Monday, December 25, 2023

12-Days of Christmas Giveaway - Day 12

To wrap up the 12-Days of Christmas Giveaway, I have a large group of Just Cross Stitch magazines to give away to a lucky person.  

To enter, send me an email at and put JCS YEAR in the subject line.  Send the email before midnight on Dec 27th EST to be entered.

I hope the holidays were good for you all!


Sunday, December 24, 2023

12-Days of Christmas Giveaway - Day 11


Today's giveaway are a set of postcards from the New England exhibit Fashioning New England Families.  If you are interested in the set, send me an email at and put POSTCARDS in the subject line.

Then add your name and mailing address to the body of the message.  Send the email before midnight EST on Dec 26th to be entered.


Saturday, December 23, 2023

12-Days of Christmas Giveaway - Day 10

Today is an exciting set of postcards to give away to lots of people - a picture of the embroidered waistcoat at the V&A that was the original pattern for the Plimoth Jacket!  

If you are interested in a copy, send me an email at with WAISTCOAT in the subject line.  Put your name and mailing address in the body of the message and send it to me before midnight EST on Dec 25th.


Friday, December 22, 2023

12-Days of Christmas Giveaway - Day 9

Today's giveaway is a book on New England textiles from an exhibit that was run at the Massachusetts Historical Society in 2018-2019.  

There is a mix of fashion, textiles and embroideries in this book and they are all backed up by stories of the families and the textile's place in that family.  

If you are interested in today's book, send me an email to with FASHIONING in the subject line.

Send your name and mailing address and send it by midnight EST on Dec 24th.


Thursday, December 21, 2023

12-Days of Christmas Giveaway - Day 8

We have to thank Witney Antiques for today's giveaway notecards for a bunch of people.  It is a closeup of an early 17th century whitework sampler.  There are a few others very similar to this one and they were worked in the 1640s making them the earliest dated version.  Look at this one from the Victoria and Albert Museum dated 1649.

If you are interested in a notecard, send me an email at and put WHITEWORK in the subject line.  Then you name and mailing address in the bulk of the message.

Send it to me before midnight EST on Dec 23rd!


Wednesday, December 20, 2023

12-Days of Christmas Giveaway - Day 7

Today's giveaway are two Christmas ornament magazines from Just Cross Stitch so you can get ready for your stitching next year!  

If you are interested, send me an email to and put in the subject line:  JCS Christmas

Send me your name and mailing address in the body of the message and send it before midnight EST on December 22nd.

Good Luck!


Tuesday, December 19, 2023

12-Days of Christmas Giveaway - Day 6

If you have been watching Travels with Tricia on my YouTube Channel you will know about this wonderful book.  It is a the catalog to the 400th Anniversary of the Gold and Silver Wyredrawers Guild Exhibit that is being held at Guildhall in London.  

I am giving away a copy of this book this season to someone!  To get in on this giveaway, send me an email at

Put in the subject line:  WYREDRAWERS

Then in the bulk of the message add your name and mailing address so I can ship it right away if your email is picked randomly.  You can enter until midnight EST on December 21st.

Good Luck!


Monday, December 18, 2023

12-Days of Christmas Giveaway - Day 5

Today's giveaway was provided by Witney Antiques.  A bunch of notecards so quite a few people will get a surprise in their box!

If you want to enter the giveaway, send me an email at

Subject line: Witney Sampler

Body of email:  Your name and mailing address

Send me that note before midnight EST of Dec 20th.  

A big thank you to Rebecca Scott from Witney Antiques for giving me these notecards for the giveaway.  Visit the interview I did with her this fall about her 2023 exhibit of the Elizabeth Hall suite of 17th century embroidery.

Sunday, December 17, 2023

12-Days of Christmas - Day 4


Today's giveaway is a pattern to use a few Trinkets (provided) to make a butterfly or bee. 

If you are interested in this giveaway, send me an email at

Put in the subject: Butterfly

In the body of the message: Add your name and mailing address so if I pick your email I can send it right out.

Send your email before Midnight EST on December 19th to be entered!

Saturday, December 16, 2023

12-Days of Christmas Giveaway - Day 3

Today's giveaway is a great one!  A book on samplers!  Who wouldn't want to get a yummy like this?  If you are interested in today's giveaway, send me an email at and include:

Subject Line:  A Schoolgirl's Work

Body of Message:  Your name and mailing address

Entries are accepted until Midnight EST on December 18th.  

Most of the samplers in this volume are American and for the Spencer Museum of Art.  It was written by Barb Adams and Alma Allen who are well known textile designers working mainly in quilt art and primitives, including embroidery.  They (and I) love the folk art feel of early American samplers like the one on the cover with the naive rendering of a basket of flowers.  


Friday, December 15, 2023

12-Days of Christmas Giveaway - Day 2


The giveaway today relates to my new FlossTube #2 video on my YouTube channel.  While I was at Witney Antiques filming Rebecca talking about her 2023 exhibit, she handed me a group of postcards and other lovelies for my annual giveaway.  So you really have her to thank!  

So I have quite a few of these to giveaway and there will be lots of winners in January who find a little something in the mail.  These are a close up of a 17th century band sampler.  

There are several samplers with this band on them known and so they likely have some relationship of a teacher between them.  

If you want to be entered into the drawing: 

Send me an email at and include:

Subject Line:  Three Ladies Sampler

Body of Message:  Your name and address

Entries are accepted until Midnight EST on December 17th.  

I want to give a shout out to Julie Nagy Ágota (forgive me if I have the order wrong) from Hungary and her achievement at being the first to send me a picture of a finished Christmas Baubles ornament!!  Julie told me that she used the free pattern and stuff from stash to make it her own twist - 40 ct natural linen, Madeira silk thread, Mill Hill beads and some Kreinik.  I think it looks great and I love to see finishes. 

If you haven't downloaded the pattern yet - it is here on my Thinkific Site.  There are a few kits left as well

Thursday, December 14, 2023

12-Days of Christmas Giveaway - Day 1

After a year hiatus, my 12-Days of Christmas Giveaways are here again (a little late in the day).  Last year you may remember that I was nursing a teenager with four concussions back to health from his brain injuries.  Good to say that he is doing well in Engineering in college at the moment so it looks like he isn't too worse for wear (mom is).  But I just didn't have the bandwidth to offer freebees!

Today's giveaway is a set of six 2023 Just Cross Stitch issues!  If you are interested in this group, there are a few rules to make it easy for me to pick you:

Send me an email at  Include:

Subject Line:  Just Cross Stitch 2023

Body of Message:  Your name and mailing address

Entries are accepted until Midnight EST on December 16th.  


Wednesday, December 13, 2023

What Women Create Magazine - Janet Brandt in it this Quarter!

You may have stumbled upon some of the great visual art magazines that have popped up on the newsstand in the last decade.  There are several of them in the scrapbook, quilting and general arts area that focus on women's art, women's studios and sometimes businesses.  Victoria magazine was an early proponent of that as well.  Well, recently one of them - What Women Create - decided to profile Casketeer Janet Brandt!  

This is the cover art for the Winter 2023 issue - I think it can be found at Barns and Noble and I am going out for my copy today.  You can also read the story at this link.  

They came to Janet's studio months ago and did really amazing bright photography of her earlier work as well as the four original embroidered caskets that Janet has completed.  It is a really nice story to read and she was so wonderful to mention me and my classes that got her started.  


Friday, December 1, 2023

Flosstube and Travels with Tricia on YouTube

 I have finally done it and joined the world of FlossTube.  It wasn't that I didn't want to - that was just the time dedicated to my kids and robot team.  And truthfully there wasn't a space in my house to film anything without some chaos walking by and disrupting me.  Who wants to watch me talk about embroidery and hear "MOM!" in the background.  And my husband looses me in the house all the time and either texts me to come down from my office while I am out at some appointment (didn't you know I wasn't home?!) or stands at the top or bottom of staircases yelling "Trish??" when he needs something.  Not conducive to recording without frustration.  

Finally in the Fall it has been quiet as all the kids graduated so no team anymore.  We cleared out and sold the parts and suddenly I realized that the area we would film robot videos was perfect for me to film things that have been on my mind.  So I asked for a 'youtube studio' for my birthday.  That meant a dedicated set up where the equipment was decent and not used for anything else and I could do overthead tutorials with out the camera hitting me in the face or show things, etc.  My oldest son is a total camera nerd and so he jumped at the chance.  We mom's know how to get what we want done.  He spent weeks doing it and teaching me how to run stuff/testing. 

Now there was a little ulterior motive. The wall now is blank as the robot banners have been removed and my husband was making a lot of noise about it being returned to the dude pad he was envisioning.  And all I saw was a huge wall for samplers.  It needs painting from robot damage so there is a quilt hanging on our former booth stand right now.  But I think he is loosing the war.  He replaced the TV across from my studio last week in a move of defiance.  But he needs small victories.  So you all have to watch these so I have the justification to permanently hang samplers. 

Well, I added in the idea of a good outdoor microphone that would allow me to record while on the move.  I am always traveling to a museum or seeing a collection or something related to manufacturing for embroidery and I thought many of you would like to come on my trips.  Years ago I ran three special subject tours to see 17th century embroidery related to the jackets and caskets.  They were absolutely amazing but the seats were limited.  After covid, it has been harder to get into collections with groups of people as museums seem to still be on the conservative end of gatherings.  And the recent EGA conference in Boston was plagued by covid passed in the classrooms.  So maybe right now - being a little bird on my shoulder might be fun for some!

So I am announcing my first "Travel with Tricia" Flosstube on my newly redesigned YouTube Channel.  There are some dozen in the pipeline right now filmed on location and today I am on the train to another location.  

The first one has some introduction on my stitching journey and goals of my video series before I launch into a virtual visit for everyone to the 400th Anniversary of the Gold and Silver Wyre Drawers Exhibition at GuildHall.  It was a mind-blowing array of gold thread embroidery and not only did I film - the Master of the company encouraged me to do so.  So if you can't make it to London before the recently extended exhibition closes on December 31st, get a cup of tea and watch!   And subscribe as more is coming...

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Did you see Katie's new Pyn Pillow!? YUM

Have you ever started to come up for air and look around and realize it is weeks later?  I came back from the UK on Halloween and it has been a whirlwind of work.  Pack a Frostings Box and ship hundreds (there are a few left with no box - I am running out of boxes).  Endlessly pack and ship the yummy Christmas Baubles ornament kit for all of you getting a little Christmas ornament fun out of your system. And boxes and boxes of the Witney catalogs have gone out the door.  I think everyone has gotten the message that this is a special book and will soon be out of print.  And all the while I was madly writing and filming the Historic Sampler Design Course so several lessons will be up and running when it starts in two days.  I am particularly proud of the course so far.  It will be more than everyone is bargaining for and so I am quite happy with it.  And that wasn't all - but those surprises are for later.

So I came up for a gulp of air to see what else is going on in the stitching world and saw that Katie Strachan (The Queen of Pale is my name for her - stitching - she is a master of light colors) has a new course out to go with her first foray into teaching (The Elizabethan Valentine - which I think has sold out more than once).  It's called the Queen Anne's Pyn Pillow and it contrasts a shinny silver background with lovely silk shaded flowers.  How absolutely yummy!  She had a new color of gilt sylke twist made for it and I luckily got a tube before she slurped it all up for her course.  

The description of the class is here and then you can go to her shop page and register for it.  I heard it is getting close to sold out so if you love it - jump on it.  Can you imagine a shadow box with this pillow in it?  Scrumptious.  I think I would put it near my computer with a note that said 'when exhausted and need to feel like a queen - break glass and rest thy royal head'.  Well I know it isn't big enough but we can dream of such fantastical things when working too hard.  I think we should beg Katie for some video of it moving.  Maybe it has been in her popular Flosstube series but I have been so heads down in my own morass that I missed it.  If so - can someone put it in the comments so I can find it.  I absolutely know this piece sparkles when moved.

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Witney Exhibition and Book (Preorders)

I was able to get to the Witney Exhibition this week in the UK and I was blown away.  I have seen many of their exhibits before and was extremely overjoyed, but this one took my breath away.  I would have been a happy camper with the first two rooms I entered, but then I went into the largest in the back and the shear number of 17th century band and whitework samplers on the wall knocked me over (think dozens).  And that wasn't the highlight!  

The highlight was the Elizabeth Hall collection of a casket and the smalls which had been kept in the box for almost four hundred years.  I was lucky to be the only one in the gallery at the time and so I asked Rebecca if she would consider allowing me to film her talking about the collection and the family.  This is the single most important casket and school girl collection to come to light since the Martha Edlin collection.  It not only includes her work, but the work of later family members and the samplers of friends that did works in the same school or were in her wedding, etc.  To see so many interlinked pieces was astounding.  And to know that the family shared all their letters mentioning the embroideries, allowing the maker of so many of these family pieces in the casket to be identified and dated as well. 

Rebecca was just too excited to tell me about the collection to say no to filming - so expect something on YouTube coming up after I get back to the states and can edit.  I have to admit that my eyes wandered here and there to a sampler or more on the wall and I might have cut her out of the frame here and there - but the visual candy and wonderful story is still there!  I can't believe I didn't shake more (from excitement).  

This exhibit and next year's one (yes she has MORE like this!!) is really Rebecca's baby and culmination of the work she has done for decades on needlework through the store and her books.  She is collaborating with Isabella Rosner to expand the research hours and knowledge that can be learned from the pieces and they have written an important book about the collection for the exhibit. 

Normally the catalogs are softcover, but Rebecca promised the family that the collection would be properly documented in one volume when they offered it to her for sale.  While we all hope a single collector or institution will have the vision to purchase the collection as a whole, it was significantly important to Rebecca and the family to publish it all in one well done volume, hence they spent the money to make it hardcover and use very large and detailed photos.  But this meant that there are only half the copies of the catalog as there would normally be.  This book will not last long on the market.  

Because of its importance to research and the knowledge base on embroidery and schoolgirls, Access Commodities has committed to bring a number of copies to the US in a large shipment.  We want to support what Rebecca Scott and Isabella Rosner have been doing so they can pour their capital and knowledge into next year's book as well - Volume II.  

I am taking preorders for the book.  It is heavy and so postage to get it here to the US has not been small.  But that is the nature of books these days.   I hope to have the first copies I order by late November and can start shipping them out.  I think you might want to give the link to a husband for a great Christmas order!

I was so excited that pieces were photographed in macro so we could really see what was going on in the work.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Witney Antiques Annual Exhibition

 It has been a very busy two weeks getting the Frostings Box out the door and back from a trip to Ireland and off to the UK.  I am here in Oxford ready for a visit to the annual Witney Antiques Exhibit and very excited!  I warmed up today visiting the burial site of Martha Edlin right after getting out of Heathrow and then a quick nap and hours in the Ashmolean Museum looking at 17th century embroidery.

If you have been following the Witney Antiques Instagram you may be seeing some of the outstanding pieces that are in the exhibit and the associated book coming out for the exhibit.  

I will report back soon on the exhibit which runs from now until Nov 18th daily (email to let them know you are coming) and the hotly anticipated book.

I have gotten a few emails inquiring if I will be having the book in my shop.  Initially I didn't think so, but Access Commodities called yesterday to let me know that they will be able to get the book in and I will be taking preorders for the book as soon as pricing is figured out.  You can always call Witney and purchase one as well if you don't want to wait a few more weeks.  


Screenshot from Witney Antiques Instagram of a pristine casket!

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Christmas Baubles - a Needlework Nibble as the 2023 Christmas Ornament


A new free needlework nibble pattern has been posted on my teaching site.  Get in and download it.  The ornament is 4 inches in diameter and uses sampler stitches combined with five types of gilt die stamped spangles that I have sourced and a really fantastic twisted gilt trim made from bullion and check that is twisted around a wire.  

Each of these materials are available in the store as well as an all-in-one stitching kit (I have a limited number of them available).  One of the spangles can be seen below - they are super cool!  

Friday, October 13, 2023

Jo's Beautiful Casket

 I love getting emails with photos of the finished caskets!  It can certainly brighten my day to see such a monumental amount of work finished (and make all this work to get here worthwhile on my part).  

Josephine Wootton has been showing us progress on her flat top casket with doors for years on the NING site for the class and it is so cool to see it all together.

Her first friezes were posted in late 2017 so it has been a long journey to get to all the embroidery.  Jo said that she used designs from the original Cabinet of Curiosities course and mixed the ones she liked together  on the panels.  She worked it all in Split Stitch on 40 count linen (it must glow!).  She laughed and said she was getting a little tired of the technique when she worked the back so the design is a bit more sparse.  I think we can give her a pass on that!  The casket is just beautiful.  I love how she has embroidered on the drawer fronts as well - and you can see several of the small projects from the Cabinet of Curiosities as well in the drawers!  What a heirloom for her!

She said she is now off to work on the Double Casket she has!  

Friezes finished in 2017

The front and top of Josephine Wootton's Casket
Josephine Wootton's Casket with old man fall pruning on the left side

Josephine Wootton's Casket right side with a woman holding a flower

Josephine Wootton's Casket with an amazing marbled paper that matches the purple and pink

Josephine Wootton's Casket inside with embroidered doors

Back of Josephine Wootton's Casket

Friday, September 22, 2023

Another Double Casket Finish to Celebrate!

Deborah Zibrik has just sent me fabulous photos of her finished Five Senses Double Casket to post.  Over the moon with the results!  

I had to zoom into the photos to look at the silver trim closer and realized immediately it wasn't a purchased trim but had been handmade by Deborah and so asked her the story behind it:

The needle lace trim was made with a crochet hook – was single crochet on either 3 or 7 stitches to get the needed width and then made as  long as required. The sterling thread is a really high quality vintage metallic thread  ( almost like a passing thread) purchased several years ago in Amsterdam. - DZ

Deborah sent me some of this luscious vintage thread to play with and it is just lovely and has a wonderful patina.  I just love it when people add their own panashe to their caskets with layers of stories.  I really recommend them being written down on the bottom of the casket or as a note in a secret drawer to preserve it for the future.  Can you imagine a descendent or museum in the future finding that note to realize the personal story behind just the trim!  

Inside the handmade vintage silver trim changes its design

For my caskets I was in Venice this summer and visited the last hand gold beater.  You can bet I purchased the gold I was watching and filming being made into leaf.  I will use it to gild the feet of my casket and will have to put that story somewhere on the box.  I have many stories of how the parts were made and the wonderful people involved.  Gotta start writing more of them and sticking them in drawers.  

If you are on the private class site (NING) there are several caskets being shown that are getting closer to competition and it is getting exciting to see them come together.  Hopefully in the next year I can post a few of them.


Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Historic Sampler Design Course - Starting Dec 1, 2023

Some of the pages of motifs in the course showing the different historic sampler styles treated

Yea!!  I have been able to launch a new online course that I have been working on it for many months and am very happy with it.  It's another 'Tricia course' where it has so many layers that you might go back to it for years. 

I taught this back about twenty years ago in person using only Dutch motifs and it was very well liked.  But now I have expanded it greatly and found a way to put a modern spin on it to make it so much more useful.  Not only is it a system of layouts with historic reference material in the pdf (also on pintrest) to see how all samplers conform to these easy layouts, but also a step-by-step design methodology.  And then there is the source material.  Loads of source material.  There are 100+ pages of motifs and alphabets culled from samplers, mostly my collection, which span many major classes of samplers from Europe, UK, and the US.  Think 10 crammed pages of quaker motifs for example.  

The original course taught how to cut and paste motifs on graph paper to get your result.  But this is a major upgrade.  I have been working with Ursa software for months to provide the pages of motifs in formats that students can download and use in either the mac, windows or iPad version of their popular charting software.  So there will be videos on how to use the software (you buy separate if you want - if not - cut and paste).  But it is really reasonable - less than $20 on an iPad, which I really prefer as using the pencil is great.  

Mobistitch interface on the iPad allows you to upload my graphs and pick and
choose motifs for a new design

Videos on the design process and how to fix common issues, how to balance whitespace, dense motifs, etc.  Then selecting and balancing color and thoughts on how to select counted stitches for things like band samplers (12 pages of bands included).  Lessons have mini-design projects to try out concepts and you can upload a picuture to NING to get some feedback if wanted in the course group.  And I will go over non-rectangular samplers and other 3-D projects as an advanced topic.

See the full course description here

Examples of design work from the inspiration, methods and mistakes are provided

Sampler designs in process are shown to highlight design problems that came up and
how they were solved

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Last Week of Summer Sale - 20% off

I forgot to blog about the summer sale running on the Thistle Threads website!  This is the last week of the sale - 20% off a large selection of threads and kits.  The sale ends midnight EST on August 18th.  If there were thread types you have wanted to try - this is a good time to get some.

I will then be off to take my youngest to college.  Cue the Kleenex!  Next week is wisdom teeth so I will have a few last days being Dr. Mom and sitting on the couch watching cartoons and the movie Draft Day while he recovers.  Empty nesting is going to seem like such cold turkey for us after having dozens of people in the house every weekend for fourteen years.  I certainly will have more time for stitching!  


Friday, June 30, 2023

When the Store is Closed - the Mice Play

It was a very busy May for me with two graduations flanking a big trip to Europe I took to document gold thread making and silk velvets.  Those types of trips end up paying dividends for years with new threads, understanding, relationships, papers, and lectures spinning out of them.  My cameras and notepads are full and the boxes of threads are already arriving.  So while it might be really annoying to plan your purchases a little or wait an extra few days/weeks for packages to arrive, there are huge benefits to me getting out there.

I was also able to spend a day at a collection in the UK investigating many pieces of 17th century embroidery I haven't seen before but have been on my research list.  And there have been many other productive things I have been up to!  I wrote an enormous article on Martha Edlin for publication and I am more than super excited about that.  Can't wait until it is in print and I can start talking more about that work.  

And another out-of-the-blue request came in that I was able to squeeze in before I left for a family trip to Africa to celebrate the graduations.  I am going to be a guest voice on a museum audio guide!!  

The Baltimore Museum of Art is launching a very large exhibition on October 1st, 2023 about women artists of the 1400-1800 period.  Not a surprise, but there are many embroidered objects in the exhibition and in fact they are borrowing quite a few 17th century pieces that you will want to see.  

A really lovely concept was forwarded for the exhibition audio guide - ask contemporary artisans to comment on the pieces from their own perspectives as female artists.  I was asked to choose several of my favorite pieces that will be on display and record in the studio.   What was absolutely fabulous about the objects in the exhibition up for me to choose from was that I had researched every one of them up close and so knew them very well and had my own photography to rely on for coming up with the stories I wanted to tell.  

I can't reveal any details right now but if you love 17th century embroidery, put a stop in Baltimore between October 2020 and January 2024 on your list.  And listen to the audio guide and you just might hear me talking!


Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Good Embroidery TV Watching

I am always looking for good YouTube or other documentaries on PBS to watch while I work putting threads into kits or embroidering for instructions.  Yesterday I came upon a nice 2.5 hour documentary on YouTube I thought I would pass on.  

I love seeing artisans who make things be profiled.  You get to appreciate the work that goes into their craft and understand why something is valued (or should be valued).  It also serves as a top level documentation of their processes.  

For some reason, Business Insider has been doing this for a long time with documentary crews going to different parts of the world to record the 'last of'.  Their series is called "Still Standing" and this is the playlist of amazing traditional crafts and their stories of the people keeping the tradition alive as well as documenting the process.

There are weavers, block printers, dyers, carvers, stone shapers, soy sauce makers, painters, etc. featured.  In each case you see the love for the craft and hear of the pressures on their survival.  For those of us who are lovers of fine embroidery supplies, you know the hardships it has taken to keep our suppliers working.

This is very relevant to me as I spent part of May in Europe visiting artisans in Venice, Vienna and the UK as part of a joint Gold Thread Artisan grant with my colleagues Cristina Carr at the MET and Mary Brooks of Durham University.  We have been working on a study of gold threads of the 17th century and it was time to visit my manufacturers so they could see it live and armed with new knowledge gleaned from primary sources I have been digging up, we could ask pointed questions of those who do.

One of the sites we visited was Mario Menegazzo's gold beating workshop to see him make leaf by hand.  Gold leaf was used heavily in the 17th century to make Venice Gold threads.  We had observed many things under the microscope and needed to show him pictures and discuss what he knows (he is also a metallurgist like me) and what has been written (not so accurate which was what we thought).  

You can see a lovely short documentary about his work here.  It was fabulous to see the entire process that day and film it.  But the conversations after were priceless.  What a lovely and wonderful family as well.  I purchased gold and silver leaf for my casket feet and can't wait to gild them to have special memories of the people who made the material incorporated into my casket.  

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Celebrating Another Wonderful Casket Finish!

Tracy Hall in the UK has finished her Harmony Casket and it is just wonderful!  It is always fantastic to see the pieces finished and hear the stories and sense of accomplishment from the students in these classes.  Their pieces will be long time family heirlooms!

Look at the super cute shoes and how well Harmony is worked on the top.  At first I thought I was seeing a picture of my example.  Her finishing is just so crisp too!

Congratulations Tracy!  She is now working on a double casket - it is hard when you get hooked!

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Missing Sampler - Have you Seen It?

I don't normally get emails from detectives every day - but my inbox had an unusual request this week.  A police detective from the Newburyport Police Department contacted me about a cold case he was trying to bring back and solve.

Way back in 2014 as I was working on geneology regarding a set of samplers from Newbury and Newburyport with the curator of the Museum of Old Newbury, I brought out of my folder a picture of a 1820 sampler by Lydia Comb Bartlett to show him.  It was a listing off Ebay.  He was stunned and upset and immediately rushed to the object files.  

The sampler was owned by the museum and had been in storage.  Now I had just shown him that it had been recently sold on Ebay.  Yes, it was missing.  I had also tracked it to a 2011 auction where a better picture was held.  It was reported stolen and unfortunately didn't rise to the level of investigation at the time or as the detective said, it fell though the cracks.  

So the detective contacted me to have me use my knowledge of the sampler field as well as Newbury samplers to help them generate leads.  I have already turned over several as well as notified many who come across collections and large amounts of pictorial data on samplers.  The major sampler dealers are now on the look out.  But he asked if I would put the call out on blogs so many eyes will be checking as well.  The sampler was purchased by someone innocent, not knowing that the sampler was missing from a museum.  And it is pretty clear that the sellers did not know that the sampler was museum property too.   It is very easy for antique material to get back into the market without being noticed and passing hands quickly.  That is why major auction houses and buyers above a certain amount are keen to know the provenance of objects and that is often listed going back into the 19th century on auction listings.  Few people want to buy something that is ill gotten.  

If you know the whereabouts of this sampler.  You can contact:

Joshua Tierney

Newburyport Police Department

(978)462-4411 EXT. 1066

Sunday, April 2, 2023

Thistle Threads Openings Spring/Summer

Travel has returned with a vengeance this year.  I thought 2022 was stacked with events but this year hasn't let up.  We had a stretch of a month with a robot competition every weekend we had to fly to as soon as my youngest son recovered from his brain injury from concussions (we are all still recovering from that trauma).  This has been followed by travel regarding admitted student days and now the World Championship is just around the corner.  Then work trips regarding textiles, two graduations to host and a family trip.  On top of it my robotics team which is disbanding gets one last hurrah!  We have been invited to compete in the off-season PanAsia Tournament in Australia this summer.  And the kids decided to go!  So we will be dragging the robot stuff (somehow) to Sydney and then traveling in a pack around Australia for a few weeks before they all move into their colleges.

So I have looked at the calendar and chosen all the periods where I could ship in volume for a few weeks and posted them on the shop.  

April 4-14th

May 9th-16th

August 1-18th

As always, if you make an order in between, I will do my best to fill it that week and if I can't, I will let you know.  But for obvious reasons, I can't post my exact out of town dates.  

I will be doing some amazing work travel late spring - visiting some new production places in Italy and visiting old friends to cook up new threads.  Those trips always result in a few years of amazing things we all get to enjoy.  

I am still hoping for a Frostings Box this year, but production of threads for it stopped for many months because of the Coronation and I am sure the professional embroiderers are now stitching 24/7.  Suddenly discussion of thread back-production has restarted.  I have boxed what I have and in this batch is something I have been working on since the Plimoth Jacket to get back into production.  I seriously thought about just keeping it all for myself as it has been so hard won.  

I am still on track to introduce my completely revamped Sampler Design course in a few months.  I have been busy constructing units on design, filming shorts, and charting motifs.  I have several other smaller courses in development but until all the threads show up, I am waiting to talk about them.  And I am testing some licensing agreement ideas with a major museum right now in the hopes that I can find a way to put some of my popular historical lectures online through my teaching site with ticketed views.  It has taken me six months to finally get someone in the dept to listen to the idea and agree to estimate a proposal.   Cross our fingers!  

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Cleveland Museum of Art - Blog Part 2

Robin and Holly have published the second half of their blog on the Lord Chancellor's Burse with more of their story and lots of really wonderful pictures.  There is quite a bit of context about many of the burses that are known and their larger research project which included a summer 2022 workshop on gold thread manufacture and embroidery I ran with Robin at CMA.  

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

English Needlework 1600-1740 The Percival D. Griffiths Collection

There is a new book out on the 23rd of March that will become one of those 'rare library' books almost immediately.  There are many interesting facets of the book set to mention - many storylines.  But first, some pictures and video of the unboxing of this massive 2 volume set covering furniture and embroidery.  

This week the Magazine Antiques and Art Weekly have an article on how the books happened.  Avid collector John Bryan Jr. commissioned the project before his passing in 2018.  I feel fortunate to have visited his collection years ago, seeing many key objects that have fed into my research.  We owe John a debt of gratitude for funding this piece of research to pull together the existing pieces from this monumental turn of the century collection by Percival Griffiths so new research can happen.  

William DeGregorio graduated from the Bard College around the time of the seminal exhibit Twixt Art and Nature and worked at the MFA Textile Department as well as for Cora Ginsburg in NYC.  While not well known to the embroiderers of today, he is well known in the research and collecting sphere.  It was fun to get an email from Billy, as he is known, with pictures of rooms in Percival Griffiths home with a object on the wall circled and a 'do you have any idea where this is!?'; an invitation to join him for an afternoon in the detective hunt for where these magnificent embroideries have ended up.  Billy knew a handful of us who have been hunting in private collections or the back rooms of museums who might have a visual memory of something he was having special difficulty tracking down.  I remember the day when I was able to email him back and say - YES - I knew where a particular small set of baskets were - behind me in the dining room!  I had been able to acquire a set of them before people knew they were originally part of this huge collection.  So I am happy to have my pieces in the volume and identified.  

The volume on embroidery is about the story of how needlework collecting happened and of Sir Griffiths collection in particular.  This is fascinating as you wander through the inventory of pieces and realize that the majority of several seminal collections on the topic are dominated by what he found to be interesting.  This is important to me as I am doing some large survey work and was starting to wonder about numbers of types of objects that could be found and wonder if that was meaningful.  I have readjusted that thinking now that I have wandered the volume realizing how what we see today is so much the product of a handful of collectors in the late 19th century and their personal interests.  

Griffiths left two bread crumb trails for Billy to follow.  A set of photographs of his home's interiors and a book where he pasted photos of the objects collected.  This volume has a new photograph of an object and its location if it could be found and uses the older photo if not.  This is enormous as it means that some pieces we haven't seen have been modern photographed and others that we didn't know exist do have a picture now published.  I can't tell you how many "AH HA" moments I had wandering through the pages for hours on Friday when my advance copy arrived. 

I know that the cost of this volume set may be prohibitive at $300 and the run is only 1200 copies.  Perhaps you can convince a large local library that it is a must for their collection.  But there may be one or two readers who decide this is a must have for themselves, especially if they love furniture.  It can be preordered through many outlets.  But at the very least it is interesting to see how much of an influence collectors have on preservation and our museum collections, how their personal interests affect what we know, and how their largess can enable more research to occur.   

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Cleveland Museum of Art Blog

Earlier this year I worked with Textile Conservator Robin Hanson at the Cleveland Museum of Art on a gold threads workshop for the American Institute of Conservation.  One of the absolutely amazing artifacts we pulled out for the workshop, and had inspired Robin to contact me, was a Lord Chancellor's Burse.  She and colleague Holly Witchey, Adjunct Professor of the Department of Art History and Art at Case Western Reserve University have started a blog about this object with many close pictures of the amazing embroidery.  It is worth a read into the background of this piece!

Lord Chancellor’s Burse (Purse) with Royal Cypher and Coat of Arms of George III, 1760–1801. England. Red silk velvet, silk embroidery, goldwork, pearls, jet, sequins, pendant tassels; 78 x 50 x 5 cm. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Wade, 1916.1366