Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Mothers Tree


It was my mother's birthday a couple of days ago and as she has pretty much everything she needs, as her main present I actually broke out my stitching for the first time in months and made her a sampler!

The sampler is of the matrilineal line - including my niece Molly, we now have 10 generations known, so I thought it an appropriate gift to mark the occasion, and the sampler commemorates three of my mum's major interests - family history, gardening, and needlework!

It's based on a concept I saw by designer Marilyn Leavitt Imblum, but I thought the actual design rather over done, so I raided my books and my magazines, and came up with a Jacobean Tree of Life (designed by Mary Hickmott) which was about the right size, and so I set to with graph paper and pencils to get the right sort of alphabet.

More by luck than judgement, it worked out okay - I was designed as I stitched, in terms of colours and "font" for the alphabet - I did get a bit close to the top edge by the time I'd finished, but as I was finishing the piece as a bellpull, it didn't really matter.

I hand finished the hanging with a matching backing fabric in green and gold. The cord was also handsewn on, and was a piece I had hanging around in my stash, I think it's a good match! I guess when you use one colour family a lot, everything you have tends to match!

I tried to find out more about Margaret Riddell, but in the limited time I had (from design to completion the piece took two weeks) and with limited resources, drew a blank. The full list featured is

17?? Margaret Riddell
1780 Elizabeth Reid
1805 Margaret Dey
1835 Margaret Silver
1874 Jane Smith
1901 MaryAnn Mitchell ("Little Granny")
1923 Donaldina Mitchell
1947 Sylvia McLeod
1970 Joanne W***
2006 Molly G******

(I scanned it, as digital camera is dead, only it's bigger than A4! So you can't see the last two names, nor the twisted hanging loop I did)

I did think about adding a piece to the back explaining I was the last of that particular branch, but I didn't know how to word it without it sounding a bit pathetic, really! But there's no way I'm having a baby just to add a name to a sampler :o)

I also stitched a card for mum - an Art Deco style iris - irises are her favourite flower. The scan didn't work out right, and I didn't notice until I came to do the upload just now, so I'm going to have to get my mum to do it, as the card's now in her possession, obviously!

I used to be a real stitching addict, but haven't done any for ages, it's very nice to feel like I'm getting back to it.

NB For grammar pedants, there were several possibilities for the apostrophe in Mothers. The reason there isn't one is that it is a tree of mothers, and not just my mother's tree. And that's my explanation. You may have done it differently, but I was the one with the needle and thread :o)

Design Details

Fabric: 28 count linen, colour unknown
Threads: DMC stranded cotton

Tree of Life
Designer: Mary Hickmott
Publication: Cross Stitch Gallery, Issue 11
Stitch Count: 61H x 92V
Stitches Used: Cross Stitch
Threads Used: DMC stranded cottons: 472, 702, 869, 910, 561, 743, 977, 351, 434, 817, 783
Modifications Made: None

Designer: Holly Witt
Publication: Cross-Stitcher's Big Book of Alphabets & Borders ISBN0-696-00034-2
Stitch Count: Not Known
Stitches Used: Back Stitch
Threads Used: DMC stranded cottons: 869, 561, 817
Modifications Made: None


Gingerella said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gingerella said...


I've just found your blog, through the wonder of Google, whilst looking for cross stitch ideas for my mother's birthday. I really love your 'Tree of Life' and the whole Mother Tree idea. I found the same Mother Tree you did but agree it's over the top. I really just need some help in turning your design into a cross stitch pattern so that I can get started asap. I've never done my own before, just pre-designed patterns/kits so it would be a little daunting but I really want to.

Excellent blog and brilliant work!

Sorry to bombard you with such a large comment on such an old post!