Scandanavian Samplers

Scandinavian Samplers

Scandinavia is an area of northern Europe comprised of multiple countries - the best known being Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. Together they have a shared history, a common culture, and similar languages. The kingdoms of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden have existed in one form or another since the 13th century, but over time there has been considerable shifting of boundaries and alliances due to wars and treaties. Although each country has its own unique customs, Scandinavia is seen as a cultural and linguistic entity because of its shared history and culture, and because of its mutually intelligible languages. [Historical Scandinavian needlework samplers in 2011 museum exhibition, USA]
Scandinavian samplers

A Scandinavian sampler is called a "navneklud" in Danish or "navneduk" in Norwegian and Swedish. Both words translate to "name cloth". As examples of girlhood embroidery, they reflect the unique needlework traditions of the sewer's country, as well as shared cultural roots and the influence of shared neighbors.

Sweeden needlework sampler 1830 Inberg family

Henrik Ingberg's Daughter, 1830

Materials: Silk on linen
Dimensions: 13.75" H by 13.25" W
Stitches: Cross stitch, tent stitch
Private collection

This sampler was stitched by Henrik Ingberg's "dotter" in Sweden. We do not know her name, but she was undoubtedly related to Karolina Ingberg, who wrote details of the girl's genealogy on the back of the framed sampler. Karolina wrote, in Swedish:

Sewed by a daughter to wagon maker and alderman Henrik Ingberg, married to Eva Charlotta J. Kallstrom, natural daughter to the Baron von Duben.

Marte Henrikke Olsen 19th century Norwegian sampler

Marte Henrikke Olsen, 1895

Materials: Silk on linen
Dimensions: 9.75" H by 10.4" W
Stitches: Cross stitch, satin stitch, eyelet stitch, herringbone, drawnwork, kloster blocks, needleweaving
Private collection

This is a Norwegian sampler stitched by Marte Henrikke Olsen. Marte was born in 1885 in Eidanger, Norway, to Ole Andreas Olsen and Maren Lovise Christensen.

Marte's sampler is representative of the needlework taught in Norwegian schools in the last part of the 19th century.

Marte's two complete alphabets include the Dano-Norwegian vowels of Æ and Ø. The first is formed from the letters a and e, and the second is a uniquely Scandinavian letter. Also interesting is Marte's inclusion of two forms of the small "s" in her lower case alphabet, unusual in a sampler dated late in the 19th century. Both alphabets lack the letter "w" which wasn't adopted into the Norwegian alphabet until 1917.

Marie Christensen Danish cross stitch sampler

Marie Christensen, 1906

Dimensions: 14.5" H x 15" W
Stitches:Cross stitch, eyelet stitch, satin stitch, outline stitch
Loan: Nancy Tonkin

Marie Christensen was born August 26, 1893, in or near Koge, Denmark. Koge is a seaport about 28 miles southwest of Copenhagen. Marie stitched her sampler when she was 12 years old. According to the inscription on her sampler, Marie was a student at Vallo Syskols (sewing school) and she completed her sampler in December of 1906.

Around the age of 21, Marie Christensen immigrated to the United States where she married Carl Philip in Miami, Florida. Marie and Carl traveled cross-country by train to San Francisco, and lived most of their lives in San Carlos, California. Marie (or Mimi as she was called) and Carl were paternal grandparents of Nancy Tonkin, Benton County resident since 1977. Marie's sampler remains in the family.