Wednesday 10 June 2015

The art of stitching family samplers .....

When this you see, remember me!

We often think of embroidery samplers as done by school children to one learn to stitch and two to learn there ABC's and 123's but this is not always the case.  Grown women would stitch to record family events such as Birth, Deaths and Marriages as well.  Others would use it as a diary like the famous sampler stitched by Elizabeth Parker.(See earlier blog that I wrote about this one.)

In the Colonial United States, samplers played their traditional role. As in 16th and 17th England, Colonial samplers were typically produced by schoolgirls as a way learn needlework skills. Teachers favoured the band format for reasons of thrift, although by the 18th century, samplers began to get shorter and wider.

Family records and genealogies were popular in New Hampshire, sometimes presented as straightforward lists, other times fashioned into landscapes or even trees hung with fruit bearing the names of various generations of offspring. The practice of teaching letters and preserving family histories via samplers continued through the 1800s, although its heyday had ended by the middle of the century which is a shame.  These pieces of needle art have taught us so much about our history as have signature quilts.

I find that looking at some of these antique samplers is an eye opener and they are truly amazing, the collection at the Victoria and Albert museum in London is outstanding.  If they are are not on show you can organise a private viewing... go to their website and take a look, you can apply but do this in plenty of time for your visit.  There is a phone number which can speed up the process.  Your can order up several for closer inspection...... If you are reading this from abroad and are planning a visit to London and fancy doing this then don't delay it is a great few hours if you love stitchery and history.

I myself am finishing my red and white hare sampler and when that is completed I will be choosing another one to stitch as well.  I have a growing collection of antique samplers and have four now.  I
bought a little one from Lizzie of The Washerwoman fame the other week.  It is not yet framed but I will be taking along to the framers with some of my work to be framed.   It is early 19th Century or maybe a little before, I was told.  You can tell by the tight weave.  If I take a few I get a discount so I tend to stock pile a little for this very reason. It is lovely isn't it...

I have basically gone as far as I can for my Grandpas side of the family ( my dads dad) and I am going to design a sampler type stitchery for this.  I will just put the male line on there with their wives name (maiden name) and the date of their marriage underneath.  If I were to try and stitch all the
children too it would fill two walls!! ... yes they were very fruitful in that department.  My Grandpa himself was one of 14 children so you see why it would not work, not sure they sell that size aida to be honest!!

Loving all things vintage as I do, I could fill our home with so much but you do have to be a little careful other wise it can look like a junk shop!... With us thinking about moving and me have a large workshop when we do, I can go about decorating that with things that totally inspire me and that I love.  I would like a work space but also for it to look cosy and inviting as well and may in time take some classes there..... So I am hoping to move within in a year.

I had a great day at Killerton yesterday and I am compiling a couple of blogs about it  for you all, in addition the National Trust will be sharing it at Killerton and I believe on the National Trust site so all exciting stuff.....

Well I am off to my stitching so take care and Happy Stitching yourselves!

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