Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Does anyone know of a Irish reproduction sampler?

My ancestors all hail from Ireland, and I thought it would be fun to stitch an historical Irish sampler.
I have been looking, but so far with no luck. All I seem to find are shamrocks, leprechauns, and the like.
The Scarlet Letter has some from Scotland, but I have not seen one from Ireland.
If anyone knows of one, I would really appreciate it if you would drop me a line.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Finish and a VERY Nervous New Start!

I finished up The Mary Clark Sampler last week, but have only now gotten around to posting the picture.

I stitched it on 40 count linen using silk threads.

This was a fun sampler to stitch, and I am pleased with the way it turned out. I am looking forward to finding the right frame for it.

The May edition of my Totally useless stitch-along shows the colors from the Mary Clark Sampler, as well as a bit more pink from my Country Garden quilt.

Now, for the new start.

I have finally decided to bite the bullet. This has been in my stash for years, but has intimidated me every time I look at it!

This is one big, scary box!

Yup, the beast itself!

I have finally decided to take on The Loara Standish Sampler!

Just a bit of history:

This is a reproduction of America's oldest known sampler (circa 1640). It has been preserved in Pilgrim Hall, America's oldest museum since 1844. Loara was the daughter of Capt. Myles Standish and his wife Barbara , of Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts. The stitches are all very intricate, and the whole thing is reversible! The original was stitched on a fine linen (50 threads by 66 threads, and measures 7-1/4 X 23-1/2", using silk floss.

The kit came with 35 count hand-dyed linen and silk floss. There are instructions for stitching a non-reversible version, but I have chosen to make it reversible.

I decided that the only way I was going to get through this, was to treat it just like any other sampler, modifying it as I see fit.

I am changing the linen to 40 count, but perhaps the biggest change I am making is with the silk thread. The instructions call for using 2 strands of silk thread over 3 threads. I tried this and did not like the effect. Some of the stitches require the thread to pass through a single hole, many times. It comes out very thick and chunky. I decided to use 1 strand over 3 threads. I am hoping that increasing the linen to 40ct will make up for the density. This is not entirely without issues however, because some of the colors were intended to be blended together using two colors on the needle. The shades are very close however. I will have to make the decision which color to use when I come to it.

There was a huge amount of prep work for this piece. I dyed the linen in a mixture of tea and coffee, rinsed, dried and ironed it. This closed the holes even more.

It took an hour to read through the huge instruction packet, and I am still not sure I have gotten it straight! Then I had to make a stitching line down the left side of the linen, stitching over every three threads, to mark where the bands begin.

Finally I was ready to start. The first band was to be stitched in the famous Standish stitch.

This is not as easy as it looks! Your brain gets very used to stitching over 2 threads, and it is very hard to get used to stitching over 3! The 40ct makes it even tougher. Also,you have to constantly check the back to make sure it truly is reversible. It requires that one stitch be done twice in the same spot, and this is very easy to overlook. There were 67 of these stitches in Band 1.

This is how it came out:

(click to see detail)

Phew! This is going to be a tough one!