Sarah Daws circa 1840


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Sarah’s exquisite sampler is worked almost entirely in cross stitch with the exception of a handful of backstitches. Sarah did not include a date on her sampler, however, from other dated samplers in Nicola’s collection, which include some of Sarah’s distinctive motifs, we are able to date the sampler to around 1840.

Worked in brightly coloured silks the sampler clearly shows the influence of the Berlin woolwork patterns which became so popular in Victorian England. The sampler is contained within a particularly beautiful and intricate floral border that captivates and delights. When viewing the sampler the eye is drawn to the lower section of the sampler where Sarah stitched a truly splendid parrot flanked by two pretty young ladies. Sarah incorporated 3 seashells into her design.

Whilst we have been unable to trace Sarah Daws in historical records, as there are many girls of that name, we believe our Sarah to have been a devoted daughter as touchingly she chose to dedicate her sampler to her “ever honoured Parents”.

On this fair worsted does my Needle write
Both love and duty bid my Heart indite.
Each pleasing view, each finished line appears,
To shew th’ improvement of my growing years.
With gratitude to God, my voice I raise,
That I am early taught to seek his ways;
And this my constant care, both Morn and Night:
Shall be to give you comfort and delight.
And in these lines, dear Parents I impart.
The fondest, tenderest, dictates of my Heart.

We have found her loving verse recorded on other samplers but have not been able to find the original source.

We believe that Sarah loved flowers, her sampler is filled with numerous blooms. Of all the earth’s creations flowers would have to be the most beloved. They have been admired and collected for countless years. Women have had a long and special relationship with flowering plants.

Sarah Daws has been brought to you in collaboration with  Bhooma  Aravamudan who has lovingly stitched the model. At the very core of Hands Across the Sea Samplers is a team of needleworkers who are passionate about antique samplers and being able to share those samplers with you.


Thread Legend

Sarah’s 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 Vintage Meadow Rue.

Soie d’Alger / DMC 

2644 x 1 / 347 x 1 ~ Salmon – very dark

4525 x 3 / 420 x 3 ~ Hazel nut brown – dark

3812 x 2 / 422 x 2 ~ Hazel but brown – light

1846 x 1 / 500 x 1 ~ Blue green – very dark

5384 x 1 / 597 x 1 ~Turquoise

4535 x 1 / 611 x 1 ~Drab brown

4533 x 1 / 613 x 1 ~Drab brown – very light

2522 x 2 / 677 x 2 ~Old gold – very light

2234 x 2 / 729 x 2 ~Old gold – medium

F10 x 1 / 739 x 1 ~Tan – ultra very light

2925 x 1 / 816 x 1 ~Garnet

524 x 1 / 833 x 1 ~Golden olive – light

4246 x 1 / 869 x 1 ~Hazel nut brown – very dark

5381 x 1 / 928 x 1 ~Grey green – very light

3713 x 1 / 3013 x 1 ~Khaki green – light

2242 x 2 / 3046 x 2 ~ Yellow beige medium

3723 x 2 / 3053 x 2 ~Green grey

1845 x 2 / 3362 x 2 ~Pine green – dark

1844 x 1 / 3363 x 1 ~Pine green – medium

3724 x 1 / 3364 x 1 ~Pine green

3416 x 2 / 3371 x 2 ~Black brown

5386 x 1 / 3808 x 1 ~Turquoise – ultra very dark

4524 x 2 / 3828 x 2 ~Hazel nut brown

4113 x 1 / 3863 x 1 ~ Mocha beige – medium


The design area is 294 stitches (w) x 523 stitches (h). Our calculations have included a 3” margin for finishing and framing.

28ct – Design: 21″ x 37.36″ Fabric: 27″ x 43.36″
32ct – Design: 18.38″ x 32.69″ Fabric: 24.38″ x 38.69″
36ct – Design: 16.33″ x 29.06″ Fabric: 22.33″ x 35.06″
40ct – Design: 14.7″ x 26.15″ Fabric: 20.7″ x 32.15″

Stitch Guide

Sarah stitched her sampler with cross stitch mainly over 2 threads. The lowercase letters of the verse are stitched with cross stitch over 1. There is a scattering of cross stitches over one on a flower stalk. Backstitch has been used to outline the two ladies’ eyebrows and lips. Whilst a large sampler with some 72,000 stitches it is suitable for all levels of ability.

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.




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.



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.



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