Doodle Cloth Tuesday – Van Dyke Stitch

This stitch can be varied in width and is great for borders or leaves. It has a centrally raised plait and for what I thought would be a tricky stitch was surprisingly simple!

If this is your first time with this stitch then start with a simple rectangle shape and draw a line down the middle.

Bring your thread out to the left of the central line on the top edge of the shape (1)

Go back in just above and to the right of the central line (2), pull the thread through.

Now bring the thread out just above and to the left of the central line (3)

Go back in on the top edge of the shape to the right (4). Pull the thread through.

For the next stitch, bring the thread out below the first stitch on the left edge – keep a space between the stitches as it gives a nicer overall effect.

Slip the thread through the loops of the stitches just made in the direction of the arrow.

then take the needle back down at 7.

Continue doing the stitches in the same way, taking the thread through the loops of the stitches just above the one you are stitching. You will start to form a plait down the centre.

Be careful as you go to keep the plait in the centre by not putting too much tension on the thread as you pull it across. You can see from the attempt above I didn’t pull it enough across in the centre and didn’t space evenly enough in some areas. Practice makes perfect!

To finish you bring the thread up to the left of the centre line and back down to the right of the centre line, then pull through and finish on the back to secure.

This was a fun stitch to do and once you get the hang of it you are able to make a much nicer plait in the centre (and keep it in the centre!)

I decided to try it in a leaf shape with a slightly thicker thread and the result was really nice and I was so pleased with the plait after my first attempt!

The Doodle Cloth so far has been a success and I have learnt 2 stitches which I probably wouldn’t have tried but will definately use in future work!

Create a Doodle Cloth and learn some Tricky Hand Embroidery Stitches.

I am a self taught embroiderer and am guilty of sticking to my tried and tested ‘go to’ stitches for a lot of the designs I create. I thought it would be a fun idea to create a Doodle Cloth of some of the more tricky or unusual stitches and bring you along for the ride – why not join in and challenge yourself as well!

What is a Doodle Cloth? Basically its a piece of cloth that you use to try out any of the embroidery stitches you are not confident with before stitching them on your precious project.

All you need is a piece of fabric, some thread, scissors and a needle.

I decided to make my piece about 10 x 10 inches – choose a fabric that is nice and easy to stitch on – a piece of calico would do. I chose a 25 ct lugana evenweave fabric that was in my stash and seemed like a nice option since I am hoping the end result will be a finished piece rather than a mish mash of mishaps! (We’ll see).

Which Hand Embroidery stitches shall we choose??

I have a few lovely books dedicated to embroidery stitches so you can sit back and let me choose some challenging ones for you to try! I have decided to pick out the stitches I have either never tried, never heard of (!) or have tried and had difficulty with.

Lets Start Doodling…

The first Stitch we are going to start off the Doodle Cloth with is called ‘Cup Stitch’. This is a decorative stitch which can be used to create small flowers.

I am a bit of a neat freak so even though this is a doodle cloth I am creating I practiced first on another piece of cotton!

As you can see by the 4th attempt I got it looking like the raised circle that it is meant to be so I decided I was practiced enough to make a better practice attempt on the actual doodle cloth! I realise this is a bit of a strange thing to do as the Doodle Cloth itself is meant to be the practice but in my defence I want the ‘actual’ doodle cloth to be a nice reference piece at the end. You could say I am making a doodle cloth from a doodle cloth!!!

Here’s how the stitch is broken down…

Stitch a Triangle – I made my stitches about 1/4 inch long but you could do a bigger stitch to create a bigger triangle for a bigger circle. Bring the thread out below one of the corners.

Take the needle from the inside, under the stitched thread.

Wrap the thread around the needle .

Pull the thread through guiding the thread down to form the knot on the triangle edge.

Continue Stitching the knots in the same way along each edge of the triangle, keep them nice and tight to one another. Work around the triangle.

You can go back and stitch another knot if the circle looks like it has a gap. The end result is a nice little circle of knots.

Tips I learned… A perle thread size 5 works better for this stitch and forms a nice circle as against a thinner thread. Don’t be disheartened by it looking a bit of a mess! Once you complete the circle and smooth out the circle its surprising how good it actually looks!

I hope you have enjoyed starting a Doodle Cloth for Tricky Hand Embroidery stitches!

Doodle Day will be back next Tuesday for another tricky stitch for you to add to your cloth.

Free Valentines Pattern!

As promised, here’s a free pattern for you in time for Valentines Day.

Free hand embroidery Pattern
Valentines embroidery pattern

A beautifully simple design, Bee mine can be stitched up in a short amount of time and will delight anyone who receives it (if you can bare to part with it yourself!)

Lets get down to the stitchy stuff…You will Need…

Fabric approx. 8 inch square, embroidery floss in your chosen colours – (I used DMC Stranded Floss and Stitched with 2 strands throughout), 6 inch embroidery hoop, needle and scissors.

First you will need to download the template and transfer on to your chosen fabric. The design is 5 x 5 inches.

In red, Start by Couching the letters.

Next, Satin Stitch the yellow sections of the bee, then back stitch the outline in black before satin stitching the black sections.

Couch the Bee wings, Straight stitch the antennae and running stitch the flight line.

The ferns are all stitched in continuous fly stitch. I used 3 different shades of green and varied them around the design. Each line of fern was stitched from the top to the bottom and I secured off the thread each time to avoid seeing thread lines from the back.

The template gives you the straight lines so you can just makes the fly stitches in a more organic way which gives the pattern a much nicer feel.

This would look great in a card for a loved one or even stitched on felt and made in to a hanger. 

If you enjoy this pattern then let me see your makes –  you can tag me on Instagram @stitchdoodlesdesign or send me a pic through email and I will pop it on facebook and instagram so we can share the love!


Poinsettia Stitch Along – Final Day, Stem stitch, Split stitch

You made it !!!!!

Today is the day the last few stitches will be done and your gorgeous Poinsettia will be complete. All you need to do is outline Petal 5 (fishbone petal) and Petal 7 (Trellis Petal).

Stem Stitch around Petal 5…

finished poin copy

Split stitch around Petal 7…

trellis complete

Well done, Now your Poinsettia is complete – yay!!

finished poin

I really hope you have enjoyed stitching this beautiful flower and learning some stitches along the way send me your pictures – I’d love to see how you got on.

Poinsettia Stitch Along – Day 14, Fly stitch and French Knots!


You are on the homestretch now! Its so exciting when you see a project starting to take shape and become a finished piece.

Up to now you have learnt 17 different stitches! Woohoo!!! These last 2 days will see you doing a bit of finishing off with stitches you have done previously so it will be nice and easy from here on in.

So, for today all you need to do is fly stitch and French Knots on the following petals…

Petal 2…


Fly Stitch over the markings you have already made…

Petals 3 and 6…

Stitch some French Knots as follows…

Come back for the final piece of the puzzle tomorrow…