Wednesday, July 11, 2012

How I spent my holiday week (and behaved very badly)

Wow!  It was a very busy week last week.  I didn't even get a chance to do any stitching from Tuesday until Monday of this week.  To begin with, we left for a whirlwind retreat to the NC Outer Banks on the 4th of July.  I haven't been to the Outer Banks since I was young, and I was looking forward to seeing everything there is to see there.  While we did not visit any of the lighthouses (we're saving them for another trip, ideally when the temps are in the 70's rather than the 100's), there were plenty of other things to keep us busy.

Among other things, we drove through the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in search of black bears and red wolves.  Sadly, the animals we saw were dragonflies and one very nervous blacksnake.  But we did see lots of scat along the road.  It wasn't horse scat, so I proclaimed it to be bear scat (it probably wasn't) and decided the bears were taunting us.  We did get to see watch the zookeepers feed some baby alligators and admire some adorable little turtles at the NC Acquarium:
Doesn't he look like a wise old man?  I loved all the fish and water animals we got to see at the acquarium.

We also attended the outdoor drama The Lost Colony.  I think I might have enjoyed the play more if I hadn't been marinating in my own sweat the whole time.  But check out Queen Elizabeth's costume.  It's simply delicious!
I wonder if someone hand embroidered all that lovely gold work on her skirts.

We returned from the Outer Banks late on Friday evening after a quick visit to his father's home on one of the sounds.  The next day, we hosted both our families at a cookout.  Almost everyone came, and Alton grilled some delicious burgers, dogs, and braats.  I think everyone enjoyed themselves.  I know I did.  But I was way too busy to take any photos!  After almost everyone had left, Alton and I and my mom and dad all piled into their car and headed over to the state fairgrounds to check out the antiques show that was going on that weekend.  And that's where I got into trouble.  Because I spotted this little beauty and I just HAD to have her:
I'm such a bad, bad girl, because she wasn't cheap.  But she's mine now!  I know it's not the best of photos, but surely you can tell how gorgeous she is!  Susannah Turpin stitched this sampler in 1742.  It's on a fine, fine piece of linen, probably about 50 count, although I've not had the courage to try and count all those threads.  There are gorgeous shades of red, blue, green and yellow in this piece.  She used satin stitch, montenegrin, long arm cross, rice stitch, eyelet, and a couple of others that I'm struggling to identify.  The workmanship is so fine and delicate.  I am just beyond thrilled to have her in our house.  Mom, of course, is itching to get her own hands on her.

I know that this piece came from England, but I had two conflicting locations to start with.  I've tried an internet search of her name and came up with a possible candidate for being 'my' Sussanah.  If I found the right one (and really, how likely is that), she would have been 7 years old when she stitched this.  I'm going to try to dig through some of mom's reference books to see if I can find any similar samplers pictured there with more definite provenance.  Beyond that, I'm not sure what else I could do to learn anything more about the maker of this sampler.  If any of you have any thoughts on other avenues I could pursue, please feel free to share!

In other stitchy news, I have decided to set aside Penny America until September (or until the Olympics strikes a need to stitch something patriotic) and returned to my BAP challenge piece.  When last I left my giraffe sampler, I was slogging through the bottom half of the piece.  Well, I decided that I was tired of all that ground and feet, I wanted something identifiable on my sampler.  So I parked the thread that was in progress in the ground, and turned to the upper left corner.  I've been stitching since Monday, like I said, and I'm almost down with the first page of the pattern (only bits of the border left to stitch in).  I am so happy to have palm trees and most of a person now living on my sampler.

Here's where I was at the last update:
Here's what I've finished this week:
I plan to stick to this piece for the rest of this week and all of next week before (probably) returning to Sous le Soleil.  I'm also working on getting together the pictures I want to use for my shower, wedding, and honeymoon albums.

That's it for now, I suppose.  We've finally gotten some rain here in the past day, and it's just started up again as I sit here typing this post.  I'm glad, because it makes things cooler and we needed the water.  Hope everyone is having a cool, crafty week!


Margaret said...

Well if you were sweltering, think how the actress who played Elizabeth I must have felt! lol! Lovely gown though. Sounds like you had a great time! And that antique sampler!!! Whatever you paid, I bet it's worth it. Gorgeous! Loooove your giraffe sampler too. I'm glad you treated yourself to some top stitching. lol! Sometimes getting that first figure down and some prettiness on the piece helps you to get through the boring parts later on, so I think that was a wise move. Love it!

Norma Gomez said...

Sounds like it was an amazing trip :D

Shaunterria Owens said...

Congratulations are in order - acquiring such a beautiful piece is something to be celebrated. The sampler is gorgeous :)

You are making great progress on your own sampler...can't wait to see more of it. Keep those needles flying!


Chris said...

What a perfect weekend!
The new sampler is amazing. I hope to see it in person sometime:)
Wonderful progress on the Giraffe sampler too.
Have a great weekend!

analog sigils said...

I was in the cast of the Lost Colony as a child colonist from 1993-1998 and from what I remember, I do believe that the gown was hand-stitched by five-time-tony-winner William Ivy Long (or was it his Grandmother? One or the other, both marvelous costumers.) I got to dress in the room next to the principal females, so I saw that magnificent gown up-close-and-personal every night.

Also read about the 2 different costume shop fire's, one in 1947 and one in 2007. Unfortunately Irene Smart Rains storage building was completely destroyed in the second fire, destroying many of the original pieces. :(

Hope this has given you some great insight as to the level of amazing talent involved in this production. Being a Roanoke Island native, I think it should get a bit more credit than it does ;)

Mollie Davis

analog sigils said...

also, the next time you plan a trip to the outer banks, shoot me an e-mail and I can send you a small checklist of "must-see's" that are frequently missed! You can contact me at molliejdavis AT gmail DOT com :)