white on white embroidery

Today we had our second meeting of the St. Brigid of Ireland’s Literary and Crafting Society. The girls were expected to have read chapters 1-10 of Northanger Abbey and be ready to discuss. This is not going to be a deep, literary analysis of female authors — rather this club is a chance to introduce them to lovely literature while also teaching them a bit about womanhood, modesty, manners and maturity.

We had a grand time today discussing Austen’s writing, her penchant for writing novels of manners (those where the good guys exhibit good manners, while the less than perfect characters show abominable manners). The reason I wanted to start with Austen is that the girls in this group are 9-12 … soon thinking about boys and having crushes and boys interested in them. Austen is such a rational choice for showing the girls what is best to look for … and thus, who to avoid!

girls stitching away

After a lovely snack of browned-butter toffee bars (wow, so glad I cut ’em small!), we began our craft for the day: white-on-white embroidery, a craft Jane Austen did frequently and mentioned in her books. Using six-inch linen napkins as our base, we penciled line-designs and then filled them with white embroidery floss (and some used silk ribbon) and simple embroidery stitches.

in the hoop

finished and ready to use

I was able to get an even dozen of the napkins, so each girl (and I) got two napkins to decorate. I took my embroidered napkin and matched it with a blank napkin, “sewed” the two together with thin satin ribbon and then stuffed the resulting pillow with fiberfill wrapped around a handful of potpurri — a lovely “sachet”!

potpurri-filled sachet

I love crafting and working with these girls — our next meeting is in two weeks so come on back and see what we do next!

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