Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Coming Soon - "Botanical Blessings"

I told you I would be back soon with information on two new releases that are shipping in the next few days...and (finally) here I am to tell you about the first one! I have been busy getting new Blue Ribbon Designs ready for release...two new designs will be shipping the first week of August, two the first week of September, and two the first week of October. Shipping to needlework shops later this week are "Botanical Blessings" and "Feathers, Flowers, and Fruit".

Botanical Blessings (BRD-110) is a Shaker-inspired needlework design and the chart includes a framed piece with three coordinating needlework smalls. After visiting the Enfield Shaker Village (for a teaching event) several years ago, I began doing quite a bit of research on the Shaker culture and gift drawings...this design was inspired by my visits to Enfield, NH, Shaker artwork, and my quest for knowledge.

A tiny bit about the Shaker culture:
The Shakers are known for their cleanliness, honesty and frugality - they believed in the value of hard work and kept comfortably busy. All Shaker villages ran farms, using the latest scientific methods in agriculture - they would raise most of their own farming and preserving the produce required to feed them through the winter season were seen as priorities. When not doing farm work, Shaker brethren pursued a variety of trades and hand crafts; when not doing housework, Shaker sisters did likewise, spinning, weaving, sewing, and making sale goods. Many Shaker villages had their own tanneries, sold baskets, brushes, bonnets, brooms, fancy goods, and homespun fabric that was known for high quality...but most communities were more famous for their medicinal herbs, garden seeds, apple-sauce, and knitted garments. The Shakers' dedication to hard work and perfection resulted in a very unique range of architecture, furniture and handicraft styles - they designed their furniture and architecture with care, believing that making something well was in itself, "an act of prayer." Other well-known artifacts of Shaker culture include their spirit (gift) drawings, dances, and songs.

In the few Shaker documents in which gift drawings are mentioned, they are typically referred to as sheets, rolls, signs, notices, tokens of love, presents, rewards, hearts—sometimes prefaced by the adjective sacred. Inspired by visionary experiences, gift drawings bridge the heavenly and the earthly spheres. Many portray beautiful images of heaven intended to demonstrate to Believers, young and old, the rewards that would await them by remaining faithful and living their lives in accordance with the Shaker principles. Many gift drawings depict delicately rendered trees, fruits, flowers, and other natural forms, as well as Shaker meeting houses, furniture, clocks, jewelry, and other human-made structures and objects, rendered more decorative than those common in daily life on earth. Gift drawings portray heaven as an idealized image of the earth and many demonstrate formal similarities with traditionally feminine crafts outside of Shaker culture, such as needlework, quilt making, plate painting, and samplers.

Another interesting fact - although the 1821 Shaker Millennial Laws did not prohibit the display of pictures, the 1845 Laws include the following ruling: "No maps, charts, and no pictures or paintings, shall ever be hung up in your dwelling-rooms, shops, or office. And no pictures or paintings set in frames, with glass before them shall ever be among you." By 1860, the Shakers began to relax the 1845 Laws, but history would suggest the gift drawings were not on display on an everyday basis, but rather kept privately by those to whom they were given or by the spiritual leadership in the Ministry and then shown to Believers on specific occasions.

My latest design, Botanical Blessings, was born after studying/reading about the Shaker spirit/gift drawings and seeing images in history and reference books.

BRD-110 Botanical Blessings

The models are stitched on 30-count Linen hand-dyed fabric from Weeks Dye Works with Weeks Dye Works cotton floss. The sampler (framed design) has a stitch count of 180 W x 180 H and is stitched with beautiful, rich colors...and the needlework smalls include a scissor fob, pin pillow, and needlebook. The chartpack contains charting for the sampler and three needlework smalls, stitching instructions, stitch diagrams, complete finishing instructions for the needlework smalls, and an alphabet/numbers for personalization.

Botanical Blessings - Needlework Smalls Front 

Botanical Blessings - Needlework Smalls Back

Botanical Blessings will start shipping to needlework shops on Friday, August 2nd...and will begin shipping to distributors on Wednesday, August look for this design to be available in needlework shops in mid-August.

For more details including a complete supply list, visit:

For additional photos visit:

Please stop back tomorrow when I will share all the details about my other new release BRD-111 Feathers, Flowers, and Fruit...


  1. Love it!!Can't wait to find this in my LNS.

  2. Super information presented in your post, Belinda! Botanical Blessings is a stunning design.


  3. Thanks for sharing a little of the Shaker history! Love this design and putting it on my to do list!