A Mycenaean octopus – in cross-stitch

Happy New Year/Καλή Χρονία to all my readers! Just a quick post to share my recent craft project: over the holidays, I’ve been combining my hobby of cross-stitching with my love of the octopuses that are a frequent decoration of vases from prehistoric Greece, ranging from the elaborate to the cartoonish, as you can see in these photos of vases in the Heraklion Archaeological Museum and National Archaeological Museum, Athens.

Large vase with elaborate octopus covering the whole visible body of the jar, in dark paint on an orange background
Tall narrow conical vase with schematic octopus decoration in dark paint on a light background
Round vase with elaborate octopus decoration in dark paint on a light background, covering the whole front of the vase

My absolute favourite is this worried-looking little fellow in Heraklion, found near the palace of Knossos on Crete and dating to 1300-1200 BCE, so it was him that I picked to make and sew a cross-stitch pattern: here he is in ceramic and cross-stitch form!

Vase with round body and handles and spout on top. In a panel on the front is a schematic depiction of an octopus with narrow body, two long wavy tentacles, and googly eyes, in orange/dark orange paint on a light background
Cross-stitch sampler of the same octopus in dark orange thread on a light orange background with dark orange border

If any other cross-stitching octopus fans are reading this, you can download my pattern below: why not have a go yourself at the sampler above, or do it in any other colours you feel like (a neon octopus would be fun!)? If you do, please send me a photo of the result!

Mycenaean Octopus cross-stitch patternDownload


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 885977.


#vases #sewing #MycenaeanGreece #HeraklionArchaeologicalMuseum #ceramics #Archaeology #crossstitch #crafting #octopus #pottery

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