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Ligatures and Lettering of Antique Irish Samplers - Cross Stitch Antiques
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Nashville 2024 release. Available after 9 March 2024.

Fabric:  46 count Antique Button Dark by Mason Linen
Floss: 100/3 silk by Au Ver a Soie, conversion to NPI and DMC
Stitch Count: 386 wide x 411 high
Design Size: 16.78 wide x 17.87 high
Stitches Used: Cross stitch over two threads

This sampler is an original design based on the layout of eighteenth century Irish Quaker samplers with the lettering and sampler motifs taken from a Mountmellick Irish Quaker sampler in the collection of Cross Stitch Antiques, Elizabeth Martin circa 1789. The town names at the bottom are the ancestral homes of the designer’s four Irish grandparents.
The first alphabets on samplers in Ireland seem to appear in the early seventeenth century and were probably a school exercise. Simple lettering skills were practiced with a view to the neat marking of laundry. In a large household or institution, it was important for each person’s clothes to be marked with their name so that the laundry could be returned to the right people. Small girls learned to stitch the alphabet at a very early age. Alphabet stitching as a means of recording letters for marking linen was its most common use, but not the only purpose. Plain Quakers didn’t embrace religious images on their samplers and focused on alphabets and texts. Literacy was very important for Protestants, and religious pieces of a suitably uplifting nature were often worked.

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