Project : Laura’s Sampler
designed and stitched by
Laura Ziock
We have a very special project designed and stitched by a fellow ANG member committed to sharing her love of needlepoint with children. This project is more challenging than previous projects featured on this site, so help from a special person, like mom, grandmother or a favorite aunt may be helpful.

The sampler will be presented in two parts starting this month. The second half of the instructions for the sampler will be available in two months. You may choose to use the color scheme shown below, or pick your own favorite colors.

Larua's Sampler
Click on sampler to see larger version
Materials
1 piece of 18 count eggshell canvas cut to 13"x13" size
2 pairs of 13" stretcher bars
masking tape
brass thumb tacks or staple gun

1 skein Caron Watercolours, color shown is Wildberries
1 skein Needle Necessities Spring II #346
1 skein Silk & Ivory #65/Iris
1 skein Felicity’s Garden #035/Ripe Raspberry

#18 tapestry needle
small scissors
tape measure
sewing thread in a bright color that does not match any of your thread colors

If you would like to change the colors in the sampler pick one skein of each of the following types of threads:
Caron Watercolours - this is the base color scheme for the sampler
Needle Necessities Spring II - should compliment the Caron Watercolours
Silk & Ivory - should compliment the Caron Watercolours
Felicity’s Garden - should compliment the Caron Watercolours

Now choose a canvas color that goes with your thread choices, or use eggshell like the sampler above.

Note:
The threads in the sampler are fun to try, but if you can’t find them in your area, or they are too costly, substitute whatever type of threads that you would like. Mark the directions with your new thread choices so that you don’t get confused.

Directions

Step 1
Important Information Before Starting Your Stitching

Each horizontal section of different stitches in the sampler is called a band. The first band is the Bargello Stitch. The second band is the Straight Stitch Flower. The third band is the Waffle Stitch Variation and the Initials and Date. These bands will be covered in this set of directions. The directions for the remaining bands will be presented in an installment in two months.

A stitching length of thread is about 18".

The threads and the number of plies that you will need to use to stitch your sampler:

  • Caron Watercolours -From here on referred to as Watercolours. This is a 3 ply thread, so after you cut your stitching length pull one strand out from the bundle.
      
  • Needle Necessities Spring II - From here on referred to as Spring II. This is a single ply thread, and you will use only one ply at a time to stitch.
      
  • Silk & Ivory - This is a single ply thread. You should use only one ply at a time.
      
  • Felicity’s Garden - This is a single ply thread. You should use TWO plies at a time to stitch.

Tape the edges of the canvas with masking tape to prevent fraying. Using a staple gun, or brass thumb tacks, attach the canvas to the stretcher bars.

Using the tape measure, measure 3 inches down from the top and 3 inches in from the left side of the canvas. Mark this spot somehow, perhaps tying a short length of sewing thread to the canvas here -- this is where you will begin stitching.

Samplers are presented in charts, so you will be learning to read charts. The important information that you will need to understand in order to read a chart is the distance between certain stitches or bands, measured in the number of threads on the canvas, and the length of a stitch, measured in the number of threads long or wide that a stitch covers. As shown in the diagram below, a line on the chart represents one canvas thread on the canvas. This can be either a vertical or a horizontal thread.

Many times you will need to count the distance between bands or between stitches, this concept is illustrated below with the numbers 1 and 2. The distance between the number 1 and the number 2 is 3 canvas threads because there are three horizontal lines between the numbers 1 and 2. At other times you will need to count the length of a stitch on a graph and then stitch that on your canvas. The red line on the graph below represents a stitch that covers 2 canvas threads because there are two horizontal lines between the start of the stitch and the end of the stitch.

Step 2
Bargello Stitch

The first band of stitches is called the Bargello stitch. This stitch lies vertically on the canvas and you will be stitching 4 rows of Bargello, one in each type of thread. The order of threads used are:
Row 1 : Felicity’s Garden
Row 2 : Watercolours
Row 3: Silk & Ivory
Row 4 : Spring II


One complete pattern

Starting at the marking point, the blue sewing thread on the chart, begin stitching with Felicity’s Garden. Cut a length of your thread. Thread the needle and begin with an away waste knot. As you can see from the chart, the bargello pattern is like a wave and symmetrical about the top middle point. Each stitch is 4 threads high. You will start at the bottom of the wave. Your needle will come up at the hole marked 1 and go down in the hole marked 2. Complete 4 stitches side-by-side then travel up two holes and complete 3 stitches side-by-side. Travel up 2 more threads and complete 2 stitches side-by-side. Again travel up 2 more threads and complete 2 stitches side-by-side. The top of the wave is 3 stitches wide; again travel up 2 stitches to complete the top of the bargello wave. Now you will come down the wave, following the chart. Your stitching will be symmetrical about the center of the wave top.

Notice from the above picture that you will complete 5 waves, and then do 4 more stitches as if you would start a 6th wave. These added stitches balance the bargello pattern for the band.

 

 

The second row is stitched in the Watercolours; make sure that the rows are completed without any canvas showing between them as shown on the right. Only a portion of the bargello wave pattern is shown, but you should complete as many patterns as you did for the first row. Remember to go up in the hole marked 1 and down in the hole marked 2. Go up in the hole marked 3 and down in the hole marked 4.

Complete the remaining two rows in a similar manner.

Step 3
Finding the center of your canvas

Cut an 18" length of your sewing thread and thread your needle. Find the center of the bargello band, the middle stitch of the third wave, as shown on the right.

From this point, stitch a straight line down to the bottom of the canvas, leaving long tails of thread at both ends so that if you accidentally pull on the sewing thread, it will not come all of the way out. You can stitch this line over as many canvas threads as you like, perhaps going over 5 threads and under 5 threads at a time. This is the center line of your canvas and will be important in starting some of the remaining bands.


Center of canvas

Step 4
Straight Stitch Flowers
Cut a stitching length of your Watercolours thread. Thread the needle as you did before and begin with an away waste knot at least 6 inches away from the flower that you are stitching. You will stop and start your thread new each time you stitch a flower so that you will not be carrying the thread on the back of the canvas between the flowers. If you did run the thread between the flowers you would be able to see it on the front of the canvas, which is undesirable. When you are done stitching a flower, you will end your thread by running it under the flower on the back of the canvas that you just stitched and cutting the thread off. Then you will take your unthreaded needle and cut off the away waste knot that is left on the front of the canvas from the start of your stitching of the flower. Thread the needle from the back of the canvas. Run this thread under the same flower to hold it in place and cut off any excess thread.

Each flower will be centered under the Bargello wave at its top-most point. As you can see from the illustration below, you will begin stitching at the hole labeled 1 (this hole is 6 threads below the center of the Bargello band above it) and go down in the hole marked A (this hole is 12 threads below the start of your stitching points 1 and 2 and centered between them). Each time you will bring your needle up in a numbered hole and put your needle down in the hole marked A. Follow the pattern shown below and use the picture above for reference, and repeat four more Straight Stitch Flowers under each of the Bargello centers.

The green lines are used as guide lines for counting distances between stitches on the chart; they are not to be stitched.
Step 5
Center Waffle Stitch Variation
As shown in the figure below, the Waffle Stitch Variation is to be started down 3 threads from the center Straight Stitch Flower and left 2 threads from the center of the canvas (previously marked with your sewing thread.) The first thread to be used will be the Silk & Ivory and you are to begin with an away waste knot in the same way you did with the Straight Stitch Flowers. The figure below shows the first set of stitches to be done using the Silk & Ivory.

The blue dotted line is the center line of the canvas and the green lines are to be used as guidelines in counting where to begin your stitching. Bring your needle up at the hole marked 1, and put it down in the hole marked 2 -- the distance between 1 and 2 is 11 threads down and 16 threads to the right. Continue in this way until you get back to number 8 and then end your thread as before in Step 4.

Next, thread your needle with the Spring II and begin again with an away waste knot. Using the diagram below, complete the stitches numbered 9 through 16. These stitches will lie next to and over your previous stitches.

Again, end your thread in the stitches you just completed on the back of the canvas and then cut off the away waste knot and secure that thread on the back of the canvas in the same way.

Next, thread your needle with the Watercolours and begin again with an away waste knot. Using the diagram below, complete the stitches numbered 17 through 24. These stitches will lie next to and over your previous stitches.

Again, end your thread, securing it on the back of the canvas in the stitches that you just completed and then cut off the away waste knot and secure that thread in the same way.

You will be stitching the Waffle Stitch Variation twice more, the numbers are shown on the diagram above, but the stitched lines are not shown for the sake of clarity. Next, thread your needle with Felicity’s Garden and begin again with an away waste knot. Using the diagram above, complete the stitches numbered 25 through 32. These stitches will lie next to and over your previous stitches. End your thread in the same way as before.

Next, thread your needle with the Silk & Ivory again and using the diagram above complete the stitches numbered 32 to 40. Begin and end your thread in the same way as before.

Step 6
Initials and Date
The initials and date are done using the Cross Stitch. The Cross Stitch is two diagonal stitches that, when put together, form an X. You will bring your needle up in the hole marked 1 and down in the hole marked 2; then up again in the hole marked 3 and down in the hole marked 4 as shown in the diagram below. Each diagonal stitch is two threads high and two threads wide.
Thread your needle with a stitching length of Silk & Ivory. Start the initials 8 threads below the first Straight Stitch Flower and 1 thread left of the center of the first flower. Each initial is 5 cross stitches wide and 7 cross stitches high. Shown below are the initials that Laura Ziock used for her sampler.

Your initials will of course be different. Below is a blank grid so that you can chart your own initials. Use a block lettering form just like the L and Z above. Each letter should be 5 cross stitches wide and 7 cross stitches high. Leave 3 canvas threads between your first initial and your last initial.

Again thread your needle with a stitching length of Silk & Ivory. Start the date 8 threads below the last Straight Stitch Flower and 1 thread right of the center of that last flower. Each number is 5 cross stitches wide and 7 cross stitches high. Laura used the date of 99 because she stitched her sampler in 1999, however, since this is 2000, the dates to be used will be 00. If you stitch your sampler in another year beyond 2000, then just adjust the numbers in the same way that you charted your initials.

We will stop here since this is a lot of information to present and understand at one time. Next time we will continue with the rest of the instructions for Laura’s Sampler and finish it.