Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Life after binca

Reading Kim's Ragged Roses blog and her subsequent comments it would seems a lot of mums in blogland are very much in 'back to school' mode at the moment. I dropped in on Kitchen Pink this morning and admired the binca stitching done by three generations of her family. I was immediately transported back to my early infant days. Amazingly I still have the little binca 'mat' that I made when I was six (below). Lapses in concentration are obvious (I was no doubt gossipping as usual). Looking at my little mat I immediately recalled the smell of the well used infant plasticine that pervaded the classroom; horrible stuff, always marbled green and brown and totally uninspiring.

They say 'give me a child until he's seven and I'll give you the man' and, true enough, decades later I'm still stitching. Here are a few stitched pics I've made since my binca days.

This is entitled 'Three Birds' and is a design by the very talented needlewoman Elizabeth Bradley. Her kits are available on line.

Elizabeth Bradley's needlework books are an inspiration. I have three titles, 'Animals', 'Antique Flowers' and 'Decorative Victorian Needlework'.

Each book is superbly illustrated and contains a number of graphs in full colour which enable you to create your own stitched masterpieces. The sample pages below can be found in 'Decorative Victorian Needlework'.

I'm not certain if the books are still in print but they are all readily available from secondhand book sellers and of course Ebay.
Early American needlework was my inspiration for the sampler below. Apologies for the poor reproduction but I had to stand on a wobbly chair to photograph it. The sampler is in a heavy frame and hangs above my dining room fireplace where it complements my blue and white china on the shelf below.

I enjoy counted thread-work but have also done quite a bit of freestyle work over the years. I used vegetable dyes to colour the all threads used in the picture below.

I love antique needlework and have collected some nice examples over the years. The finely stitched picture below must have been a popular subject as I have seen it on two or three occasions since acquiring this one. It dates from the second half of the 19th century.

Mary Clements stitched this sampler in 1836 and I can't help but wonder what became of her.

Needlework talk and browsing through Elizabeth Bradley's books has put me in the mood to begin a new piece of stitching, sadly though I have other projects on the go at the moment so must resist the temptation. Such a pity!