Saturday, 1 December 2012

The Berlin influence.

I have chosen this sampler by Rachel Thomas as an example of how things changed in the world of Welsh samplers around 1850 -

Note the two bell like plants in red urns. These were very popular on Welsh Samplers and occur again and again.

I am taking 1850 as a convenient date, samplers didn't suddenly change in that year but materials and motifs did alter around then and this sampler is a very good example of that transition.

In the above sampler Rachel Thomas has used two large Berlin motifs - the flower bouquet and the basket - as the dominant elements on her samplers.  She has, however, surrounded these with very traditional samplers motifs and border that appear so often on samplers stitched in Wales.

It looks as if is is worked on finer fabric than the canvas that became the favourite as the century progressed.  Samplers made in Wales before my 1850 watershed, would have been worked either on a wool or linen background but when Berlin Woolwork's canvas and wools with their much brighter colours became generally available, girls and young women began sewing samplers in enormous numbers mixing "Berlin" motifs with the motifs that had been traditional on Welsh Samplers for many decades.

Here is another less well planned in fact rather an haphazard design of around the same date -

Smaller bluebell trees are also favourite motifs on Welsh samplers.

This one has a lady feeding chickens at the centre, which is a very "Berlin" design flanked by two flower sprays from the same source, but squeezed in between are the two "bluebell" trees!  So although Berlin patterns were popular our favourite traditional sampler motifs weren't abandoned entirely.



  1. I am really happy to have found your blog. I find it so interesting that without places, names or dates mentioned you and others are able to identify a period and possible home for these beauties. The samplers you have selected so far to show us have been a real treat to look through. I especially enjoyed your post on ships. I look forward to seeing more! - Liz

  2. Hello dear it's me cucki from South Africa
    I am your new follower..I love your blog so much
    I love to stitch samplers and your blog is so lovely and very interesting ..
    Love for you
    Cucki x

  3. Hello, sorry but I may be mistaken, but I thought I had won an e-pattern, for the life of me I can't find the page or a link. I am a bit scrambled about it all. I may have confused you with another. Your forgiveness please if I have. But if this is the correct blog please email me back, thanks so much.

    annie @

  4. Their beautiful. I'm doing a Berlin woolwork next year but not using wool. It is pretty tho