Sunday, April 24, 2011

A lovely day with Anne Maria Clark in Richmond

Hello, dear readers!

Happy Easter to all!  The weather could not have been better in the Shenandoah!  Sunny skies and gentle breezes.  The smell of lilacs filled the air and it was bliss!

I am afraid that I may be a little long-winded in this post so grab a cup of tea or coffee and join me for a spell while I tell you of my trip to visit Anne Maria Clarke.

My trip to Richmond was AMAZING!  I wish that I could share pictures of Anne Maria Clark (Richmond Sampler) with you but due to understandable copyright issues, I cannot post them on the blog.  I am so sorry!!  I know that many of you were hoping to see the real Anne Maria and I am very sorry to disappoint you.  The staff at the Valentine Museum were the epitome of kindness and very helpful but in order to take pictures I was required to sign a waiver that I would not publish the pictures.  However, I was able to conduct a lot of research, specifically on the Anne Maria Clarke sampler, and I will share it with you once I have my notes in order.

My husband and I started the day in Richmond at Shockoe Hill Cemetery.  I read in Kimberly Smith Ivey's book, In the Neatest Manner: The Virginia Sampler Tradition that Anne Maria Clarke was buried there.  I knew that Anne Maria Clarke married George K. Crutchfield and might be buried in his family plot.  This was a long shot since Anne was George's second wife (sometimes the second wife ends up in her parent's plot and I had no idea who they were.)   I procured an old and barely legible, handwritten map of Shockoe Hill Cemetery and found three Crutchfield plots.  While researching Shockoe Hill Cemetery I also discovered that a man was found shot to death in front of the gate to the cemetery LAST WEEK.  Further investigation uncovered that Shockoe Hill Cemetery is located in a VERY BAD part of town.  So, hubby and I were very careful walking around!

As luck would have it we found Anne Maria with little trouble.  She is buried in the Crutchfield plot with George K.'s two other wives.   While George was thrice married, it appeared as though her was gracious toward his wives.  All three, including Anne, had very nice obelisk tombstones and all three women were buried in his family plot.   Here is Anne Maria's final resting place

Her tombstone reads: To the memory of Anne M. Wife of Geo. K. Crutchfield
Born Apl 9th 1812  Died March 31 1851

Anne is buried next to George K.'s first wife, Wilhelmina (on left.)  George and his third wife are buried on the right (not pictured.)
Although the area around the cemetery is questionable, it is important to note that the cemetery itself is well take care of.  The graves are maintained and it is a very peaceful setting.  It was so nice to visit Anne Maria; I now feel a special kinship with Anne Maria as I stitch her beautiful sampler.

For the history buffs in the group, I have also included a picture of the Shockoe Hill Cemetery Landmark sign.  Yes, Chief Justice John Marshall is also buried there!

After our sojourn to the cemetery, hubby and I ate a quick lunch in the gardens of the Valentine Museum.  It was a glorious day and the weather was perfect. 


After lunch we made our way to the front of the Valentine Museum.  It is located on Clay Street, which is lined beautifully with trees. 
I was so excited to get into the museum and see Anne Maria that I neglected to take a picture of the front of the museum!

Once in the museum, I checked in at the front desk and was quickly ushered upstairs to the Archive Room.  I was greeted warmly by one of the archivists named Autumn.  She had already pulled several needlework books for my perusal as well as the Conservator's Report on Anne Maria Clarke's sampler.  As I thumbed through the pile of delicious books, Autumn called the curator to bring in the samplers.  I viewed two samplers, Anne Maria Clarke and a sampler stitched by Mary Washington (not sure if there is a kinship to George Washington) commemorating the Richmond Theater fire of 1811.  I was allowed to view both samplers for several hours and I took copious notes as I poured over each one.  Since the archives were only open from 12 to 4, I did not have enough time to read all of the research articles that Autumn pulled for me.  I did, however, get to make copies of most of the articles and I am continuing to read them and take notes. 

One thing is for sure, I got goosebumps looking at Anne Maria's sampler.   The sampler did not disappoint and I promise to share with you my notes as well as historical research regarding the piece.  There are many interesting facts about Anne Maria's sampler and I did find it interesting that she was not picky about ending her crosses with the same leg!  Heck, after all those queen stitches, who can blame her?

Thank you for sticking with me through my extensive post.  I promise to have a full report on Anne Maria very soon!  Until then, happy stitching!

Cheers,
Valerie

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Richmond Sampler Progress...

Hello dear readers!

It was a gorgeous day in the Shenandoah!  What beautiful weather...I threw open the windows and enjoyed the fragrant breeze. 

My spring break has been wonderful and quite relaxing.  I have spent quite a bit of time stitching and have only had eyes for my dear Anne Maria Clarke.  She is really starting to take shape!  Here is my progress so far...

Here was my progress as of a week ago...

It may not look like a lot of progress but those trees...let me tell you!  I am glad there were only two of them! 

Tomorrow I will be in Richmond, Virginia and visit the original Anne Maria Clarke (Richmond Sampler.)  Words cannot express how excited I am!  The ladies in the archives of the Valentine Museum (where the sampler is housed) have been extremely helpful.  They were interested in seeing my own Richmond Sampler so it will be tagging along with me.  I am thrilled that my reproduction will be in the same room as the original!  WOW!  I will also visit the cemetery where Anne Maria Clarke is buried; I hope to find her grave and pay my respects. 

I would like to thank all of you who have taken the time to leave comments; they mean the world to me!  Thank you for the kind words and compliments.  I treasure my Blog Land friends...you guys are the best!

I promise a full Richmond report as soon as I return!  Happy Stitching!

Cheers,
Valerie

Monday, April 18, 2011

LOVE Spring Break!

Hello, dear Readers!

It is a lovely Monday morning here in the Shenandoah.  The birds are chirping, the sun is shining and the leaves are budding on the trees.  What a glorious spring morning!

It is Spring Break week for my school division and I am enjoying every minute of it!  I stitched on the Saturday SAL with my dear friend Robin (no blog.)  Here is my Saturday progress...

This piece is a fun and quick stitch.  I love the colors and I especially enjoy reflecting on the words as I stitch them.  I cannot wait to have it hanging in my classroom!

I am also planning a trip to Richmond this week.  I will be visiting the Valentine Museum where I will view the original Richmond Sampler (Anne Maria Clarke.)  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I will view the original Richmond Sampler!  It is not on display due to the fact that it is in such terrible condition.  I contacted the archives department who then contacted the curator and after numerous emails it has been decided that the lovely Richmond Sampler will be coming out of storage so that I may meet her!  I am beyond excited!  The ladies in the archive department at the Valentine Museum have been so helpful...they are needlework enthusiasts too!  I am scheduled to view Richmond Sampler on Thursday and I promise to report back with a thorough dissertation.  I was also thrilled to find out that the files of the Valentine Museum contain a conservators report with historical information on the sampler and the stitcher, Anne Maria Clarke.  It is 17 pages long!  When the ladies in the archives department told me that...well...I thought I had died and gone to heaven!  SEVENTEEN whole pages written about the Richmond Sampler and Anne Maria Clarke?  It is a historian's dream!  I am giddy with excitement!

While I stitch away the time till Thursday, I plan on enjoying the lovely weather as well.  My kitty Simon is anxious to get outside too.  Simon is very skittish and well...he is a mama's boy.  He is not an outdoor type of cat but he LOVES to go outside, eat grass and sniff around.  I do not allow him to roam the yard by himself so I usually accompany him.  When the weather is gorgeous, like this morning, he sits at the kitchen door and begs to go outside. 


Since his is a Siamese, he is rather vocal,  ALL THE TIME!  But that is what I love about him. 


His sister, on the other hand, is a total tomboy and stays outside from morning till night. 


Not to worry, we live on a farm away from traffic.  Both of my kitties are great about staying in the yard and close to home.  Besides, the lambs provide them with hours of entertainment.  I caught a great picture of the lambs playing on top of the hay bales! 

We live on a sheep farm but it is our landlord who owns the farm and the sheep.  We are lucky to have such wonderful, picturesque surroundings!

Well, dear friends, I guess I should venture outside with my cat and my stitching...it is going to be a good week!  Till next time...Happy Stitching!

Cheers,
Valerie

Sunday, April 10, 2011

One day closer to Spring Break!

Hello dear readers!

It was a warm and sunny day here in the Shenandoah!  I hope everyone was able to enjoy a lovely spring weekend!  We have one week left of school before Spring Break!  I cannot wait!!!

I was able to get some stitching done over the past week.  I did make some progress on Psalm 23...

Vera K Psalm 23
32 ct. white evenweave
DMC threads

I will be glad to get this one finished...it has only been a WIP for about 10 years!

I also stitched on my SAL with my dear friend Robin (no blog.)  As I mentioned before, we stitch on Saturdays and here is my progress so far...

Lizze*Kate ABC Lessons
32 count Lambswool
Crescent Colors and DMC


I am really enjoying the Lizzie Kate ABC Lessons.  It has been an enjoyable stitch and the colors are a lot of fun.  I plan to purchase the button pack to accompany it.  When it is finished, I will be hanging it in my classroom.  Hopefully, it will provide my students with some positive encouragement!

Finally, dear readers, I leave you with my dear kitty, Simon.  He was lounging on the couch this evening when I snapped his picture.  The blue blanket is his Snuggie (he LOVES that thing) and his paw is on my project bag (containing Richmond Sampler.)  He is my beloved companion and is beside me every time I sit down to stitch.  He is quite spoiled...can't you tell?


I have promised some charts to people over the past few weeks.  I will to get to the post office very soon and get those charts in the mail!  My post office keeps crazy hours and I sometimes I do not make it in time after school.  However, I promise to win at their game this week!  Also, a lovely lady named Addie left a comment on my last post about Richmond Sampler.  I would like to respond but she did not leave a return email and her email is not listed on her profile. 
Addie, if you are reading this, please send me an email at valiehokie@gmail.com.  I would love to chat with you! 

Take care everyone and have a great week!

Cheers,
Valerie

Monday, April 4, 2011

Richmond Sampler progress and a New Start!

Hello dear readers!

It is warm and sunny here in the Shenandoah!  I think I can say with some certainty that Spring has officially sprung! 

Thanks to all of you who commented on Fine Arts Day.  It was a special day for me and one that I will hold dear to my heart for years to come.  Thank you for your support and well wishes!

Now to the nitty gritty.  I did finish the border on Richmond Sampler (finally!)  Here is my before progress...

Here she is as of now...border complete and patiently waiting for the house to take shape. 
I have also started a new piece, Lizzie*Kate's "ABC's."  I am stitching this as a SAL with my dear friend, Robin (no blog.)  She is stitching the Lizzie*Kate "Dog Rules."  Our SAL is for Saturdays only but sometimes I cheat and stitch on Sundays too!  I know that Robin does not mind....it is the only way that I can keep up with her progress on Saturdays!  I think that I am going to enjoy working on this one...the pink is such a pretty color...makes me think of SPRING!

Well, that just about does it for this installment.  I have been away from blogging for the past couple of weeks due to work and life overload.  Not in a bad way, just a lot going on!  But I am stitching on an hope to have more to share soon! 

Cheers,
Valerie