Sunday, July 25, 2010


I don't know why, but I really like monsters in needlework. I look for them and delight in finding them often in Italian needlework.

From the cover of Il Lavoro a Fuselli by Amelia Brizzi Ramazzotti, 1917 (Bobbin Lace):

From the cover of Punto D'Assisi by Adele Della Porta, 1916:

Assisi embroidery patterns are full of monsters!

Here are some for Cutwork from Cucirini Cantoni Coats' Ricami ad Intaglio:

There are often monsters in antique Italian Filet work:

Above images from Elisa Ricci's Old Italian Lace, 1913.

Here are some Whitework monsters from Emporium, Vol. XLIII, Arte femminile all' "Umanitaria", Alfredo Melani 1916:

Even in old stamps for textiles as in this pear wood hand-carved stamp from the first part of the 20th century, part of a collection owned by Arnaldo Caprai:

I could go on and on (and probably will at some later date) but what I originally wanted to tell you about was Elena Rossi's new digital pattern book: Patterns of Mythical Creatures from Tuscan Churches.

In her travels, Elena photographed strange monsters from the façades San Michele in Lucca and San Damiano al Monte in Florence and then has created designs for embroidery or other crafts from them. In the book each pattern is accompanied by a picture of the façade that it comes from. Every pattern is presented facing both right and left for ease of reproduction.

10 different monsters means that you could do a monster sampler!


  1. Dear Janine,
    sorry to use the comment space for a question, but yesterday I stumbled on this book 'Blackwork embroidery, Volume 1975 Di Elisabeth Geddes,Moyra McNeill' on Google Books, and I am curious to know if we ever had anything alike here in Italy. Maybe in the South? I would love to hear from you.
    Thank you

  2. The della Porta and Caprai monsters are gorgeous! Thank you so much! They have been added to my "To Do" list (which is so long....!).
    Star Meyer (Milan, Italy)
    Star's Needlepoint Art (non-commercial blog)

  3. Blandina,
    I don't have that book, but if you're looking for Blackwork in Italy, it was called Punto Volteranno for awhile - I will do a post soon to give you all the information I have, I don't have much free time at the moment but I'll get to it as soon as I can!

  4. Thanks a lot, take your time, I will continue to read your blog anyway.
    In the mean time I will have a look to what I can find on this Punto Volterrano...intriguing name!