Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Revisiting Antique Pattern Library


Amazon Books

Well, here we are! Almost back on track! I hope all of you in the US had a grand holiday weekend / week-beginning.

I returned home from a short break in Kentucky just in time for the 4th of July festivities here in Kansas, which were wildly outdone by huge storms that swept through on Tuesday evening, replete with 85-mph winds and loads of rain. It’s still a bit of a mess!

Today, let’s continue with this series of revisiting older topics on Needle ‘n Thread. Instead of talking about a needlework technique, though, we’ll talk about a wonderful needlework resource.

I’ll send you down one of my favorite rabbit holes with some good reading for the upcoming weekend, and I’ll share with you the exciting things coming up next week on Needle ‘n Thread!

Antique Pattern Library

Over the years, one of the resources that I’ve often recommended to the community around Needle ‘n Thread is Antique Pattern Library.

APL is a fabulous resource for anyone who is interested in the needle arts. It’s a regular gold mine full of periodicals and publications that are in the public domain, most of which focus on forms of needlework. It’s the type of website that you can get positively lost in for hours and hours at a time – or days and days, if you’re not careful!

Besides pointing newcomers to APL, I’ll highlight a few publications I’ve come across recently that I found interesting and that you might find interesting, too.

How it Works

Antique Pattern Library is a free resource that relies on donations and volunteers to operate and to continue providing and expanding their offerings.

If you visit the catalog page of Antique Pattern Library, you’ll find a searchable index of all the publications logged here. Next to each publication’s name, you’ll find a brief description and links to PDFs for viewing or downloading.

Sometimes, there’s a “details” link that you can click on for particular publications, which will take you to a page dedicated to that publication, where you can see the synopsis and usually some thumbnails of pages in the publication.

A very useful search feature is the “Technique” link at the top of the catalog page. When you click that, you’ll end up here, where you’ll find a list of techniques (not just needlework) to search through. Find a technique that you’re interested in on that list, click the name, and all the publications tagged with that technique will show up in a handy list. For example, if you click “embroidery,” you’ll land here.

Welcome to the rabbit hole!

Needlework Publications of Interest

Here are some publications that I’ve come across recently on APL that I found interesting:

Lacis – (Filet Bride) by Carina – “Famous and often reprinted book about embroidered filet; history of linen, spinning yarn, netting, embroidery, point de toile and point de reprise.”

Embroidery on Net (PDF) Therese de Dillmont, DMC’s Embroidery on Net – “Making and mounting net, the embroidery stitches. Beautiful colored plates detailed enough to follow the stitches, charted patterns.”

Conventional Embroidery Motifs for Tracing or Stamping (link to detail page) – “8 page booklet, very thin paper, with embroidery motifs…”

Album de Broderie Religieuse (link to detail page) – “French language collection of devotional designs for church use.”

Modeles de Broderie pour Robes (link to detail page) – Belgian in origin. Selection of tres chic embroidery patterns – mostly for clothing, but could be adapted – from around the 1920’s

Les Ouvrages Liturgiques Religious (link to detail page) – devotional embroidery patterns with lots of cutwork designs.

I hope you have a chance to explore these – and other – magnificent publications on APL! Don’t forget to bookmark the site for future explorations!

Coming Up on Needle ‘n Thread!

Next week, we’ll be delving into Stitch Snippets #2 for 2023, a project called “Sweet Marguerite,” featuring some embroidery techniques that are very handy to have in your embroider repertoire. We have kits ready, so I’ll announce those next week, too.

I’ll also be launching our own brand new line of hand crafted bisque needle minders next week! I’m so excited about these! They’re lovely and useful little embroidery tools. Needle minders are the perfect place to park your embroidery needles while you’re working on a project. Our bisque needle minders come in several shapes – round, square, hearts, hexagons – that are adorned with floral sprigs, twigs, and bunches, and then finished with a mottled glaze to protect the surface. I’ll show them to you up close next week. One of the fun things about them is that, because they’re hand crafted, no two are exactly alike.

And we have Fish! Yes! FISH! Anna and I have both been using our free time to embroider up samples of our new ready-to-stitch towel set for this summer called “Something Fishy.” The set features schools of tropical fish with personalities. They’re so much fun to stitch! So we will talk about those soon, too.

Other than that, we are churning out more thread sets here in the studio and cutting lots of fabric. Although we had a load of floche arrive recently, we’re still waiting on backorders of many of the colors. We’ll be able to restock some color sets with what we have, but unfortunately not all of them just yet. We’ll put the color sets back in stock as we prepare them, so if you’re waiting, keep an eye on the floche listing in the shop!

Have a wonderful weekend, and I’ll see you this coming Monday, when we will swing back to our regular routine!


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(2) Comments

  1. What a great resource the catalog is. Thank you, as always. (Now I just have to find some time to go through the information 🙂 )

  2. Thank you for this, Mary! I came here the other day and couldn’t find it. I love the designs done with soutache curling around with no breaks — also great for chain stitch or seed beads. I am so glad I took French in high school because past lives in Paris don’t come through unless we study!

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