[HNW] Regarding Samplers/Illiteracy

Aspasia Moonwind aspasia_moonwind at hotmail.com
Wed Aug 8 08:05:54 PDT 2007

>Actually, from what I recall about the Colonial period in America, the 
>samplers WERE in fact for learning letters and many were done by girls ages 
>5 to 12.  I just assumed (perhaps erroneously) in my earlier email that 
>most samplers are dated after the Medieval period because more of the 
>common people did not attempt to learn their letters, but I expect that 
>among the upper classes that is exactly what they were used for.  I just 
>don't have the research done to know when this practiced started or the 
>history of samplers in general.

Some of us on this list are SCA, and not all from Ansteorra. I'm from 
Trimaris. I'm on several list and learn from all of them.

People who couldn't read exchanged patterns by making samplers. That was 
true, not only in Europe, but in the Mideast, and I presume elsewhere. You 
didn't need to read to read a pattern or a stitch.  I still can pick up a 
family heirloom and read the stitches and patterns used. They would do a row 
of patterns and cut it off to send to someone.

Mary, Queen of Scots work was done in regular cross stitch re the 
Victoria/Albert's latest findings. Also many of the Mideast. Another Laurel 
has returned from there and saw a piece c. 800 c.e. done in cross stitch. 
They wouldn't let her take pictures of it or touch it. She couldn't see the 
method used, but she said it was definately cross stitch. They weren't the 
cross stitch pictures like we think of it, but designs on clothing like this 
was or decorative items like Mary, Queen of Scots did, but it was regular 
cross stitch and not long arm cross stitch like many think.


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