Friday, October 24, 2008

A Different Kind of Stitched Sampler

In early 2006, I was working on a project for a class I was set to teach in March at the Ozark Folk Center. I had it in my head that I wanted to make a sampler quilt.

To that point, I had only seen cross-stitch samplers or quilted sampler quilts. Cross-stitched samplers being framed samplers both vintage and new, done completely in cross-stitch, and sampler quilts being quilts made with a certain number of blocks set into a quilt with each block being a different pattern.

To my way of thinking, a sampler designed to "look" like a cross-stitched sampler but made with appliqued and embroidered motifs, then handquilted sounded really different. At least to me. So, I set out to make such a quilt.

As it turns out, time ran out on in order to teach the class I only had a finished top to show. That worked out well as my students could look at the front as well as the back of the work, which was really helpful. This little quilt is 27" x 27" and has a simple border. I kind of wanted it to resemble that framed cross-stitched sampler I was used to seeing.

The background is rather a dark ecru, solid color fabric...all the rest of the fabrics used are prints. Of course, this is supposed to be "folk art" so proportion doesn't count...hence, a too small calf, too large cat, etc. There are appliqued birds, hearts, flowers, a house, several animals, a tree, my last name, numbers, and a complete alphabet written in my handwriting.

The flowers are made from fabric yo-yo's, stitched with a loop to make what appears to be five petals and sewn onto the quilt top backwards. I just happened to like the backs of the yo-yo's better than the fronts for this application. The leaves, stems, vine, birds, hearts, house, animals and the land were done in needleturned applique, my method of choice.

Because I couldn't find the alphabet I wanted......I decided to write the letters in my own hand, no matter that they weren't perfect. Besides, I think it just adds to the fact that this quilt is a work done completely by ME.

The legs on the calf and cat were not so easy to applique, but I managed. I guess I should say that the cat is there because we have a cat and have had several other cats over the years. The calf is there because we had a farm where we raised cows for seventeen years. The chickens are there because I thought they would be cute there, although I never want to be around chickens. I was attacked by a huge, white rooster when I was three and have scars to prove it. I never got over it. I can be around chickens as long as they are in front of me.....those behind me...well, I don't trust 'em!! I guess adding them to the quilt was, in a weird way, facing my fears!!! Well, not so much. I just needed some kind of animal in that space and thought chickens would be good (and they look really cute too). Strange what we decide to do, isn't it?

Oh, yes, the birds are there because this IS the Bird Nest on the Ground Studio! The hearts are there because I put hearts on just about everything. The flowers are there because I LOVE flowers and have a real talent for killing them, but I can sew flowers that last many years!!!

My favorite part of the quilt has to be the tree. I LOVE trees. I have terrible vision and couldn't see a thing as a small child. When I was in the third grade, my teacher realized I couldn't see a thing and told my parents. There followed big, thick glasses. The first thing I saw with the new glasses was a tree. Til that moment, I did not know that leaves were individual things....I thought a tree was one big green thing. So, to this day....I am partial to trees. I call them Nature's answer to lace. So, there had to be a big tree here.

I used DMC floss for all the embroidery. The tree leaves were done with one strand of three different colors of green. I think they look pretty good. The trunk of the tree is appliqued and part of the branches are embroidered with satin stitches, the thinner parts done in outline stitch. I love the tree!!!

Early last week...that's how long it took me to get this little quilt finished. That shows you that sometimes I "take my time" getting things done. What it really means is that while I tend to procrastinate, other times I just have to put things on the back burner. Eventually ALL things get done, however.

I don't know what else you might want to know about this little quilt. Suffice it to say that I did manage to create a small sampler quilt using applique and embroidery and somehow it does resemble an old-fashioned cross-stitched sampler. I even had fun doing it and my students loved it. A very good thing. Pat


Judy said...

Wonderful!! I had to go back and look at it again after reading your post to check it out in more detail. Great Job!!

TattingChic said...

This is just beautiful. Thank you for the closeup of the detail. That would've been lost with just the big picture.

Willow Witch said...

I love it! I think the alphabet in your handwritting is just perfect.
Sorry about your chicken fears, roosters can be very sneaky thats why I always have my dogs out with me they keep the roosters at bay. Well it was worth the wait, thanks for sharing!

sparkle jars said...

"Natures answere to lace"...a perfect description of a tree. From one tree lover to another, this is wonderful. I'm glad you used your own beautiful handwriting, making it your own.

Anne said...

Fantastic sampler, Pat. I think it's perfect. I love that the motifs are personal to you, too.

When you mentioned seeing a tree for the first time, I was moved. What a special memory.

Sorry about the angry chicken. I begged my grandmother for a baby chick when I was a child. Against my parents’ wishes, I took a chick with me, and it lived inside our home in the city. That little chick even slept with me. My mom awakened me early one morning, and pointed out that my pet chick was sleeping peacefully atop my pillow. After the chick grew too big to handle, however, he went back to Bauxite to live his life out on my grandma's farm.

Thanks for sharing your sampler and the heartwarming stories, too.

A Bit of Heaven

A Bit of Heaven
An original designed wall quilt with my vision of heaven on earth.