I’ve been doing counted-thread needlework for about thirty years, and at times I’ve been terribly frustrated with the fact that I seem to see variations on the same themes over and over again: teddy bears, country scenes, Christian verses and kitschy crap. I seldom stitch a design, even for someone else, unless I truly like it. I don’t like much of the above. (When I make an exception, it’s for love, nothing less.)
There are, thankfully, far more diverse patterns available now than when I started stitching in the early 80s. It can still be hard to find some kinds of designs. In fact, if you’re looking for anything designed for those of us whose faith is anything but Christian, you’re just out of luck in most needlework shops. I’ve yet to see feminist designs, or anything for those of us with fairly liberal politics, or anything related to gay/lesbian pride. I’ve designed a few patterns now, but I also like to collect the sites I’ve found that do have unusual designs, and maybe make it just a little easier to find them. After seeing someone come into rec.crafts.textile.needlework at least once a month to ask about pagan and/or Celtic designs, I figured putting them on a web site would be easier than typing the info in every month.
The fact that I’ve listed a site here does not constitute an endorsement of the designs on it. Some of them are, by my standards, downright ugly. Others just aren’t to my tastes, but they are topically atypical. If you know of a site I’ve missed, please let me know! I specifically haven’t included fantasy pieces, because Lady Jylythe has already done a marvelous job of listing those.
- I’m drooling over quite a few of Châtelaine Designs’ pieces.
- Islamic and Arabic designs. Some free patterns are available on the site.
- JJM Designs has some marvelous space-themed pieces in the Science section of their site, as well as some lovely mandalas.
- Hillcroft House has twenty different Celtic knot patterns available, according to their web site, as well as astrological designs.
- Heritage Stitchcraft offers a design for each of the Greek Zodiac signs.
- Jeanette Ardern Designs has a few Celtic pieces, some really cool geometric pieces and a lovely sun and moon set.
- The collection at Lattuca Original Cross Stitch Designs includes several Egyptian designs.