Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Christmas Wreath

This is a variation of a wreath design I did for a friend's wedding. I found the Rhodes hearts and stars so pretty in red, I couldn't resist doing the pattern in Christmas colors. In the picture, you can see I monogrammed my initials in the center of the wreath. I matted the work in red fabric to fit an 8x8 inch frame. It's pretty cute in purple, too. Have fun with it - and please visit me on Etsy - Rainburst Embroidery.

This is the original wreath I did for my friend's wedding. The colors were purple and black - and the bride's and groom's initials were ABC. I thought it was so cute, so I did this mini-sampler for them. It was matted with purple fabric borders, and framed in a black ornate frame.

She is a very talented musician, so I added little black musical notes throughout - the tips in black seed beads, with white pearl accents:

Here's the Christmas pattern. If you click on the image and print it, it should read pretty well:

©Rainburst Embroidery 2009
Here is the pattern in Purple:

©Rainburst Embroidery 2009

Leaf Biscornu

This is a variation on blackwork - so many of my patterns are! Traditionally blackwork is composed of graphic patterns done in black floss on a white or neutral counted cloth. I like to use to use the motifs, but embroider them in different colors. Here, silhouettes of leaves are surrounded by bands of green. I  love the color green - it's so soothing. My vision for this was of all different white or cream buttons in the centers of each leaf cluster. For more fun patterns, please visit me on Etsy -Rainburst Embroidery

©Rainburst Embroidery 2012

The three shades of green listed are Weeks Dye Works threads, but three shades of a harmonious, graduated, green palette would work.

1193 WDW Guacamole
2201 WDW Moss
1279 WDW Holly

The Vine is backstitched in Holly, the leaf veins in Moss, the leaf outlines in Guacamole.

Note:  I usually stick to DMC floss for my patterns because I want my customers to be able to find them easily - but if you are lucky enough to live near a specialty shop - I recommend trying the beautiful threads they have simply for the joy of it! Gental Art Floss and Weeks Dye Works are beautiful. One thing about many of my patterns - I keep a fairly simple color palette. This makes it easy to experiment with different colors. I like the idea that anyone can take my designs, and do them up in colors that go with their own tastes, home decor, or mood.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Ellie Sampler 1878

This last month I inherited a precious object - my great-great grandmother's schoolgirl sampler. I still feel so thrilled to have something so wonderful. I have loved embroidery for as long as I can remember, and have long looked forward to the day I could save my pennies, and get my own antique sampler - and now I have one infinitely more valuable, because it it's been passed dawn through my own family.

When I brought it home in February, I heard a bell ringing in my head - I knew I had seen something like it before. So I began researching online. Sure enough, I found images of samplers so similar there had to be a connection. The style of sampler is that of an orphanage in Bristol - a story that is quite well known...that of the Muller Homes, Ashley Down. This orphanage now has a charity based on the beliefs of it's founder - George Muller, a man who believed strongly in the power of prayer. Online, I found a number of samplers done by schoolgirls at this institution - and they had all the same elements, the same alphabets, motifs, even similar layouts...but each one varied in their own way.

I contacted the Charitable foundation, and I also began doing some family history research. I found a little mystery. There was no record of my grandmother at the orphanage. Meanwhile, I found census records before and after the sampler was made - and my great-great grandmother was with her family, even though her father died when she was ten. Also, the family did not live near Bristol at all - but in Scarborough. A funny twist however was that her father was buried in Bristol when he died. Was this the connection I was looking for? Some more reseach and family connections helped me learn that her father was a ship's captain and his home port was Bristol. The family was taken care of financially - her mother had an annuity of some kind, and they were able to stay together. Not only that, but they had servants - so her circumstances certainly would not have led to her being placed in an orphanage. I wondered how could she have done such a similar sampler without haveing been at the school. As it so happens, the Muller Homes frequently sought positions for their graduates in service. Perhaps someone who worked for them had been at the Muller homes?

My next step will be to send the names of the servants listed in the census records to the Muller Foundation, and see if one of them might have been there. I realize the chances would be slim - perhaps Ellie's father brought back something from Bristol - patterns or another sampler for her to learn from. I may not ever find out exactly - but I am so thrilled to have it no matter what. Her work was so fine. I will be sending it in to have it restored soon (it needs a little attention), and then I will have it reframed. The photo above shows it after I gently removed it from the frame in which it hung in my grandmother's house. I can't wait to hang it up in my home after it has been conserved.