Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Skeins of silk - a reward for plain stitching at Ackworth?

Maaike Weening-Koornstra of the Netherlands has the following interesting details to share with us:
"During my stitching I was thinking about the Tokens of Love article I just printed a few hours ago and thought about the pretty color of silk the girls got to stitch their own samplers. Is it possible that they received a skein of silk for the good work they did with mending the boys clothes and all other linen jobs they had to do? In the past, in the Netherlands, young girls had to knit a couple of rows each day in order to get socks knitted in a certain time. Mums could spice up the work by putting a small lucifer box with a coin in the wool, which they could only reach while stitching more then the required amounts of rows every day. Being a mum I can imagine something like this could have happened, teachers could have done the same. You know, receiving a skein of silk and using it, makes stitching more attractive than if it was only done because it had to be done. Things that just have to be done can loose attraction, perhaps it was a way to keep the attention to the stitching in order to keep the work done as good as possible.

Good luck investigation, I'm curious of the results!"

There is also a lovely story told by Elizabeth Grant in her diary (Memoirs of a Highland Lady) that when young she had to stitch child bed linen when her mother was expecting a baby. As a reward she asked if she might stitch a sampler and was granted her request.

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