Scarlet Letter

P.O. Box 397
Sullivan, WI 53178
Mon-Fri. 10 AM to 4 PM (CST)


2015-08-29:  Margaret Gatis, Dorcus Haynes, Sarah Dutnel

Ann Scutt Circa 1675Ann Scutt Sampler of Circa 1675.  Several band samplers very similar to this one are in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London as well as in other important Ann Scuttcollections. This particular sampler came from the collection of The Scarlet Letter, and is now in a private collection. A similar color scheme appears on these samplers. similar pattern bands, suggesting that a certain teacher taught these girls. Typical of 17th century samplers, Ann Scutt’s displays intricate pattern and color variations demonstrating how innovative a girl could be with a limited color palette and some considerable skill with the needle. Our reproduction is almost identical in size and color to the original. Stitches used are cross, Montenegrin cross, double running, back, eyelet and tent, all clearly diagrammed in the instructions. The graph has been printed in full color to illustrate the color changes in areas worked in double running stitch. The model was stitched on 35 count linen with a finished size of approximately 7″ x 26″.

hayle1 hayle2 hayle3 Three Late Seventeenth Century Band Samplers from the School of Juda Hayle of IPSWICH, Suffolk, England.   Source: 

Eleven extant samplers dating from 1691 to 1710 have been assigned to the school of instructress Juda (aka luda/ludeth) Hayle. The samplers share many similar characteristics apart from naming Ms. Hayle as their teacher: in fact some are nearly identical. In chronological order, documented examples include:

  1. Three samplers from the earliest date (1691), two of which were made by Elizabeth Meadow and Hannah Canting (the third example is in the Museum of London);
  2.  Sarah Bantoft’s of 1693;
  3.  Mary Canting’s of 1694;
  4. Ann Holewll’s of 1699;
  5. Prisca Phillips’ of 1700;
  6. Elizabeth Searles and Elizabeth Burton’s both of 1701;
  7. Mary Moyses’s of 1709;
  8. Elisabeth Goodday’s of 1710.

The samplers of Hannah and Mary Canting, and Sarah Bantoft, are graphed within the Scarlet Letter’s kit package.

tabletTablet Sampler .. English Circa 1755.

The earliest tablet format samplers were created in England during the first quarter of the eighteenth century. The inspiration for the design was derived from the painted signboards often posted in English churches at that period, displaying religious slogans and Biblical excerpts for the edification of the literate members of the congregation. Many of these eighteenth century painted boards still survive and are displayed in English parish churches. The form was ultimately derived, of course, from Moses’ Tablets, and on samplers the Ten Commandments were often stitched within that surround, along with Biblical verses. The exuberant, naturalistic, possibly a pattern exercise to prepare the unnamed sampler maker for the next logical step up in embroidery. On the original sampler cross stitch is the primary mode of execution, with some embellishments of stem, satin, double running, and petit point stitches. The emphasis on the printed message, and the use of mainly cross stitch, indicate the sampler’s gradual evolution from the elaborate pattern and stitch records of the seventeenth century, to the more literary and pictorial image that became increasingly popular later in the eighteenth century. No longer was the purpose and emphasis of the sampler an exercise in technique and patternmaking: it was becoming an educational tool for budding housewives and artists.

eleanor parr photoEleanor Parr 1816 … 

Eleanor Parr created this amazing and unique sampler some time before 1835. The border of birds encircled by vines and leaves is unprecedented. Fleurs de lys embellish each of the four corners surrounding a central reserve containing a traditional verse, floral sprays and garlands, and two elegantly clad young girl friends enjoying a frolic in this amazing landscape. The verse reads:

When his lost sheep the shepherd finds
He calls his friends around
Rejoice with me my friends he cries,
My wandering sheep are found.
The reconciled father joys,
To see the sinner weep,
And Jesus with extended arms,
Welcomes his ransom’d sheep.

While the original sampler was stitched with wool threads, this reproduction is supplied with either DMC cotton, or au ver a soie, soie d’alger silks.

Eleanor was born in 1816 in Burscough near Ormskirk in Lancashire, to John and Ann Parr. At the time of her birth her father was a boatsman on the canals, but in a later census he is described as a farmer. Eleanor married a farmer by the name of Joseph Webster. In fact there are still Websters farming in the Lotham area today. Eleanor lived to be nearly 81 years old.

Eleanor’s extraordinary sampler, employing only cross stitch, petit point and stem filling stitches, is a magnificent testimony to what the simplest stitches can accomplish given creativity, motivation and of course access to some very good materials. The range of color and the intricacy of the design- such that one can identify the birds she has stitched- astound the viewer and the needle worker to tis day. On 35 count linen, the finished sampler will measure approximately 24-1/2 ” x 28 ”


Dorcas Haynes 1720

haynesThis is the most symmetrical, balanced, counted thread sampler that we have ever charted from. It is also one of the most satisfying, challenging, and beautiful samplers in the world. Originally worked on a fine wool ground, the colors of our reproduction have been matched to the slightly faded, soft shades visible on the front. The wide pattern bands reflect popular designs of the previous century, while the more rectangular shape of the sampler is an 18th century characteristic. The sampler descended in the family of the maker, until 1950, when it was acquired by the Museum, so we know some facts about the life of Dorcas Haynes. She was a Quaker, born in Bermondsey, Middlesex, in 1710, to Thomas and Hannah Haynes. She married Richard Adams in 1729.
The patterns and motifs associated with later 18th century Quaker samplers were not yet developed at the time Dorcas stitched this sampler. Stitches used in this magnificent piece are cross, double running, counted satin, Queen, detached buttonhole, double diagonal backstitch, herringbone, eyelet, Parisian, encroaching gobelin, and florentine.

Linen: 35 count hand dyed -our exclusive weave
Finished size: 12-1/2″x17″
Rated: Advanced
Source: From the collection of the Fitzwilliam Museum

Margaret Gratis 1711

gatisThe focal point of this amazing English band sampler is its knot garden, which we have never before seen depicted in quite this fashion. Traditional pattern bands feature a unique twist on brightly colored roses and rosebuds, carnations, violets, diaper patterns, and deeply cut undulating borders. Sections of whitework, and a cutwork band, complete this exceptional sampler which is worked over a combination of two and three threads of linen. Clear detailed charts and instructions are provided for all sections including the cutwork.

The sampler is now in the collection of the Embroiderers Guild of South Australia, Inc.

Origin and date: England, 1711
Rated: Advanced
Linen count and finished size: 35 or 40 count, 9-1/4″x 29-3/4″ or 8″x26″ (please specify your choice)
Stitches: Montenegrin cross, cross, double running, counted
satin, trellis, eyelet, eyelet buttonhole

Sarah Dutnel 1818

dutnelAt age nine in 1818, Sarah Dutnel created this unusual “tree of life” sampler. A traditional carnation and tulip border in subtle, earthy shades of gold, brown, and cream surrounds the tree. Dogs, deer, birds, stars, potted plants, trees and flowers flank the base of the tree. The sampler is unusual in its absence of alphabets.

Stitches used are cross and counted satin. Kit comes with 35 count linen. Please note that the graph is printed in full color to make it much easier to do the counted satin filling stitches. On 35 count linen, the sampler will measure approximately 16″ x 18-1.2″.

Photos of the sampler taken by Barbara Hutson. –