Sometimes I envy cross stitchers. There the sampler tradition is so strong and the idea of adding touches making a sampler personalized is often built into the design.
For needlepoint samplers this is rarely the case. Needlepoint samplers. my own included, are projects that give examples of many stitches. That’s just fine, but what do you do if you want to kick it up a notch and make it uniquely for one person? Making needlepoint samplers personal isn’t hard if you do some planning ahead of time.
You’ll need to take out some areas of stitching and replace them. The easiest way to do this is to begin with a sampler that has clearly defined areas for each stitch or pattern. While these areas and stitches could be repeated in the design, the overall design should not be one that relies on repetition of design elements. Removing one of these would make the design unbalanced. The areas you chose to replace can have defining borders or not.
The next step is to decide how many of these you will replace with something personal. The areas you replace can be small or large. Depending on your design they could cover one or more of the samplers areas. Pick areas to replace that are not close to each other, scatter them around the design. If the design makes this possible, make the areas different sizes.
Decide what you will put in each area. One area should have the name or initials of the recipient. If it’s for a special event, be sure to add the date. Then if you like add other elements. These could be whole stitch charts of significant items, small charts of things they like, or transfers of a child’s drawing.
Once this is decided, stitch the sampler areas first then add the personal elements.
To see how this might work, let’s use the small stitch sampler pictured here to make a high school graduation present for BJH who graduated from Trinity last spring. Trinity’s colors are green and white so first the sampler will be changed to mainly those colors. One square will be pulled to have his initials and the year. Another square will be pulled to add the school’s name. The school’s team is the Crusaders, so a two-square vertical block would be used for a small knight.
Let’s say BJ was in drama and choir and played soccer. I could pull blocks and replace them with a drama mask, a clef, and a ball.
With just these few changes I have been able to take an existing pattern and make it a unique gift. And I didn’t need any special artistic talent or design skills to do it.