Dragon Signets

Signets are loosely based on "tribal" tattoo-like designs and can be stitched on any color cloth using any color thread.  


This is the first of a new line of designs I’ve called ‘Signets’. I started out making them as quick, fun-to-stitch patterns that I could do on odd sized pieces of leftover cloth. However, they are so fun to do, I'm not sure where it will all end.

A signet is an emblem used to identify an individual's signature. Historically, they were used by nobles and other important people as a means of verifying the identity of the person who signed a letter or document. I called this particular one ‘Paladin’ because he’s obviously a relaxed and confident warrior, a born leader.

Size = 13” x 5” (14 ct.) 

Light and Shadow

Lambent was the first of these miniature designs in the signet style and was done just to see if I could make one so small. When it looked ok, I tried several more and eventually ended up with this group of four. Their individual names are associated with light and dark and so the name of the design became ‘Light and Shadow’. These were a lot of fun to stitch, but tougher to design than you might think. It was a challenge to get much detail in something so small and even more difficult to make them all come out the same size. 


The third of my signet designs, named ‘Messenger’ because of those elaborate wings, spread and ready to go. Messengers and runners were once very important on battlefields as they carried orders from a centrally located command station to officers in the ranks, who weren’t able to see the entire fight. Battlefield messengers were uniformly swift like the Roman messenger deity, Mercury, who’s name gives us the word ‘mercurial’. Those with mercurial natures are considered erratic, switching from topic to topic or from one emotional state to another with rapid speed, like a swift messenger. I could see this rather martial looking dragon possessing a very mercurial temper indeed. 

Size = 14” x 5” (14 ct.) 


This is the first of the flying signet dragon designs and to stay with the martial concept in the names of the others, I decided on ‘Pilot’ for this one to honor all the pilots past, present, and future; commercial, military and astronaut. Their jobs are difficult and often dangerous. They must contend not only with other aerial vehicles and birds, but the weather as well. Unpredictable changes in wind speed and direction can be very dangerous to anything in the sky, and lightning is always an exciting and disturbing prospect. Pilots must be always alert and calm under pressure, but also have hair triggered and rapid reflexes to deal with emergencies. I always wanted to be a pilot and taste the freedom of the sky, but bad eyesight prevented the attainment of that dream. Even so, I admire all those that make it and wish them all speed and joy. 

Size = 12” x 5” (14 ct.) 


Another of the signet dragons, obviously. This one was fun to do, but it took me a long time to decide on a name. Somehow, the names of the signet dragons have all been coming out martial in nature and, because of the pointy wings, I was inclined to call this one 'Switchblade'. But, that particular weapon doesn't seen to go along with 'Valor', which is the name of the cloth color on which he is stitched. 'Samurai', on the other hand has a connotation of honorable warriors that goes well with valor and the pointiness of his wings echoes the design of ancient samurai armor. 

Size = 5” x 14” (14 ct.) 


One of the signet series of dragons. I rather think this one looks like a gargoyle, or what most people think of as a gargoyle, anyway. True ‘gargoyles’ are decorative waterspouts designed to protect the stonework of a building by diverting rainwater away from the sides. Other similarly carved statues that hang out on buildings but with different or no function are called grotesques. Anyway, since he’s not really a gargoyle and I didn’t want to call him ‘Grotesque’, I’ve named him ‘Warrior’. 

Size = 5” x 10.5” (14 ct.) 


I doodled this design while listening to a seminar one day. I often have trouble paying attention to seminars that don’t have a lot of images in the slides and need something to occupy my eyes so my ears and brain can pay attention. So, sometimes I doodle. The design is based on the symbol called “Taijitu” that is used to represent the Chinese concept of ‘yin yang’. Yin yang was proposed by Chinese philosophers sometime around 200 BC as way to understand everything about the Universe. Basically, it states that everything contains yin forces and yang forces that are the opposite of each other. Depending on conditions, yin may be dominant, or yang may be dominant, or the two could be in harmony and the two forces are constantly cycling back and forth within everything. So, yin and yang don’t just illustrate good and evil, but include all possible opposites, light and dark, health and illness, heat and cold, gravitational attraction and magnetic repulsion, etc. Because I am possibly a bit lopsided in my brain, my version of the taijitu is tilted at a 90o angle to that of the traditional form illustrated at left. 

Size = 9” x 9” (14 ct.) 


This is another one of those designs that Marilyn at Picture This inspired by saying one day that I should do a solar eclipse. It sounded insane. How do you represent a solar eclipse and stick with a dragony theme? I went away that day bemused, but the creative corner of my right brain kept worrying at the problem and, slowly, this idea evolved. The central disc represents the moon’s shadow covering the sun and the dragons sitting around the rim represent the flaming corona. Doing it on the tie-dyed cloth ‘Solar’ added a bit of flair, but meant that I would have to make it non-natural colors, and these looked best against the yellow and red of the cloth. Someday, I think I will redo it on one of the blue sky colored fabrics with the disc in traditional black and the corona in yellows, but for now, this is it, and at least it won’t blind you to look at. - Note: As you may have noticed, I did get around to redoing this design in the more traditional eclipse colors. Enjoy! 

Size = 14“ x 14“ (14 ct.) 


Size = 5” x 9” (14 ct.) 

The word “Maritime” refers to anything that deals with the sea, like sea dragons, for example. “Pelagic” (right) refers to the open water of the ocean, away from any shore and well above the bottom. It is a vast aquatic habitat and has many creatures adapted to a life of eternal swimming, things like whales, tuna, and jellyfish. “Benthic” (left) is used to describe organisms that live on the bottom of bodies of water, most commonly it refers to the ocean as well. Water plants, starfish, coral, and crabs are all benthic organisms. The ocean contains many different regions and we are discovering new wonders in it every day. Perhaps somewhere there are even sea dragons. 


This pattern was designed as a companion piece to “Eclipse”. That design was inspired by a solar eclipse. This design was inspired by a lunar eclipse, which occurs when the earth passes between the sun and moon, casting the shadow of the earth on the moon. Usually, the moon is a reddish color, but I also chose to make it rather misty, so that the wings of the guardian dragons are fading into surrounding clouds. The blue version has colors that match the cloth very well, while the reddish version has the moon and dragon bodies very visible, but again with fading wings. You may, of course choose any colors.

The three dragons are a salute to the three phases of the moon and the triple goddess often associated with them, variously called the maiden, the mother (or warrior), and the crone. The word ‘Nocturne” was originally used to refer to tranquil music inspired by the night. One could easily imagine that the faint glow around the umbra (shadow) of a lunar eclipse contains dragons, quietly singing to the darkness between stars.

Size = 14“ x 14“ (14 ct.) 

River Spirits

These two dragons are made using what I call “medallions”, circles of various sizes that contain abstract designs. The medallions are creations of my imagination and have no meaning. Dragons in eastern mythology tend to be long, with small legs, long whiskers and horns. They are often associated with rivers and weather. I decided that these first two would be river spirits. I called them Yalong and Min, named for two of the larger upstream tributaries of the Yangtze, which is the largest river in China and the third largest river in the world.

Size = 22” x 10” (14 ct.) 


Another of the "Signet" series of dragons. So far, most of them have had militaristic names. But, I couldn’t think of another one that matched this design. The colors remind me of a spectacular bruise, but that hardly seemed like a name to inspire folks to want to stitch a pattern. However, I could stick with the color theme and call it ‘Heliotrope’, which is a pinkish shade of purple. It is a shade found in the flowers of the heliotrope plant (genus Heliotropium). The name of the plant actually refers to the fact that it orients its flowers toward the sun. ‘Helios’ means ‘sun’ and ‘tropein’ means ‘to turn’ in Greek. 

Size = 7“ x 14“ (14 ct.) 

Steppe Spirits

A second pair of eastern style dragons made from “medallions”, circles of various sizes that contain abstract designs. These two are steppe spirits. “Steppe” is another word for grassland or prairie, though it is most often used to refer to the large swath of grassland across northern Eurasia. The individual names of the designs are genera (a scientific category) of grasses that can be found in steppes. The common forage or ornamental fescue species are Festuca grasses. Stipa species are also used as forage for livestock and sometimes as ornamental grasses. 

Size = 22” x 10” (14 ct.) 


This fellow is a bit more violently minded than some of the other signets. He is perched on a wall, his tail switching rapidly in excitement, like a cat’s. You can imagine that he’s watching some unfortunate enemy below and preparing to pounce. I rather thought his wings resembled the slash marks left on trees by large predators as a territorial marker, so I decided to call him ‘Claw’, which also goes along with his demeanor. 

Size = 14“ x 7“ (14 ct.) 

Size = 14“ x 14“ (14 ct.)  

Solar Wind

This design is inspired by the solar winds constantly flowing toward us from the sun.  The sun is essentially a giant fusion reactor combining hydrogen atoms into helium.  This process gives off the heat and light that we are familiar with any time we go outside.  Now, think about how much hotter and brighter it is on the sun, given how far away it is from us and how hot it feels to us here on earth.  All that energy causes a lot of turbulence, which, combined with the spin of the star, slings protons and electrons (and a few other things) off to become solar wind.  The interaction of solar wind with the earth’s magnetic field is what causes the aurora borealis.  Solar winds and the sun’s magnetic field protect us from even more dangerous radiation from outside the solar system, but if a larger than normal ejection hits the earth, it could wipe out all our electronics (or even us). As with many things, the sun is both important for, and a danger to, the existence of life as we know it.