Of the early 18th century a few Dutch darning samplers are known that were composed of three or four pieces of linen. Each piece was practised with mostly one darn and other techniques. When all parts were finished, including the edges hemmed, they would be sewn together. The result looked a bit like a normal darning sampler made out one piece of cloth. Only tiny stitches hold all parts together. The seams practised could later be applied to the household linens. It was possibly why this type of samplers were educated: to learn extra techniques.
One of the oldest dated darning samplers known was composed of four parts. Besides the three parts with the (pattern-) darning work, on one the girl stitched her initials GvL and the date 1703. The sampler might have had a bit of a rough life, it still has it looks and shows the care that was put in by the girl.
Underneath, another example of this type of samplers was made by an Amsterdam (?) girl who preferred to stay anonymous and didn't like to date a sampler either. Such a pity! The sampler was made around 1725, a time when needlelace inserts became fashionable and white darns were just not out of it. The girl used the finest linen to work on, made four regular darns, one white darn worked with linen,one white knitting darn and three needlelace darns or inserts. Moreover, she added a needlelace border to complete her work. Together with the tiny seams and hems she practised quite a few of the finer techniques.
Not signed, circa 1725 (Collection Ex Antiques, www.exantiques.nl)
Next is a small and fine sampler that was made by the Amsterdam girl Sofia Kip in 1726. You see, it's not that difficult to sign with a full name! She spend quite some time on doing so; the text was worked completely reversible. Otherwise she saved some time on the borders. Only where the four parts of linen come together in the middle, she hemmed the edges.
The Gemeente Museum in Den Haag has two other of this type, possibly coming from the same school as Sophia's. The museum has not yet the collection on-line, only this ancient black and white photograph was availalble. Interestingly, the two samplers were made by sisters in 1720 and 1722. They seem to have the same type of crowns (and darns!) as Sophia Kip's sampler.
Although the few known composed darning samplers came all from the first part of the 18th century, there are of course as always exceptions. The girl who made the one shown underneath was perhaps inspired by an older example. The sampler worked by HAW in 1847 is still very delicate and has the same techniques as her predecessors. However, the darning work itself is relatively simple compared to the earlier pieces. It was the beginning of the end of the darning sampler.