Free Vintage Needlework Patterns Online

Thanks to university libraries and dedicated individuals in the United States and around the world, it is possible to find hundreds of free, out-of-copyright needlework and embroidery books and patterns online. If you are interested in embroidery history or vintage patterns, here are some resources to get you started. Warning: You may get lost for hours on some of these sites!

Find free vintage embroidery, cross-stitch and needlework books online

Antique Pattern Library

The Antique Pattern Library is dedicated to scanning and making available public domain publications for a wide variety of crafts. Find a wide variety of vintage pamphlets and patterns books for cross-stitch, embroidery, hardanger, and much more. Most of the publications are available to download in PDF format.

On-Line Digital Archive of Documents on Weaving and Related Topics

This archive of public domain craft publications is maintained by the computer science department at the University of Arizona. Although the site is dedicated primarily to weaving, you can also find dozens of books and articles on embroidery and other needlearts, all available to download for free in PDF format. The site hasn’t been updated since last October, so I fear this project may be abandoned, so get these patterns and book while you can.

Free Historic Old Pattern Books

The passionate individuals behind this blog not only share high resolution scans of out-of-copyright embroidery and cross-stitch patterns, but they also convert those patterns for use in popular charting software programs such as PCStitch and Pattern Maker. Then you can use motifs from these vintage patterns to inspire and create your own original designs.

Internet Archive

The Internet Archive has over 11 million scanned books from libraries in the United States and Canada that you can read and download. And, yes, that includes hundreds of public domain titles about embroidery, needlework, and other needlearts topics. Browse close to 300 results for embroidery or more than 250 books for needlework.

The Online Books Page

The Online Books Page is a project of the University of Pennsylvania Libraries with a curated catalog of over 2 million links to books available free online. The site might not be pretty to look at, but it is very well organized by subject, title, and author. Browse the list of books for needlework, embroidery, or counted thread embroidery, which includes cross-stitch.

Happy Stitching!


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Fri…er, Saturday Finds–03/25/17

Friday Finds is my weekly round-up of needlework, textile, books and art links from my wanderings around the web. And, yes, I’m still calling it Friday Finds, even though it’s Saturday evening as I finally post this!


Hey, work has been crazy recently. We have three open positions in the library–plus two more unfilled positions–which means more work for those of us left, and my days have been spent looking at resumes and doing interviews with candidates. So, I am completely wiped out, but I still have a fun set of links for this week!

Here are this week’s links:

Video of the Week

When I’m really stressed, I turn to what I call my “comfort music.” This is usually music I listened to in high school and college. So, I pulled out the Jesus Jones this week and jammed like it was 1991.

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WIP Weds: Two Project Updates!

I made a little progress on not just one, but two cross-stitch wips this week!

After being neglected for the past month and a half or so, I pulled out my “12 Days of Christmas” project and worked on it a bit. I finished the border–for the first three squares, at least! I dread stitching all of those red boxes, so I am only doing a few at a time as I go. Then I started on Day 2, and you can see the heads of the two turtle doves appearing.

12 days of Christmas cross-stitch wip progress

I took several photos, but I had to include this one with Chi’s fuzzy little paws photobombing the shot. One of the cross-stitch Facebook groups I’m in had a thread about cats getting into our stitching. Chi definitely loves to try and grab my threads as I stitch. I haven’t posted a lot of photos of Chi here, but I sometimes post pics of her on my Instagram.

Then I made some progress on “All Shall be Well.” We have two complete words now!

all shall be well cross-stitch progress

The smaller letters will have backstitching around them, but I haven’t done that yet. So, they look rather impressionistic right now, but I think they’ll look really sharp when they’re done.

You can also see some of the color variation in the smaller letters because I swapped out the DMC thread I recommended in the pattern, and I am using #1170 Dark Chocolate by The Gentle Art instead. Although I love the way it is turning out, I fear I did not buy nearly enough of the #1170, so I’m a little concerned about dyelots and color matching if I need to purchase more. Fingers crossed!

You can get the “12 Days of Christmas” pattern from Satsuma Street on Etsy.

And, you can find the “All Shall Be Well” pattern in my shop on Etsy at Rabbit Girl Crafts.

Happy stitching!


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Spring Embroidery Color Palette

Today is the official first day of spring, and I am sharing a new color palette you can use to inspire your embroidery, needlework, or cross-stitch projects.

spring embroidery color palette inspiration

spring embroidery color palette inspiration

This collection of colors almost looks like it could work for autumn, too, but they were inspired by a field of spring tulips.

field of tulips

The DMC colors used in this palette are:


Happy stitching!

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Friday Finds–03/17/17

Friday Finds is my weekly round-up of needlework, textile, books and art links from my wanderings around the web.


Here are this week’s links:


Video of the Week

One of the quirky things that my husband and I share is our mutual love for Barry Manilow. Yes, he wrote a lot of cheesy pop songs, but his beautiful tenor voice is a joy to listen to. He’s going to be appearing in concert in Chicago in May, and we are very tempted…


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A Finish and an Update

I have some stitchy things to share this week, including a finish that I completed late last year, an update on “All Shall Be Well,” and a very special gift that came in the mail a few days ago.

First up, is the finish. I love the Belle & Boo characters, and I adore the cross-stitch designs that have been made from the original illustrations. I snatch up all of the British cross-stitch magazines when they have new Belle & Boo designs. I stitched one design for myself a couple of years ago, but I wanted to stitch another.

When I found out my sister-in-law was expecting a little girl last year, I knew I had to stitch a Belle & Boo design for my new niece. This “Dandelion” cross-stitch pattern was in the July 2015 issue of CrossStitcher, but you can also find it as a PDF download on the Belle & Boo website.

I shared a couple sneak peeks of this while I was working on it last year, but here is the whole thing finally completed and framed.

Belle & Boo dandelion cross-stitch birth sampler

I am finally able to share it because I delivered it to the recipients this past weekend. Hooray!

Second, I have been working slowly on the “All Shall Be Well’ pattern model. I am happy to report that I completed the initial letter “A” and am now moving on to the other lettering. So, here is the current progress:

All Shall be Well cross-stitch project progress

The pattern calls for all DMC threads to keep things affordable, but I swapped out the brown thread for an overdyed thread from The Gentle Arts for the lettering because I wanted to see the slight color variation in the letters. My hope is that the variation in color will give the letters an antique look like ink on old parchment. All of the letters have backstitching, too, but I have not yet added the backstitching to the two “l”s above.

You can see what the complete “All Shall Be Well” project will look like in this post, and the pattern is available on Etsy.

Thanks for reading!


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Friday Finds–3/10/17

It’s been a loooong week, but I didn’t want to let a Friday pass by without posting a Friday Finds! I’ll have more adequate updates soon!

Friday Finds is my weekly round-up of needlework, textile, books and art links from my wanderings around the web.


Here are this week’s links:

Video of the Week

I am tempted to link to the hilarious video of Dr. Robert Kelly being interrupted by his children while on air with the BBC, but I’m going to leave this here instead because it’s been that kind of week:


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What I’m Reading–March 2017

Every month I share what books I finished last month and what I’m reading now. I also love to hear what others are reading. Share your own book recommendations in the comments or friend me on Goodreads!

Books Read in March 2017

February may be the shortest month, but I managed to get a lot of reading done.

Finished in February 2017

  • The Heart of What Was Lost by Tad Williams. I saw this at my local public library and had to check it out. This was such a fun nostalgia read for me. Williams’ fantasy trilogy Memory, Sorrow and Thorn was a favorite of mine in my twenties. Now, after all these years, Williams is returning to the world of Osten Ard with all new stories. Reading this book was like visiting with very old, dear friends.
  • The Introvert Entrepreneur by Beth Buelow. I did not get as much out of this as I had hoped. The information was very basic, written for people who need definitions of introverts and extroverts.
  • Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living by Krista Tippett. Oh my gosh, I finally finished this book! I bought the book in print last summer and started reading it, but had a hard time getting into it. Then I discovered the audiobook version — SO MUCH BETTER! The audiobook includes excerpts from Krista’s original interviews, so you are hearing people’s words in their own words. The audiobook is fantasic, and I will probably listen to it again.
  • To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings by John O’Donohue. his was the book club pick for my church’s book club. I had mixed feelings about it. John O’Donohue is a wonderful spiritual thinker and poet, and I enjoyed the essays in this book. I loved some of the lines in the blessings, too, but overall, the blessings did not really speak to my experience, so I had a difficult time relating to them.
  • The Holy Thief by Ellis Peters. Maybe I will finally finish the Cadfael mysteries this year, too. I enjoyed this entry in the series, even though the mystery didn’t appear until halfway through the book. I only have two books left in the series.


What I’m Reading Now

  • Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip and Dan Heath. I enjoy pop psychology and business books like this, even though they rarely live up to their hype. I am enjoying Switch, however. The authors take a very simple metaphor (Rider, Elephant, Path) and back it up with studies and examples that make a lot of sense.
  • I Am With You by Kathryn Greene-McCreight. This is the book club book for my church group this month. To be honest, I haven’t cracked it open yet! Don’t tell. :)
  • The Greatest of Marlys by Lynda Barry. This book collects 30 years of Marlys comics by the incomparable Lynda Barry. Barry’s artistic style is so unique, and these comics manage to capture childhood in the late 1960s to 1970s with an honesty that is unflinching and completely lacking in nostalgia. You remember how awful it was to be in the third grade all over again.

So, what are you reading this month? Let me know in the comments! I love new recommendations!

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Friday Finds — 03/03/17

Friday Finds is my weekly round-up of needlework, textile, books and art links from my wanderings around the web.


Here are this week’s links:

Video of the Week

Okay, I had planned on sharing something else, but then I saw this hilarious and yet endearing low-budget advertisement for an animal shelter in Atlanta, GA. “2016 models are compatible with Windows.” Heehee.

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WIP Weds Stitching Progress

I have had very little time to stitch these past couple weeks, so I only have a small amount of progress to show on the “All Shall Be Well” Julian of Norwich cross-stitch pattern. I am still working on the medieval-styled initial letter A, but I am getting closer to a finish.

In the photo below I have finished the gold background except for a few details around the leaves and flowers.  But, I started on the leaves which look like weirdly shaped green blobs at the moment.

medieval-style initial A cross-stitch

Then I finished the green bits for the leaves. The blank squares near the leaves are where the rest of the gold background needs to be filled in. But, I have gone ahead and started on the flowers.

medieval-style cross-stitch letter A progress

The plan is to finish the flowers, then finish the gold background details, and then complete the backstitching, which will tie it all together.

So, let’s hope I can carve out some time for myself in the next few days. (Not too likely, but we’ll see…)

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