Longer ago than I care to admit, I received a request for an HP Lovecraft inspired cross stitch sampler.  The commissioner has seen other Victorian-styled samplers I’d done – mainly this one:

Redwork sampler

(From Joss Whedon's 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer')

and sent me a request that ran thus: “The main things I’d like is for it to look old fashioned, to fit in a space 12” tall and for there to be an octopus/squid hidden in it somewhere. The text I’m wanting is “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn”. You can totally do what ever you like from there if its more fun.”

Cool! I totally did whatever I liked, and after an embarrassingly long time, I came up with this:

Let sleeping Cthulhus lie

I confess I was a little concerned at what I was being asked to realise here, so double checked this wasn’t an incantation to summon the great octo-thingy himself. Was assured: You can’t summon Cthulhu, you have to wait for him to awaken when the stars are right. That translates as “In his house at R’lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.” Phew.

I did have a lot of fun.  I managed to include the Elder sign, and applied subtle use of variegated thread,  inspired by the story “The Colour Out of Space” (a colour which is unrecognisable as any one colour).

I also filled in space with a lovely peacock – both a traditional sampler motif, and a bird of which I know this person to be particularly fond.  And here he is, the great squid himself, hanging in there at the end of the alphabet 🙂

Mr Squid

I love doing work like this.  To give an idea, this took me about sixteen hours to stitch, and probably at least two hours to chart up.  If you want to see what other geeky stitchiness I’ve been getting up to recently, check out my Flickr photostream, and if you’d like to talk to me about commissioning your own piece of antique pop-culture, please get in touch!  Past commissions have included a Neil Stephenson quote sampler, and a Nintendo birth sampler.  I believe anything is possible; challenge me 🙂

PS: This sampler was also blogged by the recipient, here.