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Antique Needlework Pictures

By Rachel

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Last Updated on November 6, 2021 by Rachel Granholm

Today’s post is all about antique needlework pictures!

Vintage cross stitch picture created by my husband’s grandma Betty in the 60’s.

Old things are beautiful. I’m just a vintage soul wanting to share my love of old things with you.

Two of my favorite vintage enthusiasts, Laura and Selena from The Recycled Life on YouTube, first introduced me to  the beauty of antique and vintage artwork and I’ve been hooked ever since.

Old needlework art is extraordinary because it was all done by hand. One very patient and artistic person spent hours upon hours creating one piece of artwork. Special people to me like my Grandma Jean, my husband’s Grandma Betty, and my mother in law are all talented needlework artists and whose artwork will be featured here today. It’s no wonder I was drawn to old needlework with such a strong family history tied to it!

What is Antique Needlework?

The word ’embroidery’ is a term that is used to encompass all of the needlework skills. Simply put, it is just the art of creating and forming decorative designs on fabric. The art of using thread or yarn to decorate fabric with goes way back in ancient history. There are surviving examples of embroidery that date back to the Scythian period, which is c. 5th-3rd century BC! These extremely old pieces of needlework showcased the basic stitches that are still used today.

In the early 1900’s, young girls were taught the art of embroidery. Needlework was an important part of a girl’s life and was considered to be a duty while growing up. Many embroidery samplers and art pieces can be found from that era, making them special pieces of history that you can display in your home.

Types of Needlework


Image sourced from The Crewel Work Company

Crewel embroidery is a form of crochet embroidery. It is not a counted stitch but rather more of a freehand style, allowing the artist a certain interpretation of the picture. Basically a picture is transferred to a material, the material being either cotton or woven linen. The designs of crewelwork range from simple to extremely intricate. Stitches used in crewelwork embroidery include chain stitch, satin stitch, french knots, and stem stitch.

Cross Stitch- 

Vintage cross stitch art piece created by my Grandma Jean.

Many samplers, like the one below that my mother in law created in the 1970’s, are what many of us think of when it comes to cross stitch.

Many young women that completed a cross stitch sampler shows that she completed a certain skill level. However, the original cross stitch samplers from decades ago were not to show a level of skill but rather to keep a record of needlework samples that they didn’t want to forget. If a young woman looked at a design that she liked and wanted to accomplish, she would use a small piece of fabric and copy it. That piece of fabric would then be attached to a larger piece of fabric so that she would be able to remember the stitch. This sampler of designs would continue over a lifetime, hence the cross stitch samplers!


Image sourced from joanne-threadhead.blogspot.com

This type of embroidery is white on white needlework that combines counted thread and drawn thread techniques. It begins with a sequence of kloster blocks, which is five satin stitches over four threads. These first few blocks establish the borders of the design. Then, the material is cut away and the remaining threads are woven and filled with designs.


Vintage needlepoint art created by my mother in law. 

Needlepoint embroidery is created with yarn. It is worked into a firm, openwork canvas fabric, known as Petitpoint, that will be completely filled with color and design.

The most common stitch, and usually the only stitch used, is the tent stitch. Needlepoint work uses a plethora of colors to provide the design with depth and texture. Due to the stiffness of the fabric, this type of embroidery is best used for upholstery, wall hangings, or pillows.

Antique and Vintage Needlework In Your Home

This type of artwork works well with any decor and with any design style. The designs, colors, and textures of needlepoint pieces are classic and ageless, conforming to whatever your home is.

Old needlepoint art will look lovely in any place that you display it, giving your space a unique and genuine feeling.

Here are a few creative ideas to try:

  • create a gallery wall of old needlepoint art

Image sourced from maggieoverbystudios.com

  • try one in your entryway as a unique ‘welcome’ instead of the traditional welcome greeting
  • hang a few needlework pictures on a wall and intersperse baskets throughout for an eclectic feel
  • place a framed piece on a mantel or shelf, surrounded by vintage books or small figurines

Image sourced from thegatheredhome.com

  • adorn an entryway console or a tabletop with a few old needlepoint art pieces and create a vignette, sourcing different objects from your home that correlate with the subject or color palette of the art itself

Hopefully this post gives you a sense for just how beautiful these antique needlework pictures are. The art of antique needlework is timeless and full of character. Be encouraged to hunt for some antique needlework pictures to add to your own home!

signature from The Antiqued Journey

I would love to know what you find and how you have it displayed in your home. Let me know in the comment section below!

Check out some more inspiration on antiques in your home!

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Hello I’m Rachel.

I’m so glad you are here! Old things are my jam. Antique malls and thrift stores are my happy places.

Here on the blog I love to share my excitement, knowledge, and ideas about all things antique and vintage. Let’s journey together!

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