Friday, 14 March 2014

Scarlet Letter Years in London

As some of you will already know, the Scarlet Letter Year was the inspiration of Nicola Parkman in order to celebrate her 50th birthday, her love of cross stitch and to encourage us to sew as many SL samplers in a year as we all could find time to do:  the year has come and gone with so many beautiful samplers completed.  Then came the idea of a trip to the V&A Museum in London with an organised viewing of the originals of some of the SL pieces that had been sewn by the on-line group.  Tuesday 11th March was the day:
Here we all are getting to know one another over coffee in the V&A:
From right to left:  Jo, Elaine, Nicola, me, Elizabeth, Vittoria, Nicola's sister - then on the far left is Jennifer.

Then last year a wonderful idea came from Krista who is based in the USA, and with the help of Elaine and Jo those of us who were sewing away were asked to sew a motif from one of SL samplers about 4 ins square. Then all the submitted squares would be sewn together to make a Memory Quilt for Nicola!  Elaine was the amazing lady who volunteered to put the quilt together - she did a wonderful job, it was quite exquisite, a future heirloom which I know Nicola will treasure always. This was a Big Secret, she had no idea until Tuesday!

Here is Nicola unwrapping and discovering this amazing gift:
Identifying the different samplers from which the squares came from!
Then another surprise:  Marsha who runs Scarlet Letter also wanted to contribute to this occasion, so she sewed one of her reproduction samplers as a gift for Nicola:  WOW!:  This sampler is Betsy Davis:
There was also a photo memory book showing how the quilt was put together with details of who had sewed each square and from which sampler it came from:
After much chat and a look around the V&A shop and lunch we went over to the Clothmakers Centre at Baron's Court which is where the textiles from the V&A are now kept.  Although we were allowed to take photographs of the samplers these are only for our personal use so sadly I am unable to show these on the Blog:  we were given an amazing magnifying glass with a light with which we could see every minute detail of these antiques:  the stitching was exquisite.  We were also shown the oldest sampler in their collection which is dated 1595.
Here I am head down with magnifying glass studying a sampler:

Here are Jo and Nicola outside the Clothmakers Centre - a GradeII listed bulding:
It was a truly memorable and eventful day.  It was so good to meet with others who have been involved with |Nicola's Scarlet Letter Year - and of course the main reason for doing all of this was to thank Nicola for everything she has put into the project which has been such an amazing success, and I am sure it will carry on for many years to come.  We all have so many more Scarlet Letter samplers that we wish to sew.
Now I am back in Devon - my Country Life sampler awaits me - I hope you have enjoyed sharing our day.


  1. Such an exciting and fantastic day for sure! I'm so envious of all of you for being able to get together and do all that wonderful stuff. Thanks for sharing the experience with us long distance stitchers.

  2. Thanks for sharing your day... Looks like it was very special! I love the V&A, one of my favourite museum in London.

  3. Love hearing the story of this fantastic day and surprise. I hope next time I will be there too!

  4. Wonderful post Angie, it still seems a bit surreal that we managed to pull it off :)

  5. Great post! I am so pleased that you were able to attend and to meet you in person. It really was a great day out.

    I've been looking at the Fitzwilliam Museum website today, just to get ideas for next year...

  6. What a fascinating thing to be involved in - I have loved reading about it all. The memory quilt looks stunning - a thing to treasure for ever. Am also loving your dramatic American Beauty in your last post - very striking! It will be completely fab - all your creations are! xCathy