Whan That Aprille Cross Stitch Sampler Pattern


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At Oak Park River Forest High School in Oak Park, Illinois, my beloved junior-year English teacher, Mr. Don Rehkopf, had us memorize the first eighteen lines of “The Prologue” to The Canterbury Tales in Middle English. I still feel compelled to recite them out loud to anyone who will listen every spring. This is how it starts:

Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour.

— Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, 1387-1400

Did you memorize this, too? I took a survey of basically every single person in my phone a few months ago and said, "Do you know what 'What That Aprille' means?" All the English majors knew and almost to a person they, too, say it out loud every spring! (My high-school friend Maggie and her husband Dave both know it so they recite it in tandem to their college-aged children. HA!) Literally no one who wasn't an English major did (except for Andy, because I read the entire Prologue out loud to him the day before). The whole prologue so cool! I love A.S. Kline’s translation. You can find it at It’s so much fun to read.

This piece is stitched on 32-count linen (that's 16 stitches per inch) with two-plies of DMC six-ply cotton embroidery floss.

Finished size of design area: 6"w x 8"h (15cm x 20cm); 96 stitches wide x 128 high on 32-count fabric

You will need:

This pattern includes:

  • Stitching instructions
  • Color and black-and-white cross-stitch charts with symbols