Ship of Life sampler

While I’m working on a couple of quilt ideas (in varying stages, of course) I thought I would share with you one of my earliest craft loves, cross stitch. I learned how back in college from a good friend, and in the past three or so decades have made more than 25 samplers of varying sizes.

In fact, if you scroll down far enough, you’ll see I started this blog with the sampler, “And They Sinned,” by Vilma Becklin of Exemplar Dames. I’ve definitely gotten farther since those first few stitches, but since the piece is something like 17×48 inches, it’s going to be awhile before I get it finished.

My favorite type of cross stitch is doing alphabet samplers. I’m not sure why, I just love them. Maybe it’s the writer in me, imagining all the words that come from the letters.

But sometimes, I find something without the ABC’s on it, that I just have to make. This is one of those pieces.

ship of lifeThis is the Ship of Life sampler, designed by Renee Nanneman of the Need’l Love Company back in 1990. I found it in a cross-stitch store in Connecticut when I used to live there back in the day. I fell in love with it immediately.

Of course, as you can tell by the completion date, it took me a few years to make, which actually worked to its advantage. When Renee designed it, there wasn’t any of the glorious overdyed floss that you can find in stores now, with all the lovely variegation to the colors.

It might not be easy to tell, (I wanted to take the photo so my reflection wouldn’t show up on the glass, that’s why there’s the weird angle) but you can see it in the water and in the sails. I think the subtle variation from light to dark, as well as the changes in hue really added something to the piece, without having to constantly re-thread the needle with something new. All I did was change direction so it wouldn’t look stripey. The fabric is 32-count linen, I think, which I had in my stash.

Of all the pieces I’ve done, this one is definitely my favorite. In fact, I keep thinking I should scan the pattern just in case I ever lose it. I have to admit, a few years after I bought it, I figured the pattern would live in a box forever. Now, every time I look at it, it makes me so happy that I took the time to finish it. Nothing better than that sense of completion when it comes to craft work, especially when it turns out even better than you expected.

I’ll try and share an updated photo of “And They Sinned” soon — hopefully it will inspire me to get back to work on it!



4 thoughts on “Ship of Life sampler

  1. Hi! I also completed this piece and enjoyed every minute of it! I had just returned from living overseas for 10 years and this piece spoke to me! Yours is beautiful! Thanks for sharing!!

    1. Hi, Jennifer: Thanks so much for your kind words! I’d love to see a photo of your completed version sometime. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Hello Sandra, I bought this chart after seeing your finish! I have some old Need’l Love charts in my stash but had never seen this one. Do you recall the linen you used? And your your floss changes? Like you, I don’t always care for the stripey look with some variegated threads…… You really nailed the subtle color variation look. Congrats on a beautiful finish! ~ Sabrina G.

    1. Hi, Sabrina: Thanks so much for the kind words. I don’t recall the linen off the top of my head, but I’ll check at home tonight. I have kept receipts for most of my work, so I may still have that info. I’ll check, too, on the floss. That’ll be easier to find! Best, Sandra

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