Tuesday, December 18, 2007

It's almost Christmas time!

And what better way to celebrate than to feature all the stuff you guys made with the Holiday patterns? I could hardly keep up with all the Holiday goodness!

Look at this bundle of ornaments Melissa made:
free pattern #1 and free pattern #2

And look at this festive Eskimo and boy on a scooter by Rebekah
Ornament Swap
free pattern here

Ornament Swap
The spirit of French knots reigns here!

Also take a look at:
Chrisi's ornament
Loulee's festive holiday doggie
Claudia's scooter onesie

Geez, you guys are warming the heart big time this Christmas! I'll be leaving soon to visit family for the holidays, but leave a comment if you've stitched anything, too! Happy Holidays to you all!!!!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Vogart Samplers - Interview with Nancy

I'd like to introduce you to Nancy - she collects Vogart stamped samplers, which I knew very little about, so I interviewed her about her collection and what inspires her to collect. You can also find her on Flickr as nancy'svintagesamplers. Enjoy!

1. How long have you collected Vogart samplers, and how did you get started?

I started about 20 years ago when I went to a flea market in the Lancaster PA area with some friends, one of whom had collected a couple and piqued my interest as we were looking at some.

2. I'm familiar with Vogart transfers, which were printed from the 40's to the 70's – but what time period are Vogart samplers from?

I have not been able to get any information about the Vogart Company, much less their samplers. I have been able to determine that the late 20's through the early 40's were the most popular time for this craft. As one older woman told me, with the Depression there was little money for extras and embroidering samplers provided both recreation and the potential for utilitarian use as home decor or gift. Vogart is only one of at least 8 companies I've been able to identify. In general, their patterns are consistently the best - great balance of design and color.

3. What do you know about the history of these samplers?

These samplers - manufactured with a preprinted design - reference the older tradition of young girls learning their needlecraft skills and creating pictures and words that exhibited a sample (hence sampler) of their expertise with needle and thread.

4. What makes these samplers special to you – why do you collect them?

My mother is French (she came to this country as a war bride) and started me on my trousseau when I was in 5th grade. I hemstitched 6 linen hand towels and ironed on a transfer design which I then embroidered with cross stitch. I did a lot of embroidery up until my late teens, often buying my linens in France when we went to visit family. Nostalgia, therefore, is the biggest attraction for me - not only for my own personal experiences, but also for the simplicity of time and design that these samplers represent.

5. If anyone wanted to begin collecting vintage samplers, what advice would you give them?

Pick designs that grab your heart. Avoid those that appear very stained, particularly if they appear to have water damage. The fabric was usually linen and the threads cotton. Rot is a real issue and you should try to reback them with acid-free matte boards and tape.

6. Do you have any favorite samplers? Tell us about them…

I have several favorites. One is a pair with half the expression on one and the rest of the expression on the other. They are in their original frames and probably date from 1909. The other is unique because of its exaggerated oblong shape - one of only two I have ever found among more than 400 in my collection. It is also beautifully done in pastels and is in its original frame.

7. Do you collect other antique samplers too, or just Vogart?

My collection includes manufactured samplers from Vogart as well as other companies. Often, it is impossible to know who the manufacturer is if there is no identification stamped at the bottom of the sampler.

8. Are you a stitcher? Do you do any cross-stitch, embroidery, or other craft?

Occasionally I find samplers that were never embroidered. I have done some of them, being careful to use colors and floss strand amounts appropriate to the design.

9. About how many samplers do you own? How do you store them?

There are more than 400 in my collection. I store my samplers by stacking them in shelving consisting of large cubicles. In addition, I have many of them hanging on walls and a few propped up on easels.

10. Lately there's been a resurgence of interest in embroidery, knitting and other domestic crafts – how do you feel about that and has it had any impact on the price and availability of vintage samplers?

I think its terrific to see the resurgence of interest in needlecraft. I also knit, crochet and sew - anything that offers the simultaneous experience of relaxation and invigoration, creativity and predictability. Knowing that others are going back to this handicraft creates a warm feeling for me. Although samplers are rising in price, they are still reasonable if you realize the amount of time and thought that went into their creation. It is my hope that this interest will get stronger over time.

Thank you Nancy, for this informative interview on Vogart samplers! If any of you know more on the history of Vogart samplers, are collectors, or have stitched some yourself, we'd love to hear from you! Leave a comment here, or email Nancy through her Flickr account.

Want to see more?

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Holiday cuties

Xmas patterns  Xmas patterns

I have returned, with some Holiday goodies for you! Everyone knows that the second Halloween is over, it's time to eagerly plan and scheme what your Christmas gifts will be... why not try some cute holiday kids?

Here's one of 3 ornaments I made last year:
Holiday Greetings

I trimmed out a few motifs that were not as cute as the rest, like a rather plain stocking and stout scary Santa. This comes from a smaller, rectangular sheet - mine is uncut and unused.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Tiny motifs

tiny motifs
I nearly died from the cuteness of these tiny motifs. Best of all is, they're tiny! Think of how quickly you can finish stitching these - they'd look great on a corner of a napkin, a covered button, or a shirt collar. Maybe I've read too many backs of envelopes, but I can think of tons of sweet uses for these! :) This is a smaller rectangular sheet that also has two birdies nuzzling in a nest, two owls cuddling, a rose design, lotus design, and toadstools.

this pattern donated by thanks Eydie!

Fuzzy Cat

fuzzy cat
Isn't this tiny cat adorable?! Best of all, this pattern magically captures that tense moment all of us cat lovers experience when kitty, intent on licking it's own chest actually seems to get stuck like that. Oh no, we all think to ourselves - will kitty be okay? Or will kitty freeze like that and never be able to eat again... OH NO! Then suddenly, kitty shakes its head and starts licking its nether regions instead. Thankfully, kitty is okay again. :) I think a Halloween version of this little cat would be sweet, maybe wearing a hat or next to a Jack-o-lantern? My sheet is cut and incomplete - also on it are a lotus design, some roses, tulips, and what looks like a snail shell drying on a clothesline.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Mailorder - back to school kiddos

free pattern - click to get larger size and print!

I like to refer to these patterns as "the perils of public schooling..." :) Just check out cute little Susie - pert, groomed, and ready for learning. Contrast that with her backwoods cousin, who looks more like a character from the Dukes of Hazzard:

hillbilly boy
free pattern - click to get larger size and print!

Without even a shoe or chalkboard to his name, he manages to get himself to school, bandaged big toe and all... the boy and girl pattern are cut. I also have a schoolhouse pattern that seems to match their "Back to School" theme. They look like they'd be cute on a napkin or tablecloth corner.

this pattern donated by thanks Eydie!

Walker's 33 - Towels for Every Occasion

walkers 33
read the back

I bet you thought I was gone for good, huh? Well, here I am again, after a very busy few weeks. My posts may slow down as I do actual work, but I'm still here! Here's an old Walker's transfer for tea towels and pillowcases. My set is cut and partly used but I have all the patterns you see on the front of the envelope and a few more: there are scallop borders , butterflies, birds and flowers, baskets, His and Hers monograms, floral wreaths, and a daisy pattern. Oddly, the basket design I have isn't the same as the one on the envelope, but it's similar.

I really liked these almost military-looking monograms and the dainty butterfly. Hope you do, too!

walkers 33 - monograms
free pattern - click to get larger size and print!

walkers 33 - butterfly pattern
free pattern - click to get larger size and print!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

sailor boy and hula girl

sailor boy and hula girl
free pattern - click to get larger size and print!

Isn't this adorable? I know I've seen this image somewhere before but I'm not sure where - help me out and leave a comment if you know.... In any case, this was on a large, white tissue-like sheet. Instead of being a normal transfer, there were tiny holes that marked the lines (I had to trace over them to make this image). Also on the sheet were adorable 40-s looking housewife days of the week patterns. It was really hard to make out the lines on those, so I traced this larger image instead. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 12, 2007


my collection so far...

I picked 2 names out of the hat, so soon a little package of transfers will be going out to Michelle and Stefanie!

Thank you so much to everyone who commented on the giveaway post, and for all the kind things you said. I'm so glad so many of you have been inspired to re-discover embroidery or start embroidering for the first time!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

I heart you guys - giveaway

puppy love, courtesy of Jacque's blog

Nothing warms the cockels of my heart like seeing finished items made from the freebies I've posted! Seriously, people, I feel so happy that you enjoy these kitschy patterns as much as I do, and enjoy them enough to stitch them! And, because I've been dying to do this for some time now, here are all your projects (that I've found) so far:

Claudia's apron

Keri's pillowcase
Embroidered birds

and Keri's "love chickens"
Love Chickens

Heather's baking girl

and the VTF signature spices, immortalized by Julie!
Spice Towel

Believe it or not, this is also my 99th post! Sheesh these posts added up quickly - I'm amazed my collection grew so quickly. In keeping with the giveaway theme I started on my embroidery blog, I'll do a giveaway here, too!

Want some vintage transfers?
Up for grabs: a few duplicate, cut or used Vogarts, duplicate Workbasket transfers, newer Aunt Martha's, a few crochet, sewing, and apron patterns. I promise to hand-pick the cutest stuff and mail it to the "winner."

How to win the drawing:
Leave a comment here with your name and preference for free patterns - example - "only Vogart", only "Aunt Martha's" or "gimme anything you got..." etc. Tell me a little about yourself, if I haven't met you yet, and what your favorite pattern is that I've posted!

Update 8/11/07, 7:00 PM:
We have... 2 winners! As soon as I get in contact with them, I'll post the winners here! :) So, check your email, everybody who commented!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Ma and Pa, on the farm

farmer pattern farmer's wife pattern
free patterns - click to get larger size and print!

It's hard to tell what these are since they are cut (but unused). I have a few more farm-related transfers that could have come from the same sheet, but I'm not 100% certain. It's definitely clear these 2 are a couple - I love the whiskers on Pa and the unflinching look Ma is giving as she feeds her chickens. I absolutely love the drawing style on these!

this pattern donated by thanks Eydie!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Rose Monograms for Mr and Mrs

monogram patterns - unknown
free pattern - click to get larger size and print!

These green-line transfers were in a pile of unmarked stuff found on Ebay- they are cut but unused. I can already imagine how beautiful these look stitched... I don't know the brand but they look a lot like the Superior rose motifs I blogged some time ago. Enjoy!

Puppy tea towels

barking dog pattern - unknown
free pattern - click to get larger size and print!

Let's face it: housework stinks, and this little puppy is having none of it! These puppy motifs were in a pile of unidentified stuff I scored on Ebay months ago. I have 5 cut, unused motifs which are blue-line transfers - my best guess is Superior or some other mail-order brand. I love the cute, sketchy style of these puppies - in addition to this cute puppy barking at an iron (exactly how I feel about ironing) are these 4 patterns:
  • puppy chewing on an embroidered cat in a hoop

  • puppy tearing down a clothesline, with socks and underpants

  • puppy soaked by a pail of wash water

  • puppy getting into a cookie jar

Mailorder 2-920 - Bib motifs

Mailorder 2-920 bib motifs
Make your own baby bib with these embroidered motifs and the bib pattern below! Instruct your drooling kiddos to "Be Kind", "Be Happy", and "Be Good" with these little bibs they're too young to read. Maybe it'll soak in subliminally... with the peas and whatnot... :) I have one complete, uncut sheet with tons of other patterns for:
  • 3 stuffed animals: bear (looks more like a mouse), cat and dog

  • cutwork patterns for chairback, chair arm, luncheon cloth, and napkins

  • 2 panholder patterns: cat(?) and chicken

  • fruit embroidery motifs

  • Mexican burro motif for luncheon cloth

  • 2 apron patterns: basket and flowers

  • patchwork quilt pattern

Mailorder 2-920 bib pattern

this pattern donated by thanks Eydie!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Mailorder 2-932 - Good Morning, Good Night

Mailorder 2-932 - good morning, good night
I love these 2 "bib designs"... but in my opinion they're a bit too grown-up for a bib. I think they'd be charming as a wall hanging or on a tea towel. I love the retro lettering and the smiling sun which makes me feel I've fallen into Roger Rabbit's "toon town." Also, look at those pudgy owl legs - is it just me or does he look like a roast chicken from the waist down? Either way, they're adorable.

This sheet also has patterns for a handbag, apron, glasses case, a cat bean bag, tomato panholder, a button embroidery design contributed "by a reader", His and Hers hearts, and 7 funky bowlegged veggies for tea towels or napkin holders.
this pattern donated by thanks Eydie!

Crazy lambkin

Mailorder 2-931 - crazed lamb

This lamb is clearly over-caffeinated. Go ahead, drink that extra iced mocha latte with the double shot, and you'll look like that, too! And yet, our pattern producers would have us embroider him on a crib quilt, blanket, or child's garment. Maybe it is best to educate the "small fry" early on of the perils of overcaffeination....

This sheet includes patterns for a floral pillowcase, floral design for a blouse, a cutwork table runner, and a bathroom rug and toilet cover (yep, you heard that, toilet cover).

this pattern donated by thanks Eydie!

Kid cuties

friendly eskimo
Of the 6 cute kid designs on this sheet, this friendly Eskimo is certainly cutest. I love the way he/she holds his/her little arms out as if to say "hot-cha-cha!" Okay, there is a cute little girl design that is a close second - she has Shirley Temple ringlet curls and stands under an umbrella in the rain... Also a cutesy bride (who is maybe not supposed to be a kid - that would be disturbing), a girl ballerina with a heart tiara, a "leprechaun"-themed kid and a boy with baskets of flowers who are equally glassy-eyed.

This sheet is smaller and rectangular in size, about 8" x 20" and uncut.

this pattern donated by thanks Eydie!

Jitterbug dancers

jitterbug girl

First of all, allow me to begin by saying I don't use the label "scary cute" lightly. But these jitterbug dancers are most certainly scary cute, right down to this teenage girl's laugh lines. But even more endearing and unsettling are the duo of one-eyed dancers. These teens shimmy, stomp and twirl with the best of them, and all this, with only one eye apiece. I'm sure these dancers would look equally cute with 2 eyes. Just maybe not so scary cute... :)

This sheet also has a palm tree design, pineapple designs for placemats and coasters, a circle floral design, 5 small designs for "felt lapel pins" (girl's head, scottie dog, owl, leaf, flowers), and a few other floral designs. My sheet is cut, not numbered, and is missing one small motif.

jitterbug dancers 1 jitterbug dancers 2 jitterbug dancers 3

Monday, July 9, 2007

Mr. Clothespin

Mailorder 2-929 - clothespin pattern
Check out Mr. Clothespin - ain't he cute? There he is, doing his clothespin thing... on a bar of soap... like the clothespins do. Ok, I don't know what Mr. Clothespin is doing on the soap, even with those motion lines to guide me. Truth is, I have no clue. But he's pretty happy, and he's pretty darned cute. This sheet includes a pattern to put Mr. Clothespin on a bag - check out Carol's wonderful clothespin bag.

I have 1 uncut sheet which also has a large butterfly and lotus design for an apron.

this pattern donated by thanks Eydie!

Happy Peasants

Mailorder 2-915 - Happy Peasants pattern
Being a peasant must not be all bad. I mean, if you're female you get to wear peasant blouses. And if you're male you get to enhance your rustic masculinity with embroidered suspenders, shiny shoes, and lederhosen. A lucky few were even immortalized on 1940's embroidered luncheon cloths, like this enthusiastic duo. I have one complete, uncut sheet, with a pattern for a peasant apron and hearts and floral embroidery motifs. Also a big bonneted girl stencil to make a big ol' trellis that just might keep doggies from doing #1 on your lawn...

this pattern donated by thanks Eydie!

Mexican luncheon

Mailorder 2-903 - Mexican duo pattern

I love this shocked-looking senorita - perhaps she's astounded at the sheer volume of fruit one can balance on one's head? Or maybe senor is singing something a bit risque to her, somewhere along the lines of "Aya en el Rancho Grande?" In any case, they make a cute couple, and according to this sheet, are a "corner motif". The center motif is cut out of my sheet and missing. The rest of the sheet has patterns for heart-shaped mother and daughter aprons and bonnets- cute, eh? Also a couple of kissing doves, smooching bunnies, and two shocked-looking fuzzy kitties, and cursive lettering that says "Big sis", "Little sis", and "mom."

this pattern donated by thanks Eydie!