June 07, 2009

Sugar Magnolia

Yesterday I went to the farmer's market for veggies, and paid a visit to the little Masonic cemetery nearby. It's in a little brick-walled area behind some modern buildings, and it's very old. Many of the headstones are cracked or rubbed smooth by the weather. It's cool and mossy and green inside. Most of the graves date to the early-mid-1800s. Pre-civil war. The local Civil War dead are in some larger cemeteries nearby, including a bunch of the Green Mountain Volunteers, 600 miles from Vermont, who are spinning in their graves as Walmart tries to build yet another store on--or too close to--a Civil War battlefield.

I spied this pair of gravestones: "My Mother's Grave" and "My Father's Grave." I looked around for "My Grave" but didn't see it. I'm sure it wasn't meant to be humorous; probably the person who purchased the stones couldn't afford individual carving. Interesting that you could get a generic gravestone then. I work with someone whose dad has a monument business; now all the carving is done with machines, and it's all set up on a computer screen. Photographs of the departed can be screened onto the stones. I like the old way better; it's hard to imagine a photo of someone wearing their favorite Grateful Dead tee shirt weathering gracefully and looking anything but odd in 200 years. A lot of the headstones in the cemetery had willow imagery and carvings of weeping women that looked a lot like the samplers we do. There are some things computers just don't improve, unless it's just the bottom line. I wonder if you could get a hand-carved stone if you tried.

There was a large magnolia tree in the cemetery. I have no idea if it's a sugar magnolia, but the song just popped into my head while I was looking at it. So comforting to have a dumb soundtrack to accompany everything I do; I suppose it's a function of age.

I finished the "Z" on Alphabetissimo, and now I move on. Most of the remaining letters and motifs are smaller, so it will feel as if I am picking up speed, even if I'm not. I worked some more on Christinia, but not enough to show.

I'm kitting "Betsy" up. My LNS only had a few of the NPI silks I needed, so I sent an email to Jan at Only One Ewe Needlework, she responded immediately, pulled the fibers I needed (psst--on sale!) and popped them in the mail to me the same afternoon, along with a CC skein I was missing to kit up Country Cottage's "She Sells Seashells." Wonderful--thanks so much, Jan! I'd love to start this before 4th of July, although I can only say that I might be done by NEXT Independence day. Jan has also done the conversion to NPI for the Mary Wigham Ackworth Quaker sampler. I remain on the fence about that sampler. I love how it looks, and it would be fun to join the stitch-along, but I've got so many other things going or in the wings...

Here's my sugar magnolia, looking stern. Pink: "You'd better get back to your homework or that "Z" will be the grade you get!"

Happy week!

22 comments:

Melissa said...

Hi Glenna,

I didn't know about gravestone rubbings till recently. I'd never heard of them but then I'd never seen gravestones like these in this neck of the woods neither. Very interesting!

You're doing great with the 'alphabets'! I just bought some silks from HDF for Betsey and I hope to stitch it this summer.

Have a great stitching week!

Margaret said...

I agree with you on the tombstones -- the old handcarved ones are so classy compared to what's available now. Good going on your alphabetissmo WIP. I love Betsy too and hope to stitch her someday. And I'm the same way with Mary Wigham too. I'm collecting the charts -- we'll see when I get around to stitching it!

Andrea said...

You cracked me up about the soundtrack in your head, I am the same way too. I really got it from my husband, who is the best I've ever known at that, he's got a song for everything, that or a movie line, lol!


I agree with you about the gravestones nowadays. They used to be so beautiful. When my MIL died last year, my SIL had a GLAMOUR SHOT photo from the 90's put on the gravestone, and I'm sorry, but it was so tacky I almost cried about it.

Your WIP looks lovely! Can't wait to see your progress on Betsy, that's one in my stash I've yet to do....

Happy stitching!

bunnygirl said...

I love visiting old cemeteries. We don't have any really old ones in Houston, so it's a favorite activity when I go to the little New England towns, where there's a graveyard on practically every street corner.

My favorite grave here in Houston is of two teenage girls who died in the Galveston hurricane of 1900. I paid them a visit just yesterday, since my morning run took me past their cemetery.

Kellie said...

Alphabetissmo is looking wonderful! I love Betsy! That is one of the WIPs I pulled out to work on here in the near future. I have her about halfway finished. Sweet Pink! So cute!! :) I, too, think that the older tombstones have more character. Grateful Dead t-shirt....LOL!

mainely stitching said...

Pink sure is a hard task-master!! A "Z" indeed!

I just love old graveyards. It was a passion my ex and I shared. Niek, sadly, couldn't care less. I think they are such peaceful places to pass the time.

Jan said...

What awesome and interesting gravestones! Have never seen anything like that...I love visiting old cemeteries, peaceful and gets one mind wondering about the people.

Awesome stitching progress, the alphabets is looking wonderful. I can't wait to see your start of Betsy and you are muchly welcome!

Tammy said...

The alpha is exquisite-so pretty! And those graves are so neat. Betsey is such a cool design. I love patriotic stuff!

Anna van Schurman said...

The Dude and I were watching Forensic Files this weekend and one of those screened gravestones came up. "When I die, do not put a picture of me on the stone," I said. He agreed and concurred. Of course, we want to be ashed. Great progress on Alphabetissimo.

Colleen said...

We live in PA and there are a LOT of old cemeteries here, both Civil War and Confederate. My DH and I love to walk them and read the stones that are still readable. We enjoy living in such a place that is so rich in history :)

Love the alphabet sampler :)

Siobhan said...

Glenna, what fabulous pics of the tombstones. Thanks for sharing! I love going through old cemetaries; what a story they tell.

Great progress on the alphabet piece!! YGG!

I'm on the fence about Mary Wigham, too. Tempted but then my mind flashes to the other Needleprint Quakers that I have kitted up & not stitched. Gulp.

Sherry said...

How neat about the tombstones. I just love walking through old graveyards and wondering about the people buried there.

The alphabet look wonderful and I love Betsy!

Kit said...

The old gravestones are more elegant, the newer stones seem so gaudy. Alphabetissmo looks wonderful, you are stitching it so quickly. I can't get over how cute Pink is!

Michelle said...

I love that Betsy chart! Your alphabet is looking marvelous as well. To answer your question, no I haven't finished my Bay Sampler. It was one of the WIPs I had when I first started the blog, that is still a WIP. Sadly. I love that piece, so I should really get back to it. Is yours finished?

The Scarlett House said...

I once said that if I were to have a tombstone, it would have to say " She finally got to the end of her stash".

mrbarrington said...

Pink is right. Do not defy the homework!

Michelle said...

Glenna, I agree it would be nice to get the Bay finished up. I may see if I can pull mine out again too. Are you doing the satin stitching/specialty stitches or yours or just straight cross-stitch. I stitched one little part with satin stitch and I don't think I like it. If you go to my March 19, 2007 post you can pretty much see my last update on it. There's a ways to go, but then again most of what's left is the little stuff. I agree, it is a bit "spread out", I am stitching on a gigantic piece of fabric (28ct), and you're right those silks were not cheap by any stretch of the imagination. So it's definitely worth finishing.

Terri(TerriBoog) said...

Glenna! What a GREAT post!!! I love to visit old cemetery's and it looks like you've found a great one. I have never seen a set of tombstones like that - thanks so much for sharing the picture! Your Alphabetissimo looks awesome and I love the Betsy chart you're going to start.

samplerlover said...

What beautiful gravestones. It is very interesting looking at all the different styles and ages of them. I like going to a very old part of Sydney and looking at the gravestones there. Very interesting.

Your alphabets are looking lovely. I love these samplers. I to am collecting Mary, but I have bigger fish to fry as they say. Maybe one day.

I do have a pair of sheepskin slipppers, but they didn't seem to be working. Thank goodness, the sun is out and I am thawing out.

Have a great stitching weekend.

Dona said...

Now that's a headstone! Very solid. And interesting to consider where their child ended up.

I love Sugar Magnolia by GD. Another great magnolia song is Magnolia by JJ Cale.

How great that you are going to stitch Betsy, which is also on my to do list. It looks like a fun one to do.

Brigitte said...

DH and I are often visiting old graveyards, the older the better. There are such beautiful gravestones among the old ones.
Great progress on your alphabet. And your next project also sounds terrific. I love Betsy but haven't stitched her yet.

Kathy said...

Love that Betsy design. Who is the designer and full name of the design? It seems that I just have to add that to my stash.