Wednesday, 8 April 2015

More blackwork - with a name!!!

I've been experiencing another bout of enforced immobility recently. Frustrating as it is, it does give me time to focus on my more sedentary pastimes like embroidery and kumihimo.

Hence, another load of blackwork.

I've been playing with stitches I've spotted in various places on-line. Most of them are sourced from historical samplers, so I hope I'm not breaching anybody's copyright. I had just been putting them together on these long strips according to which patterns appealed to me. I had cut the strips years ago to use as conveniently sized pieces to take on holiday. The urge to embroider on vacation never arose, and they've sat in my drawer until I've started using them now.

 And then a revelation! I was watching Jane Greenoff ( on TV, and she was talking about the history of these long, thin samplers. They have a name! They have a history! I thought they were just another example of meeting my own convenience, but it turns out the style has been going for hundreds of years.

They are called "band samplers" or "banner samplers". Women would use them, just as I am, to experiment and learn new stitches. Through history they were generally kept rolled or folded up, and carried around as a kind of quick reference guide.
I suspect I won't be doing that. I've now got two and a half complete "bands", and they become grubby enough just from being handled whilst stitching. I think when the third band is completed I may get them framed.

I really like the idea that I have stumbled across something that has been worked by women through history. Learning techniques and ideas from books and teachers is wonderful. I love it. But I get a special buzz from discovering that something I have worked out on my own was also being done by my ancestors. I know I'm sentimental, but it makes me feel like I have a connection with all those women of the past, and that their knowledge continues.

Thank-you, all sisters!

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