Americana: The Loara Standish Sampler

The daughter of Captain Myles (or Miles?) Standish - Loara - was typical of the cultured gals of her day in that she knew how to produce a mean sampler.

The Pilgrim Hall Museum, in Plymouth, Mass, claims that Miss Standish's elaborate handiwork (pictured) is the "oldest documented sampler" in the United States, circa 1630s or 1640s. Here's a larger photo, of Loara's work, from the museum's collection of early American needlework, and it includes this catchy verse:

"Loara Standish is my name
Lord guide my heart that I may do thy will
Also fill my hands with such convenient skill
As may conduce to virtue void of shame
and I will give the glory to thy name."

That's a lovely sentiment (especially in the era of Lady Gaga, Desperate Housewives, Kardashians, etc.).

An ambitious sewer can reproduce it. Here's the kit . I enjoy doing counted cross-stitch but Loara's project is above my pay grade.

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