I've had an idea for awhile now . . . I wanted to stitch a sampler that looked old . . . really old. I began fussing with some scrap linen and a block of sandpaper. Yes, sandpaper, 180 grit. I use the same block when sanding my make-dos and dolls and what have you. I figured it would work on cross stitch linen just as well. After some trial and error I finally happened upon a technique that gave me the look I wanted. I lightly sanded the entire piece of linen in a single direction. I didn't want to put any holes in it (yet) I just wanted to thin the linen so it looked more worn. I then focused my attention on a few spots. I sanded in a single direction (either up or down or side to side, but not both) until I began to wear through the linen. Fair warning, my table looked as though a large dog had shedded its' entire coat onto it :)
Here is a closeup of the tears in the linen.
I continued sanding until I was happy with the amount of wear on the linen. I found that the side I sanded looked "fuzzy" no matter how many times I took my lint roller to it so I chose to use the backside. I sat down and began stitching, keeping the design simple. I intentionally avoided stitching too near to the holes in the linen but couldn't avoid it when I began stitching the border. I simply kept stitching until I reached the hole and then left the thread hanging. Of course I could have stitched a design first and then sanded but I like to look of "missing" stitches. When the sampler was finished I gave it a light wash in my black walnut dye and then brushed on more dye focusing around the worn areas. I thought ahead and stitched using DMC thread, fearing that the hand dyed threads might bleed. Now that I think on it, that might have given it an even more aged appearance. Hmmmm, perhaps next time.
Now, I wouldn't do this to a sampler that I had spent a great deal of time working on, but personally I adore the look of this piece. It looks lovely displayed. Throughout the day it's followed me from my bedroom, into the living room, and is now resting in the family room. It looks so sweet no matter where I toss it. I wouldn't drape a genuine antique sampler over a box on my mantel or lay it across a few books on an end table but this piece just belongs nestled amongst other prims.
I charted the little sampler and am offering it as a free pattern. Of course you are welcome to stitch it however you like, but I would suggest trying this technique if you enjoy the look, and be sure to let me know how it turns out.
If you would like to download the free pattern you can find it on my Free Pattern page, simply scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the link below the photo of the finished piece. As always, if you have any trouble downloading the PDF file simply e-mail me and I can send it to you.
Our youngest is turning two next weekend so it will most certainly be a busy week, but hopefully I'll have a finish to show you soon. Until then, happy stitching.
1805 Valentine 1852 peacock aged aged linen All Hallows Eve alphabet alphabet sampler anniversay antique antique linen antique samplers antique sheet music apple tree applique Autumn basket beach Bette 1709 bird black walnut dye blanket stitch Blest Art Sampler bloom box brown hen budding wreath butterfly Christmas Cora Lipton's Marking Sampler crescent colours cross stitch crown decorative dixie sampler designs doll making euphemia myles sampler eyelet sampler Fabric and Framing fabrics feather stitch flowers framing free pattern french knot french letters bluebird frogging garden Gentle Arts giveaway hand dyed heart heart garland Holidays hollow wreath Josephyn Sayer journey's end June Blooms keeping joy king lazy daisy linen love make do Marked Anne Mercy Doll Mercy Sampler motifs needle book needle punch needlework Notforgotten Farm osnaburg over-dyed threads partridge pattern peace and quiet peacock peahen Peahen's Valentine pear photo album pincushion pine tree pink pinkeep prim primitive punch needle queen quilts R and R reproductions rag quilt reproduction fabric rug hooking Samplermakers samplers Seek Thy Love sewing sewing book sewing pins silver snow spot motif spring Spring peacock St. Valentine's Day stash stem stitch stitcher's challenge stitching Summer Tattered Suitor thank you threads toile tulip tutorial verse vine weeks dye works winter Winterberries wool wool applique