Designing Your Own Sampler

The best string art kits always involve sampling and design. Designing your own sampler can be a lot of fun as a new challenge. Many designers started their careers by designing samplers in the beginning and then progressing to more complicated pieces of work. Many cross stitchers design samplers for themselves, or for friends and relatives. Samplers are the perfect gift for occasions such as weddings, christenings and other significant events where a unique design is called for.

Samplers are probably the easiest type of cross stitch design you can create. They are made up of a selection of lettering, motifs and quotes stitched inside a border. The motifs are usually quite simple and arranged in a balanced or symmetrical pattern. This makes both designing and stitching the sampler simple enough for any stitcher to try.

There are a few things to consider when designing your own sampler. First you need to decide what the sampler will be for. If it is for you or to be used as a gift for a special occasion. This will determine many things that you choose for your design.

Alphabets  You will need to find or draw your own alphabet to use in your sampler. There are numerous books available that offer alphabets or you may want to try your hand at your own. You can come up with some great ideas by taking a look at some different types of fonts and typefaces.

Quotes  If you are going to use a quote in your design, you will want to decide this in the beginning as a quote can take up a large area of the design.

Borders  There are endless choices for borders for you to use. You can create your border by just repeating a small motif that you have found or drawn, using specialty stitches or by just drawing a freehand design that will be backstitched.

Motifs  You may choose to include motifs as a part of your sampler. You can try to find something free on the internet or in a book or you can draw your own.

Once you have determined what all of the elements of the sampler will be, it�s time to play.

You will need:
graph paper
pencil and colored pencils
an eraser
glue stick

Decide on the size of your sampler in squares and draw this out on graph paper. Draw your border around the edge of the design. Either photocopy and cut out or copy your motifs on to graph paper. Cut each one out so that you can move them around on your graph paper template inside the border lines. It also helps to set up any lettering or quotes by line on graph paper and cut that out so that you can move it around and position it exactly where you want it.

When you’re happy with the positioning of the motifs and the lettering , stick them down with the glue stick. Then, using this as a draft, draw up the chart on a fresh piece of graph paper to stitch from. Choose the colors that you will be using and you are ready to go.

Choose your fabric count and the number of strands to be used – two strands for cross stitch on 14- or 28-count, one or two for 16-count and one for 18-count. Divide your design size in squares by the fabric count to find out what the stitched size will be, and allow 3 inches all the way around for framing.

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