About Scarlet Letter Samplers

Fine and Rare Needleworks

Since 1979,The Scarlet Letter has reproduced some of the western world's finest needlework samplers from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries, from museum and private collections.  Superb quality materials have been assembled to recreate these masterpieces which are offered in the form of charts or complete kits including detailed instructions, stitch diagrams, and a history of the piece, allowing the modern needleworker to reproduce the pieces as they were originally made hundreds of years ago.

Antique collectors today realize the escalating prices of good quality samplers, making them unaffordable for many connoisseurs. This is both good and bad: good in that this art form is finally being recognized and better appreciated in antique as well as artistic circles, but unfortunate in that it has become nearly impossible for a beginning collector to find good examples to purchase. By carefully studying examples of many of the various sampler types-the materials used, original color schemes and techniques - THE SCARLET LETTER has designed counted thread and silk-screened embroidery kits that, when completed, very closely resemble these early samplers. Whenever possible, very similar materials are used, primarily pure flax linens and silk threads. These materials are used either in their natural color, or hand dyed to achieve the color of naturally aged homespun. Cotton, silk, and wool yarns are selected in shades matching the originals, some faded, some gleaned from still-bright remnants at the back of the sampler, where ultraviolet rays have not touched them over the centuries. The combination of these subtle colorways, traditional sewing techniques, and carefully selected and/or dyed linen grounds, result in a new sampler that has the very essence of the old one, and blends harmoniously with antiques.

Not all of THE SCARLET LETTER's designs are difficult and challenging, however. Some have been designed specifically for the beginning needleworker. It is important to remember that girls as young as nine or ten worked some of these original samplers, so they are not beyond the skill level of today's young people.

Each SCARLET LETTER kit comes complete with linen (cut to size with at least a two-inch margin on all four sides), ample sewing floss, detailed instructions and easy-to-read stitch diagrams, clear graphs and finishing instructions, a needle, a color photograph of the finished piece, and its historic background.