For the Love of Stitching Band Sampler Back Story

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.


  1. Pingback: The Sprint has ended… – Cheshire Cheese

  2. I love this idea! I think I may start my own "For the Love of Stitching" band sampler … perhaps as I start the new year with TAST (a challenge group I've often made excuses for why I could NOT join or try to keep up with …. but it's time to jump in with both feet!).

  3. Hi Sharon, just came across your new blog pintangle and thought I would put my pin in about why I blog. What happen is that I love taking photos, it becomes my obsession after travelling and living around the world. I also make a lot of crafts, quilts and paper craft. In 2008 I started booking binding and I constantly sending off photos to freinds so, I thought if I have a blog I can tell my friends to visit my blog and see my creations without all the emails I have to send. Yes, that is my reason at the moment. I do hope to keep up with my blog because it is a lot of fun even if no one is reading it!!! Thanks for sharing – Natima

  4. Happy 2009 !!!

    In your post on one of your samples you "write" "For the love of stitching" I really like the way the text is "written" can you tell me the name of the stitch you used to make this happen?

    Thank you.

  5. Michelle Mermaid
    You asked “how you will remember exactly the history involved in each one, especially if they are more than a decade old.”
    I keep good visual journals most of the time and have done for over 20 years so its all in there.

    “do you stitch them all on the same type cloth?” I hate to say this but I did answer this in the post above I am sure you just did not notice it. Samples are on different fabrics they are listed under the subheading of fabrics
    Hope this answers your question.

    Sharon B
  6. Hi Cindy –
    Thanks for your question yes there is a backing in fact when I back last years samplers (about another 10 or so feet of them) I will blog it but for what it is worth I simply back it with some hard wearing fabric. I only use one line of stitching , no over locking etc so if ever it needs to be unpicked I can pull that thread out easily and see the back of the sampler. Keeps it simple and keeps it quick
    Hope this answers your question.

    Sharon B
  7. Happy New Year, Sharon.

    I have a sort of technical question about your band sampler.

    I started a band sampler in October about two weeks after my mother passed away. I think it’s a form of therapy while I work through my grief. It’s about 8 feet long already.

    My question is: Did you put some kind of backing on your sampler? I’m getting ready to start sewing the pieces together and I don’t like the unfinished look of the back and all the messiness that some of these stitches cause(for me at least).

    I would appreciate it if you would blog about or drop me an email about it.


    Cindy B
  8. HI Sharon,
    I wasn’t sure I would be too interested in the band sampler info, but after reading this post I am intrigued. The stitches are beautiful and I like the extra current events items you attached to each piece. I wonder, though, how you will remember exactly the history involved in each one, especially if they are more than a decade old…hmmmm….

    Also, do you stitch them all on the same type cloth? If so, what is it and why?


  9. I’m so delighted that you are sharing your samplers with us, stitch by stitch. It’s another way for many people to get ideas and do no pressure "stitch alongs" I have a band sampler started, and may follow you along a bit with mine.

  10. Happy New Year to you, I have been itching to do your two latest classes at Joggles, they’ve been on my wish list for months, since doing your last two, Journals and sumptuous surfaces, which I enjoyed enormously. My darling husband is paying for me to do them as a late xmas present, how lucky and I to have such a very supportive husband.

    I was so excited to see the info started on your band sampler, weI have been in Bulgaria for Xmas, and yes it was snowing, so wonderful, I have had the lucky chance of getting the internet over there, so was waiting patiently for the 1st to come around, not just to see 2009 in, but to see what’s on your blog. It’s going to be an exciting year on your blog, I can’t wait. I am going to try and do two of your challengers, but this will be a very busy year for us, as this is our last year here in the UK, and we are then back home in Oz, and we have still so much to see and do and have to cram it all into the next 9 – 12 months. I know you will try and keep me on track, but if I fall away you will know why. Many thanks for the past 6 months of 2008, since I joined your site, and I look forward to 2009 with you.

    Arlene (your aussie mate in Scotland).

  11. When the samplers are all attached like that they remind me of a tallit, a Jewish prayer shawl:)

    I have enjoyed your posts and do a little embroidery myself. I am self taught so it is slow going!

    Thanks again.

  12. Sharon, I’ve been an intermittent participant in some of your classes and challenges. It’s always a pleasure to view your work and the work that you’ve inspired in others. Motivational and educational – the best of both. Thanks for this valuable resource.

    Happy New Year.

    (I should actually be in Australia in 2010 celebrating my daughter’s graduation from Sydney Med)


  13. Hi Margaret
    thanks for your comment I have dropped you an email asking you to explain a little more as I am not sure there would be enough in a class as you describe it – but i could be being dense!

    Sharon B
  14. Happy New Year to you too, Sharon! It’s not 2009 here yet (another 6 hours and a few minutes)…but I know it is there!

    Thanks for all that I have learned from you since I discovered your blog/workshops/inspirations in 2008. I am indeed curious about your ‘teaser’ piece…and wondering if you might think about a class on design/showcase fabrics for crazy quilting.

    Blessings for health, happiness and more in 2009,


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