Stitching the Family: Modifications!

[The title of this post comes from the extremely funny Pixar short “Tokyo Mater” where Mater gets “modifications.”  What can I say, I have two small children and all I get to watch is Disney and Sprout.]

So, you want to stitch something nice for an upcoming birth or wedding but you can’t find anything you like in a traditional sampler.  What do you do?  Fortunately, for you, there are options!

Personalized “pictures”

When I got married, there wasn’t time to stitch a sampler because we eloped.  After we got married, I just couldn’t find anything I liked in my stash.  And then I found this:

It was a kit by Dimensions.

It isn’t a sampler per se.  It’s more of a picture of a bride and groom with room for personalization at the bottom (it came with the alphabet).  And it’s only 5×7 so I was able to frame it myself without much problem.  It’s simple, yet effective.  My husband loved it.  And it’s hanging in our dining room.

Make Your Own Sampler

It sounds kind of daunting but it’s not terribly difficult if you have a few tools.

  • A book or two of mini cross stitch designs
  • A book of cross stitch alphabets
  • Cross stitch graph paper (there was a template to be copied in the back of one of my alphabet books, so check!) or a computerized cross stitch program (KG Stitch has a free version)

When you find an alphabet that you like and a few motifs, sketch them out on the graph paper or the computer.  The best part is you control the size and the materials.

Here’s one I designed. I used perforated paper so I was able to use this fancy looking photo frame.

Here’s a birth sampler. I used motifs from a Beatrix Potter book I had and modified the alphabet myself.


So you still can’t find any pre-designed designs that you like and you don’t feel like starting from scratch.  There still is hope.  Here are some ideas for modifying an existing design to suit your needs.

This piece was supposed to be two separate pieces. I stitched them on the same piece of fabric, added the bride and groom and date in the center and voila! Instant wedding sampler.

Look at the big spot of white space in the upper right hand corner. Plenty of space to personalize the picture for a child’s birth sampler.

Here’s an actual sampler. Take out the “Be Ye Thankful” and it could easily become a wedding sampler. There was supposed to be personalization on the sides of the flower pot so that’s more space you could use.

I hope I’ve inspired you to broaden your horizons when looking at family samplers.  If stitching something large is too daunting, there are smaller options.  But that’s a different post.

About Joy

Rabid stitcher and mother of a preschooler and kindergardener - both with Autism. Stitching is like going to war....with string!

I started playing with string when I was 16 and my mom bought me a Learn-A-Craft kit of a frog (because I love frogs). I discovered that cross stitching is a wonderful hobby when you go to college in the middle of nowhere Minnesota. Now that I'm married with two children, I stitch when I get a chance. Just finished my masters in teaching and hoping to get my first teaching job.

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  1. Those are awesome! I used to do cross-stitch years ago… pre-kids, but nothing that detailed. Beautiful work!

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