Needlework, knitting and mending were essential skills before the age of mass-production and have remained popular hobbies. More people have taken up these traditional crafts as a result of TV shows, lockdowns or by trying to live in a more sustainable way.
Lacemaking was a cottage industry drive by the fashion for lace trimmings on clothing and accessories. Before the invention of a machine made lace (the first reliable machine was produced by John Heathcoat in Loughborough in 1809 and as reportedly the subject of a Luddite attack), much lace that was produced was bobbin lace. This was created using many threaded bobbins like these on a pillow to create the complex designs. These bobbins are made from bone and some have 'spangles', glass beads to make the bobbins heavier to keep the tension of the thread.
Framed sampler 'A Swarm of Bees in May is Worth a Load of Hay'.
With embroidered images of beehives, flowers and herbs.
Needlework samplers began as a reference point for stitches and designs, and soon became a way for children to practice and showcase their needlework skills. Many incorporated quotes from the Bible or popular sayings. We do not know who made this sampler or when it dates from.