Each year Hands Across the Sea Samplers publishes a sampler which we consider to be not only beautiful but outstandingly so and worthy to be crowned our Queen of the May. We are pleased to offer to you Lucy Navier 1818 our Queen of the May for the year 2019 presented in a limited edition 60 page booklet in full colour with an extensive stitch guide.
This striking pictorial needlework sampler was stitched in the Regency era, a period in time when romanticism, elegance, high society, art and literature flourished.
A bucolic scene is dominated by a magnificent English oak tree set in the parkland of a Georgian house.
Woodland and a farm building can be seen on the ridge in the distance.
A boy sits on the bank of a fenced pond and is fishing for his supper.
To the forefront an out of scale hunting dog watches a modishly dressed girl stroll across the sampler past three lambs. The aloof cat stares regally at the observer in a way that only cats can deign to do.
Above, a stunning meandering floral vine flanked by tassels hangs below an angel with spread wings. The verse Lucy chose to include in her sampler is a particularly uplifting and positive one and was taken from the hymn “Source of Light and Power Divine” written by Augustus Montague Toplady. He is best remembered as the author of the hymn “Rock of Ages.”
The sampler was executed with great care and skill in a variety of stitches (see stitch guide for full details) from a palette of 26 glorious shades of silks on linen ground.
The original and model side by side
“Lucy Navier her work Aged 12 years 1818” has been reproduced from a sampler in the private collection of Nicola Parkman. The sampler was acquired from Witney Antiques by her husband as a Christmas gift several years ago.
“Reproducing Lucy’s sampler has been an exciting and epic journey shared with an amazing needle worker who I have the greatest respect for. My grateful thanks go to Bethany Gallant for every stitch she has exquisitely executed and her patience with me as I reproduced Lucy’s tiny stitches of which there were many!” ~ Nicola
Remember that just like the longest journey begins with a single step, so does each sampler begin with a single stitch. All stitches begin the same way, by pushing the needle through the fabric, first one way, then the other. The only difference between one type of stitch and another is where you put that needle and how you manipulate
The stitches used are cross stitch over one and two threads, tent stitch, satin stitch, stem stitch, Algerian eyelet, long bullion stitch and French knots. The sampler is suitable for intermediate and advanced needleworkers.
Cross Stitch ~ When working Cross Stitch the top stitch should always lie in the same direction for a neat and uniform finish. Depending on the count of fabric you are using you may wish to substitute over 1 cross stitch with tent stitch.
Tent Stitch ~ is used for very fine work, it is usually worked over one thread either in vertical, horizontal or diagonal rows to give a smooth flat surface. It is important that the stitches all lie in the same direction. When working over a large area work the stitch diagonally. This method is less likely to distort your linen.
Satin Stitch ~ can be worked horizontally, vertically or diagonally. Straight stitches should be laid side by side so that no ground fabric shows through. The art of satin stitches lies in making the stitches lie evenly and close together. Always stitch in the same direction. Use one thread and make repeated passes to achieve the desired coverage. To ensure a smooth glossy surface work with short lengths of thread to reduce fraying. Discard thread that has been unpicked.
French knots ~ bring your needle up through the fabric. Holding the thread taut with the finger and thumb of one hand use the other hand to wind the thread around the needle tip twice. Still holding the thread, insert the needle close to where you brought your needle up. Pull the needle and thread through to the back of the fabric until the knot is formed and lies securely on the surface.
Stem Stitch ~ when working from left to right. Bring your needle up at 1 and down at 2. Bring your needle back up halfway between 1 and 2 at 3. Be sure to keep the thread below the needle. When working from right to left keep the thread above the needle.
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. Lucy 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.
Bullion Stitch ~ make a back stitch the length of the stitch required. Bring the tip of the needle out. Twist the thread around the needle tip as many times as is necessary to equal the length of the back stitch. Holding the left thumb on the coiled thread turn the needle back and insert it in the same place. Pull the thread through until the bullion stitch lies flat.
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.
Lucy’s sampler has been reproduced with Au Ver à Soie d’Alger silks and the skein quantities were calculated based on 1 strand on 40ct fabric. We have provided conversions for DMC based on 2 strands. The original sampler was stitched on linen in a colour between DMC shades 677 and 422 and measuring approximately 18.75 x 19.50 inches.