This is the second model I stitched for Hands Across the Sea Samplers. Eliza Nisbet represents a couple of firsts in the HATS line of designs: it is the first HATS sampler to be ever stitched with wool, and also the first one with home-dyed linen.
When Nicola showed me the antique and asked if I wanted to stitch Eliza’s sampler, my first instinct was to decline – it looked too simple and boring, only two colors, too many alphabets, and hardly any motifs. Fortunately, I changed my mind when I examined it more closely, and when Nicola asked if I would like to stitch it with wool, I quickly agreed. A simple sampler in wool sounded perfect for the dark and cold winter nights in Iceland. I tea-dyed the linen.
I thoroughly enjoyed working on Eliza. I liked stitching with wool. Initially I missed the “swoosh” of silk floss as it passes through the fabric, but wool is rewarding in other ways. The stitches have an “oomph” that is very hard to get with silk or cotton.
Because she was such an easy stitch, Eliza was also my travel project.
And here is the finished Eliza before she went off to Cornwall for framing, photographing, and publication. Samplers can be so deceptive. Left to my own devices, I would have bypassed Eliza’s sampler as “not my style”. Now I always look at a sampler much more closely before deciding whether I want to stitch it or not. Sampler which sweep you off your feet can end up unfinished because once the infatuation fades, you don’t feel like putting in the work. And the simple ones turn out to the ones you don’t feel like putting down until finished.
Pattern: Eliza Nisbet 1839
Designer: Hands Across the Sea Samplers
Fabric: 24ct Rain Barrel by Legacy Linen (tea-dyed by me)
Threads: Fine d’Aubusson wool by Au Ver à Soie
Started: 02 November 2020
Finished: 17 April 2021