Monday, February 4, 2008

Newbury, Newburyport, "The Chase" Sampler Variations

I have wanted to do this sampler for a very long time, so before I decided which one I wanted, I did as much research as I could.

I was never able to find a picture of the actual sampler. Although it was stitched in New England, the original is in the Williamsburg collection.

The one I picked was the Paragon kit version ("The Chase"), that appeared in America Home Magazine in 1970. At first it almost seemed like cheating because the design is stamped on the linen. I had become used to doing counted cross stitch, but I came to appreciate the detail that went into reproducing it.

Another kit was the Elsa Williams version. I didn't choose this one because it was all cross stitch, and I wanted the sampler to have the stitches that were in the original. The different stitches give it a wonderful 3-dimensional effect.

Another pattern is "The Newburyport Sampler", from the Samplar Workes 1995. (See picture below). This one also has many of the fancier stitches.

I had it next to my desk and kept staring at it. There was something about it that bothered me, but I couldn't figure out what it was!

Then it hit me! The sampler is too perfect! It was made for modern eyes. It is perfectly symetrical on both sides with the pictural design falling neatly between the borders.

It is a beautiful sampler, and lovely to look at, but it does not look to me as if it were done by an 11 year-old, no matter how good she was!

Then I did more research and found pictures of actual samplers from Newbury(port) around that time. They most ressembled the Paragon kit. I am not a historian, but I do enjoy working on a piece that is closer to the original. To me the Paragon sampler looks like it "grew" as the design grew. The borders seem to expand because the pictural design didn't quite fit between the borders, and had to be adjusted!

I find that kind of imperfection comforting!

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