Thursday, July 18, 2019

July Happenings

What a fun and busy year.

I've been traveling and giving programs.

I am meeting so many stitchers.
Quilters who embroider and embroiderers who quilt. Let's not forget antique enthusiasts who love textiles!

I am so lucky to live in an area rich with guilds.

or copy and paste:

There's also the extensive online community.  I'm sharing this video for a few reasons.
Carol, Nicola's guest is a quilter who is starting a journey creating reproduction samplers.  Nicola walks through all the supply options - so many familiar to quilters, some new.  We all love our needlework tools!
Now I know how many embroiderers quilt - so many of us will enjoy this video.

Also, Nicola mentions my book - which is so greatly appreciated.

Nicola also mentions the Needlework press Book Of Days.

Lovely images, historic snippets and patterns combined in a calendar/planner book.
It's an annual publication.  Pretty for all stitchers!

(The chart for the cover sampler is in the works)

I'm working on some new patterns and will have some announcements soon.
I am also wrapping up a big finish!

Next Events:
October American Quilt Study Group - Membership & Advance Enrollment Required HERE
October 14-17 Private Event
October - Vacation - Visits include the Pieces of American History: Connecticut Quilts Exhibit HERE 
November Minnesota Quilters 7 & 9 HERE
November South Minneapolis Quilters  November 12 
December 6th Lecture, 7th Workshop. Colorado Quilt Council HERE 

I have some bookings in 2020 and 2021 - the guilds would love to split travel expenses - contact me!

Signed copies of my book are available through me HERE
Reproduction Fabrics (signed) HERE
Stitchville USA (signed) HERE
Book Sellers Near you and Online

Hands Across The Sea Samplers (HERE)  check your local shop too
Needlework Press (HERE)  check your local shop too

I hope you are finding lots of stitching time!
Maybe attending a few guild meetings?

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

The Art Of High Style

Photographer:  Edward Strauss (American 1867-1931)
"Seamstresses at work in Mary Molloy's dressmaking shop in the Forepaugh Building.
Businesswomen like Molloy and Rose Boyd employed skilled seamstresses who had completed apprenticeships.  Seamstress wages ranged from 85 cents per day to $2.50 per day, depending on skill level.
Seamstresses worked 10 hour days for six days a week; overtime was common during peak social seasons"
Collection of the Minnesota Historical Society
I recently saw the exhibit, "The Art of High Style" at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.  (HERE)
This photo is worth enlarging, look at the details.  Because the work is couture, most of the sewing was by hand.  There is one sewing machine on the table.

Roth & Goldschmidt Corset Company
American, 1880-1929
In 1880 the Connecticut firm began importing
French corsets; by 1901 the manufactured 650
corsets a day.

Corset, c. 1885
Linen twill, baleen, steel

"The exaggerated hourglass torso fashionable in the 1880s could only be achieved with tight corseting.  This corset flares at the hip and bust thanks to a system of darts (folded and stitched sections of fabric) that contour the garment.  Stiff whalebone supports run throughout the body, while steel reinforcements along the center front and center back permit tight lacing"

Collection of the Minnesota Historical Society

Frame Detail

Skirt Train, extender c. 1870
c. 1870
Steel, cotton twill
Collection of the Minnesota Historical Society

"The train extender and bustle combination is a complicated arrangement of steel hoops, cloth tapes, drawstrings and ruffles.

It would have been worn under a skirt to create a bustled silhouette, where volume was concentrated high in the back of the skirt, as well as to support and extend a skirt train."

Photographer:  William H. Jacoby
American, 1841-1905
Collection of the Minnesota Historical Society

Sumner W. Farnham Residence, Minneapolis, c.1880
"Some of Minnesota's top couturiers ran their businesses within stately homes formerly inhabited by the entrepreneurial settlers.  In 1901 designer Lina Christianson (1862-1904) moved into what was once the Minneapolis home of lumber miller and banker Sumner W. Farnham (1820-1900).  There, within an upscale residential district, Christianson offered her clients a fashion-salon experience like those in France, where luxurious commercial spaces took their design cues from lavishly furnished contemporary homes.  From 1901- 1903 she ran one of Minneapolis's largest and most prosperous fashion houses with a staff of 46 employees."

"Local couture ascended during a pivotal moment for Minnesota which became a state in 1858 amid coercive and fiercely contested treaty negotiations with the Dakota and Ojibwe nations.  Abundant natural resources extracted through milling and mining along the innovations in rail transportation enriched early settlers and industrial tycoons.  Wealthy white settlers sought elegant dress to reflect their new status.  The Minnesota couturiers featured in this exhibition, with connections to Paris and other fashion centers, furnished this clientele with styles that kept in step with tastemakers around the globe."
"Minnesota's elite fashion industry flourished during the era of the "New Woman", a feminist ideal promoting white middle and upper-class woman's social and professional engagement.  The couturiers showcased here drove the economy, travelled annually to Europe and generated hundreds of local jobs- yet. they could not vote until 1920.
By 1900, Minnesota led the nation in women working outside the home; couturiers and their seamstresses were part of this movement."

Alfred Stevens
Belgian, 1823-1906
Portrait of Mademoiselle Dubois, 1884
Minneapolis Institute of Art 2007.45

The exhibit includes paintings of fashionably dressed women. 

One sketch book recorded swatches and drawings of Charlotte Hill, daughter of James J. Hill.
It documents 51 couture garments made for her, from 1893-1896
She attended boarding school in New York and Paris.  Her dressmakers are listed in Paris, New York and Saint Paul.

Then came ready to wear clothing...

Quilting Thoughts:
With the abundance and opulence of textiles available in the twin cities in this era, it is no wonder the Minnesota Quilt Project found crazy quilts one of the most popular quilts in their documentation.  Perhaps they were just newer? decorative? So many highly skilled embroiderers and seamstresses?

I hope you enjoy this small snippet of the exhibit.
If you are in the area, be sure and make time to see it.

What's your favorite detail in the sewing room photo?

Happy Stitching,

Minnesota Crazy Quilt HERE
Travel Dress Detail HERE

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Exhibits For You

There are wonderful opportunities this summer to see great exhibits with antique textiles and related needlework tools!
I spoke with several others at the Lecture series held in conjunction with the Penn Dry Goods Market at The Schwenkfelder Library & Heritage Center.  (HERE)
The market and Lecture series is over - HOWEVER, lucky you - the exhibit is up through September!

The exhibit includes many items shown in my book from the museum and private collection - plus MORE!

On June 14, the signature quilts from their collection go up through November.

"Sewing tools range from the eminently practical to the exquisite and whimsical. This exhibit showcases examples from the Heritage Center and private collections.  It includes pincushions and pin balls from the 18th to 20th centuries; workboxes; sewing rolls and other related tools and equipment for home and commercial use."

While in the area, try to also catch the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society Exhibit:  Decorated and Plain: An Amish and Mennonite Sampler (HERE)

Included in this exhibit are pin cushions, sewing boxes and other related sewing treasures.

"Smalls" as some like to refer to them.


Opening in June, Bryan Museum - Galveston Texas:

It is always special when an ART Museum recognizes quilts as art. 
To have them include sewing tools is exciting!
Included in the exhibit are pin cushions, sewing rolls, clamps, needle books, 
sewing machines, hoops and more! 

The Bryan Museum
Museum Details available (HERE)
Things to do in Galveston (HERE)
More photos to follow!
Are you seeing any exhibits this summer?
I'd love to hear about them.  

I hope to meet some of you June 11 at the South Minneapolis Quilters Guild where I will be giving a trunk show and presentation.
I will also be at the Minnesota Quilters Show (Rochester MN) 
signing books in the MQP booth
Friday, June 14 for the day.

Hope to see you soon!
Happy Stitching,
Signed Copies of My Book:   HERE

Sunday, April 28, 2019


Me with a few of my pinballs
 Last week I bought some of my pinballs to the Needlework Guild of Minnesota.  HERE  After discussing pinballs, they did my workshop on mosaic pinballs. Pattern HERE.  (paper patterns also available)
I made limited edition kits just for them!

I've already heard from a few who are planning their next pinballs - how fun!  They have some wonderful embellishment ideas to further personalize their projects.

It was a fun evening!

How many bunnies can you count?

Deanna sent me this photo of her pinball as well as a little walk down memory lane.  She pinned her ball with white glass headed pins.

The Hex box was a gift a few years back from another member of our sewing group.  The clam or pinch purse I made her along with the walnut pin cushion the same year.
Maybe 5 years ago??  Fun we know her so well to use the same In The Beginning Toile.  When she was here we checked the selvedge - the year was 2002.

Her little pink bear is named "Carrie".

What a precious and sentimental collection!
Maybe next she will share her berries?!?

Saturday, I was the guest speaker at the Saint Paul Needleworkers Guild Spring Luncheon.  HERE
The luncheon tables were each set with a different spring color and matching floral arrangement - Beautiful!

I was able to setup two full tables of handwork related embroidery and sewing items.  At the end of the table I had my book and an area to sign copies.
They are a wonderful group of enthusiastic and talented stitchers.

On Thursday I will be doing a program for the Saint Cloud Heritage Quilters.  HERE

I'll be bringing antique fabrics, quilts and antique quilt related needlework tools.  Guests can attend for $3.

Lots or repacking and regrouping going on!  Great Fun!
I can customize a program for any interested group - contact me or have your program manager contact me directly.

I try not to duplicate to much so people who attend multiple events always have a surprise!

Then I am off to Pennsylvania, where I am speaking at the Penn Dry Goods market.  HERE 
Their exhibit is antique sewing tools from the museum an private collections.
My lecture is sold out and they are taking names for a wait list.  There are so many great speakers I can hardly wait!  From quilts, plushwork and silk - Two full days.  Plus, the shopping - I aways find a treasure or three to bring home.

If you can't make it to an event, signed copies of my book are available directly from me - I'm happy to provide free gift wrap on mail orders.  HERE

Happy Stitching!


I Hope To Meet You HERE - Future Dates:
June 11 Minneapolis Quilters
June 14 Minnesota Quilters Book Signing (MQP Booth)
October 10 & 11 American Quilt Study Group Study Center Lincoln NE
November 7 & 9 Minnesota Quilters Thursday & Saturday Programs
December 7 & 8 Colorado Quilt Council  

Friday, April 19, 2019

Happy Easter Weekend

We are hosting Easter Dinner on Sunday so i thought I would post now.
All things spring are happening around here!
Warm Weather, greening grass and the tips of perennials showing in the mulch.
I am especially happy as my Yellow Peony is showing signs of healthy spring growth!

I have not done much spring decorating, it has been busy and I'm not sure I have time to also put it all away for summer.
I'll share some spring photos of past years.

The bunny in this photo is my pattern, and I embroidered and beaded her outfit.
The bears were made from Emily Farmer kits HERE.  I highly recommend her kits, and have almost all of them!

This photo shows the scale.
They are hand sewn, but you could do them on a machine.  The embroidery and embellishment is by hand.  The kits include everything but the fiber fill.

The kit packets make great gifts for sewing friends too!

There are kittens, bunnies bears in all kinds of variations.

This bunny print is the backing from a vintage quilt.

Aren't they happy bunnies?

Is that a hula-hoop?

So cute for a baby and spring.
I think pastels are no longer popular for babies.
hmmm.....personally I like it better than gray.

This is an embroidered and appliqu├ęd crib cover.

The curtain has a three dimensional curtain.

I like the moon looking through the window at the bunnies sleeping peacefully tucked in their gingham sheets.

I wrote much more about it in 2013.  HERE.

These are sewing eggs.  I have yet to find the Singer Egg.

The milk glass egg is an Asian import, yet very similar to a glass darning egg.

The red and gold eggs are sewing kits.

View showing the eggs opened.

Many supplies in a tiny space, thimbles, needles, threads and pins.  Not the greatest quality!
Typical in 20th century imports.

Enjoy your weekend!


I am offering free US postage and gift wrap on signed copies of my book for Mother's Day.  
I'm also including a card. Postage will be refunded right away!   HERE

Emily Farmer Kits HERE (Longer verses and history)  HERE 
More about baby bunting HERE
Crib quilt with the same name HERE