Well, we better get started with our crewel filling stitches sampler! I apologize for not getting this up on the first of the month – I had a wisdom tooth out a few days ago (youch!) and didn’t plan far enough ahead to get it done before.
But I also struggled with how this one would go, to be honest. See, I thought you guys might like to do something a little more decorative than my usual minimalist style, and I worried about people getting bored. I thought maybe we should do some flowers or something.
On the other hand, I feel quite strongly about the inconsistent use of the word ‘sampler’ in the crafty world today, and I didn’t want to fall into it myself. It is my view that a sampler should be all about the stitches and nothing else. I mean, those antique cross-stitch samplers were designed for young girls to practice and show their needlework skills (including design) – a sampling of their work. But today we use the term to mean anything from a cross-stitched phrase to an embroidered alphabet – but I don’t think those are necessarily samplers at all! Those are simply embroideries, no sampling involved.
So what is a sampler then? Well, to me, it is anything that focuses on the making and use of new stitches. Yes, we could technically stitch up a flower garden that uses different fill stitches, but at what point is that no longer a sampler and should just be called embroidery? Especially if I supply a pattern and tell you where stitches should go? There is a reason I like my geometric, minimalist style of sampler, after all: the stitches themselves are the main focus.
That sorted, I realized that I was definitely leaning towards a 1960s – 1970s simplistic sampler style as my inspiration. You know the type – like these by Erica Wilson, where blocks of stitches just run into each other like a patchwork of textures. And I can never get enough of the colors and textures in crewelwork kits of that time – I’ve even made a Pinterest board for them!
So, are you ready? I’ve decided that our Crewelwork Filling Stitches sampler will be 4.5″ x 6.5″ because that’s a nice over-sized size for a pincushion, which would be a lovely use for our sampler when it’s finished. I seem to be going through a weird phase of pincushion-obsession, I’m not sure what’s up with that.
Anyway, so take your twill or linen union fabric and a large patchwork ruler, if you have one (or just use a regular ruler carefully if not) and mark a 4.5″ x 6.5″ rectangle. Be sure to leave enough extra fabric around the sides for sewing or framing later!
Then mark three random lines through your rectangle, so that it is chopped into six uneven shapes. We will fill these with six different filling stitches over the next few weeks.
I’ve basically stuck with the colors I picked the other day – I’ll need to add to these as I go because I expect we’ll have a stitch or two that uses more than one color, but this will get me started.
So, are you in?! Tell me about your colors!