Before she was even conceived, I knew what birth sampler I was going to do for my daughter! I'd seen it years ago and even though it was a picture and not an actual sampler, I had known that it was the only thing that would do for my daughter! It was a Mirabilia design called "fairy Tales" that had been released back in 1996! I absolutely adored it and spent years tracking the pattern down only to find myself unable to start it once I actually found out that I was pregnant. I couldn't understand it, I had wanted to do this for my child for years! Still...I couldn't start it. I didn't know why and spent months trying to motivate myself to start, I still loved it! Finally, I realized why I couldn't start it.
At first I hadn't known my babys gender, then I was convinced that she was a boy and as much as I love the design...it is a girls design. Somehow, I have no idea how, we settled on a bear theme for the nursery and even though I found out that Ziggy would be a girl, the design had absolutely no place in that room. It would stick out like a sore thumb and I really wanted to put it in that room! As much as I loved the design, I had known from the start that it wouldn't work. Not for what I wanted. I was disappointed, but I still adore the piece, so I will simply have to stitch it for myself later, but that did leave me with a problem... what was I going to stitch for her room?
Clearly it had to mesh with the bear theme. It had to be cute enough to suit the room, but I didn't want it to be babyish and it had to be something that both my husband and I liked. Easier said than done! Bear related birth samplers are surprisingly not the most common theme, and the ones that are out there tend to be with other things too or else really small, really childish or just ugly. It took us forever to find any that we liked! Finally we got lucky and found this lovely bear sampler from Tobin home crafts. It was the only one we really liked, and even then I was still unsure about it. Something about it just wasn't quite right and I couldn't put my finger on it, still... it was either this or nothing, so I went ahead and ordered the kit.
Pattern: Tobin Baby - T21711
Available from: Sew and so
I started on the little bear in the bottom left and was surprised to find I'd finished his entire head in only one day! The design was just so much fun to work up! Once I started on it, I could not put it down! I loved every stitch and had finished him in only four days!!! I enjoyed stitching him so much and he looked so cute that at some point during those four days we had started calling him Upsie, the butterfly and part of the rattle came next and my husband and I being as we are, we decided to name the butterfly Bird, the reference for that choice being Bambi.
Next it was Sweetpeas turn, that's the one with the blanket and you pronounce it sweepy, (No, I don't know why we named them all, but we did) and she had to be changed. She was going to be one of my girls, but obviously if I changed the colours using kit thread then I would not have enough to do the actual charted part in that colour, so I chose a similar set of pinks from my stash and changed her romper from blue to pink and her blanket trim from pink to blue. One little colour swap and it made such a huge change to the overall look and feel of the design! It no longer felt like a boys sampler, the pink lifted it and made it lighter, without making it girly. I loved the change and felt empowered by it because it had worked so well!
Last came Baby Hope, who was also the hardest to name and the second bear to be treated to a gender swapping colour change. Out went her blue T-shirt and it was replaced with the same pink treatment I had given Sweetpea. Once again I felt the change helped to life the piece and change the feel of it quite beautifully. I could put this in my little girls room with pride and confidence!
That said, I must confess that the border was irritating. The long lines of yellow were incredibly tedious to work, and I'm so glad I'd chosen to work them as I worked the main design because the thought of putting them in all at once is daunting to say the least! The horrible green stars were replaced with purple stars to match the rest of the design and although the stars and hearts were small and fiddly, I even enjoyed working those. Heck, I even enjoyed the single stitch of blue between the motifs once I'd figured out an invisible way to secure the tail of the thread.
If you're looking for a birth sampler, I honestly cannot recommend this one enough. It's such a delight to work, well worth the money I paid and it fits all my criteria for a good design.