Yarncraft

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I took two years of Russian in high school, and another two years in college, and was lucky enough to visit Russia back in 1992. Among the many things I love about the Russian language is the beautiful Cyrillic alphabet. These vintage Cyrillic cross-stitch alphabets are making me swoon with inspiration. Russian isn’t the only language to use the Cyrillic alphabet, though, and it looks like these alphabets might actually be Macedonian (Cyrillic experts, let us know in the comments). They are still gorgeous, though, and remind me how much fun it was to learn to write and understand letters like Ж (zhe) and Ф (ef).
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They were featured on the Free Historic Old Pattern Books blog run by a gentleman named Ramzi who collects, scans and posts old cross-stitch patterns. He’s featured Russian books before, but most have consisted of more imagery than lettering. It’s these gorgeous letterforms that have me very excited. There are several in this collection, and the cover of the book is over-the-top gorgeous in its design and lettering, and literally makes me weak in the knees. Enjoy!

10 thoughts on “Cyrillic Cross-Stitch Alphabets

  1. I’m no expert, but that’s the old Cyrillic alphabet as used by the Russians. The “I” and the last letter on the second line, which used to mark the end of a word but not make a sound, aren’t used anymore.
    These are fantastic! I might just learn to cross stitch.

  2. I don’t recognize the last letter, but the cover says that the book is from Riga and Mitava, which are both in Latvia. The language definitely seems to be Russian. My guess would be that perhaps that either I just don’t personally know about that last letter as part of the pre-reform Cyrillic alphabet, or that it was used to represent a tone in Latvian when writing Latvian using Cyrillic letters.

  3. In Bulgarian language we have all the letters above, minus 5(some of which used to be part of the alphabet more than a century ago). While the letters appear to be part of some version of the Russian alphabet, as a Bulgarian I would like to point out that the Cyrillic system was, in fact, invented in the First Bulgarian Empire by Saints Cyril and Methodius, and then spread among other Slavic peoples -the Russians and the Serbs, as well as among the non-Slavic Vlachs and Moldavians.
    With the accession of Bulgaria to the European Union, Cyrillic became the third official alphabet of the union, along with Latin and Greek
    Cyrillic was invented in Bulgaria, by Bulgarians, and then brought to Russia.
    For more info, visit Wikipedia, it has a very thorough article on Cyrillic alphabet.

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