“It’s All About Me” Monday: The Sampler


You know the old joke—the vain, self-centered woman talks endlessly about herself, her accomplishments, her fashion sense. Then she stops and says, “But enough about me, let’s talk about you! . . . How do you like my hair?”

I feel this way about a lot of my blogging. Although I try to provide something of value to the reader, so much of what I write is all about me.

And it’s going to get worse! I have this desire to post about some of the things I’ve made in the past, a series that will be unapologetically self-centered (well, I’ll apologize now and then let it go).

I really want to do this, just for me, as a repository of some of the things I’ve made over the course of my life. As I wander around my house, I find things I’ve made in almost very room, a wide range of crafts I’ve made over the years. Some of the crafts have “stuck,” and I still do them today, but many have been dropped. Some of the things I keep around have been unfinished for 35 years or more!

First up, is a cross stitch sampler. I started this when I was about 20. It was a kit and the pattern was printed on the fabric—the days before counted cross stitch became all the rage. I liked everything about it—the alphabet applied to food, the rhyming words, the simple graphics. Only two embroidery stitches are involved—cross stitch and chain stitch.

I know I started it when I was in college because, at that time, I worked as a docent at a local historical house museum. I can remember sitting on the bench on the porch at the Kent-Delord House, in my 1970s prairie skirt and peasant blouse, stitching on the sampler while I waited for people to come to take a tour.

I was in grad school by the time I finished it and my grandfather framed it for me.

The sampler has been in my kitchen since, in several apartments and houses. I still like everything about it.

So, enough about me! Let’s talk about you. How do you like my sampler? Do you still have anything you made this long ago and still treasure?

57 thoughts on ““It’s All About Me” Monday: The Sampler

  1. I love your sampler – it is beautiful. If I lived closer we could sit on a porch together and you could teach me how to do it. 🙂 Your question caused me to really think if I have very much left after numerous moves and one cross country. The one thing I have is a nativity set that I made with my husband and daughter about 35 years ago. Good memory.

    • I would love to sit on a porch with you and talk crafts! It’s funny how the internet gives us the world but makes us long for close proximity to one another.

  2. I have a vest from a Kaffe Fasset pattern 25 years ago. Regrettably last year I found out the wool cycle on our new washing machine is a bit more vigorous than the old, so after all that time and looking like new (Jamieson wool) it’s now a size smaller (while I’ve grown 2). Still usable but visibly felted and not new looking.

    That’s some neat stitching there, don’t think I’d have the patience for all those words.

  3. The sampler is beautiful. Do you still cross stitch or did that fall by the wayside? I have some counted cross stitch pieces that I finished, but never “finished”. One will be a pillow top and even has the backing attached but it is sitting in a bin waiting to be fitted around a form. I should get on that…

    • I do not cross stitch. My husband does beautiful counted work but it doesn’t appeal to me much, partly because it ends up sitting around finished, as you say, but not finished. And when it is finished, it is almost always purely decorative. I like functional creations these days.

  4. I love it! And I’m glad to hear you talk about you. How else could I get to know you better?

    The only things I’ve made that are around the house are quilts, and the oldest of those is about 11 years old. OH. In my studio I have a portrait I drew of my son. That is somewhat older, but not much.

    • Thanks for the reassurance and different perspective on writing about myself. It sounds like you’ve been a one-craft gal for quite awhile. That’s how you got so good at it!

  5. Don’t apologize! I love seeing things others have made, especially things no longer “popular.” I treasure some days-of-the-week kitchen towels I embroidered as a child and have some huck towels stitched while a Brownie. (My mom was the leader and I guess thought that would be a nice, QUIET craft!)

  6. lol – don’t we all blog about ourselves, what we are working on, what we love? I LIKE reading about what other people are doing, what their lives are like. And I love your blog, so keep on doing it. 🙂
    Your sampler is beautiful, and has such meaning, between your stitching it and your grandfather framing it. I also have crafts about the house – and what I think is the oldest thing is also a sampler done in the 70s, all stamped cross stitch. I expect I was about 16 when I did it, it is quite crooked (of course, stamped work could never be straight!) and it hangs by the door. The sentiment is “Wherever you wander, wherever you roam, be happy and healthy and glad to come home” It too has followed me around for these many years. I like seeing it there when I head out the door or when I come home (always glad to do so!)

  7. I love your sampler! Think of your blog as a digital journal of your life and accomplishments. ..a repository, as you say. You are a multi talented woman!

    • That’s how I am thinking of this series, at least, and hoping that, along the way, readers can relate on some level. Sometimes, though, we simply need to do things just for ourselves!

  8. I made a set of napkins when I was 10 years old as a school project. They were made from green and white gingham and had a simple cross-stitch pattern in the corner using the squares of the gingham as a pattern. My mother still uses them, bless her! I also made a cat soft toy a year later which both my daughters played with (carefully!).
    Don’t apologise for anything in your blog – I love it as it is!

  9. OMG Kerri – [I NEVER say OMG Kerri!] I thought that was what a blog was – all about me and the things I love to do and share and sometimes the things I didn’t love so much but decide to share anyway 🙂 I love your posts, I have never not loved a post I have read that you produced. Don’t stop. [I feel a song coming on…….] I was busy studying the sampler photo before I read and wandering where you had found this little treasure – and there you are, you ACTUALLY MADE IT!] Aged 20 or so. I was still misreading stocking stitch knitting patterns at age 20! I don’t have anything from eons ago any more – Oh, except the baby shawl I knitted for my first born [full of pattern mistakes] and her naming gown, which I made from the train of my wedding dress. Both of which are being kept for said first born at her request, but if she doesn’t take them away soon I’m pretty sure they will go to the charity shop in the next clear out.

    • Well! Thank you, Pauline–you always make me feel so good! With your comments and some of the others, I am feeling a lot better about this angle of posting. And I love the idea of a naming gown made from a wedding dress–so much symbolism and meaning.

  10. Too funny! But I love the sampler and can’t wait to see more examples of your work. I have a few cross-stitch things (some printed and some counted), a few crewel things and so forth, but my great love was needlepoint (before the eyes went and before the Internet). Most of the myriad pillows have wound up at my mother’s … which has turned out to be a good thing because the ones I’ve kept have become very ratty from various cats chewing and clawing them! My favorite is a needlepoint pillow I still have. Very ’80s with tassels and shiny gold thread and shiny bead “jewels” sewn on. What was I thinking???

    • What were we *all* thinking during the ’80s in general?! What a very strange decade in fashion and decorating. I did some needlepoint a long time ago–maybe I’ll show an example in one of these posts–but I never made them into pillows. As you point out, they are cat magnets.

  11. You’ve made me smile, Kerry!
    I do indeed like your cross stitch 🙂
    I actually have a couple pieces of cross stitch, framed and on the wall. It’s been 25 years since I used a needle for something more than hemming.

  12. Oh goodness, we’re all here to read about you! And your crafts and weaving and lake and sales and linens. I have some drawings around that I still like, but other than that, nothing old that I made. I do love this blog!

    • Your are so kind, Lisa! I do remain committed, however, to NOT making it all about me in general. I used to do a lot of drawing, too, but I haven’t in years. I wonder why I switch gears so frequently . . .

  13. The sampler is lovely and it was fun to hear the story of how you made it while working as a docent. I have several needlepoint pictures hanging on my walls that I made when my children were young. I also have a needlepoint picture that I completed last year – more than 30 years after I began it, but that’s another story. 🙂

    • You don’t see much needlepoint any more–I wonder why. I liked doing it, too. And I think it’s great that you finished a 30-year-old project! That doesn’t happen often!

  14. I love samplers, I love embroidery and I love you. And I’m joining the chorus: of course it’s about you. I too have thought now and then of creating what I think of as logs on my blog of things I’ve planted. It would be ho hum to everyone else, but I still like the idea of creating a database of plants in my garden, what worked, what didn’t, etc. that I can access.

    I for one and looking forward to seeing future creations.

    Alas, I’m not a saver. All my creations from the past are long gone, perhaps born of multiple moves in my youth and my tendencies toward minimalism. I will live vicariously through you.

    • You are so sweet, Alys–I am currently feeling much better about being self-centered! 😉 And if you created a log of your gardening experiences, it might appeal to all of, too! And it might really be useful to a new set of readers–people who are looking for strategies to deal with the same challenging conditions you have been.

  15. Your sampler is classic and wonderful! I was happy when I realized I could click on the photo and see the whole thing. I love the lobster in his alarming red suit. The first thing I remember making was a stamped cross stitch floral, dresser scarf when I was twelve, but I don’t have it. I also remember having a crewel embroidery kit in the 1970’s with mushrooms in colors of the era which I didn’t complete (and don’t regret it).
    I look forward to more of your “look at this thing I made” posts because you have so many varied interests and excellent taste.

    • I like those quirky details on my sampler, too–sometimes when I am having trouble falling asleep, I recite the words on the sampler in my head. Isn’t it odd to think that the things we made in the 1970s could be classified as vintage now? It feels almost like yesterday . . .

  16. Your posts are like doughnuts covered with goo!!! I can’t wait to see more treasures.😄 My first projects are still with my Mom,as I learned to crochet from my Grammy and made afghans for Moms chairs. Can’t believe she has them still!

  17. Of all the hand crafts I’m bad at, embroidery ranks at the top. So, I salute your sterling efforts at the age of 20. Except for a few woven rugs, the only non-quilt stuff I’ve made has been consigned to a landfill long ago. Oh, I forgot the crocheted afghan in progress now for 27 years.

    And it’s OK to talk about yourself as long as you’re not boring. Luckily for us, you’re not.

    • I hadn’t embroidered much in years and I recently started again, to try and recreate a redwork quilt I got at a garage sale–I’m enjoying it quite a lot. I’m intrigued by making handwoven rugs–love the look but I’m not sure I could allow anyone to walk on them. And I will try never to be boring . . .

  18. Hmmmm…. I have a sampler my mother did on printed fabric that’s flowers. (Even when I was young I disliked the printed cross stitch!) It’s embroidery and a lovely design. I think it – and yours – are sort of timeless and it’s no wonder you kept it. I’m sure I have some old things around…

    • I didn’t know counted cross stitch existed until about 20 years ago! The printed kits were all the rage when I was young but irritating in lots of ways, mostly because the printing never lined up with the lines in the fabric!

  19. Yes, I love seeing your sampler and I love its history. It is necessary for you to write about yourself fairly incessantly, but somehow, your tone doesn’t sound at all self absorbed. Please continue. I have a doll pillow slip I “embroidered” around age six. Seeing your sampler inspires me to find it and frame it, perhaps with my Tiny Tears bib.

    • Thank you, Sandra–what a nice comment! And how fabulous that you still have something you made when you were so young! I think it should definitely be framed and treasured!

  20. Sounds like you have always been interested in quality, old-timey things — being a docent at the Kent-Delord House. … I cherish a cross-stitch Xmas ornament my son did when he was 4. It was a very simple Xmas tree with a wood frame in the shape of a house.

  21. Your sampler is beautiful – it takes a lot of skill and effort to create something so clean and crisp. And, as your other commentators have all said, keep talking about you – it is fascinating!! 🙂

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