MD 1660 The Unicorn Sampler
Origin and date: English 1660
Linen count and finished size: 35 or 40 count
35 count – 7″x18″ (worked over two threads of linen)
40 count – 8-1/2″x28-1/2″ (worked over three threads of linen)
Stitches: Montenegrin cross, counted satin, Italian cross, Queen, French knots, double running, turkeywork (chenille), detached buttonhole, and back stitch
Band samplers of the seventeenth century exhibit the most amazing variety of stitches and patterns found on samplers of any era, which is why it is referred to as the Golden Age of the Sampler. Counted thread stitches on linen were frequently combined with panels of floral, geometric, or figural cut and drawn work: a technique whereby the background threads of linen are carefully cut and drawn away to reveal the desired pattern. Cutwork was used to create the popular lace ruffs, collars, cuffs and handkerchiefs of the seventeenth century and was very much in demand. This sampler shows a cutwork unicorn, acorn, and fleur de lis band above a geometric cutwork panel. Beneath this are brightly colored horizontal bands of alphabet, pansies, strawberries, oak leaves, carnations, daisies, boxers, acorns, cherries, lilies and stars worked in an astonishing variety of colors and stitches including Montenegrin cross, counted satin, Italian cross, Queen, French knots, double running, turkeywork (chenille), detached buttonhole, and back stitch.