This is basically my way of saying these photos aren't particularly good and trust me the sampler looks better in person. I've included a lot of photos in hopes that at least one ends up looking like the sampler I stitched.
The sampler isn't terribly large, only 160 stitches square, but I chose to stitch it on 30 ct so it's almost 12 inches square finished. The linen is R & R Reproductions French Vanilla, a beautiful color and perfectly aged as is. All of the threads are Gentle Arts and most of the colors are very subtle. The Gentle Arts Garden Gate stands out nicely. The Gentle Arts Roasted Marshmallow blends beautifully with the linen. It's hard to make out in the photos. I told you I was no good at taking pictures :)
I've always loved the aged look of antique samplers and part of that (I think) comes from the fading in the threads. I think over time the colors just all begin to blend into one another which is hard to replicate. I've been wanting to try for awhile and I'm happy with the results.
There are three alphabets, some numbers as well as a signature and date. The name is fictional. I've always felt a little odd just making up a name but on this sampler it felt right.
I had originally designed the sampler intending to leave an unstitched area at the bottom. I think leaving the sampler "incomplete" also lends to a more aged look. At the last minute (this morning) I decided to add some feather stitching. There wasn't a lot of planning with this sampler. It came together on its own. What was particularly fun was "choosing" where to use what colors. I knew the border would be black/grey and I knew I wanted most of the stitching to be blue. I used very little of the lighter shade of gold because it is very subtle. Other than that I just began stitching with one color and when I finished a letter and didn't have enough thread to finish the next I went onto another color.