A Belated Farewell to a Good Friend


I found out today that my friend and mentor Linn Skinner passed away last June. I managed to get a card off to her a couple weeks before she passed, and was concerned that I didn’t hear back. I was planning a trip to Tennessee. But I got busy, and one thing led to another, and, well… here I am, finding out a year later, by accident.

THIS photo of Linn is the best one I’ve ever seen for capturing her character. And she WAS a character!

You may know Linn’s books on blackwork. She was a fanatic. She led tours to the V&A museum in London. She taught classes on the history of samplers. It was she who pointed out to me that most extant English blackwork pieces, even the reversible ones, are NOT counted (talk about blowing one’s mind)! She also pointed out that work from professional workshops historically is not quite as good quality as stuff done by the “amateurs” because they were working too fast to worry about carrying threads across the back, or being quite as neat as the folks at home stitching for fun.

If it weren’t for Linn, I would never have actually seen a real Berlin woolwork sampler.

If it weren’t for Linn, I probably wouldn’t be designing. She took my first four designs to sell at CATS shows in 2000, where they sold very well. (By the way, if you have one you purchased at that show, let me know.. at least one of the designs wasn’t proofread well enough and the legend is completely wrong for the chart! 🙂 ).

If it weren’t for Linn, I wouldn’t have found a couple fantastic bookstores in LosAngeles, where we went shopping – I wouldn’t have my copy of Constance Howard’s Book of Stitches. There’s a LOT of things I wouldn’t have or do today if it weren’t for her.

She was a tireless crusader for the copyrights of designers and spent countless hours on the computer and before congress and the courts getting pattern sharing sites shut down.  If you haven’t read her testimony from 2003, I highly recommend it. These problems have been going on for a long time.

All in all, Linn was outspoken, generous, helpful, lots of fun to be around, and I’ve missed having her in my life for the last 5 years. I just didn’t realize she was gone for good until today.

Thank you for everything, Linn. I hope you have all the time and equipment you need to stitch whatever you want now.

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