Here are two more pieces I did as samplers at about 20 -- one in cross stitch, counting every thread "five over-five up" to keep it all even. I took the patterns from and old DMC book that had them graphed -- but good lord, I remember acquiring a new found respect for the little girls of the 19th century who did long pieces, full alphabets and entire gardens in disciplined counted cross stitch. (I can see a mistake with the strawberries -- a few threads off and it changes everything!). I do love this kind of work -- exactly the opposite of crewel work with its scrolls and free hand nature. But there is something equally calming about the smooth rhythm of a cross stitch sampler.
I fell in love with cut work and especially reticella also known as "punto in aria" (needle in the air) where one cut threads and then reweaves spider web patterns in the empty space. This is pretty primitive compared to really fine work done on entire borders of cut work and needle weaving on old table cloths. My all time favorite is the "hard core" needle in the air where there is no fabric ground -- just threads tacked down like the outer rim of a spider web and slowly filled in with shapes and patterns all formed from using the needle like a shuttle. You can see an excellent example of that from my great aunt Anna here in an old post. Also do have a look at the contemporary work of Dorie Millerson whose work is fabulous!