I had a lovely welcome from the Yorkshire Branch of the Embroiderers' Guild last week when I was invited to talk to members about the Ackworth School samplers. Centred on Leeds, this was the second branch of the Embroiderers' Guild to be founded 75 years ago by the first president, Louisa Pesel who was born and bred in nearby Bradford. While many people have heard of the Quaker Tapestry, very few by comparison have heard of the Quaker samplers from Ackworth School - even Friends themselves.
The members had thoughtfully brought along an array of their embroidered 'samplers' to make me feel at home. This first was chosen as a sampler of flowers. This is the sort of work my mother loved to stitch at the kitchen table in the evenings - sometimes my sisters and I would wake up in the morning to find lovely flowers or sometimes a butterfly stitched to our petticoats. They made us feel so special.
At another end of the spectrum is this loose-leaf book, recently made to keep a note of special techniques learned in a workshop. This is just the inspiration I need so that I can keep together all my small trials which for some perverse reason always end up on separate pieces of linen. In fact, I love talking to guilds, because I learn so much from them and I always come home with heaps of new ideas. Thank you, Yorkshire Branch, and Happy Birthday!