It’s time for another update about my annual sampler which I introduced last month here. It has been fun stitching it and is I admit, addictive.
For those who have just swung by and don’t know the backstory, my sampler is what some stitchers would call a stitch roll. The modern day stitch roll is a re-interpretation of what needleworks down the centuries have called a band sampler. If you are interested in the history of samplers and where band samplers fit in the story pop over to read my article A Brief History of Embroidery Samplers. It sets our modern day stitch rolls and thread journals in context.
For many years I have worked samples in the form of band sampler and added to the roll each year. I use it to experiment on , work samples for teaching purposes or simply to see what a stitch can do. I improvise and add bands in freeform manner and often record events turning parts of the band into a thread journal. You can read about it here.
Over on Needle’n’Thread, Mary Corbet proposed a stitch along with her casual freeform band sampler. There are no hard and fast rules except to use what you have to hand which means a no new threads rule. The idea is to use up scraps left overs from kits. At the time I thought the no new thread rule might be tough but, after thinking about it I saw I could easily join in.
As I make up the thread twisties I sell in the shop I often have a yard or so left over. These scraps I can not bear to throw away. I am sure every stitcher on the planet can understand that! I also have half balls of threads, half skeins, zip lock plastic bags of unlabelled stuff collected from charity shops, threads that are hand dyed experiments. In other words when I looked about I have many threads that could be classified as bits. That is what they are scraps and bits.
So I decided this year I would use them up on my sampler. At this point I clear my throat in a slightly embarrassed manner and admit using these bits and pieces may keep me busy sampling for a few years! Since Mary’s idea sits with what I already stitch each year and I like the frugal “use it up” philosophy and I am joining in and using Mary Corbet’s hashtag #stitchfun2021.
Also this year I thought I would dig out my old studio journals and go through them. I am forever noting down things as think of them. Ideas for designs, stitch combinations, colour schemes, ideas to test, try and experiment with. Many ideas I use on crazy quilting blocks or in the books I have written but many ideas are still to be explored. So I am being frugal in another way as I am delving back into my studio journals and trying out ideas or stitches than I have not had time to try in the past.
With these two ideas in mind ie using up threads and mining my past studio journals I decided to start with a focus on filling patterns and doing what I love – finding new ways to use a stitch. That is what I have been doing so far.
The other bit of sampling on the band is a bit of journalling. The first is a record of the walk I took in the Lower Molonglo River reserve on Australia day. I took photos of course and used them as jumping off spots for a mini design. I saw some small purple flowers I has not seen in the reserve before and I found a horseshoe! The next is to record the Chinese New Year of the Ox.
I pick my sampler up for about half an hour a day – its fun stitching done for me as I follow my own curious trail. This sampler is not a thing to be made up or a project to be finished. My Sampler is simply worked for love and joy of stitching. I hope you have enjoyed reading about it. Let me know and leave comment I would love to know if you are stitching your own story roll or band sampler this year.
Other articles that relate to this are:
If you are interested this article about in the previous parts of this band sampler and the back story as to why I started stitching it.
For information on how I designed the header to my 2021 sampler see this article .
A Brief History of Embroidery Samplers sets band samplers in a greater context
Experimenting with different threads can be expensive. You would normally have to buy a whole skein of each type of thread. My thread twisties are a combination of different threads to use in creative hand embroidery. These enable you to try out stitching with something other than stranded cotton. For the price of a few skeins, you can experiment with a bundle of threads of luscious colours and textures.
These are creative embroiders threads. With them, I hope to encourage you to experiment. Each Twistie is a thread bundle containing silk, cotton, rayon and wool. Threads range from extra fine (the same thickness as 1 strand of embroidery floss) to chunky couchable textured yarns. All threads have a soft and manageable drape. Twisting them around a needle makes experimental hand embroidery an interesting journey rather than a battle. Many are hand dyed by me. All are threads I use. You may find a similar thread twist but no two are identical.
You will find my thread twisties in the Pintangle shop here.
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