Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A Special Road Trip

What do you do to make the SAGA Wee Care Chair very happy (besides make Wee Care items for donation to NICU's throughout this country and others)?

Take her to Harney and Sons tea shop in Millerton, New York of course!

Wanda was visiting to teach her silk ribbon embroidered reticule to my chapter, Thimbleberry at their April workshop. I invited her to come a day earlier so that we could make the visit to Harney as she is a big fan of their tea!

Wanda tasting one of the days special brews

 And of course, Wanda left with some special purchases!

A very happy Wanda!

 After the excitement of Harney's we went on to lunch and then stopped off at Kent Falls State Park in Connecticut.

A great day out with perfect spring weather!

(And, yes, Wanda is wearing the embellished jacket featured in the last issue of SAGANews, Volume 37 Issue 1).

Saturday, April 23, 2016

'Pleasure and action make the hours seem short'

A quote from poet and playwright William Shakespeare who died on this day 400 years ago in 1616.

I thought that particular quote relevant to stitching as it gives both pleasure and the action of stitching makes time pass quickly (especially when you are on a deadline for completing that dress for a special occasion!)

Another Shakespeare quote is this one:

                          'I see that fashion wears out more apparel than the man'

This quote is also relevant today in the world of inexpensive ready-to-wear fashion items that we discard as soon as the next fashion must-haves arrive in the stores.
Embroidered nightcap 1600

Shakespeare lived from 1564 to 1616 during what is known as the Elizabethan period. He wrote 37 plays as well as sonnets. He married Anne Hathaway and spent his time between Stratford-on-Avon and London.

Embroidery was used a lot during this time to decorate clothing, window treatments and make items for the home. It was expensive to buy and much of it was especially commissioned. Embroidery from this period is very distinctive as it often features stitches 'in fashion' at the time- blackwork (used on cuffs and collars as it was reversible) ; tent stitch (everyday household items); stumpwork (decorative pieces such as boxes, mirrors, pictures).

The Bradford Table 'Carpet '1600 made in London

    Thursday, April 21, 2016

    A 90th Birthday

    His Majesty George VI (then Duke of York) and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother (then Duchess of York) with the baby Princess Elizabeth (now The Queen) at her christening in 1926

    Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is 90 today. 

    Today,  21 April, is her actual birthday. She also has an official birthday which is celebrated on a Saturday in June. Why two birthdays? Well an official day to mark the Sovereigns' birthday allows for the traditional birthday parade, Trooping of the Colour, to be held when the British weather is expected to cooperate!
    1928 Princess Elizabeth with her nanny-love that bonnet!

    Usually the Queen spends today privately with family, but there is always a 41 gun salute at midday in Hyde Park, a 21 gun salute in Windsor Great Park and a 62 gun salute at the Tower of London- that's a lot of birthday bangs! I am sure today will also be host to some non-traditional events.

    The Queen, then Princess Elizabeth and Prince Phillip's wedding attire worn November 1947

    The Queen is known for having a vast wardrobe of clothes and over the years has helped put some fashion designers on the map. Some of the designers who have dressed The Queen are:

    Norman Hartnell, who began working for the then Princess Elizabeth. His dresses for her were full-skirted in beautiful silks and satins-typical 1950's.

    Norman Hartnell drawing of Princess Elizabeth's going away outfit 1947

    Hardy Amies in the 1960's introduced a deceptive simplicity with his tailoring skills to The Queens wardrobe. 

    In the 1970's The Queen favoured an apprentice of Norman Hartnell, Ian Thomas. Ian's style was flowing chiffon dresses, reflecting the style of the decade. Maureen Rose, from the same fashion house, took over design when Ian dies in the late 80's

    The Queen delivering her Christmas Day message in 1953 from Wellington, New Zealand. 

                                          Look How formally she is dressed for a radio broadcast!

    John Anderson became the next designer until his death, when his business partner Karl Ludwig Rehse took over the designing and Her Majesty still wears many of his designs today.

    Queen Elizabeth in a pre-Royal Ascot race 1960. Note the headscarf, which the Queen favours when dressed informally.

    The youngest designer the Queen has had and who is currently designing for Her Majesty is Stewart Parvin.

    The Duke of Edinburgh, Jackie Kennedy, The Queen and President Kennedy June 1961

    Angela Kelly is The Queens Personal Assistant and Senior Dresser. Angela also helps design for Her Majesty, and in doing so uses a mix of old and new fabrics. Some of the material they incorporate dates from when Her Majesty The Queen was just the Princess Elizabeth. It has been in the Royal Stash for over 63 years!

     The hem of The Queen's dress, which was worn to the State Banquet at the President's House in Trinidad, 26 November 2009. The design features embroidered versions of the national birds of Trinidad and Tobago: the Scarlet Ibis (left) and the Cocrico of Tobago.
    I hope you enjoyed the photos I found for this post. I tried to find ones that are a little bit more rare or unusual and show HM Queen Elizabeth in everything from everyday wear to very formal!

    To celebrate The Queen's 90th birthday three exhibitions, Fashioning a Reign are being held at her official residences, Palace of Holyroodhouse, Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle. There will be over 150 dresses shown between the three exhibits, each piece chosen for its connection to the site.

    For more information visit:

    Saturday, April 16, 2016

    Have you picked your classes yet?

    Registration for the SAGA National Convention to be held in Hampton, Virginia September 20-25 2016 will open in a month's time- May 16, 2016 at 10:00 am Central Time

    Have you picked your classes yet?

    The full brochure can be downloaded as a PDF from the SAGA website (

    There are several ways to register for classes:

    1. On line (the easiest and fasted method)
    2. By phone
    3. By mail

    Saturday, April 9, 2016

    Saturday Sale

    It was a Saturday.
    It was a typical New England Spring day-cool; sunny; cloudy; damp; dry  changeable!
    What to do to pass the time?
    Go to a Tags and Treasurers Sale, what else?

    After an hour or so browsing I made my purchases (bearing in mind I actually needed nothing).

    1. Set of cocktail napkins with roosters
    2. Set of cocktail napkins with weather vanes and roosters (Marghab)
    3. Set of cocktail napkins with star signs
    (Some sort of pattern here?)
    4. Tray set
    5. Hand towel (Marghab)
    6. Tablecloth embroidered with shamrocks
    7. Tablecloth embroidered with roses
    8. Linen sheet (damaged and a little stained)
    9. 2 yards Liberty fabric from a store in Bermuda (it had a label with it!)
    10. Crystal brandy glass
    11. Silver plated trivet

    Total spent? $45.00

    Can you say Happy SAGANews Editor?

    Thanks to the Colonial Dames Tags and Treasurers Sale at the Webb-Deane-Stevens (WDS) Museum, Old Wethersfield, Connecticut.

    Monday, April 4, 2016

    Smocked Furniture

    These pieces are a collection of sofas and chairs named ‘Smock’ by designer Patricia Urquiola and made by Italian company, Moroso in 2005.

    The furniture had an internal steel frame and the non-removable cover was available in various fabrics and leather. Apparently you could also purchase goose down cushions, but these appear to be un-smocked.