1887-89 pair of sister’s darning & cross stitch samplers


This delightful pair of samplers was most likely worked by sisters, two years apart in age! While “CK” appears within the floral wreath on both samplers, I suspect the initials under the wreath to be those of the stitcher, and “HC” and “JS” to be their parents’ initials. They used the same basic layout for their samplers but arranged the darning patterns in their own way, and one chose a bouquet of pink violets while the other selected a bird for the cross stitch motif. Shiny silk thread was used throughout on linen fabric. These are most likely German or Dutch.

The darning patterns are fabulous, intricately detailed and very finely worked; the cross-shaped ones are only about 2-1/2″ high. Several have the backing linen cut away so the darning becomes the fabric, which is the point– darning is a mending technique that duplicates the damaged woven fabric but it can also be purely decorative. One pattern looks like very fine knitted stockinette stitch, while others are multicolor plaids. Edges are turned under and hemmed.

The condition is very good; no holes or missing stitches or other damage. The is a faint pink cast to the linen ground of the floral sampler where some of the red dye has rubbed off.  It would be marvelous to float these between glass so that both sides could be appreciated.

The samplers measure approximately 12″ square. They are unframed and will be shipped flat.  Sold only as the pair. A signature will be required at delivery.  Shipping within the USA is included in the price, and will be billed separately for overseas customers.