A tale of two samplers

A tale of two samplers

This is the start of what may become the tale of two samplers and is actually a continuation of yesterdays post but for all those who swing by for links rather than chatter Susie Monday has a very good article about getting yourself going. 10 Ways to Unstick when You’re Stuck points you to ways that mean you can do something creative with your time rather than staying in a rut. So if you need to be energised try some of these tricks.

Yesterday my sampler had a visitor! Annie of Annies Crazy World came visiting and with her came her sampler. So we decided to photograph them as they talk to each other. Annie’s work is the thin sampler on the left .

Later addition: Annie has blogged her response too! – do check it out

As I said yesterday for years I have made samplers as a way of storing references to stitches. Of course they also act as teaching aids. I also always make them 15 cm (6 inches) wide. There uniformity has a sort of appeal. Anyway I stitched them all together and the sampler currently measures 33 ft 2 inches or 10.109 meters. I have a new section ready to be stitched on and I just lay it down next to the sampler.

Yesterday I said how appealing Annie’s format of being half the width is. I think you can see it here what I mean.

Annie became interested in how long various areas of stitches were (and I think she will say about that) But it quite spooky as for instance the area of herringbone on both samplers ended up being the same length.

This was a total accident and I stitch my herringbone sampler a good couple of years ago.

As I was comparing the sections of buttonhole on both samplers I saw that I had noted in 2005 the race riots in Sydney and Annie stitching this year noted Sorry day. It fascinates me how by chance both artifacts can become part of a larger story.

It was a really fun afternoon photographing them, looking and comparing and seeing how each of us had done things in a similar but highly individual manner.

On the left is the next section to be added to my sampler. As you can see I have introduced a border!

These samplers are very addictive. I think many people get put off samplers in school and think they are formulated practice pieces that just become too boring for words. If that happens you are listening too much to others or stitching to a preconcieved notion of what a sampler is, as they really are place simply to stitch, explore and doodle with thread!

mmmmm she thinks to her self as she toddles off to the work room … perhaps I should start a series of close ups … once a week or so … a detail … run a series … what contemporary samplers can be …


  1. Obviously I’m way behind in reading your posts but I just have to comment. I visited Annie’s site to have a look at her sampler and was so impressed at the way she’d turned it into a sort of journal, not just of stitches, but events. That concept intrigues me very much. One of these days…

  2. The more I see of these two samplers, the more I think that I may need one. In one of your classes I did a couple small ones – just different threads doing one stitch – and I enjoyed doing them.

  3. Thanks everyone for your positive comments – OK a series will start soon every week or so – a few details and Deb your comment “Your samplers are inspiring me to perhaps begin one of my own,” there is a nothing quite as nice as seeing something I do inspire someone else to adapt the idea to their needs. If you feel like starting one do as there may be enough interest for a ‘do it your way’ stitch along

  4. This is fascinating! It seems to me that with the addition of a border, you can keep your overall 6″ width, while having the 4″ width for actual stitches that you have said you like. Very smart of you! I would love to see more about these samplers, close ups and so on.

  5. I’ve been watching Annie’s sampler grow and loving what she has done with it. The two of them, side by side, is just wonderful!

    Now… about those close-ups… would you start with the herringbone… pretty please?!?! With chocolate sprinkles, homemade whipped cream, bits of pecans and walnuts and a cherry on top… please? I love me some herringbone and I just know you have something spectacular in there! ;0)

  6. On the subject of comparative styles, I just blogged about how a Flickr friend rendered my original samplers into kaleidoscopic wonders using digital imaging software. I wanted to bring Lucy Nieto’s photo site to the attention of this community in particular because her own photography is inspiring in its capture of color, texture, details, macro abstractions,and textiles!

  7. I have several pretty and/or fun fibers that I bought “Just Because”. I’m not likely to ever come across a chart which requires their use. Your samplers are inspiring me to perhaps begin one of my own, as a fun way to use these fibers instead of just ‘having’ them. Samplers, after all, don’t need to withstand regular laundering the way dish towels do. πŸ™‚

  8. I love these samplers! They’re such interesting pieces, both to the inexperienced eye that knows nothing about stitching, and to other stitchers as well. I imagine seeing them in person is even better because you have the added sensation of touch.

    Very cool pieces!

  9. Wow! You stitchers are awesome. I can’t fathom being able to make those samplers. About as complicated as I get is a giant cross stitch and a simple running line! Thank’s for the mention about my post. I have a feeling I need to be following my own advice right about now. Isn’t that the way it goes?

  10. It is always a pleasure and inspiration to read your adventures. Your day and friendship with Annie reminds me of the one I have with a friend of mine named Judy except we don’t get together like we used to due to we live in different states now. We have done block exchanges to keep our inspiration flowing which is nice but I do miss the cups of tea or coffee and the gabbin’ and stitchin’

    I noticed the new sampler with the border beside being beautiful looks like the inside measures to the size of Annie’s so you are already there. It’s a win-win!

    I would love to see a few sections of the border close up. Maybe the four corners or something.

    Looking forward to your studio journal class. I am all signed up and ready to go.


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