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Stitching the Alamo

The Posy Collection's Needlework Kits
Written by Michelle Burgess. Photographs by Brandon Jackobeit.

stitching alamoThe recent bestowing of World Heritage Site status to San Antonio’s five missions—the first attractions in Texas to receive this honor—has ensured an increase in the city’s already steady pilgrimage of visitors. And while touring the missions calls for a certain reverence, selecting a souvenir in the gift shop afterwards need not require such gravitas.

“Remember The Alamo” redwork kitis for sale at the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin and at other sites across the state. For information on other designs and a list of places where the collection
is sold, see www.posycollection.com.

And yet... do you really want to visit these Texas icons and then settle for a dinky refrigerator magnet? A flimsy postcard? A fragile coffee mug?

Consider instead the Posy Collection’s Tex-centric needlework kits. Available at about a dozen parks and historic sites across the state, including the Alamo gift shop, the kits allow visitors to prolong the travel experience and to imbue a little bit of themselves into their keepsakes.

The brainchild of former schoolteacher Posy Lough, The Posy Collection launched nearly 33 years ago when Lough decided to start a business that would play to her interest in crafting and allow her to stay home to raise her son. She and her family were living in Virginia at the time, and their home was near Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello estate, which she visited in hopes of convincing the gift shop to carry items from her fledgling crafts business. Of the many things Lough pitched to buyers, the needlework kits piqued the strongest interest.

In the ensuing years, Lough has focused on her husband and son as well as her business, becoming a savvy entrepreneur along the way. Today, she operates out of an office in the Round Rock home she and her family moved into in late 2014. Since the move, Lough has thoroughly embraced life as a Texan and reveled in her needlework design ideas—more than 1,000 designs depicting everything from Nativity scenes and Rosie the Riveter to cats in Shakespearean collars and national parks.

For fans of Texas history and iconography, The Posy Collection delivers a wide assortment of Texas-themed kits. Lough produces a couple of designs featuring Austin’s Mexican free-tailed bats, a COME AND TAKE IT flag, and a pattern depicting two Longhorns in a field of bluebonnets. She also makes Texas flag kits and several depictions of the Alamo—70 Texas-themed kits in all, which sell for $10-$25 depending on size and complexity.

Business, Lough says, is booming. “I am loving our new home state,” she says, “and am learning more about Texas history. I love the Texas spirit.”

All of Lough’s kits are dreamed up and designed in conjunction with her sister and several other artists, then marketed from her home office. The Lone Star-inspired kits join a bevy of patriotic designs, including those that Lough created for the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station. Lough’s most active account is with the Bullock Texas State History Museum gift shop in Austin, which does brisk business selling The Posy Collection kits to seasoned cross-stitchers and novices alike.

Lough says that while most of those who pick up her kits have at least a passing familiarity with needle-and-thread handcrafts, some projects are easier than others for the uninitiated.

“Our redwork kits use a very easy embroidery stitch,” she says. “They are perfect for beginners. Doing one of these gives them the confidence to move on to more challenging projects.”

Which means that the kit featuring a young boy and girl in front of the Alamo—a design that is both retro and timeless—is manageable even for unpracticed stitchers like myself. Because it is stitched with red thread only, the “Remember The Alamo” redwork kit is very forgiving. And the finished product is meant to be a bit primitive-looking, which is perfect for those of us who regard sewing on a button as the pinnacle of our needlework accomplishments so far. When completed, “Remember The Alamo” can be framed, turned into a pillow, or displayed several other ways.

Judging by this fledgling stitcher’s painfully slow current pace, my attempt may not be completed for another year. But no matter. After all, the Alamo—like the timeless craft of needlework—isn’t going anywhere.

From the December 2015 issue.

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