This giant volume was passed down to me, prematurely, from my mother – though I say we just share it now – and was given to her by her own mother. It was found by grandmother at a thrift shop, must’ve been in the Pittsburgh-ish area in the 60s or 70s. My mom always says it was one of the most thoughtful things my grandmother ever did for her, to have recognized it in a store-full of junk as exactly the kind of thing she would love.
So what the heck is it?! It’s a self-bound, presumably, collection of crafting magazines from Austria-Hungary. I can’t be sure of the exact dates since they’re not bound in chronological order, but a quick survey shows dates that span between 1912 to 1918. The pages are dry and crumbly – you have to turn each one so carefully – but every one is an inspiration.
These magazines have projects and ideas for every kind of crafter, or at least those involved in any kind of needlework: crochet, knitting, sewing, cross-stitch, needlepoint, embroidery, projects for children, for the home, for men, for soldiers. Since I vaguely speak Dutch and took some German in high school, I can pick out simple words here and there, but for the most part, I can’t understand it at all – though it really doesn’t matter. The illustrations are so clear, most ideas being shown rather than described, I think I could quite literally spend years recreating and modernizing projects from these pages.
So you probably won’t be surprised to hear that I’m already working on another reproduction embroidery pattern to share, have a couple of cross-stitch patterns lined up (planned for wintertime because they involve, eep!, deers and mooses), and have many more pages marked to go back to later.
Here’s a simple little pattern I’ve worked up for you all to enjoy, just as a little taster of what this book has to offer. I picked this one for two reasons: the original drawing (above) shows it done in specific stitches, so I was able to recreate it exactly, and I was struck by how modern a design it is, though the original is from an issue dated 1915! If you check out the bottom right corner of the photo above, you’ll see that the original intention was to repeat this flower into a full, leafy border, but I think it would look great done simply on a pillowcase, or tote bag – or anything, really!
I’ve included the photo of the original in the PDF so you can follow it as a stitch guide if you so choose. Download away just below, and as with any freebie I have or will pass on, pretty please show off your results if you stitch it yourself!