In Celebration: A Place

In Celebration: A Place

Walter Frankel's needlework Philadelphia House Sampler

A Philadelphia House Sampler

Designed and executed by Walter A. Frankel, 1984
Materials: Danish flower thread (linen) on linen
Dimensions: 19" H X 14.5" W


1985 Woodlawn Plantation, Mount Vernon, Virginia
First Place, Men's Cross-Stitch
Best in Show, Men's Division

1986 National Arts Program, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Third Place

2002 Community Open, Corvallis Arts Center, Corvallis, Oregon

Artist Statement

Curtis L. Kiefer and I bought our first home in 1983, during the second year of our continuing relationship. While I have never been a devotee of samplers, the new home created an opportunity to design and execute one under the guidance of Jean Farish, who did a two-day workshop for Quaker City Stitchers.

Several decisions were made before the beginning of the workshop. Obviously, our new home would be a central figure, so this is a house sampler, not a stitch sampler. I also chose to work on natural linen, using Danish flower threads. I was seeking a muted palette rather than anything bold. I knew there were elements that I wished to include in some way: Curtis, our dog, books, music, etc.

I went to the class with linen and threads, and after the introduction, decided to work the design directly on the linen without charting the whole pattern. The basic cross-stitch would be over two threads, allowing smaller half-crosses (vertical or horizontal) for various elements. For purposes of space, the only element I charted (onto paper) in advance was the view of our home; to include it, I had to know its height and width.

I began in the upper left corner of the border. (As I recall, this corner later had to be ripped and redone, because when I got to the bottom left corner I realized the element I used for the turn would not work in all directions!) I then worked the first letter or two of each alphabet. The dividing lines were created as the work went along, stitching a single length of thread to begin each. Some dividers are very traditional, or variants of what you might see elsewhere.

While the lettering may appear to be taken from existing models, each was created as worked. This allowed for variations to make elements fit. It also expressed my personal interest in letterforms-calligraphy and typography.

Eventually, four elements (the two tree designs, the crab, and berries of the bottom panel) were all adapted or taken directly from existing patterns.

The finished sampler is a very personal expression of who I am and where I was.

Walter A. Frankel
April 2002

Walter Frankel design Benton County Oregon 2011 sampler

A Benton County Sampler

Walter Frankel, 2011
Dimenisons: 12.75" W X 16.5" H
Fabric: 28 ct linen
Thread: Cotton floss
Stitches: Cross-stitch, half cross-stitch, back stitch
Designer and stitcher: Walter A. Frankel (Corvallis)

The idea has been to illustrate several significant things in "Benton County, Oregon, est. 1847."

It begins with the left "border" being a Douglas fir and the bottom depicting Marys Peak. The top and right borders are an undulating pattern of blue and green, the blue representing the rivers and streams and the green, the fields, hills, and mountains.

The tower of the County Courthouse in Corvallis and the tower of the Philomath College building (presently the Benton County Historical Society and Museum in Philomath) are depicted. Rather than selecting an "image," the initials of Oregon State University are present in the school colors, orange and black.

A map of Oregon depicts the size of Benton County in 1847, showing the two pieces removed in 1851 and 1893, as well as its present size.

The remainder is filled with names of communities, though this is not complete, particularly from a historical point of view. The concept is for the stitcher either to use these names (highlighting the community in which they live) or to replace them with family names, or natural features, or a combination of anything in and about Benton County that has meaning to the stitcher.

The pattern (and actual sampler) will be donated to the Benton County Historical Society and Museum, with the hope that it will be made available for sale to stitchers who might want to create their personalized version of A Benton County Sampler.