Friday, September 9, 2011

The day I forgot my ABCs

I know it's been a LONG time since I learned the alphabet, but I thought I had a firm grasp on all 26 letters. I was wrong!

I just finished stitching the new Winter Alphabet design. It's the 4th in a seasonal series of alphabets, with each letter getting it's own "star treatment" with a different border and font. It's been such a fun series, I have truly enjoyed designed and stitching each letter and the little motif sections in between. Below are the covers for the already released Spring, Summer and Autumn Alphabets.

So while I am waiting on the frame for the Winter Alphabet, we are working on the text, assigning symbols, etc. Then Alan comments..."so you decided not to use the letter J on this one".

HORRORS!  I had graphed AND stitched the whole thing and completely left out the very essential letter J!!!  Yes, I know that historically the letter J was often not used in samplers. I have boxes of antique reproduction samplers that I have stitched to prove it!  The sampler experts could explain it better than me (and there are different explanations), but briefly, the letters "J" and "U" are relatively new to the English language. They appeared in the 16th Century. Below are a few snippets from my cache of reproductions, demonstrating the mysterious absence of the letter J.

Think about those Roman letters you learned in school (oh wait...if I don't remember the current alphabet, I probably don't remember those either!).  The Roman spelling for our word Justice was "IYSTICE". Instead of J they used I, and they subbed letter Y for our current letter U. Anyway...I digress from my current dilemma....

Alan made 2 helpful suggestions:
1) leave out the letter J (sure to elicit tons of responses and questions from shops and stitchers)
2) squish 2 letters into the same square (inconsistent with previous designs!)

So I thanked him for the thoughtful advice, and returned to my graphing software to solve this problem! With the design already stitched (and I was really happy with it!), I concentrated on changing as few squares as possible, while not neglecting the letter J.

After some quality time with my scissors removing stitches (see the missing areas?), I'm ready to restitch several sections and return the letter J to it's deserved importance!

Which reminds me those Sesame Street lessons I always enjoyed watching with my kids..."this episode is sponsored by the letter J!"


  1. oh my!! Too funny! I have to 28 year old son saw me working on an alphabet piece a few years ago. He, aren't you ever going to learn your alphabet?? I told him probably not...and what am I working on now??? Your ABC Lessons & your Summer Alphabet!!

  2. LOL! I love the look of this one, with or without the letter J :) Winter is my fave theme to stitch.

  3. Too funny Linda! I don't know how you keep coming up w/such creative ideas for designs in the first place. I'm sure an 'accident' is bound to happen every once in awhile.
    Nice to know you're like the rest of us! LOL


  4. Oh Linda, I am so sorry! It's always a "horror" when we as cross stitchers forget or just plain wasn't "thinkin'"! I had to stitch my daughter's stocking 3 times before I got it right. It was a kit, so the first time I was off one line, took many rows out. The second time, I centered the stocking ALL wrong ??? I was already half way done :( I called the company to see if I could buy more thread for the kit, of course it was discontinued, but they were nice enough to give me a conversion chart. So I bought more fabric(too much to take out) and threads. So far so good, I am almost done! Whew...But yes, my "panic" button was going crazy! I don't know if I had a senior moment, I'm 49, I guess it could happen. Lately, I blame everything on the chemo drugs I took for stage IIIa breast cancer 6 years ago, might as well get some fun out of it! BTW, I love your blogs! You put a smile on my face everytime I read them. I always look forward every morning to see what fun and interesting things you have to say! :)


  5. oh no! hope the fix doesn't take too long.

  6. Ack! I would have thrown in the towel. You're very industrious.

  7. Great story. Thank you for sharing.

  8. OMG....that's just plain funny! Kudos to you for fixing it and I can't wait to see the finished product. I just love this series ... make great little projects too....

    happy re-stitching....

  9. Lettering samplers often included upper and lower case letters, the numbers from one to ten, and a verse, usually religious. If you look at the earlier samplers you will see different lettering styles, even some with letters missing. The early Latin alphabet only had 23 letters and Old English was strongly influenced by the Romans.

    The "W" wasn't used, "U" and "V" and "J" and "I" were interchangeable. The J began to have its own distinctive look around 1820. Sometimes you would see the "Q" worked as a reversed "P". The "Z" was often just left out since it was seldom used.

    Hope this helps! :)

  10. Too funny Linda!! Now every time I see that winter alphabet pattern I will remember the story of the letter "J" LOL
    I am glad though that you were able to make the changes with your graphing software with out too much trouble.
    Hopefully your restitching won't take too long.

  11. Glad you are figuring it all out for us! Can't wait to stitch this! What software program do you use?

  12. I use an old design program called Cross Stitch Designer Gold from the UK. I'm not sure it is still available, but it is the original program I bought when I started L*K. It has more than enough features for me!

  13. I'm sure it's not the first time. HOpefully, for you, it will be the last!!