Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas is Coming!

Yes, Christmas is coming and naturally, our first thoughts turn to a sky filled with menacing birds?????  Ah - R is for Raven - but more of that later!

First Julie and I would like to wish you all a very "Happy Holiday" season with your family and friends! We thank you all so very much once again this year for your continued support of our business. We enjoy so much what we do, but that joy wouldn't be half as much fun if we didn't have all of you to share our creations with. So first and foremost thank you.  We hope you are all looking forward to the New Year and all it has to hold.

We have been like little elves working in the workroom to finish up several special items perfect for the gift giving holidays and they are ready to share with you!  I am so excited, I don't know where to start, if you don't want to listen to me go on and on, just head over to the web-site and go directly to our What's New page and you will see right away what we have been working on.

First for our box lovers, we have another limited edition toy box full of all the little needlework accessories we enjoy creating. This box is called "Honeysuckle Cottage" and is in beautiful shades of deep dusty rose.  There are Peacocks poking out all over this season, you will see more in our other selections as well.  This box contains a beautiful hand painted ivory ruler, so we are sorry, but it can only be delivered to addresses in the United States.  There are four mini charts in a tiny book, a needle book with decorated pins, a thread palette with coordinating threads, a peacock pin-keep, shell waxer and more you must see to enjoy fully.   Remember each box is unique in that they are faux grain painted, so each is a individual creation.  This is a limited edition and when they are gone, they're gone!  Update:  They're gone!  Thank you to everyone for your support - we will be working on a new boxed set early in the new year.

A Token of Friendship: A tribute of friendship; something by which the friendship of another person is to be kept in mind; a memento; a souvenir.

Treat yourself or surprise a friend.  Better yet, ask Santa to give you a year's worth of surprises with our new program "Tokens of Friendship". In the past, many stitched gifts were exchanged as tokens of friendship.  We find needle-books, pin-balls, wallets, pin-keeps, lovely scissors holders and more that were given to commemorate a friendship in some way, and we love these heartfelt little mementos.

Our year-long program will bring a beautiful wrapped token to your door or the door of a friend you might want to gift with a subscription.  The token will only be available to those who are subscribed to the "Tokens of Friendship" program. These unique special tokens will not be available for sale on our web site or anywhere else. The designs will be created just for those lucky enough to be in the limited edition subscription program.

What a wonderful way to bring happiness for a whole year to yourself or someone special to you.  We are ready and willing to help bring surprises and keep secrets!

The last three new gift items that want to join your other favorite stitching tools are part of "Mademoiselle's Peacock Accoutrements"  all adorned with beautiful cranberry ribbons that add a festive touch and a wonderful peacock motif. 

We have a "Shoe"  with thimble heel, and beautiful crystal head pins and needles ready to help you stitch a special gift. 

We have a "Glove" that holds the scissors you need to clip the threads of those special gifts you are stitching madly

and we have a "Pocket" with a set of peacock pins, peacock counter and needles ready to take with you on your journey.  

All of these are wonderful little gifts to pop into the mail or wrap up for your stitching friends, or slip under the tree for yourself!

It's been some time since we have added a letter to our dark alphabet and we don't like to disappoint our friends, so here we are with another deeply disturbing installment!

R is for Raven and Rice Stitch

If men had wings and bore black feathers,
few of them would be clever enough to be crows.
- Rev. Henry Ward Beecher

Every country seems to have folklore regarding the raven. Below are just a few to give you an idea of the varied stories that surround this distinct bird.

Native American

Black, to Native Americans, is a color of magical power, and only to be feared if misused.  The Raven symbolizes the void - the mystery of that which is not yet formed.  Ravens are symbolic of the Black Hole in Space, which draws in all energy toward itself and releases it in new forms.  The iridescent blue and green that can be seen in the glossy black feathers of the raven represents the constant change of forms and shapes that emerge from the vast blackness of the void.  In Native American tradition, Raven is the guardian of both ceremonial magic and healing circles. She is also the patron of smoke signals.

Raven at the Headwaters of Nass hat,Seattle Art Museum, attributed toKadyisdu.axch', Tlingit, Kiks.ádi clan, active late 18th - early 19th century. There are human figures crouching within Raven's ears.


In Aborigine mythology, the Raven tried to steal fire from the seven sisters (the Pleides), and was charred black in the unsuccessful attempt.


In the Hebrew/Christian tradition ravens were considered unclean, representing impurity, mortification, destruction, deceit, and desolation.  Ravens were cursed by Noah for not returning to the ark with news of the flood receding. Yet, conversely, the Bible also says that ravens were the protectors of the prophets; they fed Elijah and Paul the Hermit in the wilderness.  Also, ravens helped St. Cuthbert and St. Bernard.  In contradictory Christian traditions, ravens represent the solitude of the holy hermits, yet also the souls of wicked priests and witches.

Northern Europe

The pagan Danes and Vikings used the raven banner on their ships, in Odin's honor.  These flags, usually sewn by the daughters of great warriors and kings, were tokens of luck on their voyages.  Houses where ravens nested were also thought to be lucky.

In England, tombstones are sometimes called "ravenstones".

In Cornwall, as in England, King Arthur is said to live on in the form of a raven, and it is unlucky to shoot one.

This site goes on to tell of raven magic and more symbolism.  They also share many poems and verses regarding the raven and this site also shares many stories of lore and symbolism from various countries as well as several images of these stories.

And of course we have Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven". Here is one site that helps us decode that famous poem.  " Nevermore," Mournful and never-ending remembrance.

The Rice Stitch

Other names that you might find the rice stitch masquerading under are the cross corners cross stitch and William and Mary Stitch. 

The rice stitch came to America from England and was a common stitch in the 16th century. One of the well known teachers, Mary (Polly) Balch who taught in Providence Rhode Island, perpetuated the use of the Rice Stitch on samplers. 

Many times this stitch was used in borders and incorporated two colors, one for the cross and one for the legs completing the stitch..  You can see more history and diagrams of the Rice Stitch and variations in Eileen Bennett's book, the Red Book of Sampler Stitches. has a nice description and diagram, as does KreinikBag Lady inStitches has a blog post with a very fine example of Rice Stitch used in a contemporary sampler.

Julie used the rice stitch over two to form the hillock the raven stands on.  If you are stitching your project over one, complete the rice stitches over two and adjust the number to suit.  There is enough empty space on the design to compensate for any changes in size of the hillock.

Have fun and enjoy this festive time of year! 

1 comment:

  1. hello dear, lovely post like always..beautiful goodies..i love them all so much..
    thank you for letter R..another interesting story about it.
    love cucki xx


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