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the alphabet sampler

You know how sometimes you buy something with every intention of setting time aside to use it, yet somehow five years later it is still sitting in a drawer somewhere? Slightly more crumpled than it was back then...?

Well this is one of those projects for me. I saw a beautiful sampler being stitched on Instagram - I can't even remember who posted it now - but I loved it. So I followed the links and bought the digital pattern, to be enjoyed at a time when I had time...

Well now is the time. As I have mentioned before, I often use creativity as a way to cope with unsettling times. The concentration they require brings a welcome distraction from things over which I have no control.

So I have straightened the pattern out and rummaged through my haberdashery supplies - delighted to find a big enough piece of vintage linen and a working embroidery hoop in the bottom of a basket of trimmings.

In another life I began a degree in fashion - completely the wrong choice for me as I have always been much more interested in fabrics and textures than I am in the design of garments. Although the degree itself was left incomplete, I have never stopped playing with textiles, some of the things in my cupboards I have had since those days - some before then - so it is always a delight to root through and see what can be used this time. That and a love of vintage haberdashery means I have (quite likely) a larger collection to explore than many.

Earlier this year, in what feels like another life rather than time measured in weeks, I found a cantilever sewing box complete with its contents listed on eBay. I am still delighting in its contents now and working out how and when to use someone else's treasures - including the palest pink silk ribbon and the tiniest crochet hook I have ever seen. And some snap fastenings which declare they are austerity only in pack size (rather than quality), a small piece of history in themselves. They are post war I presume, maybe I should research them a little.

I feel that's a project for another day, I'd like to photograph some of the contents too. Anyway, I digress (obsess).

I am very out of practice with embroidery. My stitches are uneven to say the least. We are calling this character - as is the charm of handmade items. Actually it's one of the things I love most about handmade - the imperfections of it. The evidence of human hand rather than machine.

The first forget-me-nots opened this week, I stitched a few into the design...

I finished the sampler, then found a frame of about the right size. Without a board to stretch it around (until we are free to go out and buy such things again) I have used the glass from the frame. It works for now - although it seems to be even more uneven since...

It may have taken 4-5 years, but here it is.

The light last week was lovely, soft sunlight at the ends of the day and a few quiet minutes with my camera.

Both small sources of joy.

What I would say though is just how much I have enjoyed this process. So much so that I have another pattern waiting to begin and I fully intend to start it in a shorter period of time than this one!

And the first rose opened in the garden. It is a slow race every year to first flower, usually The Queen of Sweden wins, but this year it is New Dawn. The name seems significant for this year. Truthfully it isn't the only one in bloom, there are a few more flowers on Teasing Georgia, much earlier than usual.

As with every other year though, the first flower is to be cut and brought indoors, however early it is! All the warm weather of last week has fooled many things into flowering early it seems...

And if you are interested, you can find the original alphabet sampler pattern by Alicia Paulsen here.


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