Simply defined, a sampler is “a needlework form recording stitches and designs, often but not necessarily signed and dated. They functioned as a source of reference and a statement of ability. They were also known as Sams or Exemplars.”
Samplers were first brought to America from England and Northern Europe. Historians believe the practice started in the Middle Ages. The earliest samplers were ongoing projects, long and narrow in form, worked on throughout a woman’s life, adding a new band as a new stitch or pattern came to her, either through friends or teachers. They would be rolled up and put away when not being worked on. They were used to demonstrate a girl’s ability with a needle and for later reference when sewing.
A collection of photographs showing a selection of stitches used in the creation of samplers, examples of the stitches used in the samplers, and how the stitches are created, using Aida fabric and cotton DMC thread in a variety of colors.