Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Ides of March...for real!!


Shakespeare fans will recognize today as The Ides of March, the infamous assassination date of Julius Caesar in 44 B.C. In Roman times the term ides was used for the 15th day of the months of March, May, July, and October, and the 13th day of the other eight months, but in March it was a festive day dedicated to Mars and a military parade was held--so you see how Julius was lured to his death.

Of course, in view of today's economy, lots of bewares are being tossed about. But..more than that it represents having a best friend stab you in the back also..."Et tu, Brutus"...although the words best friend and stab do not seem to jive,I am sure many of us have met some Bruti in our lives, but that aside, what the saying brought me to was all those tidbits that are part of our culture and what they represent. And, so...for today's lesson...we bring you the stitched sayings that hung and still do hang in houses throughout the country and the world.

Ancient Peruvians and Egyptians created samplers, but the first known dated English sampler was made by Jane Bostocke in 1598 to celebrate the birth of her daughter (or possibly niece) Alice Lee. It hangs in the Victoria and Albert museum. This sampler is covered with random motifs in a variety of stitches and shades, and includes metal threads, pearls and beads, and it does not have the letters J, U, and Z which research said was common (I could not find out what they had against JUZ)

During Victorian times, samplers became more pictorial and were created by young girls in finishing schools. As the designs became more elaborate, the number of different stitches used was reduced, until generally only one stitch remained in use, thus ending up with the cross stitch samplers so well known today.

I love the old cross-stitched pieces from the depression era...as we have noted before...bad economies foster creativities. But these cross stitched pieces touted mottos that lightened hearts and reminded readers of what was really important. This one is dated...a real treasure when the woman dated the work...not often found that way because they were not thinking of its being anything more than a charming craft that occupied their evenings.


Many of the samplers were from kits..sometimes you can see the stamped design...
Vogue Art Needlecrafts can be dated to around 1930, and they marketed through the 1950s. The earliest Vogart catalog in my collection is dated 1935 and the latest is 1957. Vogart/Vogue Needlecraft designed for Kresge's (JBK markings); Woolworth's (Jerglo); Kress & Co., Montgomery Ward's and G.C. Murphy Co. I am sure there are those out there who havae never heard of any of those stores...wonder if Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, and Home Goods will fade out?

Anyway...here are some examples currently in the shop...and consider the pleasantries that were stitched on the linen...takes the sting out of the Ides of March...and the "Bruti" of the world!







And, with that final sampler...happiness is catching...I must thank a cyber friend...Patricia Rose at http://www.patriciarose-apotpourriof.blogspot.com/
for bestowing upon moi` the following award... "This award is accompanied by the following words:
"This blog invests and believes in the PROXIMITY-nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated."

And so I come here every Sunday to give you a little insight into my shop...and the treasures that I have within...and always some history because I believe education is key to understanding not only the past but also the future...so do live by the side of the road and be a friend to man...and woman...and child...and every creature great and small.

11 comments:

Lilli Blue said...

Thanks. I think the award was well placed. Two of my favorite on line friends, The Dutchrose and Patricia Rose!

gail said...

Hi Susan,,, I love this post. I love Samplers. That makes me think, I did one back in the 80's. I wonder where it is now? lol I like the photos you added on your sidebar of your shop.
I hope you have a great week...
hugs,gail

Carolee Crafts said...

Your blogs are always interesting and informative, thank you for sharing. I had been thinking of doing some sampler cushions this week, you have now inspired me to get a wriggle on.

Carrie Gonzalez said...

Hi Susan,

Great post! Lovely cross-stitch pieces. I have a Great Aunt who still does amazing cross-stitch work. I would never have the patience. Like Gail I love the pictures of your shop. I would have a ball shopping there! Have a great week!
Carrie

Craft Diva said...

love the blog, dahling...but have to comment on the BIG truth hidden there...education! never hurts, always helps...KEEP INFORMED, people. you cannot get ahead by hiding your head in the sand. face this reality and deal with it head on! WOOT!!!

Cottage Flair said...

I just love old samplers. They are so full of detail and so much work. I used to cross stitch and it takes alot of love and dedication. Great examples you have.
Jennifer

Beloved Creations said...

Wow, those samples are wonderful.

Marie said...

Hi Susan,
I really enjoyed this post because I am a cross stitcher. It's been a while since I stitched, but I still consider myself a stitcher. Thanks for sharing your samplers.
Congratulations on the award, too.
It is a very nice aard from a very nice person.
Marie

ann at greenoak said...

hi susan....i collect these and about anything made by little girls or women at home........thanks for featuring them..
heres one from queen elizabeth...keep calm and carry on.....
another one i have is ..little henry gone but not forgotten.... kind of morbidly victorian...

The Empty Envelope said...

I think samplers are so beautiful! Wonderful post, as usual!:)

SoCal Helene said...

Hi Susan, love the samplers! Have spring sprung in your part of the woods?
Helene
SistersGiftCompany.com