Click on the images to enlarge them!
April - August 2018
I found this Biedermeier kit at a charity shop. It was Counted Cross Stitch, and it was before I established my curriculum, so I thought it would be an unhurried pastime to cross stitch from time to time. The sampler was complete and not commenced yet: it contained the pattern with some black beads, a nice piece of even-weave fabric (Jobelan - a blend made of cotton and Modal, which is a cellulose made of beechwood), and all the threads needed (stranded cotton from MEZ AG Freiburg), meticulously sorted by colour groups.
Stranded Cotton in 33 Colours and Shades
Later, when I had made up my curriculum, I decided to use the sampler as THE sampler for Counted Cross Stitch, because it appeared to be big and nice - something I could eventually hang up for showing off. After unpacking it, the manufacturer turned out to be Wiehler Gobelin, and as I googled them, I found out that they still sell a full range of tapestry and cross stitch kits. This one isn't available anymore, but how astonished was I to discover that the price of a similar cross stitch kit ranges from € 65 to 140, while I got mine for € 2 only!!! What a bargain!
I came to value the bargain all the more after beginning to stitch the sampler. The design is so enchanting, the colours so well-matched, and the shades so cleverly chosen that they create depth and perspective in every motif. Obviously, the designer's name is F.C. Meyer, since the signature says so. And after all I like Biedermeier very much.
Cross Stitch Kit
The yellow sticker on the pattern says:
This pattern is an original replica of an embroidery sampler.
The original can be found at the German Sampler Museum - collection of Elfi and Hans-Joachim Connemann, Palais im Prinzengarten, Celle.
Of course, I was eager to have a look at my sampler. Unfortunately, it turned out that the Sampler Museum had closed on March 1, 2013. The exhibits were transferred to the Bomann-Museum for cultural history, where they lie in the depot since. As the Cellesche Zeitung informed in 2015, they are supposed to be exhibited again in 2018 at the earliest.
Cross Stitch Pattern with Beads
It was April 21, when I started working at this sampler: washing the fabric, hemming the edge, later marking squares by ten double-threads (we're stitching over two threads here with two strands of cotton) with a blue sewing thread. What I discovered much later to be a synthetic thread which ruined the soleplate of my iron after ironing several times on the highest temperature. There was no help to it - will have to buy a new iron ... 😒
In my opinion, there was a couple of glitches in the design, mainly in the borders - be it an asymmetrical arrangement of stitches or an apparently mistaken colour. I think the borders were supposed to be symmetrical, so I adjusted what I considered to be a blunder.
There was stranded cotton enough and to spare in most colours, still in the end, I ran out of two colours: one olive and one dark green. The olive wasn't really a problem, for there was a very similar second olive there, the difference is scarcely noticeable. The dark green, however, was another cup of tea. I had to juggle a bit with it in the "House by the Lake", the motif in the lower right corner. In some spots I've replaced it with a more blueish green, in others with a dark olive. But I think, nobody will notice it, as long as he doesn't know how it was supposed to be ...
As I said, I started the sampler April 21. Today it's August 12 - and I am nowhere near the end! And I was stitching EVERY SINGLE DAY at least for one hour! Here's the succession of my progress so far:
As of May 6
As of July 26th
As of June 3
As of June 28
September 3rd: The last black bead - the last stitch!!! The whole sampler took me nearly 20 weeks to embroider! Whew!
Because it was stitched in a hoop, it needed a gentle wash. I wasn't sure, however, whether all the threads are colourfast. In particular, I was worrying about the black and the dark red. So I took a scrap of old fabric and floss-doodled freehand a little seahorse, using the snippets of all the colours used, let it soak 20 minutes in well satiated hot soapy water and - no bleeding at all, hooray! Now the sampler is washed as well, ironed, waiting for framing ...
Floss-doodled Seahorse 🐙 😁
Close-up of a Single Motif
The Finished Biedermeier Sampler
Close-up of a Single Motif
As I just found out in searching the internet, this kit is still sold by various online shops, but as a Permin of Copenhagen kit, not Wiehler Gobelin. Mine comes undoubtedly from the latter company, as you can see in the first photo on this page. There seems to be a bit of a confusion as to the first initial, whether it is an F or a J, but all of them agree that the original sampler was worked in 1820 and that it is a reproduction of an original on display in the German Sampler Museum in Celle (obviously a somewhat outdated information, as we have seen).
* * *
It took me three months to manage to frame the piece, but in the end, I nailed it (almost literally). Click on the link to learn about my framing experience and to see the Framed Sampler!