From the moment I saw this English Band Sampler in the Spring 2012 issue of Sampler and Antique Needlework Quarterly, I knew I had to stitch it. I can't resist Queen Stitches. It will be published in three parts, with Part II and III in the Summer and Fall issues. I don't normally stitch things that are published in parts ... I am always afraid that some mischance will cause me to miss one of the published sections. But I have been subscribing to SANQ for years and they are very reliable. Now, normally, I would pull a piece of linen out of my stash and dive right in. But I have had this issue floating on the top of my to-do pile for nearly a month. I did not have a piece of the 30ct Northern Cross cream linen as called for in the chart, or anything comparable. All my neutral linens were too dark ... more raw linen shades of tan and beige than cream. Since I had to buy fabric anyway, I figured I'd go with a 35ct Northern Cross cream rather than the charted 30ct. As it is my fabric is 15" x 31", which allows for a 2 1/2" margin all around. A 30ct fabric would have been commensurately larger and I have to think ahead to framing costs and how the framed sampler will fit on the dining room wall. I have pulled all the DMC colors as charted but I have serious doubts as to using the rather bright purple for the grapes in the lower right corner of section I. I'll probably substitute one of the lighter greens, 732 or 733, for use in the grapes. On the other hand, according to the photo of the whole sampler, there is more purple and blue violet in Sections II and III, so perhaps I should stitch the grapes as charted. This band sampler was adapted by designer Susan Haverson who is quoted as describing her process, "To me, part of the joy is discovering new patterns, combinations and ideas and re-combining them." So, I had no compunction in taking the process a step or two further and deconstructing and then reconstructing the published design to my own tastes. I didn't care for the way the alphabet was stitched: row one had Margaret Woodleigh's name, row 2 had the letters V through Z and the numbers 1-9 and the date 1659, and row 3 had the letters A through T. The letters J and U were notable by their absence, not unusual in an antique sampler, but still an affront to my sense of order. I've stitched things up a bit differently: row 1 has the letters A through R; row 2 has letters S-Z and the numerals 1-9 and a 0, minus any date; row 3 is still not definite. Since I am planning on hanging this piece in the dining room when finished, I am thinking of stitching, over one, my favorite grace before meals in that space: Lord, to those who have hunger, give bread and to those who have bread, give the hunger for justice. Amen. But I have yet to chart that out to see if it will work. If it doesn't, I will come up with some other suitable phrase or personalization. For now, I will leave Row 3 blank and move on to the rest of Part I. Another project I would like to tackle is the Spring Sampler Challenge from one of my online stitching groups. But I have committed to a scissor keep exchange and to a Christmas bird ornament exchange this spring and may not have time for the sampler challenge. We shall see how things go. The commitments have to be met first. I can always design a sampler at a later date - it's really no big deal.