Lucia de Moranza
Ealdormere Pentathlon A.S. L
Many people are familiar with the embroidery samplers that were very popular and common during the 19th and 20th centuries, done by schoolgirls nearly everywhere. The orderly bands of letters and numbers with neat motifs and careful placement of names and dates to mark the occaision. Samplers have, however been found much earlier than that, dating to the 14th or 15th century. (V&A http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/h/a-history-of-samplers/) Earlier samplers are less orderly, spot samplers rather than band samplers, with chunks of embroidery of all kinds, often tossed on wherever there is space. Multicolour threads are quite common, probably using up threads on hand, rather than purchasing special for the piece. It makes each sampler truly a personal piece of doodling and / or remembering for later rather than a show piece as they became in later centuries. Dates and names are very rare, as are alphabets.