Down a dirt road, past fields and deep woods ~
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Our Needlework Shop & Studio
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Amherst, Virginia 24521
ph. 434-263-6508
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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Fading Away ~

...the group that I am a member of on Facebook called
is a place where we can go & chat, 
see what others are stitching 
and drool over their finished works or WIPs ~
I love this group as it gives me inspiration yet much needed down-time & enjoyment.

the other day, a member posted about a subject that caught my attention as a designer.
She brought up the subject of hand dyed linens,
 and stitching with similarly-hued threads 
used in a design.

...she stated that the threads she was using 'disappeared' into the linen, 
being so close to the color-value of the linen….

She also pondered if it was because the designer chose the linen/thread colors purposely?
 or if perhaps the dye-lots of the linen she bought from the linen supplier was not exactly as the designer showed in her photographs of her design….
(and as being a hand-dyed product, this often happens.)

I love questions like this, 
of course I had to chime in ;)

My response was that I love the look of the old faded samplers.
the colors of the threads initially used in the making of the actual antique sampler have, 
through time, faded into the background, so-to-speak.

the dyes used in the threads long ago were not dye fast, as many are today.
thusly, being exposed to light and hundreds of years of weathering, 
...the threads change colors.

antique sampler with faded threads (found on Pinterest)

As a person who LOVEs this look,
it doesn't bother me one bit that sometimes you can't see the alphabet, tiny bird or crown…
and as a professional designer of cross stitch,
I sometimes intentionally will choose my thread colors to 'match' my hand dyed linen ~ 
just so I can purposely achieve that old & faded look we love so….

I talked with Brenda Gervais 
yesterday on this very subject ~ and she said something to me that really hit home…

she said that when the threads have faded that much, 
we really need to lean in and look more closely at the sampler….
it's then I think, that we can appreciate even more the work involved.

and I totally agree.

antique sampler  w/ faded alphabet ~  found on Pinterest

when I began my love-affair with needlework,
it was those very samplers that did it...
the ones that made me lean in a bit closer and look a little harder 
at those seemingly infinite, almost-microscopic stitches
made by, of all things, the small & delicate hands of girls that were as young as 8 years old!!

antique sampler w/ faded threads ~ found on Pinterest

so that's why I do what I do when I design my work ~
I try to replicate the years of sunlight & shadow,
humidity & dampness of perhaps a dusty attic or dimly-lit barn…

...I try to replicate that work that drew me in. is a good example 
of one of my very favorite samplers 
that I designed:

'Fronica Bieler 1852' ~ designed and stitched by me

 I hand dyed the linen, then matched the threads (closely) with the linen...
I think it turned out well, and I think I achieved that look of age & fading.

you can hardly read what it says until you get up-close and personal.
((totally intended it that way!))
and it reads:
"... 'dis work done by me    when 'dis you see remember me…"

'Fronica Bieler 1852' ~  ©Notforgotten Farm

 I hope you can understand a little better now 
why I do what I do ~ 

If you haven't looked into joining the Prim Stitchers Society on Facebook,
…you should!

Hoping you all have a loverly day filled with many tiny stitches!!

* Blessed be * 


  1. I look forward to reading your blog every day. As usual, this was beautiful and informative. You are simply the best my friend.

  2. I understand your reason but I will be the one changing up the threads so they will show up. I like symmetry because it lets my eyes "relax" when I look at it. A bit more calming.
    But of course.. It's all good!

  3. That was "me" ..... and I absolutely LOVE this posting! Thanks Lori, like Brenda's designs, yours rank right up there with my favorites!

  4. That was "me" ..... and I absolutely LOVE this posting! Thanks Lori, like Brenda's designs, yours rank right up there with my favorites!

  5. Kathy ~ I understand completely ~ it's not for everyone, and that is ok too :)

    Deb ~ yup! it was you! glad you brought up the subject!

    ~ L

  6. Thanks for sharing this little tid bit about why we create the way we do. Enjoyed chatting with you yesterday Lori! Found this in my morning inbox, thought of antique sampler from your "neck of the woods" (hoping I can attach a link here)


  7. What a nice post. Gives me a whole new perspective!

  8. Tried to join the FB states "closed group"...also couldn't find the "Files" tab to read...

  9. Beautiful Blog Entry! Brenda, I love that Richmond Sampler. I live in Ashland, VA, just north of Richmond! I might just bid on this!

    -Holly in VA

  10. Thanks so much for the shout out to the group, Lori!! That would explain the MANY Facebookers waiting to be added to the group this morning, was a great way to start my day!!

    I loved this post so completely nailed why I fell in love with samplers, needlework, and the history behind it all. I own many antique samplers, quite a few are faded beyond reading; it is these few that force me to slow down and really LOOK at the piece...and, in doing so, I become one with the young girl or lady who so lovingly stitched it :-) Thank you so much for all you and the other designers out there do to keep this heart-healing art going...this needleworker deeply appreciates it. ~Terri (dixiesamplar)

  11. Learned something new today! My eyes have a hard time stitching, but I do love the look.

  12. Wonderfully written post.
    Thanks Lori !

  13. I agree completely, Lori, and love the look. It gives the piece a much more aged look when the threads blend in and look faded. When I see samplers with dark prominent colored threads I pass them over because they don't look authentic old to me. Kind of the difference between a "Country" look and a "Primitive" look if you know what I mean.

  14. Both of you have value in your assessments. there is a time and place for 'fading' and a time and place for showing off!!!

    Enjoy the day

  15. I just Love this look....unfortunately, it is really hard for me to use the nice soft colors because my Old eyes !!!!

  16. Hi Lori!

    Love the old faded samplers! Yours fits right in, very realistuc!


  17. Love this post...i think the original stitchers did the best they could but maybe they too had old stitcheries to inspire and forgive them?
    I cant remember where I saw it but there was a sampler where the stitcher said something to the effect of "and i hated every minute of it"? where is that?

  18. Love your old and muted. I love it!!!! Linda

  19. Thank you so much for this lovely post. My eyes have been opened so to speak! I have always had a love affair with old samplers and which that I had the means to purchase a few of my own. I am always fascinated that these beautiful works of art could be created by children. I understand now why you choose your colours as you do. I'm so glad you shared with us!

  20. Sorry, I meant that I wish that I had the means. Must be getting tired!

  21. I love the old Samplers, but 'Fronica Bieler 1852' has a special charm....

  22. Margaret ~ I have a sampler called 'Josiah Turner's sampler' in which a verse reads: " I hit my sister with a switch, for that my mother made me stitch…and I hated every stitch"…..
    is that the one you're referring to?

  23. Lori, I just read this post and was quite surprised to find that a Fronica Bieler stitched the original. Bieler is my maiden name and I wondered if you had any other information on this sampler. My sister is researching family history and will check to see if Fronica is in there somewhere. Thanks! Paula


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