Friday, December 5, 2008

My Latest Obsession: Samplers

It started with a good friend of mine, Claire, who had an excellent idea before I was engaged. She wanted to write a book for brides (I will not reveal her idea, because it's too brilliant. You'll have to wait for it to be written) suggesting a hobby/something to obsess about instead of weddings. When I started losing sleep over a coconut cake vs. a fondant cake (they were battling it out in a celebrity death match) and thinking of contacting the florist again to make another change to my already insane "vision", I realized needed a more time consuming craft.

I'm a big fan of quick projects because I distract and get bored easily (we all have our faults...this is a judgement free blog). Which brings me to stitching. A little embroidery here and there I can crank out in no time. But counted cross stitch was my very first craft that I abandoned for it's utter lack of instant gratification. But being un-gratified until March sounded like a good idea to me!

So what would be worth the work and look nice on display without being annoyingly country and sap-tastic? Vintage and Colonial Samplers! And so the madness begins.

Chad's reaction: What's a sampler? Why does it have an alphabet? I don't get it.

I tried to explain and realized I didn't know much about them either. Apparently, samplers have been around since the 15th or 16th century. Back in the "day", there were no printed patterns, charts, or companies devoted to creating kick ass busy work. So instead, women would see something and say, "That's totally awesome. I would like to stitch that" thus making a mini version or Sample (see how it's all coming together) of a previously stitched original. Eventually a woman's cloth of samples became a beautiful showcase for alphabet styles, motifs, borders, flora, fauna and her voice. (WARNING: Hot second from getting philosophical about crafting). I like to think of these as the socially acceptable art form of the past. It's not like we were encouraged to write, speak, be educated or think. But stitching? Totally cool. It's like every sampler from back then is a symbol of a woman's individuality that she was otherwise forced to keep to herself. Geeking out crafty style right now.

So I bought a chart and have been working every night since Tuesday. I chose to stick with Aida (the kind of material that has pre "punched" holes for the thread and much more affordable than linen). I'm totally intimidated by the thought of using linen because it's flimsier fabric and therefore my stitches look wonky and awful. But after I finish this one, I'm moving on to another (an AMAZING love/wedding sampler) that requires linen for the different stitches. Eeek! I'm sure I'll have another "When Keeping It Crafty Goes Wrong" entry for you...stay tuned.

Chad is worried all that will be hanging on the walls is alphabets, birds, funny little stitched people and houses. I promised I would only take over one room...or maybe two. The best news is I haven't changed my mind or over-thought the wedding one bit since I started. I feel productive and let's face it, there's nothing sexier than a woman who rocks the domestic arts!

1 comment:

  1. I love samplers and the one you're working on is beautiful! I wish I had the attention span to finish one! :)