It is with great pleasure that we present to you this beautiful Quaker band sampler stitched by Mary Wills around the year 1750.
It is always a thrill to discover a Quaker band sampler and particularly so when the young girl who created the sampler can be identified. Between the linen and the backing board of the framed sampler there had been recorded a name and an address “Waterfall, Gore House, Bradpole” and that Mary Wills was the daughter of Mary Wilson and John Wills and the year “1738.” We had a puzzle to be solved, i.e. what linked the two pieces of information?
The records of the Friends Meeting House of Warwickshire Middle provided a rich source of information about our Mary and we tell her story over four pages in the booklet. The sampler was worked in the City of Coventry, England. Coventry has been an important centre of Quaker activity since the middle of the 17th century, and Quakers have been highly influential in the region’s social, economic, philanthropic and political development.
We have used the ten vibrant colours found of the reverse of the sampler as those are the colours that Mary chose to stitch her band sampler with. Mary executed her beautiful sampler with reversible stitches; however, we do not believe that the reverse of her sampler was intended to be shown as she carried her threads and did not start and end her threads invisibly. The model was stitched non-reversibly using cross stitch over 2, satin stitch, double running stitch, back stitch and Algerian eyelets. Alternatively, you could stitch the band sampler reversibly using the same stitches as Mary – two different versions of marking stitch (reversible cross stitch), satin stitch, Algerian eyelet, alternating double back stitch and double running stitch.
With our grateful thanks to Bhooma Aravamudan who lovingly stitched the model. 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.
The sampler has been reproduced using Weeks Zweigart 46ct linen in Straw with 1 strand of Au Ver à Soie 100.3 silks. The spool quantities used have been listed in the thread legend below. We have provided conversions for DMC based on 36ct with 2 strands and Au Ver à Soie d’Alger on 36ct with 1 strand.
We have used the vibrant colours found of the reverse of the sampler as those are the colours that Mary chose to stitch her band sampler with.
100.3 / d’Alger / DMC ~ Colour Description
061 x 3 / 1835 x 4 / 3818 x 4 ~ Emerald green ~ ultra very dark
309 x 1 / 112 x 1 / 3753 x 1 ~ Antique blue ~ ultra very light
318 x 1 / 4134 x 1 / 898 x 1 ~ Coffee brown ~ very dark
325 x 1 / 2125 x 1 / 470 x 1 ~ Avocado green ~ light
356 x 1 / 1434 x 1 / 931 x 1 ~ Antique blue ~ medium
358 x 1 / 1012 x 1 / 407 x 1 ~ Desert sand ~ dark
384 x 2 / 3025 x 3 / 777 x 3 ~ Raspberry ~ very dark
510 x 1 / 1426 x 1 / 336 x 1 ~ Navy blue
702 x 1 / 4543 x 1 / 301 x 1 ~ Mahogany ~ medium
Noir x 1 / Noir x 1 / 310 x 1 ~ Black
The design area is 273 stitches (w) x 357 stitches (h). Our calculations have included a 3” margin for finishing and framing.
28ct ~ Design: 19.50″ x 25.50″ Fabric: 25.50″ x 31.50″
32ct ~ Design: 17.06″ x 22.31″ Fabric: 23.06″ x 28.31″
36ct ~ Design: 15.17″ x 19.83″ Fabric: 21.17″ x 25.83″
40ct ~ Design: 13.65″ x 17.85″ Fabric: 19.65″ x 23.85″
46ct ~ Design: 11.87″ x 15.52″ Fabric: 17.87″ x 21.52″
56ct ~ Design: 9.75″ x 12.75″ Fabric: 15.75″ x 18.75″
Mary executed her beautiful sampler with reversible stitches; however, we do not believe that the reverse of her sampler was intended to be shown as she carried her threads and did not start
and end her threads invisibly.
The model was stitched non-reversibly using cross stitch over 2, satin stitch, double running stitch, back stitch and Algerian eyelets.
Alternatively, you could stitch the band sampler reversibly using the same stitches as Mary – two different versions of marking stitch (reversible cross stitch), satin stitch, Algerian eyelet, alternating double back stitch and double running stitch.The stitches used are cross stitch over 1 thread, double backstitch, eyelet stitch, Montenegrin stitch, reversible cross stitch (marking stitch), satin stitch and stem stitch.
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 a vertical and 2 diagonal stitches. When working a motif not all cross stitches will cross in the same direction.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 Eyelet ~ There is one stitch laid to every thread, so when stitched over 2 threads there are 8 stitches laid to create an eyelet. Mary applied tension to open the centre hole of each 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.
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.