to visitors. Soon this man-made wonder became the most popular attraction.

The House has a massive collection of music boxes, the World’s Largest Carousel, The Secrets of Yesterday (a recreation of a 19th century American street), the mysterious Organ room, guns, armor, lamps… and of course, dollhouses.

In the late 1970’s Alex Jordan bought his first collectible dollhouse.

After he realized that buying a few dollhouses was not going to be enough if he wanted to build a world-class collection. He hired a staff headed by Virginia Reynolds for this project and soon dollhouses of every shape and description were being created in the workshop.

Alex visited the workshop every day and took a special interest in the design, building, and installation of each house. The houses are designed to represent early American style through the first part of the 20th century. The collection also includes a series of small shops and even a gas station in miniature. The work lasted years and filled the workshop to the rafters. The Jordan’s dollhouse collection contains more than 250 structures. To my huge regret it was not possible to see the interior of each house due to how they are displayed, also the pictures do not make justice because of the lack of lighting. Enjoy it!

This house is a replica of the Grunow Estate Lake Geneva Home. It is made to 1/12th scale and is 4,5 feet high, 12,5 feet long and 5 feet wide. The house weighs more than 800 pounds and took more than a year to complete.

April Installment SAL 2021

Here is my stitching progress on Stitch-A-Long 2021 Colorful Amalgam. The pattern for an April Installment (as other installments as well) could be found HERE.

I am using 48 count silk gauze and stitching this rug with over dyed Gloriana silk floss. I am spending minimum an hour daily on this carpet since I have other projects on my hands that requires more time.

I think that these squares stitched separately could make nice pillows, especially if stitched on 56 count silk gauze. Being stitched on 48 count the size of each square measures 1 1/2″ and on 56 count as pillows they will look even better. I would use Tudor Gloriana silk floss for the pillows. Hopefully, I’ll have enough time and desire to finish these 9 pillows (there will be 9 squares in the carpet).

Happy stitching!

Natalia Frank