Thursday, January 26, 2017

Sampler Squishing

Not long ago,  Kara and I (Teri) strolled the afternoon through an antique mall while visiting with my parents in Hershey, PA. We were excited to see the booth where I bought my sampler a couple of years ago (click here.) There were several to see, but one in particular quickly became our favorite. Can you guess why?

Sampler made by Ann Maffin

Description on the back of the sampler reads:
"Early 19th century linen and wool with silk highlights sampler by Ann Maffin. Though undated, the style of stitch work would indicate this piece dates to c. 1830 or slightly earlier. This sampler is just stunning with extremely fine quality stitch work throughout. The top section of the linen is stitched in black silk with the following popular sampler verse, underlined with a strawberry border.
Jesus permit thy gracious name to stand on the first efforts of Ann Maffin's hand
And whilst her fingers on the canvas move engage her sinful heart to seek thy love
With thy dear children Lord give her a part and write thy name dear Jesus on my heart

Detail: such tiny cross stitches!

Details from the bottom of the sampler: bird, flower, basket, boat—exquisite stitching indeed!

With stitches so fine, it resembled punch needle, but we ascertained that they were actually tiny cross stitches.

Plan much?!?

We have no clue how old Ann was when she stitched this sampler. Clearly, spatial awareness and planning were not her forte. My guess is that she stitched the border before the letters, so she had to fit that verse in the space remaining. Then when she got to the end of a line and still had letters or words to stitch, she just squeezed them in how ever she could fit them. How charming is this? (I wonder if her mother thought so at the time.)

I'm reminded of all those fourth- and fifth-grade papers I graded back in the day, with words bending down the side of the page. Some things never change!


  1. Oh how sweet! I love samplers with meaningful verses and so whimsically stitched. Thank you so much for sharing this delightful work of art.

    1. If only my "mistakes" could be so perfectly stitched! Clearly, she was a determined young lady.