Elizabeth Beaven 1835


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Elizabeth Beaven 1835 is a charming Scottish sampler suitable for intermediate stitchers. The 24 page chart comes in booklet form, is beautifully illustrated throughout and the graph is in full colour. The stitches used are mainly cross stitch over two with the verse and dedication in cross stitch over one. There are small freehand accents worked in satin stitch and within the booklet there is a five page detailed stitch guide. A step by step photo trail tutorial is also available free of charge (please see tab above).

Elizabeth’s sampler is enclosed within an unusual and whimsical undulating border filled with fauna and flora. Owls, parrots, geese, partridges, pheasants, squirrels, sheep, butterflies, caterpillars, bee skeps and beautiful freehand sprays of flowers abound making this sampler quite special and unique.

There are several urns of flowers including a delightful basket of arranged flowers. A charming young girl and boy in their best Sunday outfits stand beside two chairs.  A handloom weaver’s cottage with smoke billowing from its chimney is surrounded by leafy trees and stands above a grassy bank.

Christ is depicted in contemporary dress mounted on a donkey. Light emanates from his halo and raised hand reflecting the sentiment of the verse stitched by Elizabeth which is taken from the Evangelical Hymn, “O happy they who know the Lord”. This was written by John Newton and his friend the poet William Cowper in 1779, and it is known as one of the Olney Hymns.  Amazing Grace is another Olney Hymn.  Both men were abolitionists, and Cowper’s poem “The Negro’s Complaint” was often quoted by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr in his speeches.  Cowper also wrote the poem “Light Shining Out of Darkness” which gave us the phrase,  “God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform”.


Thread Legend

The sampler has been charted with Au Ver à Soie silks and the skein quantities calculated based on 1 strand on 36ct fabric. We have provided a DMC conversion based on 2 strands on 36ct fabric. The model was stitched on 40ct Lakeside Linen Sand Dune. The sampler has been rated intermediate. Soie d’Alger / DMC 4245 x 1 /420 x 1 - Hazelnut brown – dark 3816 x 2/434 x 2 -  Brown – light 3823 x 1/ 437 x 1 - Tan – light 1846 x 4/500 x 4 - Blue green – very dark 3835 x 1/ 610 x 1 - Drab brown - dark 2542 x 3/677 x 3 - Old gold – very light 4622 x 1 /760 x 1 - Salmon 4624 * see note/816 * see note - Garnet 4136 x 2/838 x 2 - Beige brown - very dark 1745 x 1/931 x 1 - Antique blue – medium 3735 x 1/ 936 x 1 - Avocado green – very dark 4524 x 1/3045 x 1 - Yellow beige – dark 3724 x 2/3363 x 2 - Pine green – medium 3344 x 1/3790 x 1- Beige grey – ultra dark * 4624/816 one long strand of this colour is sufficient as it is only used for 25 stitches


The design area is 311 stitches (w) x 461 stitches (h). Our calculations have included a 3” margin for finishing and framing. 30ct – Design: 20.73" x 30.73" Fabric: 26.73" x 36.73" 32ct – Design: 19.44" x 28.81" Fabric: 25.44" x 34.81" 36ct – Design: 17.28" x 25.61" Fabric: 23.28" x 31.61" 40ct – Design: 15.55" x 23.05" Fabric: 21.55" x 29.05"  

Freehand Tutorial

Elizabeth's sampler has satin stitched freehand accents, however, they do not need to be included as the sampler will stand well without them. Alternatively the satin stitches could be substituted with cross stitches.

We want to take the fear out of freehand and for you to be able to stitch these charming motifs with confidence and enjoyment.


We have designed a small motif with a step-by-step photo trail tutorial for you to sample. Whilst this motif has been made up it incorporates all the actual flowers that are freehand stitched in Elizabeth's sampler. The tutorial uses the stitches found in the original sampler.

Most stitchers when stitching a freehand design are a little nervous of drawing a shape onto their linen. Tracing a design has issues with dimensions in relation to the linen count. Without a guide line it is easy for the embroidery to “grow” out of proportion.

We prefer, where possible, to tack a loose outline with our needle, sketching out the shape in thread. The lines and placement of a motif are easily changed and refined without leaving the fabric marked.

Screenshot 2016-07-28 12.17.32

This is the method we have used for our reproduction and within the sampler’s chart there are guide lines for the freehand motifs laid out in the same manner as above . There are close up photographs of each of the stitched freehand motifs within the chart.


Using the graph above roughly tack out the stems and one flower head. There is no need to count this out exactly – this is freehand. Listen to your needle, she will guide you. Use a long loose tack stitch. Do not worry about carrying the thread between the tack stitches. The stitch will either be covered or removed when you have finished the motif.


The sampler’s flower stems are made up of short satin stitches but stem stitch would work well if you prefer.

We do not recommend sewing tightly packed stitches to start – they are hard to unpick if your shape is not right.

Travel up the stem spacing the stitches out so that you are getting a feel for the shape.


When you get to the top and you are happy with the shape, work your way back down filling in the stem with the desired coverage. Repeat for the next stem.


Your stems should curve and not bend in hard angles. To curve your outline use a couching stitch to lift the loosely tacked line.


See how the shape softens.


Keep repeating the process.


Until all the stems are stitched.


Turn over your work.


Your waste knot and some uncovered tack lines will be showing.


Clip out the visible tack lines and remove the waste knot. There is no need to secure it. Be careful not to clip out the flower head !


Turn your work back over and stitch the stamens on the first flower. All you need are two or more straight satin stitches.


Do not worry about counting out your stitches. Your flowers will be individual, think about the shapes you are hoping to achieve and experiment.


For the third flower tack out the shape of the petals first.


Use the same process for the stems to stitch the flower. Make your stitches a little shorter than those on the stem.


Each of the stamens are formed with a single thread with two passes.


The tips on the orginal sampler are over one cross stitches. Stitch them slightly on the loose side.


The next flower is made up of three steps. First stitch the vertical satin stitches. A single thread with two passes.


Then add the three long horizontal satin stitches and finish with the short diagonal stitches to the outer edges.


The final stem has a row of  hanging flowers.


Use a tacking stitch to decide on placement.


Then embroider the flowers with satin stitches.


The last step is to add the leaves. We would recommend that you leave the leaves until last so that they can be shaped to sit well with the flower heads. The leaves are formed by long straight stitches. Most of the leaves are slightly triangular in shape, the tips sharing the same hole and the base where it meets the stem spread slightly open.

Hands Across the Sea Samplers hope that you will stitch this small motif and that it takes the fear out of freehand for you. If you have any questions we are here to help, please use the contact page.

Who was Elizabeth ?

Elizabeth Joanna Beaven, the daughter of James Beaven and Janet Mackechnie, was born on July 22, 1822 in Greenock, a busy port on the banks of the River Clyde in Scotland. The Clyde was only navigable by small inland and coastal craft and so Glasgow and Paisley were dependent for their access to the sea on Greenock, Dumbarton and Port Glasgow.

By the early 1800’s Greenock had grown from a fishing village in the shadow of a castle that has long since disappeared, to a major port of embarkation for Scottish emigrants crossing the Atlantic to the USA and Canada. The town's growth was based largely on trade with the Americas. Sugar cane from the Caribbean was processed in Greenock's sugar refineries which supplied half of the British market. Shipbuilding was also a significant employer along the shoreline.

During Elizabeth’s childhood Greenock was reputed to have some of the worst slums in Europe. With no clean water, appalling sanitation and overcrowded housing, epidemics of fever, smallpox and cholera raged through the town. The ingenious Shaw’s Water Scheme was begun in 1825 to bring clean drinking water to Greenock from the Renfrewshire Hills, and this allowed water-powered textile mills to develop in the town. Much of their output was in printed calicos for the export market, particularly using a red dye known as Turkey Red for which west central Scotland became famous.

Handloom weaving continued in the region for specialist and quality products, such as the well-known Paisley shawls with their distinctive Kashmiri pattern. In the late 1830s demand collapsed and many weavers were left without work. The young Queen Victoria tried to set an example by encouraging the wearing of Paisley shawls amongst the wives and daughters of courtiers to stimulate demand. Spinning and weaving survived and prospered to the end of the century.

Paisley also became well known for its thread from the Anchor and Ferguslie mills of the Coats and Clarke families. Throughout the century it was one of the most important employers of female labour. The ‘scalling’(going home) of mill girls pouring from factory gates at the end of a day’s work was a common sight in many communities.


Hands Across the Sea Sampers were thrilled to hear that John Kazmaier, a needleworker who I have great respect for took first place at the Woodlawn 55th Annual Needlework Show with the beautiful Elizabeth Beaven from Hands Across the Sea Samplers. Here are some of the details. Woodlawn 55th Annual Needlework Show & Sale, March 1-31, 2018 Sampler: Multi-Stitch category — First Place 52 count Lakeside Vintage Sand Dune linen with Gloriana Tudor hand-dyed silks. Tudor conversion by Jean Lea, Attic Needlework, Mesa, Arizona Framing by Sherri Bergman, Total Framing, Fairfax, Virginia John writes: I want to share a couple of things from Dr. Cheryl Christian’s judges critique: “Congratulations on an exquisite work of needle art. Elizabeth Beaven’s Scottish Sampler is delicate with engaging motifs gracefully and airily arranged. I hope it was as enjoyable to work as it is to view.” “This sampler has excellent graphic appeal, with elements placed for an effective composition. The motifs are intriguing and the animals joyous and fun; they make us smile. This is a work you can look at again and again and find something new. How lucky Elizabeth was to stitch it, and how fortunate that you chose to stitch the Hands Across the Sea reproduction. It gives great pleasure to the viewer.” I opted not to stitch the inner border, but the area across the top with five motifs needed something, so I selected three and converted them to cross stitch. Samplers are displayed in the center hallway where I enjoyed talking with people about my three entries, especially by Elizabeth with a friend of yours from France. I can’t thank you enough for giving Elizabeth a rebirth! I really enjoyed stitching her, and wish you could have seen the joy on the faces of the hundreds of people that admired her at the show! https://hands-across-the-sea-samplers.com/product/elizabeth-beaven-1835/

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