New Designs,  Plum Street Antiques,  Stitching

A Sprightly Sampler

When I spotted this old sampler, I was immediately smitten. It was in a very neglected state, but I was able to look past the distractions and see what an animated piece of needlework it truly is. Ten-year-old Miss Oliver must have been a frolicsome young lady with a fondness for puppies (did she own the two that are depicted in her sampler?), as well as small surprises of color, which are scattered about her canvas.

I love the density of motifs, the compact border, and her sweet verse, stitched over one linen thread:

This needlework of mine can tell
When I wose [sic] young I learnt it well
And by my elders I wose tought
Not to spend my time in ought

She then signed it:

Elizabeth Sarah Oliver
Aged 10 years 1842


There is a faded border surrounding the verse, and I believe Miss Oliver realized later that she'd forgotten her double "l" in the line "…I learnt it well," as she added the extra letter "l" outside of the border. (I thought that was rather charming!)

For those of you who would like to recreate this sweet sampler for your own home, the reproduction will be available at the Nashville market, and your shop owner will be able to pick it up in my room. Thank you so very much, Kathy Krause, for your beautiful work on the model! (I currently have the antique hanging in the "George & Martha Suite" in my home, and the model hanging in my bedroom!)


The threads I charted this for are an exact match to the unfaded, back side of the original, with this exception: where Elizabeth used her purple thread, I changed the color to Gentle Art's Blueberry. If you're a purist, and prefer your sampler to be as exact as possible, I'd suggest using Gentle Art's Red Plum instead of Blueberry. (There is no specific reason I chose to use Blueberry instead of Red Plum; I simply loved the color Blueberry and wanted to incorporate it into the sampler!)

Here are the supplies you'll need for completing this sampler:

Fabric used: 35 ct. Confederate Gray by Weeks Dye Works (Some alternative fabric suggestions: Natural Northern Cross linen, Lakeside Linens' Cedar Plank or Vintage Meadow Rue, R&R Reproductions' Chamomile, or Picture This Plus' Ale)

Threads used: The Gentle Art in Apple Cider, Cinnamon, Deep Forest (2 skeins suggested), Harvest Basket (2 skeins suggested), Cucumber, Flax, Rhubarb, Blueberry, Old Brick, Baked Clay, and Sable.

I've made a terrible omission, as I left off the frame information on the chart! (I kept looking and looking at the information page and couldn't figure out why I had extra room to work with, and now I know! Sherri Berkman's pertinents are missing! Sherri, please let me treat you to a Starbucks or three when I see you again!)

So here is the frame information, if you'd like the gorgeous olive moulding Sherri chose:

Total Framing
(Sherri Berkman)
3775A Pickett Rd.
Fairfax, VA 22031
Phone: 703-426-0660

I hope you all have a lovely weekend! Mike's birthday is on Super Bowl Sunday, so we'll be spending it rating the commercials and eating all sorts of junk food. And I don't know about him, but I'm sure I'll be stitching at some point. 😉


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