My Personal Favorites
Here is a small collection of my favorite work:
I am changing my list from five.
I will tell the story of each as I post it. For several, I have told the stories many times, others this is the first time.
This is my Lovely Pussy Cat Sampler
Lovely Pussy Cat Sampler, Part 1 History
The sad fact about Lovely Pussy Cat Sampler was that I had all but forgotten about it until I was cleaning up photo files and came across its photo.
Once I came across the photo, I recalled the sampler very well; I remembered several favorite motifs and touches on the sampler and I remembered I stitched it for an EGA Seminar as a two-day class (which in those days meant no cutwork) years ago.
I am sorry I forgot my kitty sampler for a while, but in some ways it is nice too: I've had a good time rediscovering the sampler and remembering the aspects I like about it alll over again.
Lovely Pussy Cat Sampler, Part 3 One of Several Motifs I enjoyed discovering again: the Wallpaper
The first thing I recalled was how much I enjoyed making kitty cat wallpaper. If you look carefully at the wallpaper behind the cat, you will see that it is stripes of Double-Running kitties.
Last week I wrote about Double-Running stitch on Acorn Sampler and how I paid attention to reversible Double Running Stitch for a while, then began monkeying with it. By the time I made this sampler I had begun monkeying with reversible Double-Running Stitch because the whiskers on the wallpaper cats aren't reversible.
Lovely Pussy Cat Sampler, Part 4 The Second and Third Aspects I enjoyed discovering again: the Cat Herself and the Rug
I used Wisper on the cat and brushed and brushed it so that in person the cat looks very furry. In the detail on the right you will see the furry Wisper, but notice I didn't fill completely all the areas on the cat with stitching because of the nature of the sampler, with all its exposed canvas. Had I filled both cat and rug completely with stitches, they would have looked like one huge dense lump on the canvas.
Let me see if I can explain it another way: I wanted the wallpaper to recede behind the cat which to my eye it does nicely. Had I filled in the cat and the rug with solid stitching, there would have been too much contrast between the thick dense cat and rug and the very sparse wallpaper. By leaving exposed areas on the cat and rug, the step-back from the somewhat dense cat and rug to the sparse wallpaper is more gradual and graceful.
Here I am, on my soapbox. I find in today's needlepoint world that people pay too much attention to varieties of stitches and threads packed into a single piece, without any attention to either scale or density. Both scale and density are great tools for helping with depth in a design.
Lovely Pussy Cat Sampler, Part 5 All Those C's at the Top of the Sampler
I love lettering, I think it is one of the reasons I like samplers so much, because letters are such an integral part of sampler design. I do remember the great time I had searching for all the different C's I used at the top of the sampler. I also remember how I solved the problem of placing the C's.
I stitched the borders around the section for the C's before I had decided the selection and the placement of the C's. Once I had defined the area for the C's, I graphed onto graph paper far more C's than I would use, shrank all the graphs to 24 count on a copy machine, cut them out and fiddled with them on the space for the C's till I had an arrangement I liked.
I basted them into place with something like a big Cross Stitch then one by one, picked them off the canvas and stitched them into place. Primitive almost childlike way to design an area.
Lovely Pussy Cat Sampler, Part 2 So What's in a Name
Besides EGA, I also taught Lovely Pussy Cat Sampler at Callaway. I well remember because the class was full of kitty people plus one infamous male student who said to me at the beginning of class, he couldn't believe I named the sampler 'Lovely Pussy Cat Sampler'. Why would I do that?
Answer is an easy one: after the rhyme by Edward Lear.
Always aware of the feminine pronoun I have the sometimes questionable habit of converting 'he' and 'it' to 'she', and so I did here.
I made the rhyme:
C was a lovely pussy cat, her eyes were large and pale,
and on her back she had some stripes and several on her tail.
The rhyme as Edward Lear wrote it was:
C was a lovely pussycat, its eyes were large and pale,
and on its back it has some stripes and several on his tail.
I asked DH how come the rhyme used 'its' and its' and then 'his' and DH answered, the English ignore that except when Americans do it. Oh haha, DH.
Lovely Pussy Cat Sampler, Part 6 Edward Lear
I remembered Edward Lear as a poet: as the author of The Owl and the Pussy Cat and all the Limericks and I remembered the English stamps commemorating the 100th year in 1988 since his death.
On the right is the English stamp that gave me the idea for my Kitty Sampler.
What I didn't know was much else about Edward Lear and then I found a terrific article on him and on his brilliant artwork.
Here is a link to the article:
There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, 'It is just as I feared!
Two Owls and a Hen,
Four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard!'
There was an Old Man in a tree,
Who was horribly bored by a Bee;
When they said, 'Does it buzz?'
He replied, 'Yes, it does!'
'It's a regular brute of a Bee!'
There was a Young Lady whose chin,
Resembled the point of a pin;
So she had it made sharp,
And purchased a harp,
And played several tunes with her chin.
Lovely Pussy Cat Sampler