A new venture and a shop on my site (look up at the menu at the top of the page) …but first, the background as to why.
Way back in 2016, Steve and I were in Witney, England and stopped by Witney Antiques. At that time, I didn’t know much about samplers other than I was interested in the history of them and their makers. We spent a wonderful couple of hours with Jill, learning about samplers and choosing three to purchase. The one pictured below is the first sampler I purchased. I was drawn to it because of the saying on the sampler.
The second sampler I chose that day was the one you see Jill and me looking at in the photo below. I’ve enjoyed having samplers hanging in my studio and loved looking up the girls who stitched them on ancestry web sites. It’s another glimpse into the past and how embroidery connects those embroiderers to us today.
As much as I loved my samplers, I never was interested in learning how to do that kind of counted work. I’ve done blackwork and enjoyed it, but stitching samplers just didn’t interest me.
When we returned to the USA from Germany and I joined the Cedar Valley Chapter of the EGA, I was surrounded with embroiderers who did beautiful, complex counted work. Some of them stitched on reproduction samplers during our meeting and I got very interested in those. A friend encouraged me to take a class taught by Amy Mitten with her and I loved it.
Since then I’ve become more interested in samplers and their history, as well as learning how to reproduce the samplers I own. About two months ago I purchased a computer program and spent the most wonderful week charting my first sampler. It was completely absorbing – just what I needed during the early days of Covid 19. I discovered that studying a sampler and charting it gave me an insight into what the little girl did as she stitched. I found myself saying things like “Oh, you silly Mary, why did you make that “s” a little higher than the rest?” and “Oh dear, you’ve run out of space here and had to squish the letters together!”
The sampler I chose to chart was the same one my friend wanted to stitch. (The friend who encouraged me to go to Amy Mitten’s class). I’ve now finished the model and she’s currently working on it using her own colors. I’m so looking forward to seeing how hers turns out!
This doesn’t mean I won’t be doing my traditional historic embroidery anymore – quite the contrary! I’m working on finishing up the Trevelyon’s Garden pincushion and I have two more traditional projects in the design and development stage.
It’s fun to spread your wings and do something new, though! I have more samplers that I want to chart and share with anyone who’s interested, so watch this space in the future.