Expanding Our Minds and Our Skills

Hey folks, the rain seems to have finally let up in Texas. As you may have heard, we have had an extremely wet spring here. In fact, if you took the total rainfall for May and covered the state with the rain that has fallen, we would be standing in 8 inches of water. That’s a lot of water folks! We will take the blessings of the rain and definitely enjoy our full lakes, ponds and waterways. There are some lakes that have not been full for years that are now at capacity. But not all of the rain has been good. The area has had many tragedies and our thoughts and prayers go out to those of who have been adversely effected by the rains. We hope that as the days go by, people will be able to get back to their normal daily routines.

IMG 8753 Fotor
Kindred Spirits Shaker Basket by Ellen Chester of With My Needle

We have been busy as a Guild since our last post. We were bound to learn something new from Ellen Chester of With My Needle when she presented two workshops, her brand new Kindred Spirits Shaker Basket and Long May She Wave. We had a great turnout for both full day workshops. We had attendees from the local area as well as from Arizona, Wisconsin (Marie we miss you), and I believe I heard Georgia in the mix as well. Also, to our Austin members, we enjoyed seeing you as well.

IMG 8746 Fotor
Kindred Spirits Shaker Basket by Ellen Chester of With My Needle

Ellen’s workshop projects were very nicely packaged and organized and ready for us to pick up our needles and begin stitching. Each project came with beautiful linens and our threads were attached to pre-printed hornbook shaped thread organizers (thank you, Ellen). The paper hornbooks even had the date for each of our workshops printed so we would not forget the dates. Each participant for each project also had the opportunity to purchase the lovely scrimshaw pieces that accompanied the piece.

Ms. Chester also treated us to the opportunity to purchase charts of her other pieces. Our classes covered numerous specialty stitches and many finishing techniques. Ellen also gave us a great little mantra for working Smryna Crosses (you put pants on during your stitch so to speak – first put one leg on, then the next leg, then zip up and cinch your belt). I have already found myself using it on another project.

Ellen also shared with us a wonderful history on hornbooks and the legacy of the American flag. This information was fascinating.

IMG 8842 Fotor
Long May She Wave by Ellen Chester of With My Needle

The With My Needle workshops gave us an opportunity to learn new stitches and great finishing techniques.

Another great tip Ellen left us with had to do with finishing. When you need to cut cardboard out for finishing, get comic book board. Its thinner, easy to cut with scissors and best of all its acid free. If you need a thicker piece, you cut two pieces out and glue them together. Thank you Ellen for such great workshops!

May Meeting

Wow, before I knew it, it was time for our May meeting. This meeting was an opportunity to learn about the past in the form antique needlework tools. One of our members, Judy M., was very generous in sharing a sampling of her antique needlework collection in the form of various tools and lovely boxes.

IMG 8888
Judy M. – presentation on her antique needlework tools collection

But first, I must tell you about the table cloth on which she displayed her treasures. This is a tatted table cloth passed on to her from her great grandmother. It was completed in WWI in around 1917.

IMG 8889
Tatted tablecloth from 1917 – in the collection of Judy M.

As you can imagine, tatting shuttles became a part of her collection. She currently has over 1,000 shuttles.

IMG 8850
Antique tatting shuttles – collection of Judy M.

Her first large acquisition for her collection was this lovely Cantonese box that she found while traveling overseas in 1995. It has been an adventure for her since.

IMG 8891
Cantonese Needlework Tools Box – from the collection of Judy M.
IMG 8849
Antique chatelaine – collection of Judy M.

She has found two books to be rather helpful throughout the years in adding to her collection, which includes bodkins, stilettos, knotting shuttles, tatting shuttles, chatelaines, and storage boxes. These books are: Antique Needlework Tools and Embroideries by Nerylla Taunton (I found this book available as new or used on Amazon).

antique needlework tools and embroideries

The second book she recommended was An Illustrated History of Needlework Tools by Gay Ann Rogers (This book is available for those who search, used ones might be available through Amazon or Abebooks.com).


She also spoke about pieces that were marketed generations ago by Palais Royale in Paris (be on the lookout for the little French pansy – sorry – I truly thought I got a picture, but here is an example).

Palais Royale
Palais Royale Needlecase example

These pieces are generally the most sought after sets. Check out this blog post for more information.

Judy’s oldest piece dates back to 1725. She has added to her collection from all over the world during trips to London, Boston, South Africa, Paris and New Zealand. Most incredibly, she purchased a sewing box of Indian origin (as in India) at an antique show in Tyler, Texas. Even better, her husband enjoys helping her find new treasures! Judy, thank you for the fantastic presentation.

May Show & Tell

IMG 8854
Debbie H. – Hoppin’ Hares Thread Keep by Island Cottage Needlearts
IMG 8857
Pat M. – Blue Bird Cottage by Elizabeth’s Designs
IMG 8858
Holly L. – Forget-Me-Not Sampler by With Thy Needle & Thread
IMG 8861
Shelly M. – Strawberry Fields Forever by Blackbird Designs
IMG 8862
Shelly M. – Strawberry Fields Forever by Blackbird Designs

Shelly had Betty H. finish this piece into a project bag.

IMG 8864
Suzette D. – Fish Needlepoint – Original design of “Dr. Stitch”, Jane Sweeney of Princeton, NJ EGA
IMG 8866
Suzette D. – Dorset Button Pin – Designed by Suzette

Suzette designed and taught a class on this Dorset Button for Greater Dallas EGA.

IMG 8867
Cyndi S. – Reina Brock Sampler by The Sunflower Seed
IMG 8870
Cyndi S. – Lydia C. Eichelberger Sampler by Carriage House Samplings
IMG 8879
Cyndi S. – A Needleworker’s Sampler Huswife by With My Needle
IMG 8880
Cyndi S. – A Needleworker’s Sampler Huswife by With My Needle
IMG 8876
Cyndi S. – A Needleworker’s Sampler Huswife by With My Needle

Check out the antique stiletto!

IMG 8872
Cyndi S. – A Needleworker’s Sampler Huswife by With My Needle
IMG 8874
Cyndi S. – A Needleworker’s Sampler Huswife by With My Needle
IMG 8883
Adam B. – Spacious Skies by Priscilla’s Pocket

This is Adam’s first project. He loved it.

IMG 8884
Jennifer G. – Cherry Hollow Farm by Stacy Nash Primitives
IMG 8886
Michelle L. – Block 2 from Village of Hawk Run Hollow by Carriage House Samplings

Michelle stitched this piece to commemorate her 9th wedding anniversary – the Willow Anniversary.

IMG 8852
Codi M. – Roses in July by Needlework Press

Codi stitched this adaptation from and antique sampler over one.

Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.

Thomas Huxley

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *