Twenty twenty marks the 400th celebration of the arrival of the Mayflower. It is also the 400th anniversary of the arrival of needlework to America. Did you know, needlework came to America with the women of the Mayflower? That is something to celebrate, as needle workers of the 21st century! The first American sampler was stitched by a young girl, Lora Myles Standish. We learned of her father, Captain Myles Standish in history class, as young students.
<At this point, I am adding a bit of my (Beth's) commentary. I am positive that needlework existed on our continent far before the Mayflower arrived. Native Americans have some of the most exquisite needlework creations to be seen. Needlework was not introduced by the women of the Mayflower. They may have brought their own style, which is certainly something we treasure. So, Lora Myles Standish is NOT the first to stitch an American sampler. But she most likely is the first IMMIGRANT to stitch a sampler in America. And that is certainly something to celebrate. But let us not forget, the Mayflower did not deliver the first people to this country.>
"History has dwelt long and minutely upon the Pilgrim Fathers and their great adventure, but has passed over the women with a generalization and occasionally a tribute. Even their contemporaries have had but little to say about them. There is much need today to perpetuate their spirit, to practice their faith, to maintain their ideals. They loved liberty and endured hardship, sacrifice and suffering for its sake. They built the homes of the Nation on the foundation of English ideals of home and family life, which we cherish today as ours. They served their homes and the community life of the colony with loyal and unswerving devotion. They brought up their families in those rugged virtues and living faith in God, without which nations perish. They have a message for us today, calling us back, not to their austerities but to their righteousness and spirituality." - Anne Rogers Minor, National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution.
Life for the women of the Mayflower was not easy. The women and children lived on the Mayflower while the men built their dwelling places. The living conditions were dirty, wet and cold. Many of the women and children died the first winter. In the spirit of these brave and enduring women, and the 400 year celebration, we are happy to share that Brenda Gervais has designed a sampler to honor the Women of the Mayflower. The piece is titled, Coming to America - The Women of the Mayflower.
We hope you will partake in 66 days (number of days the Mayflower was at sea) of stitching to honor these women. The release date for this design will be September 6th, the date the Mayflower left Plymouth England. The ending date for the series will be Nov 9th, the day the Mayflower landed in Cape Cod.<Me again. The Mayflower actually landed at Plymouth, on the East Coast of the continent, not Cape Cod.> With some good stitching time, this sampler can be, realistically, completed in the 66 days.
The kit coming from WTN&T will include the sampler pattern and a pattern for a smaller design (which we will be providing free of charge on November 9th, 2020.) We will be supplying you with a lovely, custom printed, colored box for the kit. Also included with this will be a piece of finishing fabric for the small design that is a replica of a hand-written page from William Bradford's journal. We will supply and kit the linen and flosses for the sampler and tuck them inside the lovely box. At the time we pass out the kits to you, the boxed kit will include the large sampler pattern, finishing fabric for the backing of the smaller surprise project, and the linen and floss. We will hang onto the 2nd pattern, for the small design, to be handed out to participants on the 9th of November, the ending date of the series. This date coincides with the landing of the Mayflower.
A few hints about the sampler... It is a larger sampler. It is long and narrow. Very similar in size and stitch count to the historical Lora Standish sampler. As expected, there are nautical Mayflower themed motifs, but Brenda has also worked in the motifs relating to the connection of needlework coming to America, and the women of the Mayflower. The animals on the Mayflower included 2 dogs, pigs, goats and chickens. Look for these motifs on the sampler, as well! The cover model will be stitched on a 40 count linen. This sampler, due to its size, is best suited for 36 count or smaller linen, but you can always choose whatever count fabric you prefer. The sampler is worked entirely in cross stitch, over 2 threads, with a small amount of straight stitching. There is no over-one stitching on this piece. We will be supplying pricing, along with flosses and linen requirements as soon as we get that information...stay tuned.
The plans that we have in place for this, per Brenda's instructions, are as follows:
*Shops can start taking sign ups for this kit on June 1st. Orders need to be placed with us by June 13th. No changes can be made after June 13th, no exceptions! It is at that time we will be placing our order & we cannot change it after that.
*Shops can release kits to participants on September 5th. The actual date the Mayflower set sail was the 6th of September...the 6th happens to be a Sunday, so starting a day early. ;) (No early birds, here....let's make this fun for everyone and follow the specific release dates that coincide with the historical dates of the Mayflower voyage.)
*There will be a Facebook group formed for this commemorative sampler. The focus of the group will be to share stitching progress and fellowship for participants. We will also be using a hashtag for Instagram posts. More information to follow on this.
*We will be setting up a place online where you can reserve your kit & let us know what fabric you prefer.
*We hope you will enjoy celebrating this momentous year.