Tomorrow is our Block of the month meeting. Tuesday our handstitchers will begin a new project. Besides being run and organized by yours truly here at the shoppe, what else do they have in common??? They are both samplers. The sampler, no matter the techniques, is in some ways the equivalent of an artists sketchbook. In its purest form it is a collection of worked up techniques in a single piece that can serve as a reminder and how to manual for future projects. In the days when printed patterns were not common, the sampler was a way to gather and develop techniques and skills, in short it was used to learn how. In some times and places it was even used to teach youngsters their alphabets. Being able to put their initials ( and those of their future household ) on linens and other household items was a valuable skill. Sometimes they would also be focused on a subject, or particular type of stitching. If you are interested in joining our handstitchers for an embroidery stitch sampler let simply let us know you are coming and check the club news page for a supply list. No experience needed, remember that a sampler is a learning tool.
Quilters too had samplers. In this case, it was a collection of blocks that often had a common theme. Pieced patterns, sometimes with names that tell a story, or the famous Baltimore Album applique quilts, and even some forms of early medallion quilts are all samplers. At the moment we are almost half way through a civil war themed sampler. It is a wonderful collection of classic quilt blocks. Throughout the project I have supplemented the material from the book with interesting ways to use the blocks in other projects. Some look totally different, and create secondary patterns when repeated and set a certain way, some blossom with a different kind of sashing, some pairs of blocks play together very well. The uses for the blocks are many. If you are interested please contact me and we can work it out, and at the very least you get a copy of Barbara Brackmans Civil War sampler from us. You will have at your fingertips a collection of 50 great blocks, in two size options.