Hannah Gaskell 1823


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When we first saw Hannah’s sampler we immediately fell in love with the boy riding his faithful dog, after all, “a boy and his dog make a glorious pair, no better friendship is found anywhere, for they talk and they walk and they run and they play and they have deep secrets for many a day”. We knew we had to reproduce this beautiful sampler to share with other stitchers.

We know of two other samplers that feature this particular motif, one of which is Mary Rickards 1824 that is featured in Micheàl and Elizabeth Feller’s “The Needlework Collection 2” (page 146).

Hannah’s sampler features: a honeysuckle border of many colours; a double alphabet and two houses;  a windmill;  a snake curled around a tree;  a man and lady sheltering under an umbrella;  a swan plus numerous birds and butterflies;  a stunning basket of flowers and a double crucifix. Crucifixion samplers are uncommon and seldom do they have the charm of this sampler.  To have a double crucifixion scene is rare.

From our research we have found three possible Hannahs, all born in Lancashire. One of the Hannah’s was baptised in Royton. There was a windmill in the village in the 1800’s and a Hall there bears some similarity to the large red house in the sampler. We will never know for certain if this is our little girl but she is a strong contender.

In the language of flowers honeysuckle stands for happiness. For the superstitious honeysuckle protects your garden from evil. The sweet smelling blossoms are believed to induce dreams particularly about love and passion! It was thought that if honeysuckle was brought into a house when in bloom, a wedding would soon take place in that household.  A swan symbolises grace and beauty and this is a beautiful sampler. Hannah, when she was only 10 years of age, showed great industry and patience in stitching such a large project on 60ct linen.

The verse featured on Hannah’s sampler is a compilation taken from two hymns by Isaac Watts dealing with death: “Prayer for Deliverance from the Fear of Death” and “Death of the Sinner and Saint”.

There are a variety of stitches used: cross stitch over 1 and 2 threads, satin stitch, back stitch and French knots. Whilst a large project at some 66,000 stitches Hannah is suitable for all levels. Within the booklet are detailed stitching notes and stitch diagrams. The booklet is printed in full colour throughout.

Thread Legend

The sampler has been reproduced with Au Ver à Soie d’Alger 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 Examplar. Soie d’Alger    DMC 2236 x 2 / 420 x 2 ~ Hazel nut brown - dark 3742 x 1 / 422 x 1 ~ Hazel nut brown - light 2246 x 1 / 434 x 1 ~ Brown –  light 5025 x 3  / 500 x 3 ~ Blue green - very dark 2231 x 2  / 677 x 2 ~ Old gold - very light 2243 x 2 / 729 x 2 ~ Old gold - medium 2145 x 2  / 730 x 2 ~ Olive green – very dark 2915 x 1 / 760 x 1 ~ Salmon 526 x 1 / 829 x 1 ~ Golden olive – very dark 3815 x 1 / 832 x 1 ~ Golden olive 4113 x 1 / 841 x 1 ~ Beige brown -light 4114 x 1 / 842 x 1 ~ Beige brown – very light 1745 x 1  / 924 x 1 ~ Grey green – very dark 2757 x 2  / 926 x 2 ~ Grey green – medium 516 x 2 / 937 x 2 ~ Avocado green – medium 3711 x 2  / 3033 x 2 ~ Mocha brown – very light 2916 x 2  / 3328 x 2 ~ Salmon – dark 4136 x 3  / 3371 x 3 ~ Black brown 4533 x 1 / 3782 x 1 ~ Mocha brown – light 131 x 1 / 3811 x 1 ~ Turquoise – very light 2543 x 1 / 3822 x 1 ~  Straw – light 3413 x 1 / 3861 x 1 ~  Cocoa – light F10 x 2 / Ecru x 2  ~ Ecru LINEN SIZES The design area is 478 stitches (w) x 517 stitches (h). Our calculations have included a 3” margin for finishing and framing. 28ct – Design: 34.14" x 36.93" Fabric: 40.14" x 42.93" 32ct – Design: 29.88" x 32.31" Fabric: 35.88" x 38.31" 36ct – Design: 26.56" x 28.72" Fabric: 32.56" x 34.72" 40ct – Design: 23.90" x 25.85" Fabric: 29.90" x 31.85"

Stitch Guide

There are a variety of stitches used: cross stitch over 1 and 2 threads, satin stitch, back stitch and French knots. Whilst a large project at some 66,000 stitches Hannah is suitable for all levels.   Cross Stitch is made up of 2 stitches  worked over 2 threads. Make all your stitches cross in the same direction for a neat and uniform finish.     Satin Stitch –  run a straight stitch between each thread of the fabric in the direction shown on the chart. Use 1 thread  making  repeated passes until the desired coverage is achieved.         Back Stitch ~ When working from your left to the right. Bring your needle up at 1 and down at 2, then moving to the right bring your needle up at 3 and go back down at 1. Move to the right and bring your needle up at 4 and go back down at 3. French Knot ~ bring your needle up through the fabric. Holding  the  thread taut with the finger and thumb of one  hand  use  the  other  hand  to  wind the thread firmly around the needle tip three times (as Hannah did). Still holding the thread, insert the  needle close to  where you  brought  your needle up. Pull  the  needle and  thread through to the back of the fabric until the knot is formed and lies securely on the surface.   Just like the longest journey that begins with a single step, so does each sampler begin with a single stitch. All stitches begin the same way, by sticking the needle first in, then out, of the fabric. The only difference between one type of stitch and the other is where you put that needle and how you manipulate the thread. Hands Across the Sea Samplers are on hand to help those stitching our charts. If you need assistance or have any questions we can be reached via the CONTACT page on our website. Our website has stitching tutorials which can be found in the “sewing basket/tools” section.    

Stitched by Michele Hartig Barton

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