Gathering Threads

Yes, Virginia. There is a Santa Claus

Posted by on Mar 09 2011, in Smocking

It was my birthday last week and sometimes the best gifts are the most unexpected.  So, what do you think I got?

(I know – it’s like one of those Rorscharch tests.  “Tell me, madam, what do you see when you examine this picture?”)

Well, let me tell you what I got myself.  Lots and lots of magazines.  I mean, so many magazines, it took me hours just to sort through ’em.  And all thanks to one of those random coincidences that just happen sometimes.

Out of the blue last week, a lovely woman by the name of Virginia contacted me through my blog, asking if I knew of a local smocking guild who’d be interested in her collection of smocking and heirloom books.   Twenty years ago, she’d sewn for her children but now that they were grown, she’d become an ardent quilter and that took all her creative energies.  I told her there was one guild about 35 minutes south of Hamilton or that I could put her in touch with SAGA guilds south of the border who would certainly be interested.

Alternatively, if she wanted someone who loved smocking and just wanted them to have a good home, would she be interested in selling them to me?

Yes, she would.

So on Sunday I set out after a nasty spring snowstorm to have a look at these magazines.  All I knew was that there were two boxes worth and that there were CN, AS&E and Inspirations. You know us smockers: neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet…

Well, it was the heirloom mecca.   More than 200 magazines, books and patterns.  In like new condition almost to an issue.Do you know how many magazines that is? Well, when we got home, we weighed them. Each bankers box was full to the brim – we stopped at 156 pounds of books and mags – we didn’t want them to fall off the bathroom scale.

In addition to the nearly 200+ back issues, I also picked up five hardcover books…are you ready for this: All three of Martha Pullen’s Heirloom books (including Grandmother’s Hope Chest) and both of Sarah Howard Stone’s FHS books (with pattern supplements).

I spent three hours on Sunday afternoon, gorging myself on magazines.   There are now magazines on my dining room table.  Magazines on the piano bench.  Magazines in numerical order, stacked up knee high on the floor.  I only got up when my butt went numb from sitting on the hardwood for three straight hours.  It’s like an all you can smock buffet!   Creative Needles, Inspirations, Australian Smocking and Embroidery – if I live to be 500, I’m never going to smock it all.  But goodness, it’s going to be fun trying!

Check this out – the first 25 Inspirations, complete, with all their inserts?  It’s like they came off the shelf yesterday!  Beautiful.

And AS&Es.  So many AS&Es I’m giddy.   Bishops and counterchange and bullions and absolute, utter *bliss.*

Look!  Look!  That’s every issue from #2 onwards up to #24!  I didn’t even know there really was a #2 issue!  It’s like a Yeti or a firebreathing dragon.  You hear about them but you don’t actually expect to find one in real life.

So thanks, Virginia, for using Google and finding me. 🙂   Your generosity in sharing this bounty is humbling and very much appreciated.


  • Virginia Rothwell

    Very happy you are so happy with these magazines. I used the money you gave me for them to purchase 6 LARGE spools of thread for the lady who machine quilts our Quilts of Valour. Virginia

  • Claire

    That’s fantastic. I hope you had a great time visiting Pennsylvania, Virginia.