Cute vintage Valentine’s Day heart cross-stitch how-to from 1955

Valentine's day heart cross-stitch ideas from 1955 (1)

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Hearts are for love

The labor of love that goes into the working of fine needlework could find no more fitting symbol than heart motifs, favorites of folk artists in many countries since early times.

These designs were adapted from old Hungarian ones. Embroider them in cross-stitch on household linens or aprons, skirts and blouses, or on children’s clothes; or knit them into gay ski sweaters.

You can work directly from this page, or copy the designs on graph paper.

Valentine's day heart cross-stitch ideas from 1955 (2)

How-to/instructions for heart cross-stitch/needlework


Your choice of thread depends on the material on which you work and the size of cross-stitches you want. On most linens, six-strand embroidery floss is best, and any number of strands may be used to produce the effect you like. On other materials, pearl cotton is effective; on wool, woolen yarn is generally used.

The bright, new look of needlepoint (1958)

Materials: Old automatic pencil and No. 20 tapestry needle (to make stylus); typewriter or dressmaker’s carbon paper; graph paper in size and scale desired (paper with 10, 8, or 4 squares to 1″ is usually available in stationery stores); smooth surface, such as drawing board or breadboard, into which thumbtacks can be driven; blotting paper or cardboard.

Preparing design: Following photographs [above], copy a design, drawing each X of design on a square of graph paper. Count stitches carefully but draw X’s roughly, with crayons to indicate colors, if you wish. Squares of paper will keep embroidery uniform.

Making stylus: Remove lead from automatic pencil; in its place, push eye end of needle; adjust pencil so about 1/8″ or 1/4″ of needle point protrudes.

Transferring design: Cover an area of drawing board with blotting paper or cardboard; over it place fabric to be embroidered, then penciled design. Be sure lines of graph paper are parallel to threads of fabric. Thumbtack to board at top. Slip carbon paper between design and fabric; tack at bottom.

Holding stylus as nearly vertical as possible, push the point accurately through design and carbon paper at four points of each cross-stitch or corners of each square. Make a dot also at center of each cross-stitch to be worked, to distinguish between squares to be worked and those which fall between the Xs. Your design is now transferred to fabric, just as machine-stamped cross-stitch is, and is ready to be embroidered.


This can be used only on round-thread linens of which the threads can be counted easily. The weave should be even, with the same number of threads in each direction.

Work each cross-stitch over 2 or more threads, depending on the size stitch you wish. Be sure to follow threads of fabric exactly so work will be even. Threads must be counted also for any spaces between groups of cross-stitches.

Retro-style Granny squares are easy to crochet & can be used in so many ways

This is the method used on very fine linen, or any material where the threads cannot be counted easily. Cross-stitch or Penelope canvas is placed over linen temporarily, and serves as a guide for stitches. It can be bought in a number of different size meshes.

Cut canvas 1″ larger all around than fabric. Place fabric on smooth surface; lay canvas over it, carefully lining up threads of canvas with threads of fabric. Baste together, working from middle out to center of each of the four sides, then from middle to corners.

Baste all outer edges. Crease edges of canvas over edges of fabric, to keep fabric from fraying, and baste. When working, be careful not to catch stitches in threads of canvas or to embroider through the folded edges.

Work embroidery; snip canvas between groups of cross-stitches; pull out canvas and basting threads with tweezers.

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