For the Love of Stitching Band Sampler Back Story

The back story

I am starting the process of documenting a band sampler, band by band, section by section. This is a little of the back story.

Since the sampler is 33 ft 2 inches  or 10.109 meters long and still growing there is a considerable amount of information to be collated together and covered so alongside my regular blog writing I post information a band at a time more or less daily. I will start at the beginning and continue until done.

How it all began


For years I have made and kept samplers as a personal reference and teaching aid in folders such as these depicted. Slips of samples are kept in plastic envelopes. Many people use this method but I found  I was not referring to the information stored in the folders. It seemed that they stored the samples but I did not reach for them often. When stitching I was more inclined simply to repeat what was familiar and not refer to past experiments and explorations. This meant I forgot them.

In 1996 not long after this exhibition I decided to try something different with my ‘doodle cloths’ and stitch explorations. I started to work band samplers that were for use as reference rather than decoration.

By sheer chance on the first sample I worked I named and signed the sampler. Both were stitched by chance because I had no thought at the time that I would stitch so many samplers! I simply stitched “For the love of Stitching” so later after many years that became its name.

For many years I  kept them rolled up next to me or pinned to the wall in my studio. Because I could see my samples I used them as a sampler is meant to be used, as a record of stitches and ideas that can be referred to.

This worked very well for a long time until they became quite numerous. At this stage I decided to stitch them all together in one long roll. Believe it or not it means it is quite easy to refer to.

I have found it is easier to travel with them like this. A pile of teaching samples stored like this are lighter and more compact than being housed in folders.

I like to hand out samples to students in workshops and lectures so that they can see and feel what a stitch is like. People learn by touching, but unfortunately in the past a couple of samplers were handed out but never came back. I decided that if I stitched them together in one long strip no one can stuff it in their hand bag. So to a degree this is a security measure but it also means odd samples don’t get lost.


All samples are 15 cm (6 inches) wide and stitched together in one long band sampler. Currently the sampler measures  33 ft 2 inches or 11.05 yards in metric that is 1010.92 centimeters or 10.109 meters  44 ft 5 inches or 533 inches (1353.83 centimetres) or 14.8 yards  (13.53 metres) long and still being added to.


Pieces are worked on a number of different fabrics. Linen, Aida, Lynda, and dress fabric linen and cotton are all represented on a number of different counts from 25 count linen to 38 count. Often pieces have been hand dyed or hand painted.


A large variety of threads are also represented from wool, silk, cotton, stranded floss, perle cotton, and so on. Each band is different and often these threads are hand dyed.

The sampler occasionally marks incidents or moments in history in text.

It is something that becomes quite interesting over time.

So stay tuned for the series I hope you will enjoy it.

Sampler FAQ and back story
For the full back story on this piece visit the Sampler FAQ.

All posts in the series are in the category  the Love of Stitching Band Sampler.