Monday, March 19, 2007

Samplers -- Again, Again 

Samplers are often an undercurrent to our modern stitching or our study of stitching history as pointed out by Sharon B.

Sometimes today we don't realize that we are stitching samplers as we try out this and that. We are just not so formal about it. I have bits of all sorts of fabric around with samples stitched on them. I'm comfortable with the notion that a sampler is a collection of varying motifs, fibers or techniques stitched on a ground.

As to the notion that samplers taught reading skills, hmmm I rather think back to my first sampler and draw on the psychology of mom and child. Many samplers were stitched pre-TV. I know mine was. Children had not only to be educated but entertained and kept out of mischief.

When stitching, an alphabet letter is such a nice "lesson". It can use bits of left over thread, it can be done quickly and there is a sense of accomplishment after completing just one letter. Perfect combination for a fidgetty child exercise. I can remember "just stitch one letter." After each letter or two a child could often pick a new color as well. What an incentive.

One of the main reasons I admire samplers is their individuality. Until this century when we began slavishly copying old samplers, they were usually different in some respect. Samplers are the one bit of embroidery that has never been shunted into professional workshops or sweatshops.

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