Wednesday, October 6, 2021

English Whitework Sampler - New Start

 The last two months were hard, especially after work as I never seemed to want to do anything. It took me a while to realize that I didn't have a single counted project on the go. It's all surface embroidery. So I went hunting in my stash photo album. I take pictures of all the stash I buy as it makes blogging about them later easier.

I completely forgot I picked up and kitted the English Whitework Sampler when I visited Traditional Stitches in Calgary back in 2019. I bought a lot of stash that year during my work trips. Anyways, this design is by Darlene O'Steen, the author of the book The Proper Stitch. An excellent book by the way if you like samplers. I don't own a copy as I'm not really into samplers, but I've had my eye on this whitework piece since it came out in 2011.

Some technical information as I will be asked, I'm stitching mine on 40 ct Newcastle Linen with #12 perle cotton and #80 special dentelle tatting thread in B5200.

I popped the pattern sheets in protective sleeves and into a binder to keep everything tidy, and then measured and cut my fabric. However, before I get to stitching, I wanted to put in some guidelines as I won't be stitching from the center out. I wanted to start from the top left, so I first put in the vertical and horizontal center lines (going over and under 4 threads). I also put in lines to define the sides and the top of the sampler.

Each row is surrounded by dividing band of four-sided stitches. I've been stitching them as I go and filling in the areas. 

The third row is all done in satin stitch. You'll notice I skipped the second row. As this is a sampler, it has the typical row of alphabet. I already know my ABCs and have no interest in stitching them. Instead I will fill that space with a quote, which I will do later as I'm still trying to figure out spacing and whether I want to stitch it over 1 or 2 threads.

As you get closer and closer to the end of the sampler, the rows start getting more and more complex. In the third row, there is a bit of cutwork to do.

Regardless, I won't be doing any cutting until I've completed the entire piece. Which means once I'm done I will be revisiting parts of the sampler to really finish it.


  1. Good progress already! It's always a delight to get to something you've had your eye on.

  2. Looks like an interesting project. Darleen O'Steen's book goes into meticulous detail. Enjoy the counted work.

  3. I can't wait to can see your progress on this new project : your start is already gorgeous !!
    Have a great day,

  4. Wow, that looks gorgeous! I understand you missing counted work, having to eyeball your stitches all the time can be stressful.

  5. This is a pretty sampler. All your surface embroidery means you are very disciplined and organised with a new project! I tend to just dive in and start stitching.