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 LINEN SIZES 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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