Fibers Used in Samplers

Date: 5/4/2008
Time: 1:30-4:00
Type: Meeting
Location: Glen Ellyn Library
Teacher: LMSG-Carol Schaal

Can you imagine stitching with your hair or straw? That’s what was used on some samplers.

Let’s take a look at what threads are available for use today. Silks—do you have a favorite? Overdyed–what a different effect they give our work. Pearl cottons, linen, metallics—the list goes on.

A small project using some of these threads and sampler stitches will be available for the cost of $5.


The meeting began with some announcements.

  • Our June workshop and meeting will be at a different location. The workshop will be at the Wheaton Public Library on the lower level. There is a kitchen, so you can bring your lunch if you like.
  • The meeting on Sunday will be at the Wheaton Community Center. A map and directions are available on the website.
  • Our picnic will be in July. There is no sign up, just bring a treat to share! The guild will supply burgers, brats and hot dogs along with chips and drinks. We’ll have an update on the Stitcher’s Challenge projects, so bring yours along and report on your progress.
  • We are in the process of redesigning our website so contact Marilyn Fettinger if you have comments or suggestions.
  • We don’t have a location for the August meeting yet.
  • Please sign up for the Catherine Theron workshop by the August meeting.
  • Some of the members have asked Catherine to teach Examplar III on Sunday morning after the workshop. More information will be available at the next meeting.

Carol Schaal presented our program on different fibers used in samplers. She began with a overview of sampler history. Early schoolgirl samplers were stitched with red or blue threads because they were the least expensive. Colors were limited and silk was imported from the east. Samplers were sometimes stitched with whatever fibers were available, even straw and human hair!

Carol reviewed some of the more common fibers available today and passed samples around the room including:

  • Valdoni – overdyed pearl cotton from Rumania
  • DMC linen – linen thread which frays and has nubs
  • Subtlety Rainbow Galleries – silk – similar in thickness to pearl cotton #12
  • Threadworks – overdyed cotton
  • Mandarin – made from bamboo, very soft 6 ply
  • Belle-Soie – hand dyed silk 12 ply
  • Splendor – 12 strand silk
  • Caron Watercolors – 3 ply cotton similar in thickness to pearl cotton #5
  • Caron Waterlilies – silk
  • Caron Wildflowers – similar in thickness to pearl cotton #8
  • – hand dyed silk from Vicky Clayton – nice and inexpensive!

Carol handed out a small kit that used different fibers and stitches to create a small design. We all learned about the different fibers that are available and we were amazed the variety of choices. Thanks, Carol! So which one will you use for your next project? How about bamboo?

Please join us on June 22nd at our next meeting where Tricia Wilson Nguyen will present a program on the Plimoth Jacket project.