In France samplers are named " marquoir", "marquette" or "abecedaires."These were functional rather than creative past-times. Most of the time it was a work to teach young girls cross- stitch embroidery . From the age of puberty any girl had to prepare her own bridal " trousseau" and to mark each item with her initials .
French sampler with a triple and complete alphabet and embroidered flowers, 1911, initials MF. Complete alphabets were rare: some letters such W or I were considered repetitious because they possess the same form as other letters already embroidered. ( Abecedaries were not art work but embroidery exercises). Traditionally some errors were retained to show humility. Perfection was reserved for God!
Cross-stitch embroidery appeared in Europe between the X and the XIII century. Embroidery was an aristocratic pastime. The lady of the manor reproduced motifs from the rugs brought back by their Lord from the crusades. The use of cross-stitch spread in Europe in the XV century and was considered to be something that every young girl should learn.