Are you familiar with the magazine Sampler & Antique Needlework? It comes out five times a year – quarterly, plus one special holiday edition. The magazine is devoted, firstly, to historical samplers of a variety of types. Within its pages, you’ll also find lots of informative articles, pictures, and insights to embroidery tools and techniques, and to the needlework trade in general throughout history.
I just recently began subscribing to the Sampler & Antique Needlework, because I was enchanted by an article I saw in a friend’s copy. The article was about a specific historical sampler worked by a seven-year-old. The sampler was beautiful, and it amazed and inspired me that it was worked by a child seven years old! Wow! Flipping through the copy of the magazine, I found many interesting articles to read, some neat facts about different needlework tools, and plenty of patterns to recreate various historical pieces or try various techniques.
When I had the opportunity, I looked the magazine up and found that I could order a slew of back issues, too. In fact, Wyndham Needleworks carries many back issues and they detail on their website the contents of each issue – a very handy reference, if you have something specific you’re looking for!
This is my collection of back issues of the magazine so far:
It’s a goodly little stack of interesting and valuable needlework information! What I particularly like about the magazine is that it focuses on a variety of needlework techniques and samplers, beyond simply the “ABC” style samplers that we tend to associate with the word “sampler.” That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of those, too, as there are – and I find them fascinating. Looking at them is like looking at a little clip of a needleworker’s life long ago. I love that!
The focus project or sampler of each magazine is usually featured on the cover. This is a beautiful crewel work piece made into a needlebook. Inside the magazine are all the instructions to make the piece, using materials available today. (Oh, and don’t worry – there are lots of other projects in there, too!)
Some issues of the magazine focus on a theme, such as the issue above, which explored birds in antique needlework. I’m a bit of a bird lover myself, so this issue was really fascinating for me.
The focal point of this issue is the sampler featured on the cover. Inside, you’ll find the chart to recreate the sampler. You’ll also find all kinds of information about this historical piece, from its creator to its conservation.
Each magazine features many projects, and some of the featured projects (like the one above) are relatively small, so they can be completed in a relatively short period of time, as opposed to some of the larger samplers that can take ten forevers to complete! So there’s a nice variety of projects within the magazine…
All types of historical needlework find voice in Sampler & Antique Needlework – including beadwork!
Aha! Now we’re arriving at the pieces that hooked me into collecting some back issues – this stumpwork sampler…
… and this little goldwork piece…
… and this fantastic piece of needle lace! Wow!
The inside of the magazine is nicely laid out, which beautiful pictures, plentiful articles, and clear instructions for the projects featured within the issue.
In some cases, the instructions are drawn diagrams; in other cases, they’re photos.
Above in a section of instruction on the stumpwork sampler. You’ll probably recognize the plaited braid instructions, and you can also see detached stitches and stitch direction and color change being demonstrated.
The articles on historical pieces, needlework tools, and so forth are scholarly and well-written, with citation of sources and insights from experts in the field of needlework and in other related fields. Clear and close-up photos abound!
I wanted to introduce you to this magazine, if you weren’t already aware of its existence, in case you might find it as interesting as I do. I’ve subscribed to several needlework magazines over the years: Inspirations, which is the nonpareil of needlework magazines as far as projects, quality, & aesthetic appeal are concerned; Australian Smocking & Embroidery; Piecework; Stitch; Classic Stitches; Threads; Embroidery & Cross Stitch; and a variety of others. The only subscription that I have consistently kept is Inspirations. Content and quality-wise (for my interests, anyway), as long as Sampler & Antique Needlework maintains its present quality, it’ll definitely be a magazine to which I consistently subscribe.
If you’re interested in back issues of this magazine, I’m sure there are several online needlework shops that have them. I know Needle in a Haystack carries them. I ordered mine from Wyndham Needleworks. They’re reliable, but don’t expect fast service. If you want to subscribe to the magazine, you can subscribe through Hoffman Media. I’m not at all affiliated or anything like that – just passing on the information in case you’re interested in the magazine, too! Right now, it seems that the “one year subscription” on their website is listed as “out of stock.” I’m not exactly sure what this means, but I’ve inquired and should receive a reply soon. I sincerely hope it doesn’t mean they’re not publishing it anymore! (Wouldn’t that be ironic?!)
Note: For those who might become twitterpated with any particular cover project featured above – for example, the stumpwork project – keep in mind that some larger projects (like the stumpwork one) are serial features in several issues, so you might want to check the contents of each issue before ordering back issues.