A Free Book of out of copyright designs

A Free Book of out of copyright designs

Book of designs page A Book of designs by Mrs Watson a 154-page collection of inked designs — was published in 1824. Design sources like this provide literally hundreds of patterns to work in embroidery, either as-is or for you to adapt to your projects. Better still, you can use these designs as points of departure for your own designs. Also, readers who are interested in Design history and the history of decoration will find this free book worth looking at.

Book of designs page There is quite a range of different types of patterns that you can use for surface embroidery. Many border patterns can be easily adapted and used for the edges of household items such as tea towels, placemats, small cloths, etc. Or these patterns could be worked around the edge of a tote bag. These designs are also highly adaptable for crazy quilting.

Book of designs page Many separate motifs are useful too — I can see so many options here for instance.

Book of designs page The book is out of copyright, digitised, and provided by Archive.org. Book of designs by Mrs Watson is available free in a number of formats including Kindle and PDF. Don’t forget to check out my stitch dictionary area of the Pintangle website, as it will give you loads of ideas on how to interpret these designs in stitches.

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Thread Twisties!

Experimenting with different threads can be expensive. You would normally have to buy a whole skein of each type of thread. My thread twisties are a combination of different threads to use in creative hand embroidery. These enable you to try out stitching with something other than stranded cotton. For the price of just a few skeins, you can experiment with a bundle of threads of luscious colours and many different textures.

These are creative embroiders threads. With them, I hope to encourage you to experiment. Each Twistie is a thread bundle containing silk, cotton, rayon, and wool. Threads range from extra fine (the same thickness as 1 strand of embroidery floss) to chunky couchable textured yarns. All threads have a soft and manageable drape. Twisting them around a needle makes experimental hand embroidery an interesting journey rather than a battle.  Many are hand-dyed by me. All are threads I use. You may find a similar thread twist but no two are identical.

You will find my thread twisties in the Pintangle shop here.


  1. I have just subscribed and look forward to delving deeper.
    Have been organising fabric and scraps this morning, shifting rooms and really looking forward to some sewing time again, there is no beating old books and patterns for inspiration.
    Thank you

    Alison Mary
  2. I love these old books, and it’s wonderful that the museums and libraries that own them are digitising them and making them available. The average stitcher would never have had access to books like this 20 years ago, but I now have a collection of digital copies of embroidery books dating back to the Renaissance.
    One thing that fascinates me is seeing the way different design ideas are adapted and reimagined over time. Flor example, floral borders and images are re-jigged for cross-stitch, crewel work, white work and so on.

    1. Eileen I am not sure why you are having troubles as many people have downloaded it and I have just re-checked the link – try again it may have been a temporary glitch with your service

        1. Eileen Click on the link in the post that reads A Book of designs by Mrs Watson – when the page loads scroll to where the download options are displayed (on the right hand side of the page) then click where it says PDF it will take you to the pdf and save it from there

          1. Eileen yes I would say either your connection is very slow – or was slow for a time (so you could try again and just let is sit until done) or your computer is slow or maybe your security software is being over zealous and is slowing things down.

  3. Incredible resource! The last pages are fascinating with notes and copies added in to the book.

    Do you think they would have traced the designs and then pierced and ponced the designs on to cloth? Or taken pages out to use directly?


    D Ferguson
  4. Thank you so much for your awesome website and books. Where do you get your quilting beads? It seems that all I can find online are round beads or bugle beads. The ones in your quilt pictures are so unusual.

    1. Hi Cindy I am pleased you asked about the beads. I am currently trying to source interesting beads wholesale so I can sell a range in the shop. So keep your eye on the site for updates about fun and interesting beads


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