Samplers have been in vogue for centuries. They are often used to record commemorative celebrations such as births, anniversaries, weddings and other family events. Sometimes young women were taught to embroider so that they would have a hope chest full of their treasures to enhance the home when they married. These samplers were often lines of different types of stitches, to practice and refine their skills before they moved on to more advanced and more expensive materials. “Home Sweet Home” was hung in many homes to enourage young families to create a happy household. Many motifs had similar adages incorporated into the design. As the gentle lady sat stitching, it was the only respected quiet time for her.
The designing and the colour combinations were intriguing for the mind as the actual stitching was for the hand. As young people had no regular schooling, the sampler with its alphabet around the edges or as a centre motif, could be used as a method to learn how to use words and understand numbers. The cross stitch allows the stitcher to follow a pattern and learn to count, both valuable assets in anyone’s life. Luminosity… the memory game to keep your mind active …doesn’t leave you with a piece of beautiful embroidery!
A Sampler can be as small as a watch face or much larger. Always start with enough length so that you can include stitches which are so fascinating that one more row will just complete the design. Stitching gives you a challenge. Both the hand work, hand-eye coordination skills and imaginative design or “left-right brain involvement” is so important. There is nothing but positives to be gained by learning a new skill.