Sunday, July 1, 2018

Three years

Jane Turner has been my companion, my friend, and my tormentor for the past three years. 

On June 28 in 2015, I took the first hesitant stitch, attempting Holbein, aka double running, stitch for the very first time.  One could argue that the starting date should be adjusted since the instructions directed using two strands of thread for ALL stitching … which made the double running motifs in the first band look like misshapen blobs.  I frogged first the peach flowers and – after stitching all the peach flower outlines with one thread – removed the dark blue ones also.

I recorded start and finish dates for each band as my original expectation was that I’d want to take breaks between bands and stitch something else, maybe an ornament or scissor fob or some other small thing.  But that happened only once since with each band finish I was excited about starting the next one.

Wednesday night, three years to the day after starting, Jane was complete!  This was not planned as I was really hoping to finish last weekend, but when it got to be the 27th, I was determined to finish, no matter what the clock said!  Even though I went and ordered her frame yesterday (thank goodness for coupons!), I’m still having trouble believing she’s done, that I she’s not waiting for me to do more stitching.

Sixteen bands and 14 different stitches*, Jane measures 7 inches wide by just under 25 long on 36 count linen.  I had not begun using my Silly Stitching Calendar when I started Jane or I could add up how many days I worked on her … but that would probably be way too obsessive, wouldn’t it?  Probably someone who has the luxury of being able to stitch for an hour or two each and every day could have completed this sampler in six months or maybe less, but I am a slow stitcher who usually stitches three or four times a week so I guess three years isn’t too bad, even if my 2017 goal was to finish before the turn of the year.

And here she is.

Closer shots of the large bands with the twinned brands that bracket them:

Because Jane filled in so many of the motifs in the various bands (bands that are not filled in on samplers similar enough to Jane's to have been taught by the same instructor), it’s fun to speculate about why – was she a really fast stitcher?  Was her family well off and could afford more silk threads, and even a metallic thread for her name and date?  Was she simply an overachiever, a 17th century Type A?  

I think it's interesting that Jane used black thread blended with a very fine silver metallic thread for her name and the date - there is no black (or metallic) anywhere else in the sampler.  

Thank you for happy dancing with me, and for indulging me by reading to the end of this very long post! 


* Here’s a list of the stitches used in Jane Turner sampler – the ones I knew before starting are bolded.

Holbein / double running
Spiral trellis
Encroaching satin
Detached buttonhole
Colonial knots (my addidtion – couldn’t manage that large flower and petals in spiral trellis)
Stem stitch
Marking cross stitch
Cross stitch over one thread


  1. Oh my Deb you take on such gorgeous and complicated stitches. But, oh how I love them. This one is a stunner...the stitches, the threads and the overall look. It is a treasure! RJ@stitchingfriendsforever

  2. Absolutely stunning!!!! You are my hero! And how did you learn so many new complicated stitches? Did you teach yourself? And I also have to ask - after such an amazing finish, what on earth are you going to stitch next?

  3. Jane is absolutely gorgeous!
    I commend you on staying with it for that long.
    I don't really think 3 years is a long time when you learned so many stitches.
    I enjoyed watching your progress on this Sampler.
    Thanks for sharing it with us.
    Have a great 4th!

  4. Congratulations on completing this gorgeous stitch. It truly looks like it should be hanging in a museum. The colors and all the different stitches are just gorgeous. What a sense of accomplishment you must have felt on learning all these stitches and the awe of seeing it complete.

  5. As they say across the pond....I am gobsmacked!!! This is stunning!!! The dimension of the stitches adds so much to the piece and the colors are attention grabbing! What a learning experience this must have been; you must be so proud of your achievement! Job well done!!!

  6. I am all but speechless! What a magnificent piece of embroidery!! You did a beautiful job and every stitch is perfection--you should be patting yourself on the back non-stop for this one!!!

  7. I kept looking for a cross stitch - the only ones I would be able to do! To attempt this complicated magnificent sampler without experience in many of the specialty stitches is just true determination and bravery! I clicked on all the photos for a closer look and she is absolutely stunning. Spectacular work Deb. Thanks for taking us on the journey.

  8. Oh--my--goodness!! This truly is breathtaking, Deb--you are my new hero(ine!). I can't imagine spending so long on a single sampler, but just look at all you've learned. I will certainly come to you when I have questions about specialty stitches because after this beauty you are an expert :) Congratulations--I can't wait to see her all framed up and hanging in a place of honor! (And I can't wait to see what's next!). Happy 4th to you!

  9. This is such an amazing accomplishment! It's fun to imagine her an A-type. I think I would've wanted to fill in the "spaces" by the alphabet so that everything reached both sides. (Uh oh, I might be displaying A-type tendencies....) All those unique stitches too! I knew cross-stitch, couching, satin, chain, and stem stitching from poking into the occasional crewel projects. The others are quite alien yet! Is the frame going to have glass or will you leave this open to fondle?

  10. This is incredible, thank you for sharing so many of the photos and details of this beautiful piece of work.
    Apparently the first comment I made on your blog was in August 2016 so I've been on the journey with you and Jane for quite a while. I've loved following your progress and discovery of all the new stitches.

  11. Such an achievement! Thanks for all the lovely closeups, and also the full view. I just love her!

  12. WOW!! She is amazing! Beautiful! Congrats!!

  13. Oh WOW, this looks amazing! Your stitching is beautiful, and you certainly learned a lot of new stitches.

  14. Amazing! That's a lifetime achievement project! Congratulations!