Dyed and Gone to Heaven – An Online Magazine and Needlework Resource  

Celebrating with Needlework

by Rita Vainius

June's Feature Story celebrates unique and truly exceptional needlework garments and accessories made especially for the most special and momentous family milestones such as weddings, anniversaries, births, christenings and the like. We are thrilled to be able to share with you needlework items made by four adventurous, creative and accomplished stitchers and designers to commemorate the special occasions which have been celebrated in their own families' lives.

Proposal Pillow


Carmen R. Wyant is a designer with her own line called "Columbine Designs" which includes a series of sewing and needlerolls with floral motifs and the first 2 in another series called "Sunday's Child" and "Monday's Child." Carmen specializes in designing heirloom pieces which can be handed-down, such as her innovative "Proposal Pillow," which can easily be converted into an "Anniversary Pillow." It is constructed from a hand-dyed linen and consists of a series of embroidered "petals." When "closed" the outermost petals contain the inscription:

Come my love, Come sit with me,

Come sit beneath, The sweetheart tree

Open the outer "petals"and one reads further:

Be my best friend, Through trouble and strife,

Be thou my helpmeet, All the days of my life

These inner petals unfold yet again to reveal the actual proposal:

Sweetheart, will you marry me?

At the edges, around a circle of flowers the message continues: "For better, for worse, in sickness and in health" with 2 heart eyelets for attaching the rings. To convert the Proposal Pillow into an Anniversary Pillow, below the original question, "Will you marry me?" is added the word, "Again." Now if the hopeful bridegroom-to-be made this pillow and presented it to his own true love, is there a woman anywhere who would say no?

Purses for the Wedding Party

Presenting an exquisite collection of purses designed by Tanya Ilnicki, June's Online Class teacher, for the members of her brother's wedding party. Tanya created each one specifically to suit both the occasion and the individual for whom it was made. The intriguing story of how Tanya became a beaded purse designer can be found in the introduction to this month's Online Class. The images show her sister-in-law's bag, known as "Crystal's Wedding Purse," which is constructed using white perle cotton and over 11,000 white seed beads. It is additionally embellished with rhinestone rondells and blue Austrian crystals. The purse is finished with a tafetta lining and accentued by a reproduction Victorian style silver frame and chain. Also shown is the purse made for Tina Waite, named the "Mother-of-the-Bride Purse," fashioned from chocolate brown perle cotton, amber silver lined seed beads with a reproduction gold frame and chain. Tanya's sister, Melissa, a bridesmaid, carried the purse called "Black Beauty" knitted with black perle cotton, hex cut black/purple beads, Austrian crystal embellishments and topped with a gold reproduction frame. Last, but certainly not least, we present Tanya's purse for her own special role as the Maid of Honor, named "Valentine's Day Remembered." It features avocado green perle cotton, hex cut black/purple beads, amethyst Austrian crystals and a gold Victorian reproduction frame. It is further enhanced by a removable broach as an added embellishment.


The Tale of the Wedding Gown that turned into a Christening Gown

Can a creative and competent stitcher be both eminently innovative and practical at the same time? Meet Nancy Kerwin who embodies both attributes and more! When Nancy's daughter, Laurie, decided to marry, Nancy resolved to make her wedding gown. Nancy used a Vogue pattern to make a Victorian Wedding Gown from white bridal satin. The dress featured a high- necked collar, fitted bodice, full skirt and leg-of-mutton sleeves which came to an elegant point down the hand. The entire dress was lined and finished with French seams. The embroidery took 8 months of intensive stitching and consisted of vertical rows of a repeating pattern of combination needlepoint stitches, done on fine linen with silk thread and blending filament covering both the front and back of the bodice, as well as the bottom of each sleeve. When completed, the verdict was unanimous: the embroidery was absolutely impeccable. Nancy's stitching complimented the style perfectly, each setting off the other to maximum advantage. Nancy had created a truly remarkable heirloom.

But the story continues: Nancy began to wonder how the gown might again be used. Way before there was even a grandchild in the picture, Nancy began to entertain the idea of transforming the wedding gown into a christening gown. Approximately 4 years later, when Laurie conceived, Nancy was ready to overcome Laurie's obvious initial opposition to the idea! Nancy, her trusty stitch-ripper in hand, proceeded to undo every French seam. The embroidered bodice and sleeves formed the bodice and sleeves of the baby's gown and newly added were a slip and some lace with the palest pink ribbon running through it. When Nancy's new granddaughter, Casey Marie, was christened, she wore a gown which indeed told quite a tale. Looking ahead, Nancy rejoices that she still has enough fabric leftover from the original gown to make a suit for a future grandson and continue the tradition. Talk about a labor of love - that doesn't yet seem to have any end.

Two Weddings and a Needleworker

Genevieve Hartigan is a dedicated stitcher and her family has long since grown accustomed to always seeing her with needle in-hand. Genevieve was blessed with 2 lovely daughters and each of them have been blessed in turn by a mother whose stitching talents have borne fruit as extremely unique garments and accessories made for their respective weddings.

Elder daughter, Jane, received a marvelous Engagement gift: a box with a thread "bejeweled" insert with the design "Ice Crystals," by Susan Kerndt, For Jane's wedding Genevieve resolved to make something extravagant and out-of-the-ordinary - a pair of Victorian wedding slippers which rival even Cinderella's. Genevieve used a Berlin Needlework pattern, circa 1850, working it in needlepoint and adding an additional embellishment of tiny pearls along the "tongue." She found an artisan who specialized in soft leather work to finish them and when done, fit Jane like a pair of kid gloves. And talk about classy; the picture in this case says it all!


Lest you think that her younger daughter was slighted when it came her turn, never fear; Genevieve is one resourceful lady! Ever since Martha was a child, she had insisted she would one day have a Christmas wedding. True to her word the affair was flush with all the richly luxuriant trimmings of the season. The bride was a vision right out of Doctor Zhivago in her gown trimmed with white fox. Genevieve stitched a spectacular cummerbund for the bridegroom, Robert Joseph Morley, bearing his Family Crest against a plaid background. She also made her own husband's cummerbund using a painted canvas design, "Holly." Genevieve carried a bag she had stitched with an elaborately adorned tree, called the "Merry Christmas Purse". It was a glorious and unforgettable Yuletide wedding and best of all, Genevieve's needlework is imbued with all the beautiful memories of both marriages forever.


Carmen Wyant's Proposal Pillow

For more information contact Columbine Designs, 56560 Hwy. 83, Swan Lake, MT 59911
phone: (406) 754-2821
fax: (406) 754-2821
e-mail: cnd2821@montana.com
More Columbine Designs can be viewed at http://www.creativehand.com and http://www.elegantstitch.com

Tanya Ilnicki's Beaded Purses

To view Tanya Ilnicki's Beaded Bag Collection go to http://www.globalairphotos.com/thebeadedbag/

For more information contact Tanya Ilnicki at
34917 Harris Road, Abbotsford. B.C, Canada V3G 1R7
phone: (604) 859-6696
e-mail: ilnicki@uniserv.com

Genevieve Hartigan Wedding/Christmas Accessories:

Ice Crystals Design by Susan Kerndt available from the Caron Collection

Box from Sudberry House, 12 Colton Rd., East Lyme, CT 06333
phone: (860) 739-6951
e-mail: sales@sudberry.com
website: http://www.sudberry.com

Victorian Slipper Pattern - For more information contact:
Elizabeth Creeden at The Sampler
address: 84 Court St., Plymouth, MA 02360
phone: (508) 746-7077

Slippers Finished by Donna Zendler, 201 Timber Lane, Marstons Mills. MA 02648. Donna also offers custom finishing for belts, purses and other items.

Morley Family Crest Design by Hillcroft House, P.O.Box 800, Newtown, PA 18940
phone: (215) 968-4299
Over 2500 Coats of Arms designs are available. For further details see their website at http://www.hillcroft.com

The Holly Cummerbund by Designer Belts Unlimited and the Merry Christmas Purse are available from the Wellesley Needlepoint Collection, 22 Grove Street, Wellesley, MA 02481
phone: (781) 235-2477

Finishing for both cummerbunds done by Marcia Brown of The Binding Stitch
address: 8 Taunton Ave., Dennis, MA 02638
phone: (508) 385-2444

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: No part of this feature story nor the included designs can be reproduced or distributed in any form (including electronic) or used as a teaching tool without the prior written permission of the CARON Collection Ltd. or the featured designers.



© 1999 The Caron Collection / Voice: (203) 381-9999, Fax: 203 381-9003

CARON email: mail@caron-net.com