Samplers offer a glimpse into history and the everyday life of early needleworkers. The oldest surviving samplers are dated back to the 15th and 16th centuries. When the woman saw a new stitching pattern, she would quickly sew a small sample of it onto a small, narrow piece of cloth which became her "sampler". The were about 6-9 inches wide and were called band samplers. When unrolled they revealed an assortment of needlework.
The most common samplers found today are ones that were created by young schoolgirls. they consist of cross-stitched alphabets, numbers, poetry or biblical verses, and little figures, flowers and animals. These samplers were a way to teach young girls the basics of needleworking, and also their alphabet and numbers. The top half of the sampler was usually devoted to the alphabet, while the bottom was a picture, motto, or poem.
Today, samplers are highly collectible and are proudly displayed in the primitive and colonial home decor.
Reprinted by permission from The Country Register of Minnesota
I really like all the old samplers and do quite a bit of embroidery myself so it was interesting to read how they came to be. Wish I was lucky enough to have one of the authentic one's hanging in my house, but alas I don't. :) Do you have one in your house?
Happy stitching! :)