Friday, November 9, 2007

Vogart Samplers - Interview with Nancy

I'd like to introduce you to Nancy - she collects Vogart stamped samplers, which I knew very little about, so I interviewed her about her collection and what inspires her to collect. You can also find her on Flickr as nancy'svintagesamplers. Enjoy!

1. How long have you collected Vogart samplers, and how did you get started?

I started about 20 years ago when I went to a flea market in the Lancaster PA area with some friends, one of whom had collected a couple and piqued my interest as we were looking at some.

2. I'm familiar with Vogart transfers, which were printed from the 40's to the 70's – but what time period are Vogart samplers from?

I have not been able to get any information about the Vogart Company, much less their samplers. I have been able to determine that the late 20's through the early 40's were the most popular time for this craft. As one older woman told me, with the Depression there was little money for extras and embroidering samplers provided both recreation and the potential for utilitarian use as home decor or gift. Vogart is only one of at least 8 companies I've been able to identify. In general, their patterns are consistently the best - great balance of design and color.

3. What do you know about the history of these samplers?

These samplers - manufactured with a preprinted design - reference the older tradition of young girls learning their needlecraft skills and creating pictures and words that exhibited a sample (hence sampler) of their expertise with needle and thread.

4. What makes these samplers special to you – why do you collect them?

My mother is French (she came to this country as a war bride) and started me on my trousseau when I was in 5th grade. I hemstitched 6 linen hand towels and ironed on a transfer design which I then embroidered with cross stitch. I did a lot of embroidery up until my late teens, often buying my linens in France when we went to visit family. Nostalgia, therefore, is the biggest attraction for me - not only for my own personal experiences, but also for the simplicity of time and design that these samplers represent.

5. If anyone wanted to begin collecting vintage samplers, what advice would you give them?

Pick designs that grab your heart. Avoid those that appear very stained, particularly if they appear to have water damage. The fabric was usually linen and the threads cotton. Rot is a real issue and you should try to reback them with acid-free matte boards and tape.

6. Do you have any favorite samplers? Tell us about them…

I have several favorites. One is a pair with half the expression on one and the rest of the expression on the other. They are in their original frames and probably date from 1909. The other is unique because of its exaggerated oblong shape - one of only two I have ever found among more than 400 in my collection. It is also beautifully done in pastels and is in its original frame.

7. Do you collect other antique samplers too, or just Vogart?

My collection includes manufactured samplers from Vogart as well as other companies. Often, it is impossible to know who the manufacturer is if there is no identification stamped at the bottom of the sampler.

8. Are you a stitcher? Do you do any cross-stitch, embroidery, or other craft?

Occasionally I find samplers that were never embroidered. I have done some of them, being careful to use colors and floss strand amounts appropriate to the design.

9. About how many samplers do you own? How do you store them?

There are more than 400 in my collection. I store my samplers by stacking them in shelving consisting of large cubicles. In addition, I have many of them hanging on walls and a few propped up on easels.

10. Lately there's been a resurgence of interest in embroidery, knitting and other domestic crafts – how do you feel about that and has it had any impact on the price and availability of vintage samplers?

I think its terrific to see the resurgence of interest in needlecraft. I also knit, crochet and sew - anything that offers the simultaneous experience of relaxation and invigoration, creativity and predictability. Knowing that others are going back to this handicraft creates a warm feeling for me. Although samplers are rising in price, they are still reasonable if you realize the amount of time and thought that went into their creation. It is my hope that this interest will get stronger over time.

Thank you Nancy, for this informative interview on Vogart samplers! If any of you know more on the history of Vogart samplers, are collectors, or have stitched some yourself, we'd love to hear from you! Leave a comment here, or email Nancy through her Flickr account.

Want to see more?

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Holiday cuties

Xmas patterns  Xmas patterns

I have returned, with some Holiday goodies for you! Everyone knows that the second Halloween is over, it's time to eagerly plan and scheme what your Christmas gifts will be... why not try some cute holiday kids?

Here's one of 3 ornaments I made last year:
Holiday Greetings

I trimmed out a few motifs that were not as cute as the rest, like a rather plain stocking and stout scary Santa. This comes from a smaller, rectangular sheet - mine is uncut and unused.