Spot Motif Samplers

Spot Motif Samplers

1880 Freedom petit point at Seaside Museum, Oregon, USA

We's Free

Cordelia Evans Whited, c. 1880
Materials: Wool on canvas
Dimensions: 24.25" H X 25.5" W
Stitches: Petit point
Loaned by: Seaside Museum and Historical Society

This sampler displays a collection of small unrelated motifs, stitched entirely in petit point. The motifs are stitched in a style called "Berlin woolwork," using patterns first produced in Berlin in the mid-1800s. The stag was probably the first motif to be stitched, as published instructions of the time suggested stitchers start in the center, and then work out towards the edges in order to create a balanced design.

Interesting is the motif of two African American children holding hands and dancing for joy. Above their heads are the words "We's free," indicating this sampler was stitched after the American civil war had ended and emancipation had begun. However, the motif itself, without the words, has earlier origins. It was frequently used to decorate kitchen potholders sold at abolitionist fund raisers. In this context, the motif was accompanied by the words "Any holder but a slaveholder." Stitching petit point samplers with a collection of motifs on a dark background was a popular pastime for adult women of average means in the last part of the 19th century, made possible by an increase in leisure time and the availability of inexpensive materials and patterns.

According to family history, the sampler was stitched by Cordelia (Evans) Whited (1814-1896). Cordelia Evans Whited was the great, great, grandmother of Edith C. Ingram (1892-1988), who donated the sampler to the Seaside Museum, at Seaside, Oregon.

Kimberly Hart's family cross stitch sampler 2006

Family Sampler

Kimberly Hart, 2006
Materials: Silk thread on linen
Dimensions: 9.5" H X 12.25" W
Stitches: Cross
Loaned by: Kimberly Hart

This monochrome spot motif sampler is filled with alphabets and motifs meaningful to the stitcher's family, with emphasis on the letter "H", for Hart. The owner's grandmother taught her to stitch at the age of 12, and encouraged her progress by giving her a small embroidery kit. At that time, a lifelong needleworker was born!