Monday, November 11, 2013

Hannah Carter's Christmas Tree Sampler

When I found and purchased Hannah's sampler last year online, I felt really lucky.  It's always fun to add another sampler to the collection, but also, a Christmas tree on a sampler is extremely rare, especially in the 1830's.  Christmas trees were uncommon with simple folk in Britain until the 1840's -- and in fact, only royalty (and the rich) had such an extravagance.  As a teen, Queen Victoria had a Christmas tree in her room in the 1830's.

I also love that Hannah finished her sampler just a few short weeks before Christmas.  It makes me wonder if her family had a tree, or if she really just wished that they did.  Note the moth that is drawn to the tiny lights all over the tree.  How charming!

The sampler itself is fairly simple in its style -- a number of stark black alphabets against the linen ground.  The negative space around the letters and alphabets gives if kind of a Quaker feel (as do the particular alphabets chosen.)  It was typical of a Quaker sampler to be stitched in just a color, or a few, but I can't be absolutely certain that is what this is.

The linen she used is a 30-count, and it has aged nicely.  There is a little thread loss here-and-there, but overall, it's just in grand condition.  Hannah was a fairly good little stitcher -- there are some flubs here and there in the border and in the lettering (the verse is especially quirky, as a lot of the letters are different from word-to-word.)  The fibers are silks, and I am recommending Gloriana Florimell Antique Black and Needlepoint Silk 693.  Stitch count is 208 by 255.  The stitches used are cross stitch, cross over-one, Algerian eye, and four-sided stitch (MY FAVORITE!)

The verse is one found in a New England children's primer brought to America on the Mayflower by the Puritans.  The poem is called "Learn These Four Lines by Heart."  I found a charming snuff box online (from a previous auction) with this same little poem on it.  I love the idea of it -- a virtuous statement along with the purpose of the snuff box: "Please, please try to be a virtuous and Godly here, stick this up your nose."  (The box is thought to be from the late 1700's to early 1800's.)

Hannah would no doubt be proud to know that so many of you are looking at her work today.  You can purchase the chart by going to my Etsy site Letters Great and Small.  Or you can have your favorite shop order the chart for you from Norden Crafts or Hoffman Distributing, who will have their copies in the next couple of days.

In personal news, I am nearing the end of my time as manager at the animal shelter -- the 21st is my last day.  I am anxious to get back home to my family, and feel almost like I have been away for six months.  I was able to bake an apple pie and make ham soup yesterday -- how wonderful.

I also have a number of foster kittens, including dear little "Shoe" (above) who came in to the shelter late on Saturday.  A local man went out to his mailbox that afternoon and heard squawking.  He looked around and found a shoebox in the road with the lid on.  When he opened it up, there was a little cold and hungry kitten inside.  She is a Siamese/tabby mix (pale creamy grey with faint striping.)  And she would not have made it the night without his help.  She's only 10 ounces and probably 2 1/2 weeks.  But boy, is she cute and spunky.  She uses the litter box like a champion, and has a hearty appetite, as you can see by the food all over her face this morning.

She'll be with us through the holidays, no doubt, and we're glad to be able to help her out.

Happy stitching -- I'm excited to be getting ready to come back to the world of needlework!


Ann at Beadlework. said...

Oh, I could just scoop her up and take her home (except I live in Scotland) - she's gorgeous.

Krista said...

I don't know which I love better, the sampler or the kitten! Ok, I love them both the same! LOL

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Jeannine520 said...

She's beautiful. Siamese tabby mixes always are. I hope karma has it's way with the one who left her to die. How sickening. Thank you for helping her.

marly said...

Pretty sampler and looks to be in great condition. I wonder the fate of the rest of the litter and what they were in. Another little life you're helping!

Chris said...

What a lovely sampler.
So glad that you are having some at home time.
What a sweet kitten, it sounds like she is really spunky!

Delania said...

I love the sampler and your kind heart.

diamondc said...

We rescued a 1.4 ounce kitten last year at foreclosed home, they just left the dogs and cats, only two kittens survived, she is doing well even the vet said she would not make it a year later wow she is our baby who sleeps on my tummy every night.
Love the sampler I see this in my basket soon.

Charlene ♥ NC said...

Merry Christmas!
Such a tiny, sweet baby.

Anonymous said...

hello I wanted to say how much I admire you for your work with the shelter and the cats that you rescue, I also love your designs.
I have 5 cats of my own, all rescues..the oldest is 21! thank you

Beauty Bonnet said...

glad you're back to designing!
that is a very cute little kitten.. i like your kitten posts too.

woolwoman said...

nothing better than tiny kittens, apple pie, ham and bean soup and a needle in hand. Cheers ! Melody

Natasha said...

So happy you are back to having that very special time with your family and also back to designing.

You are an animal saving champion. What a sweet little kitty. I am trying to talk my DH into letting us adopt a kitty from the vets office, they have 7 that have been left at their door over the last few months. We have two dogs one who loes cats and one who thinks they can be chased around.... "shoe" is a cutie and I would keep that name if I had her :)

Anonymous said...

Theresa, I wish you much luck and Peace getting back into needlework. I used to live in Columbia, MS and come back to visit every once in a while. I'll have to look you up next time I'm in town. Take care, Ann

Sue Robinson said...

Welcome back Theresa. I admire you for the job you've done and for knowing when the time was right to return to a more 'normal' life. I'm looking forward to reading more regular blogs from you and to seeing what new designs you come up with. Oh and I think the latest kitten is an absolute darling!

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