This was one of my target UFOs for this month.
Originally, I started it in December 2004 after the death of my gran, to fill time on a very long car journey to her funeral (she lived 400 miles away) and to fill in what I thought might be awkward times in the packing up of her estate. But strangely, although it was a very sad time, there were some good memories made. My uncle and aunt had come over from the USA, my parents were there, my sister and her husband were there, and there was a lot of laughter and remininscence. So not a huge amount of stitching got done!
When left as a UFO, I had actually done nearly all of the sampler, apart from the top flowers in the border, and the green leaves. I think I thought the border might be complex, but when broken down, after the initial swirl, the pattern repeats and is very simple, so finishing the sampler only took a couple of sessions.
The quilt effect blocks are areas of specialty stitches - in this case bargello and Rhodes stitch - which make the sampler a little more interesting to work, and add texture nicely. The linen is so crisp, it was a little awkward to work in a hoop without catching, but the effect is so nice!
My gran loved flowers, and was a very skilled gardener - gardens were her passion, much as stitching is mine. She was always very proud of anything I stitched for her - the walls and shelves of her home had many small framed pieces which had originally been cards - I think she'd saved everything I'd ever sent :o) Roses remind me of her, because she had a number of old fashioned rambling roses on the high stone walls of her garden. There are another three samplers in this series, and each has some significance to me, and a memory of my gran:
Strawberry - my gran's garden produced the most luscious strawberries (and raspberries) - gran jealously guarded these against the birds and snails, and our summer trips are full of delicious bowls of berries - for breakfast, lunch and dinner, if we wanted! She also grew many of her own vegetables, and there really is nothing to beat newly dug potatoes and freshly picked peas lightly cooked and served with fish landed at market that morning! I'm hoping to finish this sampler this month.
Iris - irises were a favourite flower of my gran, and a favourite of my mum's, too. Gran's funeral flowers were in her favourite colour, blue, and included some gorgeous irises. My goal is to stitch this and Heartsease before the anniversary of my gran's death (Christmas Day).
Heartsease - I love the happy smiling faces of heartsease and pansies - I love the old fashioned name, and their apparent delicacy - when really they are tough and will flower in almost any season. They are one of my favourite flowers. They also symbolise "thoughts" - and I have so many good memories of my gran.
Fabric: 28 count linen, natural
Threads: DMC stranded cotton
Designer: Sue Hawkins
Chart Details: Wild Rose (The Language of Flowers Series) - Needleworks by Sue Hawkins
Stitch Count: 86H x 86V
Stitches Used: Cross Stitch, Four Sided Stitch, Back Stitch, Rhodes Stitch, Bargello
Threads Used: DMC stranded cottons (no numbers given) in four shades of pink, two of green, two of mauve, two of blue, two of yellow, plus brown and navy. Cross stitch in two strands.
Modifications Made: None.