Teresa and Nathania are two of the knitters that I’ve found on the blogs who also do needlework. I was taught at the age of 8 by my mother to embroider and shortly after I tried to knit and failed. Crochet was easier and became a main diversion. During the 70’s learning to knit was a big attraction as the patterns were wonderful and the yarns were becoming better all the time (I gave up crochet after learning to knit). As years pasted and there was time to give to pursuits of leisure, needlepoint became a big part of my life. That led to Japanese Embroidery. This is a piece I did after 4 years of study.
Then a freind taught me to stitch on fine linen with silk threads (Counted Thread) and that became a passion. So, in the last 30 years I have been knitting and stitching needlework as much as possible. Membership in every guild in the area (and many around the country) can keep a girl busy. But that didn’t stop me from starting another.
On April 8th the entry on this blog was about an historic embroiderer named Martha Edlin. It is fortunate that her work was cared for over the centuries and now is in the Victoria and Albert Museum where thousands can see it daily. That is not the fate of many samplers. Many museums do not have the funds to care for, house or show the schoolgirl samplers in their collections. Many are trying to do so but with limited funds.
The fate of these little pieces of history, the schoolgirl sampler, was the main drive in the creation of the Swan Sampler Stitchers. The guild started small with a few local members but, when Carolyn Webb (the person responsible for introducing me to linen and Counted Thread) designed a wonderful Quaker Swan Box our membership grew quickly. We had over 100 members the first year. Membership is now almost 300, in our third year, because of the wonderful designers we have and exclusive projects we do. Many friends have stepped up to help with the large task of running this organization and it couldn’t be done without their help. Thousands of dollars have been given to museums to aid in the endeavor to protect and preserve the samplers in their care. This is one of the most important accomplishments of my life.
If you would like to see an online exhibition of historic antique samplers you can go here. They are truly fine pieces of women’s history.