Roland-designs , Virginie's blog.

"Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Mary Holt's sampler

    It has been a while since I've added a sampler to my collection, but when I saw the sweet little rhyme on this old sampler I knew I had to have it.

    The sampler is stitched on rough canvas by a little girl called Mary Holt when she was 13 years old. It has the traditional alphabet, upper and lower case, and the start of a second upper case alphabet, decorative borders, numbers  and a little cross and two fruit baskets.

    These are all quite typical motifs for a young girls sampler from the 1700-1800’s, but what took my heart was the sweet little verse from Isaac Watt:

'thanks to my friends for their care in my breeding,
Who taught me betimes to love working and reading.

Isaac Watts ( 1674-1748)

    Sadly the sampler is undated, and a quick internet search revealed that the name Mary Holt was, and still is a very common name.

    When was it stitched ? I cannot say for sure, but judging from the style, the choice of materials and the alphabets I would say it is from the early to mid 1800’s.

    The sampler is very faded, and it is only when turning it over that one can see what the colors were like originally. When Mary stitched the little verse she did not want the ‘S’ to be too big, so she stitched it over one thread only while most of the other cross stitch is over two threads.

   There are a few mistakes, and not everything is properly aligned….but that does happen when one is only 13 and stitching in what was probably in very dim light.

   I re-charted it as accurately as possible, and will have it available on the site soon.

Mary Holt's sampler

The back of the sampler, where the colors are bit more vivid.



  1. This is a reallly nice little sampler and hopefully small enough to stitch for the dollhouse, what is the size of the original?

  2. This is the size on 28 ct linen/ 14 ct aida :

    Design Area: 7,00" x 15,21" (98 x 213 stitches)

    I was actually thinking of re-working the basic idea - Alphabet, borders, verse, motif. To created a small, more up-to date sampler... of course, with a different set of colors too......