Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Attic Needlework

We have just come back from a wonderful, fun-filled long weekend in Arizona, and couldn't wait to tell you all about it.  Attic Needlework has been hosting Sampler Symposiums (Symposia?) for some years now, and we have been so lucky to get to three of them so far.  And as far as we're concerned, we'll be back for more!

This was a wonderful weekend for a number of reasons.  The speakers and teachers were terrific - the people we met were so fun and friendly, and the weather was absolutely gorgeous!  It's been cold here in the Pacific Northwest, so we appreciated the sunshine and 70 degree weather so much!

To say we were thrilled when Jean wanted to feature our sampler (the one that is included in the book Imitation and Improvement:  The Norfolk Sampler Tradition) is an understatement!  This is our first big sampler that we've designed and it's a huge departure for us.  To be honored this way was so wonderful!  And through January, this is the Attic's "Sampler of the Month" which means a 15% discount on the book (as that's the only way to get the chart) if you also buy the materials to stitch it!  How great is that?  This is a terrific program that Jean uses to introduce new samplers, and give her customers a break on the costs!  This discount is for the month of January only - come February, another sampler will be featured, so be sure to jump in now!  And do sign up for her terrific newsletter - it keeps you up on all the fantastic goings-on in her shop!

Becky and I arrived early for the seminar - on Thursday evening.  Friday was to be a "play day".  We met our friend Barbara in the morning for breakfast, and Joanne Lukacher (the author of the book) joined us as well.  This was a wonderful reunion, as we hadn't seen Joanne face to face since 2005!  All our work on the book was done by telephone and email correspondence!  It was so fun to have the day to catch up and shop a little, and find a wonderful out-of-the way spot for tea! Here we have Julie getting ready for a cuppa with a friend... 

Back to the hotel for a 5 p.m. reception - a gathering of all the attendees as well as the teachers and lecturers.  What fun - we see some new faces, and some old friends.  Everyone happy, chatting and ready to share the weekend's adventure!  After a lovely light dinner, we moved to the meeting room to partake of the first offering:  Vickie LoPiccolo Jennett’s  “A Token of Friendship”!  Some will remember this from the cover of the spring 2003 Sampler and Antique Needlework Quarterly.  Fewer yet will be as lucky as me and have one of these treasured little books!  Mine was sent to me by a dear friend, and I have always cherished it.  I showed it to Vickie as we worked on the project, and she was so charmed that someone had stitched her design and given it, just as intended "as a token of friendship"!  She admired the work and pronounced me a very lucky girl!

Vickie had designed a new piece for the booklet and we could choose to do the original, or the new one.  A pre-stitching kit had arrived a few weeks before the event, and many of us had finished our stitching in time to finish our booklets at the class.  Vickie walked us through the steps and we were all so pleased with our results.  Don't you love mine? 

And look at how Vickie used her calligraphy skills to personalize it for me!  I opted to put both fold-out pieces in my book, as I knew I wouldn't stitch another any time soon.  I love how it looks with both sets of charts in there!

In the morning, we headed back to the room for a day of lectures.  Lorraine Mootz was there to give us a wonderful slide show history of Sajou booklets! (Mary Corbet's Needle 'n Thread blog has a great write-up on this topic!) This was the companion piece to the charming little booklets we had made the evening before.  There is so much history involved in the development of printed charts for "the masses" - and Lorraine was so interesting as she took us through the many variations and showed us examples of lovely pieces!  

The afternoon had our own Joanne Lukacher giving a power-point lecture on the girls of Norfolk, England, and their beautiful samplers.  What a treat to see the girls we'd now become so familiar with, and see how they are admired by so many of the other sampler lovers in the room!  Wouldn't those little girls be amazed at the fuss being made over them still, 200 years later?  

After Joanne's talk, Lorraine took the floor again to show a fascinating bunch of decorated towels.  We often know them as "show towels" here in America, though they were never called that at the time - that is a name we've made up for them.  And we learned that sometimes, they are called "Parade Towels", with the same thought as "Show Towels" - something to "show off"!  Lorraine took us on a tour through the German, Danish and other European towels, pointing out differences and consistencies, and then finally, showed those that crossed the Atlantic and are familiar to many of us as something the Pennsylvania Germans displayed with pride in their homes.  It was wonderful to see how different and similar they were through history.  

That evening, we had our first glimpse of the Attic's shop for the weekend.  If you have never been to the Attic, it's absolutely a "destination needlework shop"!  Well worth any trip!  Jean and her wonderful staff has lots of samplers lining the walls - gorgeous models of so many wonderful pieces available there.  She had several trunk shows of special pieces, and it was not possible to walk through that store without having several pieces just jump up into your hands of their own volition!  We all came home with a few "souvenirs"!  

The next morning found us gathering for a very special class.  Sherri Jones of Patrick's Woods was going to teach us the "Button Lover's Brag Book" - a fabulous design which can be seen on her website!  

While you're there - check out her blog, and notice the free charts she has for you - we saw models of those stitched up and couldn't believe that the charts for them were free!  Sherri is so generous with her time and talent!  The Button Book has pages and pages of buttons shown at their best!  Sherri makes it easy to personalize our books to feature our favorite buttons from our collections and gave us terrific, step-by-step directions on how to finish the book.  The kit had everything we needed to complete the task except those special buttons, so in case we were wondering where we might find them, Sherri spent part of the day with us giving us a complete history of buttons, wonderful slides of the beautiful buttons she's collected or seen in other collections, and a primer on how to "shop" a button show!  Now that we know what we're looking for, we'll be unstoppable!  

The end of the day came too soon - and Becky and I found ourselves getting ready to leave for the airport at the end of class on Sunday.  A quick flight and we were back in Seattle, wondering where all the warm weather had gone!  It was such a great weekend away, and of course, now we are hitting the ground running to fill orders and work on upcoming projects.

We still have some of the Gilded Swan Boxed sets, 

and have introduced a whole line of Norfolk products to go with the book launch!  Take a look:

We have our own version of the foldout Sajou booklet...

A huswif complete with scissors and wooden thread spool...

A Kaleidoscope Etui...

A Norfolk Pin Keep...

A Horn Book Etui...

and a Magnetic Book Mark.

So do drop in and visit our website - there's lots new to see!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A New Year!

Here at In the Company of  Friends, we are hitting the ground running for the New Year!  We have several new products in the pipeline, and lots of events and fun brewing on the horizon, for the book, and for other products!

The Tokens of Friendship, which is such a wonderful program, gives you a surprise gift from our hands to yours, four times a year!  Who doesn't love to receive a gift-wrapped surprise in the mail?  In this era of Twitter, email and IM's, old-fashioned mail is usually filled with bills and junk.  Wouldn't you like to bring back that lovely feeling of  "is there something in the mail today?"  Last year's Tokens subscribers all seemed to love the offerings - items we've never offered for sale otherwise - so it truly is a gift that's made up especially for you!  Don't miss out - there are just a few days left to subscribe - subscriptions close on January 15th!  After that, we start to order in the supplies and get working on our first surprise...

We are busy now taking pre-orders for the book Imitation and Improvement: The Norfolk Sampler Tradition!  We expect to receive the books (all 338 boxes of them!) very soon, and will begin filling the orders we've taken as soon as we can!   Meanwhile, we are also very excited about upcoming book events! The author of this wonderful book, Joanne Lukacher, will be speaking at the Attic's  Sampler Symposium later this month, on the book and all her research into it.  This will be the first time the book will "out there" (at least, we have our fingers crossed that it arrives in time), and we are also so excited because the sampler chart we've made will be featured as well!  

This picture of Becky's sampler shows our interpretation of the quintessential Norfolk sampler!  The chart is found inside the book - a little "something extra" we hope people will enjoy.  Don't you love the form of the classic Norfolk sampler?  Can you think of some of the products it might be inspiring in us?  Stay tuned!

Joanne's speaking calendar is getting well booked!  On Sunday, March 24th, she'll be speaking at the Marshall House in Vancouver, WA - if you're in that area, you will definitely want to stop in, as there is also to be a small exhibit of Norfolk samplers to accompany her talk and book-signing!  If you do want to attend, the event is free, but please rsvp to: Seating is limited, so a reservation is definitely required.  

May 17 and 18th is the first ever Penn Dry Goods Market Show and Sale!  There will be several speakers, including our Ms. Lukacher!  This looks like such an exciting event - at the Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center!  There will be dealers of antique and vintage textiles, lectures and workshops on samplers, quilts, vintage clothing and more, and on Friday night, Dinner with the Dealers!  We will be there, plying our trade, hawking our wares, and generally having a wonderful time!  We can't wait to hear the speakers - see the antiques, and join up with old friends.   Contact curator Candace Perry to find out more:

Several guilds have contacted us and I think it bears repeating that we love to get our books into the hands of the true sampler afficianado, so we are offering a 20% discount to guilds who purchase 8 or more books sent to the same address (which also helps on the shipping - it's a very heavy book!)  Please let us know if your group is interested.  If you'd like Joanne to come to your guild to lecture, please contact her directly at:

For non guild members, remember that there will be lots of stores and places to buy the book besides our website, and you can pre-order from these dealers:

Amy Mitten Designs in Canada, is taking pre-orders, and has designed a wonderful mini sampler and needleworker's pocket from her Norfolk sampler which is featured in the book.  These online tutorials will be available later in the year!  While you're there, take a look at Amy's beautiful site, and remember, drooling on your computer can cause technical difficulties!

The Essamplaire, Margriet Hogue's wonderful sampler site, is also a Canadian marvel and you can pre-order the book there as well. 

Traditional Stitches in Canada is also taking pre-orders.  Their site is chock-full of lovely needlework "must-have's". 

Whew!  We are well represented in Canada, aren't we?  We're so happy our friends there will have no trouble finding the book.

Here in the US, 

The Attic, as previously mentioned, will be sure to have a copy.  We will also be featuring a trunk show there during the seminar.  This is probably one of the prettiest shops in the needlework universe and their sampler wall is to die for!  

And The Mad Samplar, a fine online purveyor of needlework books, will soon be set for taking pre-orders.

Across the pond, just a tad closer to Norfolk, the Sampler Guild is gearing up to take orders, and we hope to soon have more news for those in the UK!

We are working on getting the book into the hands of a few more European dealers, and are confident that you will soon be able to purchase your books closer to home than Seattle!

We wish for you a wonderful new year filled with joy!

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