Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sampler Symposium 2014: Part 1

As I mentioned in my previous post, I had the opportunity to attend The Attic's Sampler Symposium in January. The Attic was my LNS when I lived in Mesa many years ago. Over the years it has moved a couple of times and morphed into what I consider to be the premier shop for samplers and high count stitching.

This year's symposium began on Friday evening and continued until Sunday afternoon. We were treated to wonderful lectures and also had some great instruction on a couple of special projects.

One of our presenters was Claudia Dutcher of Dutch Treat Designs. She is the proud owner of  a sampler from the Bristol Orphan House in England. She lovingly charted a reproduction of the Emma Sanford 1867 sampler which can be purchased through your local shop or at The Attic. As participants in the symposium we received a copy of the chart. I then purchased the 52/60 fabric and Tudor silk to stitch it. I like the way the ladies at The Attic mark your purchase so you can remember exactly why you have that particular piece of linen. My piece has not only the name of the sampler I will be stitching, but it also indicates which side is the 52 count and which side should be vertical.

Below is the original Emma sampler along with the start of  a stitched reproduction using Tudor silks on the same linen I purchased.

I find the story behind these "orphanage" samplers to be quite fascinating. The orphanage was started by George Muller who never asked for payments or donations to care for the children, but rather prayed for the money to come in. The girls needed to learn a variety of skills that would help them in their likely future in domestic service. The boys learned a trade but still were required to knit 3 pairs of socks before they left the orphanage. These samplers were done mostly in red, but you can find some stitched in blue. There are rare examples completed in multiple colors. You can read much more about the Bristol samplers history on the Fitzwilliam Museum website by clicking this link.

One interesting tidbit Claudia shared is that sometimes you will see numbers on the Bristol samplers. These numbers represent the bed number and orphan number of the stitcher. There were hundreds of children who lived at the orphanage. It makes you wonder where all those samplers ended up.