Welcome to my blog. You can read about my adventures in different types of needlework, and I also offer some free
cross stitch patterns. Please, come back often. :)


PLEASE, NOTE: The designs on this site are copyrighted to Agnes Palko. They are for your personal use only. They may not be distributed or reproduced without permission.
If you wish to use my patterns to stitch for charity, please, let me know.


Christmas ornament freebie - and some heirloom embroidery from the Ukraine

Hi again, dear friends,

I have been busy with moving to a new flat and trying to organise my things. I am still not really done, but at the same time I started to get ready for the Christmas market so the flat needs to wait :)
I was actually considering not going to the market this year. It is lot of work, lots of stress and it is really not worth it, at least not financially. I learnt a lot while preparing for the markets in the last few years, and it was great fun, but I only made very little money, definitely not worth all the work I put in.

But then I got the possibility to go to the Christmas market in Uppsala Castle, which is organised by the Museum of Arts. So I thought I want to give it a try again and see what happens. It might be different audience from the small country markets where I went before.

I received a fantastic birthday present from my boyfriend. He found some really old embroidery on ebay or some other online place, from the Ukraine, from between the two world wars. They are really beautiful. Here are some pictures. I hope I will have time to write about them in more detail later.

And finally, I have made a small Christmas ornament pattern to share with you. I was thinking to sew the backstitch lines together, just like we do for a biscornu. But you can also use it in a card. I made it first in red only, then created another version with some green in it, too. Which one do you like better?



Two mandalas - free cross stitch pattern

I haven't written anything here for a while - but I have a good excuse. I am moving flat next Friday, so I am busy sorting and packing things. Most of the boxes are filled with my craft books and stash. Luckily my lovely daughter could come and help me, otherwise I would have had even more problem with my back.

So I really don't have time to write now, nor to sort and organise my latest dyeing samples. But I managed to draw a little pattern for you.

These are two small mandala patterns in black-red-white colour combination. I really loved making them, there might come more later on.

You can use only the circles, I think they would work perfectly for cards. But I draw a backstitch frame around them, and added some small corner elements, so they can be stitched for a pincushion or a biscornu. What else do you think you can use them for?

Have fun, try different colourways.

Happy stitching, friends. Next time I will be writing from my new flat.


Bookmark freebies - and more eco-dyeing from the kitchen

The eco-dyeing saga continues. :D

After all the plants I collected during my walks (see the results here), I got back to the kitchen. I tried red onion skin. Cooked them in water for about an hour then drained them.

I put in the dye quite a few fabric pieces plus a few lace pieces (crocheted and store bought) as well, some of them not white. I simmered them in this dye for an hour then I left them in the pot for a few days. The result is really beautiful.

The darkest piece is some Aida fabric I had that was gray to begin with, unfortunately I don't have a picture of it before. I didn't like that gray, that's why I decided to dye it. The lace that became gray was a light blue originally, here are the two of them next to each other.

I red about avocado skin and pit giving a nice pink colour to wool. I was curious to see if it worked on cotton. I can report: yes, it does. It is really beatiful, at least I think so. Some of the fabric was mordanted with alum and some untreated.

One of the fabric I dyed with the roses before and didn´t like the colour (pale, liveless beige spots) I dyed again in the avocado bath, folding and tyeing it shibori-style. This is the result. Nice, isn´t it?

I also tried pomegranate, with the same method. The result is a lovely golden colour - much nicer than what it looks like in the photo.

Another experiment i did was with a lichen called salted shield lichen or crottle (Parmelia saxatilis, färglav in Swedish, talán pajzszuzmó magyarul, nem vagyok benne biztos). It is so fascinating when you take a bit of grey lichen and it turns things into yellow. At least it is supposed to be yellow on wool. My cotton fabrics turned more to a beige colour but it is nice, I like it. In the second picture you can see a piece that I didn´t wash right away after taking out of the dye but let it dry and only washed a week or so later. The colour has become stronger, especially in the creases of the fabric.

There is more coming, I have bundles in plastic bags and jars full of dye and fabric on my kitchen counter again. Watch this place for more eco-dyeing. :)

And here is another bookmark freebie, or rather three freebies in one pdf file. I loved making them, I hope you will also love stitching them.

Click on the picture for the pdf.

Happy stitching.


Cross stitch freebie + eco-dyeing, more results

I have been busy with sorting out more of my eco-dying experiments from the summer. I am going to show the pieces I tryed to dye with the bundles method I learnt from India Flint.
You take a piece of fabric, pre-mordanted with alum or alum+washing soda, put some plants (petals, leaves etc) on it, wrap it up tightly around a twig (tree bark contains tanin that can also help as a mordant) and tye it all around with a string. Then you can cook them in water or steam them - this is what I tried. See more details below.

It was not easy, as the pile of my samples grows, to keep track of what is what. I tried to number the fabric pieces with a pen - thinking that ink does not come out with washing, so it should be OK. It worked for most of the time but not always, I have some pieces which have the number all smudged out, so now it will be some guesswork. I took lots of photos during the process, and in this post I will try to match the photos of the same pieces together.

All these fabric pieces come from an old, probably hand-woven tablecloth that I bought at a loppis (second hand shop). Looks like cotton but it is possible that it is cotton-linen blend. It was pre-treated with alum and washing soda (2 tbs + 1 tbs to 5 liter water, India Flint's recipe). I tried all kinds of plants and flowers, I was desperately seeking after reds, roses, lilac... even though I read that it is very difficult to get those colours. I needed to see it with my own eyes. And, of course, I did. I mean, I did see that it is difficult :D

The names of the plants come in this order: English (Latin, Swedish, Hungarian).


Brown knappweed (Centaura jacea, rödklint, réti imola) and harebell (Campanula rotundifolia, liten blåklocka, kereklevelű harangvirág)

And the results:


3 Lady's bedstraw (Galium verum, gulmåra, tejoltú galan)

4 Purple flowerewd raspberry, (Rubus odoratus, rosenhallon, lila virágú málna)

5 Tufted vetch (Vicia cracca, kråkvicker, kaszanyűg bükköny)

6 Red clover (Trifolium pratense, rödklöver, réti here))

You cannot see the numbers in the photos, but they are the same, 3-6, in the same order.

Another picture with all of them, 1-6, just before I rolled them up. You can see, I only used the petals and I used some twigs to roll them into, then tied them with a piece of string. India Flint sugests a steamer to steam them for an hour. I didn't have a steamer so I came up with a solution that worked most of the time - but not always. I put water in a plastic container, put the rolls in it but so that they did not touch the water, put the whole thing in the microwave and turned it on for about 10 minutes. The water made steam and I did not open the door for about an hour. I think this is not exactly the same as steaming for real for one hour, but is seemed to work. But who knows, it might have affected the colours that I could get out of the plants. Not much, right? :( Oh, and one more thing: after they came out of the microwave, I put them in plastic bags and kept them out on the balcony (with some sunshine but not much) for about two weeks.


7 Tufted vetch pods (Vicia cracca, baljor av kråkvicker, kaszanyűg bükköny termése)
8 Creeping thistel (Cirsium arvense, åkertistel, mezei aszat)
9 Common agrimony, (Agrimonia eupatoria, småborre, közönséges párlófű)
10 Heather (Calluna vulgaris, ljung, csarab)


11-12 Great willowherb (Epilobium hirsutum, rosendunört, borzas füzike)
13 Dog rose (Rosa dumalis, nyponros, vadrózsa)

The first one in this picture is n. 10, see above, the second is 11, and in the bottom row 12 and 13.

The next batch of eco-bundles came a week later.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium, rölleka, cickafark)

Rowan leaf (Sorbus acuparia, japansk rönn löv, madárberkenye levele)
Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria, fackelblomster, réti füzény)
Blueweed, (Echium vulgare, blåeld, terjőke kígyószisz - micsoda név, uramisten!)

And the result - this was the one when I realised that the steaming method I came up with might not work :( There wasn't enough water in the plastic container or I cooked it too long, anyway, the bundle got burned in the microwave. You can see it on the result. And my microwave still smells burnt. :(

kanadensiskt gullris, ringblomma, salvia, ljung

The result:

Common hollyhock (my neighbours have one that is deep purple, almost black) (Alcea rosea, stockros, mályvarózsa)

I decided not to wash it right away, after taking it out of the bundle. So I dried it, and keept it for a week or so.

Then washed it. Not much of the colour is left, but there is some. Kind of greenish-blue. Or bluish-green. (The brown in the end of the fabric comes from the iron rod I used to wrap it in - the iron gave it some extra mordanting - perhaps that's why it became greenish.
Again, not a very scientific way of experimenting. Which I now regret. I should have done two pieces, one with and one without the iron. Next time.

There were a few more plants and lichens I tried but they did not give any results, or - what is worse - I cannot find the sample :D Need to find a better way of marking my fabrics. I will have to buy some permanent fabric markers.

Anyway, to sum it all up, I have found a dozen or so plants that one can use to dye a piece of fabric yellow or beige, some of them a nice shade, most of them not so nice. The malva was the only one that had another colour.

Anyway, now I know. :D Not giving up. Autumn is here, berries and mushrooms might become the next victims. But before that, I still have a bunch of fabric I want to show you. Come back soon if you want to see the results of dyeing with avocado, red onions, beetroot etc.

And for all those who managed to read all this far, a little present. I made this cross stitch pattern just for you :D

Click on the picture to get to the pdf file. I hope you like it.