Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sampler Symposium: Part Two

Day Two of the symposium began with Jean, the owner of The Attic, presenting each of us with an ebony wood tape measure. Her husband designed the sampler and then laser engraved it onto each one. What a guy! The next day I was complimenting him on his fine sampler design and he told me it was over one on 0 count!

Darlene Anderson started the day with another wonderful presentation, this time on Adam and Eve samplers. Adam and Eve samplers first appeared in England in 1709 and in the colonies in 1741. Sometime around 1810 they seemed to drop out of sight and are rarely seen in samplers after this date.

These samplers feature Adam and Eve, sometimes clothed-sometimes not, and usually include the Tree of Knowledge. The snake can often be seen wrapping itself around the tree and usually is facing Eve. Makes me want to find more of these samplers just so I can see in which direction that snake is looking!

Darlene gave us her chartography (if there is such a word!) of the samplers featured in her presentation. That was great for keeping track of the samplers as she told us about them and marking those that I might want to do.

At the end of her talk she had a drawing for door prizes. My number was the very first one chosen. Ten of us were the very lucky recipients of a small Adam and Eve sampler done as a needle book/scissor holder complete with scissors! Like I said, the woman is a turbo stitcher!

Our next presenter showed us how to make a teacup ort holder. The design was an online freebie. We used cereal boxes and paper dipped in a glue and water mixture to create the teacup. We had varying levels of success. 

Next, she had us paint a frame that would hold a very quick sampler project (the kit was provided), and a divided box. One side of the box had a lid and inside that section we were given the materials to make a small needle cushion. This part of the day didn’t go as planned. We had to paint a base coat and then paint a layer using milk paint. While the paint was still wet we were to use a hair dryer to dry it quickly so it would crackle. 

We started with two hairdryers and thirty women all trying to dry their wet paint at the same time. Several ladies went back to their rooms to get more hair dryers and before long we were blowing fuses! The project had to be stopped so a number of people (including me) were not able to complete the project. The day ended about an hour and a half early which did give the attendees extra time to shop at The Attic! So not really a bad thing to have happen!

We were able to take home some dry milk paint so we could mix it up and complete the painting at home. I did this and then bought some patterned scrapbook paper at Michael’s to line it. I decided that I won’t do the small sampler but will instead use parts of it to create a few stitching accessories that I will store in the box. I’ll post photos when I have everything finished.

On Saturday evening there was a reception at The Attic. Jean very graciously invited the visiting husbands to attend. Below you can see my husband amid the Christmas section of the shop.

On Sunday we returned for our final day. We found this lovely tree with “fobs” hanging from it. Jean’s husband, John, had struck again! He had created needle cases out of coco bolo wood. Each one was personalized with our name and inside were Bohin size 28 tapestry needles! The man is amazing!

Our project for this final morning was from Catherine Theron. You can see her finished Stitcher’s Pouch below. Much of the stitching is not cross stitch but Smryna crosses. The colors are very pretty and hard to see in the photo. The pouch is shown opened up. It folds over into an envelope shape and the pieces fit inside.
She had several of her other teaching samples there. I planned to take photos of all of them but only managed to get photos of her samplers, though if you look I the photo of the “tree” you can see a few of her things in the background.

The regular part of the symposium ended at 12 and was followed by lunch. Catherine then taught a sampler class in the afternoon and completed it on Monday. This was in addition to the symposium and I did not sign up for it. I decided I would have way too many new projects by the end of the weekend.

All in all it was a very lovely weekend! I encourage everyone to try to plan a trip to Arizona in January and participate in the Sampler Symposium at least once!


  1. Darla, what a wonderful weekend you had! I am still in awe over all of the activities, and that needle fob/holder is exquisite, something to really treasure! I would love to attend an event like this!

  2. I have a pattern for a reproduction Adam and Eve sampler. It is reproduced from an antique sampler. I checked but there is no snake on it. It also shows Caleb and Joshua carrying pomegranates and figs from Numbers 13:21-23 (the verses are stitched on the piece). There are a lot of birds and flowers on it. It would be interesting to know the history/meaning of the design. It is in my CSN magazine.

  3. I'll have to take a look at it when we get back!

  4. I was looking at an Adam & Eve sampler stitched by Louisa Serat in 1812. This is the description I found online: "... Adam is always on the left, Eve is on the right, and the serpent is facing Eve. ... In American samplers, you will usually find seven fruits, symbolic of the seven deadly sins; while in most British samplers the number was governed by the size of the tree." Interesting.

    I have stitched 2 contemporary Adam & Eve samplers, one by Ellen Chester and one by Prairie Schooler. Wouldn't you know, Adam is on the left, Eve is on the right, the serpent is facing Eve, there are 6 apples on the tree and Eve is holding the 7th.

    1. How interesting! It seems every time I find a "rule" about these samplers there are examples of stitchers who broke the rules. Maybe for fun I'll start a list of these samplers and see how many of them fit the rules as we know them. Thank you for sharing!