Last week they asked me to take a look at an old sampler that a friend had asked them to reframe. I didn't think much of it until I saw the piece. This is a sampler which is believed to have been stitched in 1852. I believe it has stayed in the original family all this time. There is a little piece of tape attached to the bottom of the piece that is faded and cracking. I studied it under a magnifier and I believe it says "Made in 1852 by Jane L Matis". The year is clear, the name is fairly clear. It is unclear when the tape was added.
It is stitched on 30/32 count linen. By that I mean, it has 30 threads to the inch in one direction and 32 threads/inch in the other direction. The majority of the piece is cross stitched over two threads with wool. The verse and the dark bars below the verse are half stitches over one thread, also with wool.
The sampler was previously mounted (nailed or stapled) to cardboard, and possibly, wood before that. There are a couple of small tears in the linen and quite a bit of staining. The edges of the linen, especially on the highly stained left side are somewhat brittle and very fragile. In order to stabilize the piece and minimize strain on the fabric, I hand stitched it onto a piece of very finely woven linen. Then I pin mounted it onto acid free foam core with as few pins as possible, again to minimize strain on the fabric. I did not lace it because, in my opinion, lacing exerts a great deal of stress of the fabric and I do not think this piece would withstand the stress.
I consider it a privilege to have helped preserve this family heirloom. And I am honored to be able to share it with you.