I don’t think she knows I’m about to do this, because I think she lost my request in a stack of spam in her email box! ;P But her new blog has a “borrowing” permission note on it, so I’m taking her up on it.
I first found Elmsley Rose when she began the historical embroidery sampler displayed above. Despite her claims to be just beginning in embroidery, her work was clean, well-designed, and gorgeous! It’s only gotten better.
It turns out that she started out in medieval illumination and calligraphy, which is my background, too, so we have that in common as well. Might be why I like watching her stitching so much!
She’s in the process of revamping her blog site right now, but it’s still well-worth a look. And well worth following as it develops.
The main site is at http://elmsleyrose.blogspot.com/. The photos link to the original post categories.
If you are interested in historic embroidery, or just some really cool patterns, check out the re-release online of an SCA member’s work of love – Flowers of the Needle – A compilation of patterns from several sources in the 16th century.
Please go see this work and download it, and thank Kathryn Goodwin profusely for all her hard work to make it available to us!
I have some requests out to people I’d like to feature in these posts in the future to request permission to post some of their images in my post. Hopefully this will come about and Mondays will get more colorful!
Last Monday I posted a link to some Middle Eastern patterns I had found via twitter.
I love the way information travels around the web. I received a lovely comment on my post pointing out that she had shared the information and linking to her Yahoo group that is teaching blackwork techniques:
Her blog includes the informational posts – patterns and other such will be included at the Yahoo Group.
My great-grandmother Cotterell produced some amazing embroidery and quilt tops. I didn’t know about any of them until after both my grandmother and my mother were gone. Only then did I find the linens in my grandmother’s closet — after Mom had died and we were finally emptying the entire house.
I had had the thimble longer. It was part of a tin box of embroidery things my grandmother gave me before she died. But then I didn’t use thimbles — and it was too big for my 12 year old finger anyway. Somehow I managed to keep hold of it, though the embroidery supplies have disappeared over the years – some used, some lost in moves…
My great-grandmother’s thimble has a hole in it. People aren’t usually surprised by this, until they find out that it is in one of the dimples on the top — worn through because she always used it in exactly the same way, pushing her needle with the exact same spot year after year.
The thimble fits my finger perfectly now. This is surprising because I am not a small woman – I stand 5 foot 9 inches, and have fingers of a size to match. Modern thimbles have changed shape to make them easier to manufacture, I suspect, and their angles don’t fit my hand nearly as well as that old one.
This is sad. Because perhaps more surprising than the fact that she wore a hole in it is the fact that I wear and use it exactly the same way — which is to say that I can’t use it, because it no longer serves its primary purpose– the needlew goes right through that hole and into my finger whenever I try!
The thimble now lives in my sewing cabinet: I can’t trust it in my workbox, as it always finds its way onto my finger. But I keep it to remind me of my connection to an amazing needlewoman — a lady who has inspired my stitching since I first saw hers, and in whose footsteps I dare to follow.
Please don’t take this as disparaging to either my grandmother’s or my mother’s skills with a needle. Both of them did exquisite work as well. But the level of fineness that is apparent in my great-grandmother’s linens is not there. Mostly, I suspect, because styles changed between the late 1800s when my great grandmother learned, and the 1920s (when my grandmother was stitching). My mother’s work that I’ve seen was typical of the 60s and 70s when I saw her doing it. She was a painter by preference, but would pick up a needle on a whim every so often.