19th Century - 1891 Sampler

A treasure from the Textile Collection - The 1891 Sampler

The Sampler was knitted by AF in 1891 but very little else is known about the creator or the circumstances in which it was made. It is knitted with 63 different stitch samples using fine white cotton (now yellowed a little by age) in a stocking stitch gauge of 78 stitches and 100 rows per 10cm. AF must have had excellent eyesight to work with yarn as fine as 1 ply and with steel needles probably with a gauge around 1.5mm.

The cotton is of good quality but in places has deteriorated, is stained in two places, in others is thin or fuzzy and has lost its elasticity so that some textured lace patterns are longer than they would have been originally.

Kathleen Kinder's research on the Sampler

A creative challenge to Guild members to study one of the historic textiles led Kathleen Kinder to research this unique textile. As well as charting and describing each of the 63 different stitches, she also covered the history of knitted lace. Kathleen has written a series of articles about the Sampler and the background to her research which have appeared in Slipknot.

She has also drawn together her research in a publication "Inspiration of Lace Knitting" which is available from Country Knitting of Maine

Further information about lace knitting and techniques

If you are inspired by the 1891 sampler but don't know how to do lace knitting, please look at our section which describes the basic techniques and gives four patterns for you to try.


  • 1891 Sampler Detail

  • 1891 Sampler Whole