Catherine Archer Stitcher’s Companion

3 in stock

With details from my Catherine Archer Sampler worked in counted cross stitch, this four-piece project is simple but satisfying to stitch. I so enjoyed stitching mine!

You can create a little Needlebook and a Watbo to tie on to your scissors. You will wrap a vintage cotton reel to transform it into a Scissor Stand. Then comes a Pin Drum, which I am rather proud to say I may have invented! The Drum is created by stitching on a piece of German linen band and then attaching this to hand-crafted faux ivory disks.

This special kit is supplied boxed with complete illustrated instructions, coloured charts, linen bands, 28-count unbleached linen, shell button, stranded cottons (floss), flannel page for needlebook, vintage wooden cotton reel, a printed Catherine Archer patch with gold-plated needle and pair of tiny chatelaine scissors.

The Pin Drum stands 2in (5cm) high, the Needlebook measures 2 x 1.5in (5 x 4cm) when closed, the Watbo 1.5in (4cm) and the vintage cotton reel is 1in (2.5cm) high.


3 in stock

3 in stock


The story of this little treasure

I shall make no excuses for talking about my Catherine Archer Sampler again because the thought of this young girl stitching haunts me. She was born to farm labourers in Shotley, Northumberland, where her mother died within six weeks of her birth (probably from ‘puerperal fever’, a common cause of maternal fatalities). Her father kept her until he too died when Catherine was only three years old. We do not quite know what happened next but, in 1865 at the age of seven, she was registered as entering Ashley Down House orphanage in Bristol. How did that journey happen? What must it have been like trying to understand the different accent at her new home?

Many of these red samplers were stitched with older children teaching the young ones. We can see the patterns, alphabets and motifs recurring over and over again.

I love the idea that Catherine’s sampler is actually now being used as a sampler itself as I use bits and pieces of it for my stitchy things.

The Orphanages as they were no longer exist, but the Muller Trust continues to offer Christian support to families and the wonderful orphanage building still exists today. As a child, my father in law was taken to the Muller orphanages open day so that he knew how lucky he was to have one parent.