A Completely False Life Lesson

A few posts ago, I showed you a sneak peek of an antique I purchased last year after I fell in love with the soft pinks and tawny browns that were used to stitch it. Recently I did a little research on the internet to look for information about Esther Syer, and was only able to come up with a few family tree names and dates. Nevertheless, it was nice to learn these small things about the young stitcher's story, and I've included what I found on the back of the chart.

As I was thinking about Miss Syer, I imagined her to be a carefree sort of young lady, and decided to have a little fun with presenting her to you. So I wrote a little story and asked Sophie to do an interpretation of it with facial expressions. She obliged, and here is what we came up with…

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Once upon a time, little Esther Syer was born.
 
Esther 1 tp
 
Esther was a very happy child, whose favorite color was pink.
 
Esther 2 tp
 
She loved to play and frolick, and always neglected her mending and sewing chores.
 
Esther 3 tp
 
This made her mother (whose favorite color was black) very fretful, because she knew that Esther would never gain a suitor if she couldn't mend or sew or be serious. "To catch a man, keep a needle in hand!" she would always say to Esther.
 
Esther 4 tp
 
So one day Esther set out to catch a man by stitching a lovely sampler in both her and her mother's favorite colors.
 
Esther 5 tp
 
When Esther was eighteen, a man came along, admired her work, and asked to become her suitor. She agreed, and soon afterward, they were married.
 
Esther 6 tp
 
And Esther and her man lived happily ever after.
 
Esther 7 tp

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  Esther Syer 1796 sp tp
 
No model was stitched for this antique, as I felt the motifs and colors have survived beautifully, despite the sampler being 218 years old. If you choose to stitch it, then a soft, neutral linen will work well for the background. I've listed a few suggestions on the chart, but please use what you like best. The linens I suggested are these:
 
Lakeside Linens' Vintage Pecan Butter
R&R Reproductions' Olde Towne Blend
Weeks Dye Works' Parchment
 
Esther's antique was stitched on a 32/34 ct. ground with silks. The silks I've chosen are by Needlepoint Inc., and are as follows (with the DMC equivalent in parentheses):
 
754 (152)
912 (167)
998 (310)
761 (422)
882 (746)
692 (3047)
602 (3727)
 
The stitch count is 172(w) x 197(h)
 
The gorgeous frame was done by Sherri Berkman at Total Framing in Fairfax, VA. As always, Sherri is very happy to take any phone orders for any stitching you may have, and trust me when I say she is the most friendly person to work with! (Believe it or not, I never choose my moulding.. I just mail the models to her and ask her to surprise me, and she never disappoints!)
The number for Total Framing is 703-426-0660, or you can find them on Facebook.
 
I hope you enjoyed our little story, and that if you do choose to stitch Esther, you would consider sending me your progress photos so I can see what her recreation would look like! I would so love that!

Happy Lovely Pink.

Pink has always been my favorite color, although, until this year, I've never done a lot of designing with it. I've been in such a mood for spring that it's made me turn temporarily from my usual palette of espresso browns and piney greens and embrace my love of happy, lighter colors.

I've had this antique for a little while now, and suddenly I want to reproduce it.

Esther tp

Miss Syer stitched her sampler in the year 1796, and although the colors have faded a bit, in my opinion it has retained its soft, quiet beauty.

It's such a feminine sampler, and I can't wait to show it to you. I hope you like it as much as I do!

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

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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!)

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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
Website: www.totalframing.biz

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. 😉