This is a sampler based on an American sampler from the school of Polly Balch, Providence, R.I. as published in Treasures in Needlework. These samplers have become well known as coming from one of the few identifiable schools of needlework in America in the 1700s. The most striking features of this group are the architectural elements. The striped columns, and usually a notable building, are flanked by pots sprouting vines flowering in an impossible array of flowers and berries w/blossoms. Many varied colors of silks were used, in an impressive array of stitches, including satin, rice, cross, cross-over-one, queen and long and short stitch. In this recreation [not a true reproduction], alternating running stitches shade the sky in pale lavender, and rows of alternating tent stitch fill in the floral borders background in deep green.
It was designed by Sandy Orton for Treasures in Needlework magazine, Spring 1993. This publication only published for 1 year and is currently out of print. The magazine can still be found on eBay or etsy occasionally. Price ranges from $7 to $15. It was available from Kooler Designs for about $19 (http://www.koolerdesign.com/sandy.aspx) but I just heard today (10/30/2014) that they ran out of them.
This sampler is on my STARTER list for 2015. I had a fear of specialty stitches, but it’s time to overcome fear.
The design has specialty stitches. Rice Stitch, Compensating Rice Stitch, Queen Stitch, Florentine, Vertical Satin, Alternating Running Stitch, Alternatine Half Cross Stitch, and stem stitch.
QUEEN STITCH … I watched videos on how this is done and realized that I was doing it wrong.
This is a diagram I found at Johanna corner… http://www.fidella.com/webstitch/stitch07.html
And here is a link to a video… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgyC7wNLpW8
STEM STITCH… Video by Mary Corbett… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TebgWq9AqyY
FLORENTINE STITCH looks fairly simple… start from the bottom, up to the top. This is for the urn.
ALTERNATING HALF CROSS STITCH… this is used for the green background. Very interesting “fill” method. I would probably do this last to determine how much thread would cover per inch.
RICE STITCH… In my opinion, this stitch uses more thread than cross stitch, however, I do like the texture. Instead of silk, I may have to use DMC cotton because I only have 1 5m skein of eterna silk and won’t be able to get more since it’s discontinued. This stitch is used on all the borders. Around the main sampler, the lighter green is stitched first all the way around (1,2,3,4 in the diagram)… then the darker green on top of the lighter green (5,6,7,8,9,10,11 in the diagram below). The bottom border is alternating colors.
PETIT POINT … The house and the humans are petit point… one thread over one stitch. I’m going to be using 32 count fabric so it will be a challenge indeed. I’ll definitely be using silks for the this stitch. It can be done in cotton, however, silks glide easier through fabric. Especially at 32ct.
The chart calls for two kinds of threads… DMC and AVAS (AuVerASoie). I have three boxes of mini twist Eterna silk that has been discontinued. I also have hanks of Empress silk, which I’ll probably use for the borders. So… I’ll have to do some conversions.
|0336||1424||2990 or 3000|
|0504||1822||3670 or 3860|
|3740||4136||2390 or 2400|
the design calls for 25 count raw dublin linen. 2 over 2 doesn’t quite give enough coverage. I’d have to use 3 over 2. After reviewing my stash, I decided to use 32 count. The fabric has specks. I’ll have to take a close-up picture of it. The fabric is not as stiff as I would like it to be, but I do like the color. Another option is 32 count sandstone. I need to figure out how much to cut. Design is 230H x 190W…
- 32 count… 14.37″ x 11.87″ (15 x 12) … cut 18″ x 15″
- 36 count… 12.77″ x 10.55″ (13 x 11)…. cut 16″ x 14″
This will be a framed piece. A mat can be cut and placed in a standard frame. These are the standard frame sizes.
Sooo… this is the plan so far. time to start the doodle cloth and try out these stitches.
Went through my stash. Found some EMPRESS Silk…. dark green (DMC 500) and light green (DMC 503).
<note: insert pic of silks>
Testing Eterna silk… For the queen stitches, I can get away with 1 strand. The petit point, 1 strand. I can probably get away with one strand in cross stitches but I’m not sure about the “look”. One strand has a delicate look to it, while 2 strands has a more bold look. I was also testing some red OASIS silk. It looks like DMC 316. One strand covers really well. Not really nice for this color fabric… maybe better for antique white or sandstone.
<note… insert picture of doodle cloth>
9/26/2014.… the design calls for 25 count raw dublin linen. 2 over 2 doesn’t quite give enough coverage. I’d have to use 3 over 2. After reviewing my stash, I decided to use 32 count. The fabric has specks. I’ll have to take a close-up picture of it. The fabric is not as stiff as I would like it to be, but I do like the color. Another option is 32 count sandstone. I need to figure out how much to cut. Design is 230H x 190W…
- 32 count… 14.37″ x 11.87″ (15 x 12) + 3″ … cut 18″ x 15″ Update 1/2015 Wrong CUT. Should have been 21″ x 18″
Update: 10/31/2014…. Went through my stash. Found some EMPRESS Silk…. dark green (DMC 500) and light green (DMC 503). The light green I used for the outside order. The dark green will be for the “fill”.
Testing Eterna silk… For the queen stitches, I can get away with 1 strand.
The petit point, 1 strand. I can probably get away with one strand in cross stitches but I’m not sure about the “look”. One strand has a delicate look to it, while 2 strands has a more bold look.
Update: 12/2014... ok… I cut the fabric too short. When working with Q-Snaps, it was cumbersome to keep the fabric taunt. Should have been cut 21″ x 18″. What was I thinking. I’m hoping there is enough space to lace for framing.
Update: 1/9/2015… expressed my concern in facebook. Irene McIntosh suggested basting fabric around the edges.
Oh look… tight as a drum.
Update: 1/18/15… mastered the Queen Stitches
Green border is rice stitch, Vase is Florentine stitch, flowers and strawberry are queen stitches, green background is alternating half cross stitch.
Stopping here for a spell… working on the Spanish Sampler.
Update 2/19/2015... here something I thought was a bit strange. I found this picture… http://vyshivka.mirtesen.ru/blog/43339851735/Makosh
The Spanish Sampler is done. Yayyy. I’m back to the American Sampler. So this is where I am at this point in time. It’s funny how you don’t see your work and where changes can be made until you actually see a picture from a distance. I should not fold this when storing away. I really should roll it so it doesn’t have these fold creases.
As I was filling up the bottom, I noticed I was one block off. Rather than frogging the bottom border, I think I’ll figure out how to get two peacocks in this space. It’s just a matter of finding peacock motifs. I’ll probably stitch them 1 over 1 just to practice petit point stitches. This deer looks kind of nice.
Here’s another. I think I’ve seen this by Rosewood Manor.
The deer in the next sampler is from the Blue Deer Sampler by Romy
Heilbrun Timeline of Art History @ the MET
Mary Munroe Sampler
Sampler, ca. 1785
Mary Munro (American)
Miss Balch’s School, Providence, Rhode Island
Silk on linen; 13 1/2 x 10 1/4 in. (34.29 x 26.04 cm)
Inscribed: With / sheba’s queen ye / american fair to adorn your / mind bend all your care / MARY MUNRO’S / Work done in / Providence
Gift of Barbara Schiff Sinauer, 1984 (1984.331.14)
Mary Munro was a student at Miss Balch’s School (1785–1847/8), the best-known girls’ academy in Providence. Samplers like this one and later silk-embroidered needlework pictures made by Mary Balch’s students form the largest body of schoolgirl needlework that can be attributed to a specific school. Although Miss Balch’s school is not actually named in stitching on any examples, some say “Providence,” and accurate depictions of well-known buildings in the city appear on others.
Betsy Davis 1797
From the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts-Boston this Providence, Rhode Island, sampler is a superb example of the work done at Miss Mary (Polly) Balch’s school. Combining sophisticated architectural, landscape and figural motifs with elaborate and unusual stitch combinations, including filled-in, tapestry-like backgrounds, this body of samplers is perhaps the finest and most well known in the American tradition. Although the school is never named, recurring themes in verse and design make these samplers fairly easy to recognize. A plaque at the center of this sampler is surrounded on three sides by the distinctive Balch School rococo stitch flowers springing from urns on either side. The verse – one frequently appearing on these samplers – is announced by trumpeting angels. A three – storied house and numerous figures and animals complete the three-tiered scenes.
Origin and date: Mary Balch School, Providence, Rhode Island, 1797
Linen count and finished size: 25 count, 13″x15″
Stitches: Cross, half cross, satin, queen, stem
Source: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Kit with cotton floss: $50.00
Kit with silk floss: $90.00
Graph only: $16.00
Size: 9.5″ x 10″ (24cm x25cm)
Thread Count: 32 thr. per inch or 12 thr. per cm.
Recommended Level: Intermediate
Cost: $157 plus $ 20 a month for 4 months