Mexican samplers, or dechados de Mexico are another of my favorite groups of samplers. I love the color and patterns along with the stitches, most notably the Aztec stitch, which is unique to samplers from this part of the world. There is an excellent article on Mexican samplers in SANQ, volume 45...it inspired this post.
Unlike American and English schoolgirl samplers, which were much more formal, being taught (for the most part) by teachers in schools, these samplers are much more a practical stitch and pattern record, with very little thought given to layout and appearance. Many of them were unfinished, and also mysteriously cut apart and then sewn back together. The consistent thing seems to be color..lots of brilliant color...the silks in vibrant yellows and reds, and beautiful blues, are what catch my eye.
the samplers are varied in form..some being strictly a pattern record, usually unfinished, while others are more of a band sampler in form, with rows of beautifully colored stitches, including satin (usually very prominent) cross, various marking crosses, double running, (showing the Spanish influence), Flame stitch, Assisi work open work and Aztec stitch. Also seen are some wonderful beaded and lace edgings.
Aztec stitch seems to be unique to Mexican samplers. It is more accurately a technique, rather than a stitch, involving the removal of some of the ground threads and wrapping the remaining ones in colored silk following a specific progression to create beautiful patterns. The bookmark, (center photo) is explained in detail by Pat Rozendal here:http://www.interweave.com/needle/projects/Aztec_Bookmark.asp a site by Interweave Press...complete with very good diagrams of the Aztec stitch.
The top and bottom samplers are reproduced by Margriete Hogue of The Essamplaire, and are available to purchase as kits. Top:Soledad Villalobos (circa 1830)...bottom: Thomasa Barrera, 1844.