Jane’s sampler, a particularly beautiful one, is filled to bursting with motifs that vibrate with colour. The more you study the sampler the more you will see.
On first viewing the sampler, when it was listed in an auction catalogue, we thought that the sampler was Scottish. There are numerous sets of initials scattered throughout the sampler, together with a house with the lawn below executed in Turkey work, and both features are characteristic of Scottish samplers.
When the sampler arrived, in an old but not necessarily original frame, we discovered on the backing board a label that indicated that the sampler had been framed in Dublin, Ireland. Was Jane born in Ireland, did she or one of her descendants marry an Irishman, was the sampler acquired by a collector who took the sampler to Ireland? Regrettably, we shall never know as we cannot link the initials Jane diligently stitched to the Janes that appear in family history records.
This charming sampler has been mainly executed with cross stitch over two threads with a small amount of cross stitch over one thread for Patch the dog. Other stitches used are double running stitch, satin stitch, Algerian eyelet stitch, four-sided stitch, plait stitch and stem stitch. Jane’s sampler has been rated as suitable for intermediate and advanced needle workers but is not beyond a confident beginner. The sampler is an ideal choice for those who wish to expand their repertoire of stitches.
Jane’s stunning has been reproduced using Weeks Dyeworks 46ct Zweigart-based linen in straw with one strand of Au Ver à Soie silk from their d’Alger range. We have provided conversions for Au Ver à Soie 100.3 range together with DMC. Weeks Dyeworks Zweigart-based linen in cocoa would also work well for the sampler.
d’Alger / 100.3 / DMC – Colour Description
F18 x 1 / 425 x 1 / 676 x 1 – Old gold ~ light
944 x 1 / 500 x 1 / 321 x 1 – Christmas red
1434 x 1 / 356 x 1 / 931 x 1 – Antique blue ~ medium
1436 x 1 / 510 x 1 / 3750 x 1 – Antique blue ~ very dark
1745 x 1 / 486 x 1 / 3768 x 1 – Grey green ~ dark
1814 x 1 / 621 x 1 / 927 x 1 – Grey green ~ light
1845 x 1 / 654 x 1 / 501 x 1 – Blue green ~ dark
2146 x 2 / 274 x 1 / 3011x 2 – Khaki green ~ dark
2213 x 1 / 022 x 1 / 733 x 1 – Olive green ~ medium
2234 x 1 / 303 x 1 / 3820x 1 – Straw ~ dark
2645 x 1 / 107 x 1 / 347 x 1 – Salmon ~ very dark
2914 x 1 / 741 x 1 / 760 x 1 – Salmon
2926 x 1 / 2646 x 1 / 815 x 1 – Garnet ~ medium
3026 x 1 / 524 x 1 / 150 x 1 – Dusty rose ~ ultra very dark
3846 x 1 / 099 x 1 / 844 x 1 – Beaver grey ~ ultra dark
4236 x 1 / 542 x 1 / 434 x 1 – Brown ~ light
4524 x 1 / 634 x 1 / 3828 x 1 – Hazel nut brown
4644 x 1 / 037 x 1 / 778 x 1 – Antique mauve ~ very light
4645 x 1 / 376 x 1 / 3726 x 1 – Antique mauve ~ dark
5384 x 1 / 072 x 1 / 598 x 1 – Turquoise ~ light
The design area is 201 stitches (w) x 246 stitches (h). Our calculations have included a 3″ margin for finishing and framing.
28ct ~ Design: 14.36″ x 17.57″ Fabric: 20.36″ x 23.57″
32ct ~ Design: 12.56″ x 15.38″ Fabric: 18.56″ x 21.38″
36ct ~ Design: 11.17″ x 13.67″ Fabric: 17.17″ x 19.67″
40ct ~ Design: 10.05″ x 12.30″ Fabric: 16.05″ x 18.30″
46ct ~ Design: 8.74″ x 10.70″ Fabric: 14.74″ x 16.70″
56ct ~ Design: 7.18″ x 8.79″ Fabric: 13.18″ x 14.79″
Cross stitch ~ When working cross stitch, the top stitch should always lie in the same direction for a neat and uniform finish.
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.
Algerian eyelets ~ When worked over four threads of linen there are 8 stitches laid to create an eyelet. Do not tug on the thread using your needle as your thread will soon break. Instead apply pressure by pulling on the thread close to the stitch. Even tension should be applied so each individual stitch sits well within the eyelet.
Four-sided stitch ~ This forms a square (straight stitch) on the front of the fabric and a cross (diagonal stitch) on the back. Follow the sequence of stitches opposite. Jane’s sampler was worked with normal tension, but it can be used for other projects with a pulled tension to create a lacy effect.
Stem stitch ~ This can be used both as an outline and a filling stitch. A line worked in stem stitch is more fluid than one worked in back stitch or double running stitch. It can easily curve and is perfect for stitching vines and curvilinear shapes. You can start this stitch with an away waste knot or a pin stitch. Stem stitch consists of one long stitch forward and a short stitch back.
When working from left to right the thread should be kept below the needle and when working from right to left above the needle. This is important to create a rope like effect.
Plait stitch ~ This is a similar stitch to the Herringbone stitch. Follow the stitch path in the diagram.
Turkey work / Ghiordes knot ~ Take your needle down through the fabric at 1, bring back up at 2 and go back down at 3. Bring it back up at 4, leave a loop before going down at 5. Legs 2/3, 6/7 & 10/11 secure the loops in place.
Work this stitch in rows, the gap between rows will depend on the count of your fabric and the number of threads used on your needle. Experiment with coverage.
When the area is covered clip the loops and fluff up the tufts of thread. You may wish to tidy the lawn by trimming the tufts to equal lengths just like mowing a lawn!
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 email, address shown below, or the contact page on our website. Our website has stitching tutorials which can be found in the “sewing basket/tools” section.