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Let’s Talk About Susanna Jayne

I’m excited to share that I have released a new set of patterns!

They are currently available in my Etsy store and will be available to your local needlework stores through Hoffman soon.  I shared my release of them through my Flosstube video  a few days ago (and, yes, we’ll need to chat about Flosstube one of these days).

I think I’m going to take a few blog posts to share some back stories of these designs, because I enjoy telling stories.  Truthfully, when I have stitched a design by someone else, if there is a story behind it – whether it be the inspiration or just something connected to the creation of the pattern – well, I have always loved to know that.  It is because of that interest of mine when it comes to my stitching that I have wanted to share the stories of the patterns I create.

The pattern that I think I was most excited to share with all of you is The Death of Susanna Jayne – A Headstone Reproduction


In being an observer of trends and such in the cross stitch world, there is clearly a lot of “dark stitching” out there.  More than just simply a focus on Halloween, there are patterns and designs focuses on witches (the real, the accused – think Salem -, the Halloween-y, etc.), skeletons, death symbols, and the like.  While I have never stitched anything in this realm myself, I’ve been searching for something that would..intrigue me, you could say.

A few months ago, I picked up this book from the library:

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It was filled with artwork and history and symbolism and essays, all centered on the topic of death and how humans have dealt with it through the centuries.  A visual treasure trove.  From that book, a few ideas made it into my little idea notebook.  And, from that list, Susanna Jayne came into my life.

I began doing research on unique gravestones out there, particularly those that were significantly old.  Susanna Jayne’s gravestone had all the bells and whistles:

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She died in August of 1776 (just a month after the signing of the Declaration of Independence).  Her stone has a unique shape and is filled with symbolism, all of which I detail in the information I give with the pattern. She was clearly beloved by her husband, as evidenced by the epitaph and poem inscribed on the stone.

In fact, it was because there was so much writing on that stone that I ran into one of my challenges in reproducing.  I needed to keep size of the overall piece in mind.  Working from the words as a starting point and trying to use the smallest reasonable font, the finished stitched piece could get extremely large.  Instead, I made a decision to base my size off of the words from the top part – the epitaph.  The smaller words, the poem on the bottom part, I knew I just needed to do smaller.  I came to a realization that if I could make the entire design fit relatively comfortably on a fat quarter piece of fabric, that would have some appeal for a lot of cross stitchers. So, a backstitched alphabet would work for the poem.  However, I know that some stitchers prefer to avoid backstitching.  What about one-over-one stitching – could that work?  Why, yes it could.  However, other stitchers would avoid that like the plague.  What to do?  Why, offer both options!  And so I have.  Both versions of the bottom poem fit within the same space, within the same border, in the design and both are included in the pattern.  This allows a stitcher to do what is most comfortable for them.

The naming of the design. While for some weeks I’ve been calling this pattern simply “Susanna Jayne,” I knew I didn’t want to use just that for the final name of the pattern.  Think about it – so many reproduction sampler patterns out there use the name of the girl who stitched the sampler as the name of the pattern.  It is almost as if my pattern is the “opposite” of a sampler.  A sampler is created in life.  A gravestone is created for death.  So, a few extra words were needed for the title.  🙂

You can purchase The Death of Susanna Jayne as a paper pattern to be mailed to you here

You can purchase The Death of Susanna Jayne as a PDF instant download pattern here

Look for more blog posts in the coming days with a little more background and stories behind these new designs!

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