Ann Borrett 1646


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Ann’s beautiful band sampler is highly decorative and even though  she “rovght” her sampler three hundred and seventy-four years ago, the colours are still intense today.  A vibrant red, a peacock blue, a deep navy blue and a mouth watering selections of greens delight the eye.

The first two bands of Ann’s sampler also appear in the band sampler stitched by Jeane Vally in 1646. Jeane’s sampler is in the Goodhart Collection at Montecute House and is featured in the book “The Goodhart Collection” on page 88.



Band samplers were the traditional “test pieces” worked by young girls. Ann’s sampler or “sam cloth” is a visual catalogue of stitches and comprises of neat rows of patterns that are suitable for repeating motifs to adorn garments and household items. The alphabet at the bottom of Ann’s sampler and her inscription demonstrate her ability to mark household linen.



Whilst we cannot trace Ann in family history records, we believe that she was probably a very young girl when stitched her sampler. It was only thirty years earlier that William Shakespeare died. 



When we first acquired the sampler we thought that it was a fragment of a sampler, imagine our delight when we removed the sampler from its frame to discover that it was an entire sampler.

Her small size makes this sampler an ideal project for needleworkers wishing to venture into band samplers. Ann executed her sampler over 3 threads with stitches that are reversible. If you prefer, your sampler could be executed over 2 threads using either reversible or non-reversible stitches.




Ann’s sampler has been exquisitely and reversibly sitched by Lisa Miller. At the very core of Hands Across the Sea Samplers there is a team of needleworkers who are passionate about antique samplers and being able to share those samplers with you.

Thread Legend

The model for Ann’s stunning band sampler was stitched using Weeks Dyeworks (Zweigart-based) 40ct linen in Straw with a palette of 11 Au Ver à Soie silks from their Soie d’Alger range. The skein quantities listed are based on 1 strand of Soie d’Alger on 40ct fabric. We have provided conversions for Soie 100.3 based on 1 strand of silk on 46ct linen and DMC based on 2 strands of cotton on 36ct linen.

The original sampler was stitched on linen that was approx. 58/60ct.
Ann stitched her sampler over 3 threads of linen with stitches that are reversible. If you prefer, your sampler could be executed over 2 threads.
Soie d’Alger /  Soie100.3 /  DMC ~ Colour Description
542 x 1 /  776 x 1 /  3822 x 1 ~ Straw ~ light
1011 x 1 /  217 x 1 /  950 x 1 ~ Desert sand ~ light
1424 x 1 /   510 x 1 /  336 x 1 ~ Navy blue
1725 x 1 /  601 x 1 /  3765 x 1 ~ Peacock blue ~ very dark
1812 x 1 /  621 x 1 /  928 x 1 ~ Grey green ~ very light
2133 x 2 /  325 x 1 /  471 x 2 ~ Avocado green ~ very light
2135 x 2 /   491 x 1 /  3345 x 2 ~ Hunter green ~ dark
2223 x 1 /  199 x 1 /  733 x 1 ~ Olive green ~ medium
2643 x 2 /  135 x 1 /  3830 x 2 ~ Terracotta
2936 x 2 /  524 x 1 /  498 x 2 ~ Christmas red ~ dark
4531 x 1 /   080 x 1 /  822 x 1 ~ Beige grey ~ light


The design area is 155 stitches (w) x 180 stitches (h). Please note that each stitch is over 3 threads of linen. Our calculations have included a 3" margin for finishing and framing.
28ct: Design: 16.61" x 19.29" Fabric: 22.61" x 25.29"
32ct: Design: 14.53" x 16.88" Fabric: 20.53" x 22.88"
36ct: Design: 12.92" x 15.00" Fabric: 18.92" x 21.00"
40ct: Design: 11.62" x 13.50" Fabric: 17.62" x 19.50"
46ct: Design: 10.11" x 11.74" Fabric: 16.11" x 17.74"
56ct: Design: 8.31" x 9.65" Fabric: 14.31" x 15.65"
52/62ct: Design: 8.94" x 8.71" Fabric: 14.94" x 14.71"
Alternative sizes for stitching the sampler over 2 threads of linen.
28ct: Design: 11.07" x 12.86" Fabric: 17.07" x 18.86"
32ct: Design: 9.69" x 11.25" Fabric: 15.69" x 17.25"
36ct: Design: 8.61" x 10.00" Fabric: 14.61" x 16.00"
40ct: Design: 7.75" x 9.00" Fabric: 13.75" x 15.00"
46ct: Design: 6.74" x 7.83" Fabric: 12.74" x 13.83"
56ct: Design: 5.54" x 6.43" Fabric: 11.54" x 12.43"
52/62ct: Design: 5.96" x 5.81" Fabric: 11.96" x 11.81"

Stitch Guide

Ann executed her sampler over 3 threads with stitches that are reversible. If you prefer, your sampler could be executed over 2 threads.

Reversible Cross Stitch - Version 1 

The front of the stitch forms a cross and the reverse a square. The first stitch will only have three sides not four. Not all the diagonals will cross in the same direction and a fourth diagonal will be required at times.


Reversible Cross Stitch - Version 2 

The stitch comprises of one vertical and two diagonal stitches. When working a motif not all cross stitches will cross in the same direction.


Running Stitch  ~ This stitch is worked in one journey, the stitch weaves over and under three threads of linen.



Double Running Stitch ~ On the outward journey you mark out the motif, and on the return trip you fill in the gaps. It is also called Holbein Stitch.



Satin Stitch ~ Run a straight stitch between each thread of fabric in the direction shown on the chart. Use one thread, making repeated passes, until the desired coverage is achieved.



Double Back Stitch ~ This reversible stitch on Ann’s sampler appears plaited from the front and as two parallel rows of back stitch on the reverse. When turning a corner, you may find it helpful to rotate your hoop or frame. When I work this stitch, I visualise the stitch I am creating on the reverse of the fabric (blue lines in this diagram→). Within the graph I have shown the reverse stitch path as I believe this will assist you.

When practising this stitch for the first time, I would recommend that you frequently check the reverse to ensure the correct stitch path is being followed.



Diagonal Double Back Stitch The blue lines in this diagram show the stitch path on the reverse.



Montenegrin Stitch ~ The stitch comprises of a long oblique stitch, a short diagonal stitch, and a short upright stitch. Compensation stitches are required at the start and end of a row to give a neat finish (A- B and C-E).


Detached Buttonhole Stitch ~ Step-by-step instructions for this stitch can be fund in the booklet.