I have long been fascinated by Victorian architecture and ornament. I live in Eureka, a seaport town on California's north coast, where its rich history of Victorian-era homes – from cottages to mansions – still line the streets. My interest in designing for needlepoint turned to cross stitch when I found incorporating partial stitches and backstitching into a design allowed for greater detail and realism. I think people get drawn into pictures to look at the details. Details are what I think Victorian architecture is all about.
In my California Northcoast Collection, each of my Eureka Victorians was designed and stitched during its centennial year. It was my way of celebrating these beautiful structures and their survival. What I try to capture in my designs is that picturesque quality and ornateness that was so much a part of Victorian optimism and their architecture.
My Victorian America Collection was created out of a desire to showcase elegant and noteworthy examples of Victorian architectural styles. Roseland Cottage, a National Historic Landmark, epitomizes the first Victorian architectural style to reach America – Gothic Revival. Others that followed were Italianate, Second Empire, Queen Anne, all with distinctive style features upon which decorative elements were heaped according to the owner's or builder's taste.
A house's survival seemed always linked to a person or an entity that cared enough to see it preserved. That especially appealed to me. I was also curious about who had built it, why it was built the way it was, how it was used then and over the years. It seemed to me I would have a much more complete picture of the house if I did some research with owners and learn some local history at the same time. I like sharing the house history with my customers and include this with a photograph of the house so they have a good sense of the house they are stitching.
Through my design work I have found satisfaction in not only celebrating these marvelous relics, but also the owners who saw through the tarnish of years and worked to restore their former grace. As with any passionate endeavor, the satisfaction and rewards seem built in.
We offer kits of all our Victorian house designs. Each kit contains the charted design, DMC floss carded with color numbers noted, a needle and 14 count Wichelt Imports Aida antique white fabric cut to the appropriate size. We hope those of you who enjoy the convenience of a kit will welcome this addition to our line. Please see our Order Form for price information.
The Victorian House Postcard Set includes five house designs - "Fulton Mansion", "Pink Lady", "Roseland Cottage", "Simpson-Vance House", and "Westerfeld House" - and sells for $1.50 per set postpaid in the U.S. and Canada. Each card measures 4" x 6" and all are vertical format. This set of 5 postcards is on the Order Form.
Some of the houses for which I have done cross stitch designs have their own web sites that you may enjoy browsing. Most include interior photos and some house history.
This section describes how to use the black and white charts in the Victorian Miniatures series to create your own color template. We hope you will enjoy playing with coloring these designs, and that you will soon be able to color any of the designs in this series. As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions.