Monday, November 16, 2009

Attic Needlework Event 11/09

We LOVE tea parties!  Here are a few we've enjoyed lately.

Christmas tea, 2009
Mad Hatter Tea
Mad Hatter Tea Redux
Mad Hatter Tea Templates  

And of course this tea in Arizona!

Julie and I set off in search of a needlework fix and fun with friends of like minds last week. I also was in search of SUN!!!!! But I didn’t find much sun; in fact I was pretty chilled much of the time. But that was okay, because we did find a great needlework fix once again at the Attic Needlework and Collectibles Sampler Symposium in Mesa, AZ. I wonder if I should continue?   Do I really want to tell all of you what fun we have when we visit Jean Lea and her events, or would I rather keep it to myself? You know there is a limit to the number of attendees for this event and I do want to go again and again…so do I want to share this experience with all of you and wonder if you will take my spot next time round!?!

This year Julie and I arrived a day early so we would also have time to take in some of the other shops and interesting spots in the area, of course we weren’t able to fit all of those in either, so we will just have to keep going back until we do!  Two quilt shops were enjoyed, “The Olde World Quilt Shop” in Phoenix and “Zoe’s Trunk” in Chandler.  Both had a great selection of fabrics, just right for finishing our needlework smalls or something larger! Next year we will have to try to fit in 3 Dudes as well, we were told it’s another not-to-miss fabric stop. .  These were just a couple of the outside shops we enjoyed to give you a taste. 

Friday before starting the official event, we decided to take in afternoon tea with our friends Barbara and Beth at Ms Thomas’ Lovely Tea House in Mesa.  We enjoyed dolling ourselves up in their beautiful hats and enjoying our tasty finger sandwiches, scones and tea; a nice relaxing start to our fun-filled weekend!  I very much enjoyed the chicken curry sandwich they served that day.

Friday night started our event with a welcoming buffet of hors d'œuvres, but we were ready to get into the dye pots with Pat Evans of Lakeside Linens!   Each of us was given a piece of linen and directed in the steps of hand-dyeing. It wasn’t until the next day after we had taken them back to our rooms and rinsed and ironed them and allowed them to dry, that we could compare all the beautiful pieces. Depending on how much agitation we provided for our piece of linen, we had more or less of a vintage look. They were all beautiful and many participants were already planning how to use for their unique piece of linen.

Saturday found Elizabeth Talledo, of Dames of the Needle/Fingerworks,  and Linda Vinson, of Needlemade Designs, presenting a collaborative piece based on “Twas The Night Before Christmas” in a beautiful wooden book box, filled with the perfect holiday motifs to hold our special needlework tools. Many Christmas trees were being decorated with care and mice were dangling from mother-of-pearl rulers before the weekend was over.  

That evening we took over the shop and boy did we shop until we dropped! But Jean kept us going with a lovely dinner buffet. What are best are the friendships we find at these special gatherings, seeing friends from afar who we only have the chance to visit with on these journeys and meeting so many new friends who enjoy the same things we do. We talk and talk and never seem to make it around to all those we would love to catch up with.   

One new friend, Bernie from Belgium celebrated her 50th birthday and tried to keep it a secret!  But luckily we were able to sing to her a day late before leaving the event.  Oh but those Belgians know their chocolate, thank you for sharing Bernie!

Sunday featured a special treat - we were invited to visit the beautiful home of Linda Danielson of “Samplers Remembered” to see her private sampler collection.    Linda’s favorites are the Mexican samplers with their bright colors. She finds they make her happy to have them around her. Many of the Mexican samplers have German influences in the motifs you find on them, which might be due to the large number of German Nuns who were teaching in the convent schools in Mexico at the time these samplers were created. 

One of my favorites included a wonderful set of stags with checkerboard bodies, holding strawberry branches in their mouths. 

The Aztec stitch is one of the most predominant stitches you will find on the Mexican Samplers. A tiny scorpion in a line of black work on another and a Havelina on yet another, were some of the other favorites in this collection of Mexican samplers. I learned that Decado means Sampler in Spanish.  

 Not a lot of research has been done at this time on Mexican Samplers, showing us that there is still so much to learn about these beautiful works that endear themselves to us.  Linda also has American and European samplers in her collection. Two Christmas samplers caught my eye. I haven’t seen many Christmas samplers and one was particularly interesting from 1858 showing Mary and Joseph and Baby on their journey to Egypt.

Linda has reproduced several of her samplers and you can find these under “Samplers Remembered”.

To add to this special display, Ria MacCrisken also brought several of her Mexican samplers for us to view.  She had a particular one with an arrowhead border surrounding ducks or loons that had an Inuit feel to the design. It was mentioned that there is some speculation of a possible Canadian connection with some of the Mexican samplers, there were many who migrated to Canada at one time.

As if this wasn’t enough, there was more! As we took turns viewing the samplers, Linda Lautenschlager of Chessie & Me treated those not visiting the collections to a new sampler, which was all kitted up in cute sampler bags. 

We ended our time with a luncheon, door-prizes and lots of good-byes to new and old friends. Thank you Jean Lea, for another special symposium and all you do to make our time in Arizona so special!  We look forward to seeing you again soon.

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