Quote Collection

January 10, 2010

“One was considered very poorly educated who could not exhibit a sampler; some of these were large and elaborate specimens of handiwork; framed and glazed, they often formed the chief ornament of the sitting room or best chamber–Sarah Anna Emery, Reminiscences of a Nonagenarian, 1879 (Anonymous Was a Woman, page 28)

A nonagenarian, by the way, is a person somewhere between 90 and 99 years old.


Quote Collection

November 17, 2009

“My sampler was one of unrivalled beauty. It possessed every shade and glory of tent-stitch. At the upper corners were cherubs’G heads and wings. Under the alphabet stood Adam and Eve, draperied with fig leaves.”–Clarissa Packard, Recollections of a Housekeeper, 1834

I found this quote in Mirra Bank’s Anonymous Was A Woman. I love a girl with good self-esteem!!

Quote Collection

October 31, 2009

“…she began with the alphabet and numerals, following them with a Scriptural  text or verse of a metrical psalm. Then fancy was letquote f loose on birds, beasts and trees.—Alice Morse Earle, Colonial Days in Old New York, 1890″

I found this quote in Mirra Bank’s Anonymous Was A Woman. I just have to laugh as I imagine a young girl carefully, studiously stitching those letters and numbers then totally cutting loose with the fancy stitches. I believe I felt the same way as I was stitching the more mundane parts of Loara’s Pansy!!

Anonymous Was A Woman

October 27, 2009


anonymousI picked up this interesting little book while at Lacis Museum of Lace and Textiles. Published in 1979 and republished in 1995, it is the companion book to a PBS documentary of the same name. The book’s subtitle really summarizes the content nicely. This book truly is “a celebration in words and images of traditional American art and the women who made it.” Mirra Bank, the filmmaker and author, has very successfully brought together examples of 18th and 19th century folk art rendered by the common woman…samplers, quilts, needlepoint and paintings. Accompanying the lovely photographs of the folk art are excerpts from journals, diaries and letters written by women during the same time.

I really like Bank’s comments about needlework written in her introduction. She states that “in the beginning was the sampler. Girls as young as five or six stitched alphabets, numerals and simple rhyme into homely little masterworks that laid down the law for a virtuous life: literacy, piety and needle wisdom. Indeed through the years of growing skill in every kind of handiwork, the needle would be a woman’s most constant companion.”

The book, which is still in print, can be purchased from on-line retailers such as http://www.amazon.com.