Embroidery Samplers

We’ve got past the stage of having to surprise each other with presents, and I’m one of those strange people for whom the words nice and surprise just don’t go together, because I really don’t like surprises as a rule.

Nor do I really need anything, plus I’m supposed to be getting rid of ‘stuff’ – not accumulating more, but we made the fatal step of going to the antiques fair at Ingliston, just outside Edinburgh, in November and I ended up buying THREE old samplers. Well I couldn’t resist them as they were all such bargains, if you really want to know – the two end ones were £20 each and the middle one was £24. They would have cost much nore on Ebay. Anyway, I said to Jack they would be nice to have for Christmas so he bought them!

Embroidery samplers

At first I wasn’t sure about the age of the middle one as it seems so bright but it is really an old one and the 76 must refer to 1876. It’s made of wool rather than the more common silks and is typical of the designs found on Scottish band samplers, which were never meant to be framed, but just rolled up and kept in your work basket for reference purposes.

It’s such a pity that the names on them are so common, Ann Grey and Brown would you believe, and one doesn’t have names, just initials and a date. The left hand one has a frame from about the 1950s but the others are Victorian. You can’t really tell from the photos but they are very old and the linen is fragile looking but they are in very good condition considering their age.

I was lucky enough to inherit a band sampler from a great aunt a few years ago. It had been worked by her great grandmother, according to the wee note which was with it, it wasn’t framed as it is a band sampler but I took it to a framer and they put it in a simple frame such as was used in Victorian times and I have the original explanatory note attached to the back of it. I didn’t see the point of keeping the embroidery in a drawer unseen but I’m careful to keep it out of strong light to preserve the colours. As you can see, it’s similar in design to the middle sampler but this one was stitched by Jean Barclay in 1837, or is it 73, she made a mistake and couldn’t quite fit it in properly, I bet she was mad about that!

10 thoughts on “Embroidery Samplers

  1. How wonderful! I have done embroidery (jacobean and cross stitch) and needlepoint for years, and always appreciate other’s work.

    How I wish that I could pass it along to my grandaughters, but alas – the older one (just 12 – but it’s an L.A. 12, so …erm…18!) isn’t interested in anything unrelated to her iPhone. Wonder if there’s an embroidery app?

    There is still a little hope for the wee one…she’s in Scotland and still young.

    • Pearl,
      Don’t give up hope, I’ve recently discovered that a ‘harum scarum’ member of my extended family does cross stitch. I got a gorgeous cross stitch robin card which she had embroidered. Her other hobby is sky-diving!

  2. Those are lovely! and they remind me it’s been too long since I’ve worked on any of my embroidery projects. I have a Christmas scene that I usually pull out around the start of December to add a few stitches.

    I’ve wanted to do a sampler, since I’m unlikely to find one like yours around here – at least that I can afford.

    • Lisa,
      You never know your luck. I’ve been looking for samplers since long before I actually inherited one. Then I thought that one was enough for me, but when three come along at once – as things always do – I had to have them. They usually cost about £75 each here, so it was obviously my lucky day.

      I’ve been doing a cross stitch sampler consisting of the alphabet with Beatrix Potter characters around it for years. I started it when I was pregnant with my first child – and he’s nearly 27! I finished the alphabet before he was born but the BP characters are a nightmare to do.

  3. How fabulous are those! I’ve got one dated 17 something but it is thought to be more modern than that because the colours are so bright.

    • Evee,
      So many of them were tucked away in workboxes that they didn’t fade, it’s easy to tell the difference though because old ones are stitched on very different looking linen compared with what you can get today, or even 100 years ago. Yours probably is really old.

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