This is an older design, in more than one sense of the word, but it is still available!
From the Designer
A Dutch Beauty (´n Hollandsche Schone anno 1790) is the name for this wonderful sampler, made round 1790 by a 13 year old girl from the Low Countries. Only knowing her initials HVZ, we still admire this embroidery on which she succeeded to bring alive 68 creatures with needle and thread.
The size of this sampler is unique (37″ x 24″ or 94 x 61cm). The composition looks well fixed and well-balanced. The designs have been arranged in three rows below each other, each row having a large main motif. The designs on both sides of the centre are almost similar, the only difference is, they are embroidered in mirror-image.
What is it?
This is an original sampler stitched in 1790 that has been reproduced in chart form by Permin of Copenhagen, design number 15108.
Why this chart?
When I discovered cross stitch in the early 1990s I fell in love with two designs. The Castle by Teresa Wentzler and Dutch Beauty by Permin. Although the cover picture doesn’t look like much, someone else in my local needlework shop was stitching this and it looked magnificent! Large and regal and yet simple enough for me as a beginner stitcher.
The Dutch Beauty chart booklet lists all the motifs and their symbolic meanings. I love to read these as I stitch each motif. I have learned so much about why these old samplers use symbols such a monkey sitting at a spinning wheel and a dog defecating.
Dutch Beauty is a simple design, as with many old samplers, this design is full cross stitch only. It has been charted for DMC; a beginner has the skills to stitch her. However, this is a design that will take you a lot of time to complete. Consider savoring the journey instead of focusing on the completion and you should enjoy this chart. Mine has been a work in progress for 20 years, but I still work on her every year between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
The Permin reproduction sampler chart pack is a stapled, 28 page booklet. Eight A3 or US Ledger double-side printed pages. The cover is glossy colour cardstock and the inside are good quality black on white pages.
The inside front cover and first three pages list the motifs used in the sampler. This information (actually all information in the booklet) is printed in Dutch, Danish, English, German and French languages.
The chart is broken into 21 sections, labeled A to U. There are no shaded overlap rows but the design is printed large enough with differing symbols that it is easy to follow. There are only a couple of areas where the symbols don’t have enough contrast (such as tulip leaves) but you can mark these off before you start and again after you finish.
The inside back cover lists the size of the sampler over a few differing standard fabric sizes, however it does not list a stitch count. The inside back cover also includes a diagram of how the 21 chart pages fit together. The floss key is on an extra folded flap on the back cover; similar to a dust jacket flap, you can fold this over to view from any page you are working on.
As this is a reproduction of an existing antique sampler, Permin have not recommended any particular fabric colour. This reproduction chart is over 20 years old so there were no variegated thread companies around when the chart was released; the chart is keyed to DMC floss. I do know that in the later years, some floss dyers have offered thread packs of their hand dyed floss for this chart.
I have had this chart as a work in progress for twenty years. I started well, encouraged by the other stitcher at my local needlework store who was also stitching this. Then I left University, got a job, other hobbies etc. Now I mainly stitch on this piece while “watching” cricket and relaxing over the Christmas to New Year’s Day holiday break. Maybe 2015 is the year I finally give this beauty some more attention.
When I first bought the design, I wanted to stitch her like the original. So she is stitched on natural, non-coloured linen and in silk threads. At the time my only non-DMC option was Madeira threads, so the shop owner and I converted the colours by sight. As the Madeira range was not as extensive as it is now, we chose to blend some colours to get the closest we could. Some of those blends are not really that close, but it was an attempt. The blends also gave a dimension to the design that cannot be achieved by monocular threads. I rationalised that thread production in 1790 was not going to be as perfect as DMC or Madeira threads are produced now.
I love this piece as it is part of my stitching history. I look closely and I can see years where I’ve been stressed from work and pulled the stitches tight. I can see how my stitching has changed over the years.
I recommend if you are considering stitching this design now, to choose fabric you love and hand dyed mottled threads rather than DMC.
To stitch the charts exactly as designed, you will need:
unknown skeins each of DMC 523, 642, 312, 833, 842, 927, 3012, 3021, 3023, 3052, 3726, 3768, 3782.
Any count Aida or Evenweave (stitch count 640 x 400). This design can be stitched over 2 or over 1.
For 14ct Aida or 28ct evenweave (with 3″ border allowance) fabric size is: 52” x 35” or 132 x 88cm or a full yard (36 x 55″).
Approximate cost for Project
Approximate cost to stitch Dutch Beauty using the recommended materials (prices are in $US, at recommended retail and do not include postage):
Chart: $ 14.00
Floss: $ 29.25 (very conservatively guessed at 5 skeins of each colour)
Total: $113.15 ($181.25AUD or €113.05 or £96.50)
Places to Buy
Colours Down Under has all the threads and a variety of white and off white fabrics in stock. Jo would be happy to order in the chart, and offers a 10% discount on the package (chart + floss). Mention this review when ordering.
Colour Cascade Fabrics has a variety of fabrics for you to make this design unique. Tammy offers a 15% discount for readers of this site. Code is: CSReview. Offer ends 27 February 2015.
Casa Cenina in Spain has this chart in stock and can kit it up for you.
SewandSo has this in sock as a pre-made kit.
Polstitches suggests that her Heirloom linen would add an extra dimension to this design.
Sparklies has a variety of her own hand dyed fabrics to make this design uniquely yours.
Chromatic Alchemy has a variety of fabrics that would enhance this project.
123Stitch has the chart in stock as well as a variety of threads and fabrics.
Have you stitched this or any other reproduction sampler? What draws you to these designs?
Did you like this review? Did it contain all the expected information? Is there anything you would like added or removed from the reviews? Do you know of a particular chart or designer you want to see featured here? If so, please head to the Suggestions page and let me know.
Last Updated: 18 December 2014