English Spot Sampler, c. 1625-1650

Stitched on expensive, imported linen with multi-colored silk threads, this spot sampler is emblematic of those produced in the second quarter of the 17th century. English domestic samplers were used as primary sources of needlework for many women in the 16th and early 17th centuries—the scarcity of printed books and patterns lent a primitive flavor to the early samplers, and the samplers themselves became a record of stich and design. Once pattern books became more widely available, samplers transitioned from being records of stitches to being an educational tool and for use as a record of a different type—numbers, alphabets, geography, family history and trivia have all been found stitched

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