It seems a bit odd, I know, to start a post by looking at the back of a sampler, but this German sampler is no ordinary sampler as you can see when you look closely. Not only is it beautifully stitched and finished - it is reversible to the extent that were it not for the orientation of the individual letters, you would not know whether you were looking at the wrong side or the right side of the work.
I bought this sampler a while ago and have been copying it on and off since. Although I have not yet had time to finish my copy, it is proving an incredibly satisfying mental experience, because not only does one have to pay close attention to the front of the work, one is at the same time visualizing what is happening on the reverse. Unpicking can be quite a trial, though, since red floss on white linen leaves lots of tell-tails!
Unfortunately, I don't think we shall ever know the OB who stitched this sampler, but there are several other examples of the same kind. This one was stitched by Jenny Haemsch and there is a photograph of her in later life aged 76. Below you can see a German class in their needlework room which is contemporary to the making of these samplers.