How Long and Why?

How Long and Why?

Let’s play a guessing game but first let me fill you in on the back story.

Over the last couple of days you may have noticed an increased interest in samplers. For years I have made and kept samplers as a personal reference and teaching aid. I love them. I always make them 15 cm (6 inches) wide and long like a band sampler. Length changes depending on the fabric I have to hand but never the width. They are kept either rolled up or pinned to my wall.

For a long time I have thought about stitching them together in chronological order so they become one long sampler. Yesterday I finished doing just that!

This is what they ended up looking like. In order to turn the sampler on the table I have folded the corners to a point. Join me in a guessing game. How long is it? The first correct answer left as a comment will win a batch of hand dyed threads from me.

There are some good reasons for stitching these samplers together. There is the practical aspect of being able to travel with a pile of teaching samples as this way they are lighter and more compact – think about how heavy they would be if this amount of teaching samples were housed in plastic slip files in folders. This is what it looks like when wound up.

I have placed them in chronological order as then I can see various developments in both skill and style over the years. It make a nice personal history. They are worked on a number of different fabrics. Linen, aida and cotton are all represented on a number of different counts from 25 count linen to 38 count. I plan to just keep adding to the roll so this sampler will be forever a work in progress.

Annie from Annies Crazy World get together every week to stitch. Yesterday as we had fun taking photos of this sampler we dreamed up this guessing game.

I do have another reason to stitch them together like this. It is a very logical and practical reason. Can you guess why? The first correct answer left as a comment will win a batch of hand dyed threads from me.

As a hint the table is a large table built by Jerry and not a standard size. So it can be deceptive if you try and judge the size using the table as a guage. This is what it looks like spread on the floor to see it.

So there are two questions guess either one correctly and you have won a prize. What is the prize? Nothing too great but I thought the readers who win might like a batch of my hand dyed threads.

Can you guess how long is this sampler?

Can you guess why I stitched them together like this?

If you guess the answer to either or both questions leave your answer as a comment.

Monday morning my time here in Australia I will tell you the answers so you have till then to join in. . .



  1. My guess is 282″ or about 23.5 ft. What a wonderful memento/teaching tool/retrospective of growth and development as a needle artist!

    When I joined a nearby chapter of the EAC (Embroiderer’s Association of Canada), I was presented with a Mystery Sampler that’s only a couple of inches wide. At each monthly meeting, I’m given a new pair of ‘lessons’ featuring new stiches in new bands for the sampler. This has captivated me, because each band is short and (relatively) quick to do. I’m having great fun with it. Photos on my blog (eventually).

  2. My guess is something near 12,0 meters. And besides the cronological personal history and being a good way to throw into a purse when going to stitch classes, I thought on two other possible reasons. One is that they are not mixed and you can show or photograph just one part at time ( I guess LOL), and the other.. it will be in a show or exhibition 🙂 ( that would be great!)
    I might be wrong but it´s sure looks so beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

  3. I guess at 25ft 6″

    I wondered if you had joined them to make it easier to store them as a roll. Storage of textiles rolled is often reccomended. It also solves the problem of samples being different lengths which makes them hard to box easily.

    Best Wishes

  4. Hi I estimate the length to be 9.9m

    and the reason to be that you would like your name in the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest ever strip of textile
    – but really I think its for reducing your stash and making UFOs into a FO.

  5. I have no idea how long it is–maybe 18 feet. Why? Two reasons one is to show a progression in your talent through time, the other would be to make it easier to fit on a scale for weighing as you are weighing the contents of your sewing room.

  6. I think that the sampler roll is about 720 inches long or close to 60 feet. If I sewed my samplers together and backed them it would be to protect them from cat and dog hair. In your case, I think it was to reduce your stash by the amount represented by the backing fabric and to make the samplers more portable and easier to pack as you travel and teach.

  7. Can you guess how long is this sampler?
    Already 11.25 mts

    Can you guess why I stitched them together like this?

    Because I need compare diferent surfaces and diferent tecnics and effects and is more practice.

  8. U were eating sushi and decided the colors would look delicious if rolled …. u had a crick in ur neck and needed a neckroll …. walked alot that day and needed a foot rest … being a practical gal decided to Scotchguard it [water repellant spray] and use it as a water hose for the garden, heard the mother-in-law was planning a visit and needed a restraining device [yes, i know .. shame on me], ur tired of looking at the plain white/yellow stripe down the center of the street and the Mayor refuses to pop for new paint, Jerry’s finally gone one step too far and your placing a dividing line right down the middle of the house [hehe .. sorry Jerry].
    Am I getting warm yet?

    Colleen R
  9. Ok now that I know there are hand dyed threads at stake …. you may see lots more of me on this topic. Second guess = 43.25 feet andddd its a space saver/convenience of storage idea. [I like purples, greens and pinks] hehe

    Colleen R
  10. arround 7 meters long and the reason: that roll would store well, so better storage,
    I haven’t been interested in sampleres but seen your work… I am changing my mind. They are great and it must bring a lot of pleasure to you when you look at them.

  11. I am going to say about 40 feet long and the why because they are a lot easier to store and carry this way. Kinda reminds me of one of those old time growth charts we used to hang on the wall

  12. pregunta 2: y por que estan de ese modo ubicados los samplers..
    posee varias razones
    primero el estar enrollado permite con facilidad poder comparar entre una muestra y otra, permite ver las variaciones com mejor facilidad ademas que asi es de facil observar como un mismo punto se comporta de manera distinta al variar hilo, tela, color, tension, oy ademas de variedades de los puntos. y permite ver el avance y ayuda a imaginar la creacion y combinacion de puntadas. ademas de lo practico de llevar y guardar..

  13. They are SPECTACULAR!! My guess to the second question is that you might use this form for a border for something–the idea came from my interest in quilting, but I’m not sure how you might do this!!

    Lynne Braga
  14. I think it is 34 feet (10.4 m) long, and if your studio is like mine, you stitched them together so that none of it would get misplaced. (I can usually find 80% of what I am looking for.)

    Jane Compeau
  15. my guesstamite is 56 feet. and what fun! That’s why I think you did it – for fun- the practical reasons are known. To infinity – and beyond a never ending library of stitches by Sharon B!! It’s wonderful!

  16. por relacion y proporcionn tomando de referencia tanto tus sillas como el ancho del bordado(15 cms) imagino que tu mesa es para 12 persona(mesa: ancho: 1.2 a 1.3 mts, largo 2.40- 2.45) el bordado da 5.5 vueltas del largo de la mesa, por alli deduzco que tu el largo de tu samplers de puntos mide 11.40 a 11.60 metros de largo, es decir 1.71 mts2 a 1.74 mts2 de superficie bordada
    y es dificil dar un numero exacto pero si creo es eso tu samplers a de medir 11.40 a 11.60 me quedo con 11.40 ya que la profundidad no es exacta

  17. Ah, Christine has already guessed that (I should read before commenting) – would look wonderful hung at an exhibition, linking all the other embroidery on display

    rag hugger
  18. How great! You can put them in your napsack and say ” Have Stitches Will Travel”, Having all the small bits of Art together, seems to be a better way of keeping control. I love your work and ideas. Maybe in my next life I can be you. LOL Ok, 44 feet . Rene

  19. 396″ or 10.05 meters; I have no idea why you’d sew it together except that you said it was easier to store and transport being lighter and more compact. Was that a reading comprehension question?

  20. My guess is 33 feet long. For a reason because if you roll them up they fit in a suitcase better to visit us in the US? You can also roll them from both ends in a scroll form so that you can move through it chronologically, which is a really cool idea. Too bad all my samplers have been on varying widths of fabric… I may rethink future samplers I do, ’cause this is a good idea!”

  21. Goodness gracious – this is hard and I made it harder by reading everyone else’s guesses!! Now I can’t remember them all so I am saying 41.5 feet (which is a lot more than my initial estimate of 27 feet!!). Reason for stitching them together – apart from teh reasons you have already given I can only think continuum…it doesn’t ever have to finish whereas every other shape I can think of would become either unworkable or not reflect the time sequence effectively. Come to think of it, it is also easy!! Just add a few more inches….Anyway it is FABULOUS!!

  22. I was going to say about 40 feet long (sorry I dont think in metric). You have said that the reason you stitched them together was for ease of carrying etc and that is what I would have guessed but other than that I would say for ease of reference and to have all your samples in one place. You can also use it as a back support when you have been sitting stitching for too long!!

  23. Okay, sneaky scale measuring and calculating gives me 810 cm long or 8.1 metres. Now I’d say that must qualify for a Guiness World Record, but I think you might also sew the strips together and make a very unusual table runner or cover, would certainly start some conversations over dinner (I suggest some clear heavy plastic on top though, LOL)

  24. My guess is 13.5 metres.

    The practical reason for joining them together is so that you don’t lose a peice when you take them to and from classes. It would be very difficult to keep track of all the bits. In one peice it would be simple to roll it up and you have all the samplers there together. So much faster and convenient.


  25. I don’t have any guesses, but I have to say that the stitched together sampler is beautiful.

    Although sewing all your samplers into one means you don’t have to update your will when you make a new sampler – if anyone still leaves samplers as bequests.

  26. I’m guessing at 31ft.6ins or 378 ins long.
    Was going to say 32 ft but someone’s already guessed that.
    Are they stitched the way they are because each type of embroidery has been put in it’s own section of the sampler.

  27. I think that glorious sampler is 15.3m long, and I am guessing the other reason you sewed them together like that is so that no pieces ever get lost! 🙂

  28. Well, I have absolutely no idea, but I’ll say 10.5 meters for length. And I think the idea to roll it up and carry it in a circular sewing basket is a good one. But my guess for reason is so that you have timeline of your work and an easy reference should someone ask you about such and such a stitch for such and such a class, you can just roll to the right spot. And you can also see what you were doing before and after–how your work led into new ideas.

    By the way, I have updated my blog to reflect my TIF progress.

  29. I guess 18 feet and you stitched them all together so you could roll it up and prevent creases. What a wonderful piece of work to have your progression through the years. As pretty as they are, I’m not a huge fan of making samplers, but this is inspiring.

  30. My guess – 310 inches. And I’d say you’re planning on trying to break the Guinness Book of World Records for Longest Sampler Ever… or at least beat the length of the Bayeaux Tapestry – only 2,931 more inches to go!!

  31. I’d say 9.1 metres long. Stitched together so that if a student asks about a particular stitch then you can show them how to use it in different applications and what it looks like individually.

  32. Wow…my guess is 3850mm
    Anyway, congrats at such wonderful
    persistence in what must have taken a
    great deal of patience.
    p.s. Tell Jerry he did a splendid job!

  33. Hi Sharon

    My guess is 47 1/2 feet. The challenge really should be “how many hours did it take to make all these samplers?”. Very impressive.

    Are they rolled with the idea of being able to unroll and show your progress and greater skill as you progressed through the years?

    Hugs and hi from


    Freda Butler
  34. I would say the reason for sewing them together is twofold, to see your progression as a stitcher & to see the progression of stitch variations. You are the master at taking a stitch & making it different. I would think that someday it would be nice to know how that stitch came to be.

    Length, hmmmm 23 feet long.

  35. I’m guessing 90 inches. I know for me, it would be a matter of keeping track of all the samplers and not losing any of them in my stash, as well as not forgetting which stitches I have done….you probably don’t have those problems, though.

    What a great idea, to keep a consistently sized running sampler–great as a resoure and teaching tool!

  36. About 42 feet?

    And to have a sort of chronological record of how your work has progressed through the years? (that, or you have a very tall stairwell you wish to display it in)

    Laurie Brown
  37. 22.5 feet long
    a few guesses for use
    you wanted to make a hay roll or as I like to call them jelly roll : )

    for the guiness book of records…the longest sampler

    or just because it is a great way to transport them for show n tell

    what fun! thanks! oh and i love the idea of consistency with a long term project

  38. I think it is 400″ long and I have no idea what you will use it for other than what you’ve already talked about. I love the idea of keeping the samplers all the same size (width), and just keeping them is remarkable to me…I must become more disciplined about keeping a sample that I’ve made.

  39. My figuring was close to Debbie’s using 18-19 inch wide chairs (cheated, looked them up on Sears). But I’m going to drop down a bit and say 31 feet (372 inches) (944.88 cm).

    My guess is that having them rolled up will protect them from fading, dust and other damage.

  40. My guess is 42 feet long
    Why? For a book. I remember a knitting sampler done by Suzannah Lewis for a book. She knitted samples form a museum collection and put it into one long piece. The book had the instructions for every section of the extra long scarf.

  41. Fabulous work Sharon. I think your scroll is 480 inches ling. Joined together so you will always know where the samples are ……..I should do that with some of my “stuff” for which I am always searching haha.

  42. My guess is 41 feet long and they are sewed together to make sure all the edges and backs are “finished”; the fabrics won’t unravel, no one can see your knots, etc…and there won’t be ‘pulls’ from the back-side threads catching on things as they are handled and transported.

  43. I don’t have a guess yet for either question but I absolutely love the idea of keeping the width of samplers consistent and then sewing them together in a scroll like this. Brilliant!

    Actually, a reason for sewing them together might be to make it easier to transport to classes or whatever. I would think a roll like that would be easier to handle and lighter weight than notebooks full of puffy pages (and certainly more durable than anything framed).

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