Jenefer Gilbert 1818


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Jenefer Gilbert was born in the parish of Lanreath, in South-east Cornwall, a short distance from the beautiful coast line and picturesque fishing ports of Fowey, Polperro and Looe. The parish, which was mentioned in the Domesday Book is, even today, almost entirely rural and consists of scattered farms, one hamlet, Bocadda, and the small village of Lanreath. Jenefer was the oldest of 6 children born to Richard and Grace Gilbert. She was christened on 22 July 1806. Her family were farmers and had three farms, Trecan, Higher Brazemoor and Ven.  Jenefer never married or had children, sadly dying when only twenty-five in 1830. Jenefer finished her sampler in April 1818 when she was twelve.

Contained within the pretty clover border are birds, trees, hearts, crowns and an abundance of flowers. The sampler’s stunning colour scheme has been inspired by the wildflowers that grow in profusion on the moors, meadows, hedgerows and cliffs of Cornwall.

Two distinctive baskets of flowers and fruit are the highlight of this beautiful sampler. We know of one other sampler that features both of these baskets. That sampler was completed in the same year as Jenefer’s by Ann Toms. Ann was born in the neighbouring parish of Duloe. It is highly likely that Ann and Jenefer attended the same school and stitched their samplers together.

Swiftly see each moment flies,

See and learn be timely wise,

Every moment shortens day,

Every pulse bears time away,

Thus thy every heaving breath

Waft thee on to certain death,

Seize the moments as the fly,

Know to live and learn to die.

The verse Jenefer chose for her sampler appeared in various publications of the time including a “Selection of Poems” for “schools and young persons” collated and published by Joseph Cottle.  The verse was very popular in Victorian times and appeared on decorative crockery, especially on lustreware produced in the northern potteries of Sunderland and Newcastle.   It also had connections within masonic circles and collections from several masonic lodges contain jugs decorated with the inscription.  The verse could also be found on watch and clock faces.

The 24 page chart is in a booklet format and has been printed in full colour throughout. All the motifs have been counted out for you within the graph, there is no tracing required. The chart comes with a comprehensive stitching guide and stitch diagrams together with historical information about the period the sampler was stitched in. You may enjoy watching a video about the sampler – see VIDEO tab above.

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 Sand Dune.   Soie d’Alger /  DMC 4622 x 1 / 223 x 1 ~ Shell pink - light Noir x 1 / 310 x 1 ~ Black F23 for the UK or 4533 for the US x 2 / 613 x 2 ~ Drab brown – very light 4245 x 1 / 680 x 1 ~ Old gold - dark F18 x 1 / 738 x 1 ~ Tan – very light 3745 x 2 / 830 x 2 ~ Golden olive - dark 2757 x 1 / 926 x 1 ~ Grey green - medium 2216 x 1 / 934 x 1  ~ Black avocado green 4634 x 1 / 3726 x 1 ~ Antique mauve - dark   LINEN SIZES The design area is 229 stitches (w) x 333 stitches (h). Our calculations have included a 3” margin for finishing and framing. 28ct – Design: 16.36" x 23.79" Fabric: 22.36" x 29.79" 32ct – Design: 14.31" x 20.81" Fabric: 20.31" x 26.81" 36ct – Design: 12.72" x 18.5" Fabric: 18.72" x 24.5" 40ct – Design: 11.45" x 16.65" Fabric: 17.45" x 22.65"

Stitch Guide

Jenefer’s sampler has been rated as suitable for an intermediate stitcher but is not beyond a confident beginner wishing to take the next step with counted needlework. There are a variety of stitches used: cross stitch over 1 and 2 threads, satin stitch, stem stitch “SS”, chain stitch “CS” and Smyrna stitch. Within Jenefer's booklet are detailed stitching notes, stitch diagrams and close up photographs of  the two baskets and birds. All the motifs have been counted out for you, there is no tracing required. Cross Stitch is made up of 2 stitches  worked over 1 or 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.   Smyrna Stitch ~ this stitch is also known as a double cross stitch. Work a standard cross stitch, and then work an upright cross stitch directly over it. Stem Stitch ~ when working from left to right. Bring needle up at 1 and down at 2. Bring needle back up halfway between 1 and 2 at 3. Be sure to keep thread below the needle. When working from right to left keep the thread above the needle. Chain Stitch ~ bring your needle up at 1, then go back down through the same hole to form a loop. Bring the needle up at 2 and pull the thread until the loop is the shape and size required. Repeat to create a chain. To end the row make a small stitch over the last loop to hold it in place. 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 AND TOOLS” section.    


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