Come with me in the Wayback Machine to 1995. I had a subscription to JCS mag. That year, the magazine ran a year-long series of mini-samplers designed by Linda P Reeves of La Broderie (sadly, now defunct). I fell in love with them from the start, and dreamed of stitching one for every year. I never got around to it.
Sometime last year, I decided Now Is The Time. I gathered the materials I would need for the entire year. It wasn’t always an easy task. Each month uses a different Caron Waterlilies floss. My LNS doesn’t carry the entire line. I wasn’t sure they weren’t discontinued. Research ensued. Weird thing was, a lot of stores didn’t carry Mountain Meadow. A special order was easy; Caron still makes it. I was just surprised many stores didn’t carry it. Each month uses a different bead embellishment. Some months used Mill Hill; that was easy. Some months used ‘attachments’ from Access Commodities. That’s where it got hard. There were ONS that carried what I needed. I would have to buy whole ‘vials,’ and it wasn’t always easy to determine how many of each ‘attachment’ were in a vial. One company I emailed never responded. Their prices were good, but maybe that’s b/c they’re a fly-by-night company? Another company was expensive. My LNS had some of the embellishments I needed, but said that for them to order the ones they didn’t have, they’d have to place a really large order, and there’s no guaranteeing when they’d be placing a large order. They suggested I bring the charts in so they could help me find suitable substitutes. The first time, I only brought my working copies–five minutes before they closed. They thought it would be easier to find substitutes if they could see what they were looking for (and, unspoken, if it wasn’t when they were getting read to go home). They were really helpful when I finally brought in the magazines with the pictures. I’m not sure every substitute will work, but I’m optimistic.
At first, I thought I’d stitch each month’s sampler during its month–starting with January in January. I thought better of it. It would be too easy to stitch the sampler, and then procrastinate on getting it finished. Another puzzler: how to finish them? Framing is expensive, even for tiny little things. Was something I intended to display only one month at a time worth the expense of framing? Not to mention the challenges involved in storing framed items! I thought I’d make bell pulls. I’d have a single hook, and I could rotate each month very easily. I’ve never made a bell pull. I could learn! You know what? They can wrinkle. Then I thought: flat folds store easily. I’ve made a flat fold. I was on to something. They are flat, they store easily enough, I just have to take care with the embellishments. This was my solution. I was very excited. I had my supplies; I had a plan.
I set up a schedule that involves stitching a new sampler each month, finishing a new sampler each month, and displaying a new sampler each month. The start-to-finish schedule will take longer than a year (I need an extra month for making February’s flat fold), but if I keep on schedule, I’ll have stitched all twelve months this calendar year. In January, I stitched “March.” In February, I stitched “April” and assembled the “March” flat fold. In March, it’s “May” stitching and “April” flat-folding. And “March” displaying.