22 January 2012

World War I commemorative stitched piece

This odd little cross-stitched piece was on eBay several times in 2011 with a starting price of 75GBP (not selling and thus being relisted - it's a high price, in my opinion) with the simple title of "Needle Work".  By the dates, a best guess would be it commemorates the end of World War I, although it's 1914 and 1919, not 1914 and 1918.  It's a curious mix of flags - if the one at top left in red/yellow/black is intended as the German flag, it's not just the flags of one side or the other, but both (Italy and Japan both joined the war on the side of Britain/France/Russia, unlike WW2). All of Ireland was still part of the UK then (partition came after the war).  The size (of counted cloth and space allocated to each flag) made the Union Jack a tad tricky to do.  More than one country with a flag there had a monarch, so it's not clear if the crown in the centre is a generic crown or meant for one country's monarch in particular (German Kaiser? English King?). 

My best guess is that it's an individual stitcher's piece rather than a pattern.  It's a very simple grid layout, and I find it difficult to imagine that a pattern including the German flag would have had wide appeal.  Peace samplers from the end of World War II that I've come across that are of British origin have focused entirely on the Allies, with no reference (beyond VE/VJ day dates) to the enemy side.  I have seen another piece worked on the same type of background, a squarish rectangle of fabric with  a ?handmade woollen fringe.  Possibly intended as a table centre?  or cushion cover?  The eBay listing gave no information beyond "Nice quality work".  It was located in the UK, but that's no guarantee that it was made there.

So, a curious piece, documented here.  If you know more, please do leave a comment.

Link to seller 229fraste.


  1. The date 1919 and the four corners make me wonder if it is meant to also symbolize the formation of the Red Cross?

  2. The black gold red flag is Belgium. Germany is black red gold with horizontal stripes.
    It looks like each corner has a pair of flags on staffs with the Red Cross emblem as balance. The red cross emblem was in use even before the formation of the International Red Cross.
    1919 could refer to the date of the Treaty of Versailles rather than Armistice.


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