Thursday, September 5, 2019

The Dirty (Half) Dozen

For a person who spends hours counting stitches and threads, the one thing I don't count is my number of unfinished projects  (WIP's).  As I was preparing for Sampler September, one of the topics I wanted to cover was samplers-in-the-works.  I pulled on my big girl britches, took a long deep breath and started digging.  My unfinished samplers are rolled in one of Faye Riggsbee's beautiful project rolls.  Keeping the samplers rolled instead of folded reduces folds, creases and wrinkles.  My framer says creases and folds are not her friends and are not the friends of needlework.

Hannah Breed
The Scarlet Letter

Country Home published a magazine in the mid 1990's called Folk Crafts.  The premier issue had a feature story on samplers by the Scarlet Letter.  The photo at the top of the page drew me in and I wanted to re create this image in my own home.  Hannah Breed is an 18th century American sampler and she originated in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1756.  Scarlet Letter rates her as an intermediate sampler because Hannah used cross, eyelet, satin, long arm cross, herringbone, queen, lazy daisy, straight and Florentine stitches in her sampler.  Whew!  That's a lot of different stitches Hannah.  

The wheels on Hannah's sampler started coming off the bus before she got a good start.  I wanted to stitch Hannah on a piece of R & R linen which I could not find and I could not find my skein of Noir Au Ver A Sore silk.  I made a febble start on Hannah and then she went to the project roll and has not seen the light of day in several years.  With all the different kinds of stitches, I should have asked myself if all these stitches were in my skill set.

Hannah Hope 1811
R & R Reproductions

Anne at Homespun Corner was offering a class with Ann Robbins and Pat Ryan (R & R Reproductions). Love their fabric!  While we stitched, Pat and Ann talked about samplers and answered questions.  I stopped working on this sampler because I wanted to change the name from Hannah Hope to Hannah P Sharp (yes, the name of another Grandmother).  The name is stitched over one and I don't like stitching over one.  The other reason I stopped working on this sampler was because of the chain stitch which completely circles the alphabets.  I'm going to have to get over my phobia of stitching over one and stitching the chain stitch and finish Hannah.

Margaret Cottam Aged 9

Margaret Cottam is a reproduction sampler released by Lori Markovic (La-D-Da) as a three part mystery sampler.  Margart is a family name and I wanted to stitch her for my Shults wall.  Margaret Ferguson was a Great Great Grandmother, Maggie Shults was a Great Aunt and then there is cousin Margaret.  Was marking great progress on my Margaret until I realized the border was not going to meet because I had stitched over three threads instead of two and there was going to be a great deal of ripping to correct the mistake.  I was also unhappy with the way the name appears on the sampler (centering). I'm going to leave the mistake and re-think the positioning of the name.

Ewe Alone 
Sheepish Designs (Dawn Bradford)

Dawn Bradford was a prolific designer in the eighties and nineties.  Each time Dawn released a design she would give the design a number followed by the word exemplary.  Ewe Alone is 114th exemplary.  For me this sampler contained many elements which I love in a sampler:  an alphabet, a floral border, a grassy meadow with a sheep and the initials and year of the stitcher.

Since I am not a big fan of the color pink, I decided I would change the colors.  This turned into a bigger task than I envisioned.  The flowers still look pink (the floss says salmon, which is a pinkish-orange). Ewe alone is a beautiful sampler and I really should be ashamed it has not been finished.

With Thy Needle and Thread (Brenda Gervais)

Brenda Gervais is a great marketer--she usually gets me with limited edition or series or sampler.  I fell in love with this small sweet sampler and its verse, When this you see, remember me.  Yes, more over one stitching, am beginning to see a behavior pattern here.  You know when the designer says read through the instructions before you begin to stitch, they really do mean this and there is a reason why they tell you to do this.  I distressed the linen before I began my stitching.  This step will give the linen a nice "time-worn" look, and give a bit more contrast between linen and some shades of floss used in the piece.  Not only did I not read the instructions, I did not follow them.  The fibers Brenda chose for this sampler are pastel.  When I started stitching the white house using the called for Weeks Straw, the fiber started disappearing into the linen.  Perhaps, if I had dyed the fabric before I started, I would not have had this problem.  Grrrrrrr!  Anne, one of my friends and needlework mentor told me to stop obsessing and "just stitch the darn thing."  

In All Things Be Exceedingly Diligent
Needlework Press

Am determined to finish this sampler for the next Homespun Gathering, September 28.  I am being redundant in saying this sampler has been a pure joy to stitch--it is beautifully charted, the colors compliment each other nicely and she is long and skinny.  She will make a nice addition to my sampler wall.

So, there is the Dirty (Half) Dozen.  My plan is to finish Diligence and because there is so little stitching left on the Forget-me-not sampler, she will get some love and attention after Diligence.  For the other girls--Stitch 10 challenge in 2020?  Sampler September 2020?


  1. misery loves beautiful; took my mind off my own quilty UFOs...

  2. I have three of The Scarlett Letter's sampler kits; one is finished (1986), two are unfinished works. I love the way they look just stuck here and there. I don't think my eyes will allow me to ever finish these pieces. I also have an unfinished sampler from The Examplarery, The Embroideress, which I love. I also treasure the packet of goodies that came with that sampler kit. I am excited to have found your wonderful blog from which I know I will find so much inspiration.

  3. I must have been in your class at Homespun Corner. My mom and a friend and I went down there to take that class. And mine is a WIP too...but I haven't even gotten it out in many years. Great idea to put them on a project roll.

  4. I love cross-stitched samplers, so this was fun to see all the ones you have in the works. But if they were mine, I would be overwhelmed. Why do these samplers overwhelm me more than the dozens of unfinished quilts I have? LOL

  5. Beautiful samplers. I can’t wait to see all the finishes you will have for next year—teehee. Judy

  6. Each one is beautiful! I look forward to seeing your finish of Diligent. I like the Sheepish Designs sampler you featured.

  7. Love seeing your WIPs/UFOs. I won't tell on how many I have!

  8. It is so interesting. Some of the things that stop you have also stopped me, especially the queen stitch. I really have tried to do it!!! I want to stitch Janet Reid , a Scottish sampler with the exact name of my Scottish 2 greats grandmother. However, the queen stitch has me stopped. You have chosen some lovely samplers. I look forward to seeing In All things Be Exceedingly Diligent finished. I think that is on my to buy list.

  9. Oh my what beautiful WIPS you have going, I am looking forward to seeing them finished.