Needlework, Finishing, Designing, Quilting, Some Discoveries and Adventures in Stitching from Windy Ridge Designs

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I'm So Proud of Myself! And More About The Chase

When I began stitching The Chase, I was quite doubtful that I would be finishing it. You see, I have a confession - amongst my other sins, I'm not a good embroiderer. I can cross stitch, but have never been very good at all the other embroidery stitches. So, I figured that I would do the cross stitches and then I'd TRY to do the embroidery, fail, and pass the thing on to my very good friend Betty, to finish the embroidery stitches.

At the end of March, I'd finished almost all the blankity blank cross stitches on the goofy printed x's. So I began this month with what I call the embroidery stitching - everything else that isn't x's. With much trepedation I began with this . . .

I decided to start off very small; working the flowers and the birds.  The birds are only like an inch and a half wide.  I figured with something small it would be less to tear out before I handed it over to my friend.  Apparently an alien life form has taken over my body. SHE can do embroidery. She had better give me my body back when she's finished stitching this thing.  Or maybe stick me in a size 10 body; yeah, that's the ticket.  Because this is what I ended up with in the same area this month - we'll call it Area 51.

I cannot tell you how much gratification I got out of the result.  Much encouraged, I re-rolled the scroll bars and got down to the bottom of the sampler.  That's where all the non-x embroidery work goes in.  And I began . . . 
This is the tree that is in the center of the lower design.  Now, you are just going to want to smack me because I am just beside myself pleased at how it came out.  My husband said I wasn't going to get over myself for at least two days.  Maybe three!  The tree trunk and main branches are stitched in Long and Short stitch.  The leaves are in Satin stitch; outlined with Stem stitch - as are the minor branches and stems.  The fruit is done using the New England Laid stitch.

Now, about technicalities - you will recall that Sandra very kindly supplied me with the directions to this thing - the one thing that my cheap kit did not contain when I got it.  But I was hanged if I could see real well the instructions for doing the New England Laid stitch.  Well, I have about 8 stitch encyclopedias.  So, I really didn't think it would be a problem to find  directions.  Boy, was I wrong!  I finally found them in my copy of The Complete Illustrated Stitch Encyclopedia.

I have sort of gotten ahead of myself though . . .   Did you know that for the life of me, I have never ever been able to do a competent French Knot?  Nope.  And those little birdies?  They all have French Knot eyes.  And the flowers have French Knot centers.  So, I laid out all my encyclopedias open to the French Knot page.  And the one that I found the illustration was most clear - and easiest to follow?  The Complete Illustrated Stitch Encyclopedia.  Yep.  I am not a paid spokesperson for The Complete Illustrated Stitch Encyclopedia either.  But I should be.  This book rocks!  I can now do a French Knot!  Easy Peasy!  And the New England Laid stitch too.

And just in case you missed it, (I have one more day to get over myself according to my husband) here's a detail of the tree.

Some of my New England Laid work is better than others.  But by God, those lines are covered and those things look like fruit!  BTW - I'm calling them peaches from now on.  I live surrounded by peach and apple orchards so I can attest - they look like peaches.

Now, I had a comment from a reader and I would have responded to her directly, but she has no email address on her account.  Ugh . . . .  oh, and I don't respond to Anonymous comments either - because I can't - if you're posting anonymously there's no way to get back to you!  But, that's another kind of encyclopedia that explains that.  And yes, I know that sounds rude but, ugh. . . . .  Anyway, back to the question by Jonette - she said she's recently gotten The Chase sampler too and asked if I'd considered changing the colors at all.

My answer - are you crazy?????  I mean that in the nicest possible way, really.  I'm laughing and crying at the same time.  Seriously, this thing, up until now, has driven me nuts!  When I colored in a coloring book at the age of two I colored between the lines!  It has been all I could do to stay sane with the different sized X's and crooked threads and all that.  Now, I am one to change up color schemes on tons of things.  I mean, did you see what I did to Adam Names the Creatures?  But no, changing the colors in this sampler would have thrust me over the edge, I think.

It is something to think about though.  I think this sampler kit was done back in the 60's or 70's?  And I'm not really sure how much they really understood historic samplers back then .  I once had a very interesting conversation with Robin Laukhuf of Old Willow Stitchery.  She told me that if you have an antique sampler, you should look at the back to see what the original colors were.  You can see Robin's articles frequently in the Gift of Stitching magazine.  You see, on the back of samplers the threads are protected from sunlight and therefore, less apt to be bleached out by it.  This is a technique they used when reproducing some of the samplers from the Tennessee Sampler Survey.

I think it is most likely that the sampler The Chase, was reproduced from what the front looks like, or their best guess of what it would have looked like originally.  For instance, in the peaches, there are two pinks used, but most of the peaches are done in a wheat color.  I would be willing to bet good money that the color was probably something closer to apricot originally.  But then, unless they open up the frame down in Williamsburg and look at the back, we'll never know.  Sigh.

For those whom I have offended, I'm sorry.  Really.  Usually I'm nicer.  I'm a bit punchy lately because of an overwhelming volunteer workload.  Yes, I said volunteer.  Things should be much better after May 7th.  Until then, I am de-stressing every evening with The Chase.  Can you believe it?  As much as I moaned and groaned about this thing for three months (ad nauseum) I just LOVE it now.  I cannot wait to do some more embroidery projects.  Yikes, this may spell the end of cross stitching as I know it !!  Hope you enjoyed.


  1. You deserve to crow, and toot your own horn too! How wonderful that you have discovered this new ability. It looks terrific!

  2. Kudos on your specialty stitches, you're persistence has paid off beautifully! Well done Katherine:)

  3. My hats off to you, that sampler is coming along beautifully! So glad you found out that you CAN do specialty stitches! Nothing feels quite so good as success does it!!

  4. Ooooo you deserve to not get over yourself for at least another week with those stitches--so pretty, and the peaches are just peachy.

  5. Its beautiful, I think you deserve at least another week of strutting around and being thrilled with yourself!

  6. I think there are a lot of cross stitchers out there that are also afraid of embroidery stitching. Your post should lay some of those fears to rest-Congrats on a beautiful "peach" tree!

  7. Your stitching is beautiful and you should be very proud of the great job! Thank you for answering my question. I started The Chase but put it aside after using some of the green. I have recently pulled all of the green out and am trying to decide on colors. I would love to see the colors used in the new Chase kit offered in the gift shop at Colonial Williamsburg. It is in a box so you can't see the threads and I did not buy it since it was $95 (I think). I apologize for any frustration I caused with my question. Any input from anyone who has changed the colors would be greatly appreciated. I am still trying to learn this whole blog thing and will try to figure out how to make sure my email is on my account. I was using Goggle but am not able to post using that tonight so will try something else. Happy stitching!

  8. You have done such a beautiful job of the embroidery. I also have been afraid of embroidery, but after trying a few different techniques, I have found that I too can embroider.

    You should be proud of your work and feel free to tell everyone.

  9. Girl, I'd be shouting from the rooftops if I were you! CONGRATULATIONS on doing the embroidery work! I have The Essamplaire's Sarah Talley waiting to be done. She was from my neck of the woods in Wilmington and I MUST stitch her, but every time I take out the kit (another reason I must stitch her... I bought the silk kit... gulp) I look at the freehand embroidery and quickly stuff it back in. I just need to put on my big girl panties and get 'er done, but it's daunting. Kudos to you!

  10. What a spectacular sampler! Well done finding the guts to just do it!

  11. Your embroidery is absolutely beautiful! You have every right to feel good about go girl!


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