[HNW] Regarding Samplers/Illiteracy

Brangwyne tenpin.ma at gmail.com
Wed Aug 8 18:48:53 PDT 2007

I'd have to dig but I might have a copy of that pattern....

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Allison263 at aol.com 
  To: h-needlework at lists.ansteorra.org 
  Sent: Wednesday, August 08, 2007 9:31 PM
  Subject: Re: [HNW] Regarding Samplers/Illiteracy

  In a message dated 8/7/07 5:22:11 PM, ewilson618 at tx.rr.com writes:

    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. 

  Ah. Pre 1600 Samplers rarely have letters or words, they were not used to learn to read. They were used to practice and perfect embroidery stitches and techniques and to serve as a record of how to do particular stitches. Remember, there were no "how to" books of embroidery stitches, only pattern books of designs. I *believe* the earliest how to embroidery book is "Art of the Embroiderer" by St. Aubin from 1770 (which although out of SCA period, is an excellent source for how to do period stitches). 

  The Jane Bostock sampler is a rare example of an SCA period sampler that has words. There's a book of samplers from the V&A that has a few early 17th century samplers in it, and I don't recall any of the early ones having words (I could be wrong on that, I don't own that book.) I've examined three late 16th/early 17th century samplers from the permanent collection of the Embroiderer's Guild of England, and only one of them (the oldest, dated 1668) had words and numbers. That one was all done in cross stitch, but the other two were mostly intricate flowers and knotwork motifs in silk and gold metal thread. The backs are a complete mess, btw.....(grin)


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