Friday, January 13, 2012


Recently, one of my very small collection of samplers was mentioned on a blog called Britsamplers, which seems to seek out all the various renderings for a specific occasion.    That was a sampler commemorating the birth of Princess Anne, but this is for a quite different event: the abdication.

I love the homeliness of this piece.  Imagine having worked up the sampler for the Coronation, no doubt from a pattern offered in a magazine....  all the detail of armed forces uniforms and the various royal palaces.  All the flags of the Dominions - all that detail.  Even applying the stamp for the new king...  You have just got it all done when the announcement comes: a Nation's Disappointment, indeed.

Little wonder that the maker added this text along the sides.

Top half in detail:

and lower half

Over Christmas I unearthed this little sampler project.  The notion originally was to use the miniature blocks to make a frame for a mirror for our hall.  I remember choosing a sampler pack of silk in Sweet Pea colours from a trader called The Silk Route at a textiles fair.  The colours would have just fitted in nicely with the deep burgundy flowers of the hall wall-paper.

 I can date the abandonment of the project precisely to the moment  when the wallpaper, indeed the wall itself, ceased to exist.  It was past midnight when we were woken by an enormous crash from downstairs.  In our hall was the front half of a car - how could this be?  And more than that ... it was moving back and forwards - but with no driver in it.  The stuff of nightmares?  It was certainly surreal.

A self-employed painter and decorator had been paid in cash first thing that morning and had spent the day drinking, to the point where he was beyond drunk. He got in his white van, clipping a number of vehicles as he left the car-park, and arrived in our street unable to notice the line of parked cars.  He hit the first one so hard that it shunted two others along before pivoting through our front wall, still attached to the front of his van.  Then he tried to reverse out so as to drive away, hitting the shop opposite several times in the process.

Amazingly, although the damage to the cars in the street ran to thousands, no one was injured, not even the drunk.  In our house the front wall was gone but ours is a very old house and the main timbers are  some feet back from the frontage.  We park down the street, so our cars were safe.

 The only thing smashed was a large brown pottery jar, which at first seemed to have vanished.  When we located all the shards my husband was able to reassemble the whole thing, so that no one would know it had happened - unless they looked closely.

Now, I am thinking that the silk blocks might be assembled into a cushion cover, with a little sashing.


Cathy Holtom said...

How frightening, but the blocks will make lovely cushions!
Thank you for your kind comment on my blog :)

Shan said...

What a funny story! I'm sure not too funny at the crucial moment, but...

Anairam said...

I spot the old SA flag in that sampler! Wow - what a story - but I am glad the blocks survived and will be used in another project ...

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Dear Heaven ! One has to hope he's now teetotal .
Your silk blocks are beautiful and will make a lovely cushion .Shouldn't take too long ?

Meanwhile I love the ingenuity of the sample maker ... waste not , want not .