Sunday, 6 January 2013

2013 Challenges and Starts

 Well I have been busy sorting through my many Scarlet Letter sampler charts in order to get started on "Nicola's Scarlet Letter Year":  and these three samplers - The Bird Sampler, Log Cabin Sampler and the wonderful Mary Anne Healey are my choices.  I am particularly excited about Mary Anne Healey.  My first husband  Robert and I owned the antique original.  We had detailed photographs taken and sent these to Marsha at Scarlet Letter - and she made a limited edition kit of this wonderful piece of work.  We were so thrilled and very proud.  Sadly some years ago I had to sell this sampler, and some others, in order to pay a large tax bill (brought about by some bad financial advice - urgh!).  It breaks my heart to think about it - but maybe during this challenge year I can sew this sampler so that Mary Anne Healey will once again grace the walls of my home.  It may not be the antique original, but it will have been sewn with love and happy memories.
About 24 years ago after a holiday in Cape Cod, where I discovered the wonderful "Scarlet Letter" samplers, I decided to set up a little mail order company selling SL and other lovely charts and kits that I had  found in the numerous sewing shops on our American holiday, and I called it "Needlefriend". I ran it from our home in Cobham, Surrey. Back in the late 1980's and early 1990's the choice in the UK for cross-stitch was very limited.  I had such fun showing these different styles - and I frequently exhibited at various art and craft/sewing shows:  I still have a copy of my catalogue!:
I met some wonderful like-minded people.  But everything changed in 1992 when my first husband sadly died of cancer.  I lost all interest in my hobbies, my heart was not into sewing - and I let Needlefriend drift away.  I look back now and cannot believe I was so stupid and short-sighted.  Too late to dwell on it but I made a huge mistake.  Grief can make you do some very strange and out-of-character things. Enough said .....  Once I pulled myself together I was back into sewing action, but it did take a while.
I have of course sewn several Scarlet Letter samplers since:  here are just two of the many:    Rebecca Robinson which I personalised for my youngest daughter with her name and dob:  probably one of the best - and largest samplers - I have ever sewn!:
and Heloise Williams which I personalised with my name back in 1993:
These days, as my Blogging followers will know, my hobbies fill my days - I do not know how I could exist without my cross-stitch and patchwork.
And now onto something entirely different:  this is my last finish of 2012 - I did not get in done in time to give as a Christmas gift, so it can go away and be my first sewn present for Christmas 2013:  it is rather out of my comfort zone, not the usual style I choose, but it is bright and fun: I used a varigated thread for the green:

So onwards and upwards into 2013.  My fingers will not be idle - there are NEVER enough hours in the day for the hobbies that once again fill me with joy.


  1. I know what grief does Angie and I am sure that you thought it for the best at the time. You have some fabulous memories and some great stitching and I look forward to seeing what this exciting new year brings. I also shall look forward to that cup of tea at Cowslip.

  2. Please, what is that last piece you stitched in 2012? I love it! So cute! I loved reading your story about your shop and all. It's sad to not have Mary Ann anymore, but hopefully you mostly have happy memories of that time. Looking forward to watching your progress on your SL pieces!

  3. What wonderful choices for the SL SAL. Your past finishes are gorgeous too. Thanks for sharing Mary Anne's story.
    Sweet final 2012 finish.

  4. Reproduction samplers are so beautiful!!!! Happy that you have found the pleasure of stitching again. Happy 2013 ;-)

  5. What a wonderful last finish for 2012. The colours are such "happy" ones.

  6. At least you had the pleasure of the samplers for a while and the skill to reproduce your own.

    The Christmas picture is great, very different to the samplers and very merry!

  7. I love your last finish in 2012. What a nice and happy-looking design. I think it's the colours that make your heart feel great when you look at it.
    So many wonderful Scarlet Letter projects that you were stitching in the past. And the ones that you chose for Nicola's SAL are just as beautiful. I'll follow your progress on them.