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In recent times, more and more embroiderers have been doing their work to give away - either to friends or for charity.
This raises an interesting point - the signing of your work.
I know that I do not sign and date much of my work - and that I really should do so. However, there are two schools of thought on this.
The first is that if you are not working your own design, you should not sign your work, as it is not all your own.
I disagree with this as you may be stitching somebody else's design or chart, but it is your interpretation of this (especially if you are doing a piece in freestyle embroidery, rather than counted cross stitch) that is the finished piece and that, as truly as any work of art, is worth being identified as your work.
Signing sitching has really only been popular when stitching a sampler, when the stitcher originally put his or her initials and the date in the sampler. Other embroidered works tended not to be signed, although the hangings worked by Bess of Hardwick and Mary Queen of Scots do have the initials of these two ladies worked into the piece.
The main reason that historical works were not signed is that they were worked by professional embroiderers from the Embroidery Guilds, and perhaps felt that no signature was necessary other than their technique. For surely, these works are of such high standard, that the hand of the master embroiderer would have been known.
Today, our embroidered works have completely changed.
Most of the work embroidered today is for display - usually framed and hanging up. Why not work your intials and the date in an unobtrusive place on the piece? As the embroidery becomes a family heirloom, your intials and date will assist your descendants to know who stitched this piece.
Like the samplers of old, which tell us whose hands spent long hours in working the piece, signing our needlework is a legacy that we give to embroiderers in the future.
I have taken to scanning a picture of my pieces and keeping a note of what they are, what stitches, thread and materials I used, and why I stitched the piece. I must admit that I rarely put my initials on a piece - but that is something that I fully intend to start to remedy.
The time has come to celebrate our stitching - to show the world who we are as embroiderers. Take the time to stitch your initials and the date in a corner of your work, and thus increase the future enjoyment of those who look upon it.
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