How to work Algerian Eye Stitch

Algerian Eye stitch sample of varieties 2Algerian Eye stitch creates a decorative star-like pattern and can often be found on canvas work, pulled work, embroidery and forms of counted-thread work which means traditionally it is worked on even-weave fabric. It is also known as Star stitch. The sample above is a mix of Algerian eye stitch and Algerian overlapping border stitch. It is worked on 18 count Aida cloth, using wool, cotton Perle #8  and stranded cotton floss.

If you want to use Algerian Eye Stitch on regular dress fabric, or on a crazy quilt block, you can use waste canvas and appliqué or otherwise incorporate it into the project.

Algerian Eye stitch sample of patterns 1Using different arrangements of Algerian Eye Stitch it is very easy to build up interesting designs, motifs and patterns. Algerian Eye is related to Eyelet stitch – which has numerous varieties. Often these varieties combine well with Algerian Eye and can lead to endless experimentation resulting in interesting patterns.

Algerian Eye stitch sample of patterns 2How to work Algerian Eye stitch

Algerian eye stitch is made up of straight stitches arranged in a square. Refer to the illustration and work each straight stitch into the centre hole by bringing your needle out on the edge of the stitch, and taking it back down into the central hole.

Algerian Eye stitch step by step Work Algerian Eye Stitch with the fabric held under tension in an embroiderers hoop or on a needlework frame.

Often this stitch is used as filling

Algerian Eye stitch sample over beadsYou can also work this stitch over beads. I particularly like using flat round beads with a large hole in the middle such as small donuts and heishi beads.

How to work the pulled version of Algerian Eye Stitch

You can also use Algerian Eye Stitch as pulled embroidery stitch. With each stitch tug the thread slightly so that the fabric distorts. The little tug pulls the fabric and creates the holes in the centre of each stitch. The more you pull the greater the central hole.

If you want emphasise the hole you can by gently poking the end of the knitting needle into the hole to widen it a little.

Algerian Eye stitch sample of varieties 1

Enjoy experimenting!


Have you seen my book?

holding my book in front of quilt

My book The Visual Guide to Crazy Quilting Design: Simple Stitches, Stunning Results  shares detailed practical methods on how to design and make a crazy quilt. Topics such as fabric choice, tricky challenges like balancing colour, texture and pattern, and how to create movement to direct your viewers eye around the block are covered in detail. I also explain how to stitch and build decorative seam treatments in interesting and creative ways. My book is profusely illustrated as my aim is to be practical and inspiring.

Stitchers templates

My templates aim to help you take your stitching to the next level. Designed by an embroiderer for embroiderers. With them you can create hundreds of different hand embroidery patterns to embellish your seams  with flair. These templates are easy to use, made of clear plastic so you can position them easily and are compact in your sewing box.

using my stitchers Templates set 2These are simple to use. You simply position the template in place and use a quilter’s pencil to trace along the edge of the template. Stitch along this line to decorate the seam. I have a free ebook of patterns to accompany each set which illustrates how they can be used.

TO ORDER your Stitchers Templates

Crazy Quilt Templates set 1 you will find here 
Crazy Quilt Templates set 2 you will find here 


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50 Responses to How to work Algerian Eye Stitch

  1. Deb Caldwell says:


    I just learned about your great site and plan to use it in my “Year in Stitches” class at CEG London. A different stitch, or stitches, a day starting at “a”. I am really looking forward to it!

  2. Marci Roberts says:

    Looks like fun.

  3. Pamela Williamson-Stuart says:

    Absolutely beautiful Sharon, love everything, ♡♡

  4. Marjolein says:

    Hi Sharon,
    As I wanted to catch up I used this stitch to complete the flower spray which I embroidered with the knotted buttonhole stitch. The result is here:

  5. Annet says:

    My winter fabric book page for Maureen arrived, so I could write a post about it. I stitched Algerian eyes around a pulled thread snowflake:

  6. Rosie says:

    Just discovered the TAST challenge – what a fantastic idea, and just what I need to get me stitching again. Here’s my effort

  7. KathrynK in Blacklilck says:

    (later edit from Sharon B) Sorry Since Stitching Fingers is now closed this link is now dead

    I had fun with this week’s stitch:

  8. Annet says:

    I stitched a 2 x 2 inch sampler on Aida:
    I enjoyed stitching this.

  9. I’m on time this week – yay! Here’s my post about my (very small) sample of Algerian Eye stitch:

  10. playing with this stitch is so easy and pretty.
    I want todo some more.ofcourse later.
    Now my trial is at my blog.

  11. leelagovind says:

    here is my sampler for Algerian Eye Stitch..i did it on plastic canvas and put a lot of effort on this..

  12. I thought I would try a different background fabric for the stitch this week. As I am a drawn thread work tragic I loved working it.
    I have added it to the Flickr set:


  13. Faith says:

    Didn’t get as much done as I’d wanted to, but something is better than nothing.

  14. Jennifer says:

    another new stitch for me, thank you Sharon and everyone!

  15. Annet says:

    I used oyster stitches and Algerian eyes on a project I’m working on:
    There will be more, because I prepared a new Aida sampler to experiment with Algerian eyes.

  16. I have done this stitch before, but no complaints from me, I’m glad for the motivation.

  17. Isabelle says:

    I used the stitch of this week to embroider the second part of my little project. My daughter Pauline did too is row of stitch.

  18. Laurel says:

    Here’s my example of the Algerian Eye. The shapes that can be created from this stitch seem to be endless!

  19. Mariainez L. Ribeiro dos Santos says:


    Here is my work for this week.

  20. I’ve added to the sample I did for stitchfiles and produced another more contemporary one ,combined with my 1st attempt at cutwork 🙂

  21. here is my sampler of the week:
    I like play with this stitch . Thanks

  22. Claudia says:

    Hi Sharon and all,
    no complaints, I appreciate learning so many different kinds of stitches. Thanks, Sharon. Here is my exercise:

  23. christine says:

    Here are my eye stitch. An other nice stitch I didn’t practice…. http;//

  24. Lucy Landry says:

    no squawking here, I enjoyed this week’s stitch

  25. Brigitte Otto says:

    Did it again, pushing the post button without link:

  26. Brigitte Otto says:

    I’ve just uploaded my sample of Algerian Eye stitch – had a lot of fun with this one.

  27. Hello Sharon, this one also blew me away…………I love this stitch…………………..You can see my sample here…………………….
    Chris richards

  28. Luiz Vaz says:

    Hi Sharon & Friends, my post for the week. Thank you all.

  29. ValerieL says:

    I finished my sampler. I even did it on felt, and it worked great (but had to use a hoop this time). See it at:


  30. Carol Harper says:

    Here is my band of Algerian eyes…

    I’ve done this stitch a lot but never played with it before so I enjoyed altering orientation and stitch length as well as thread types.

  31. Carole Auden says:

    So, if people squawk or complain, is this because they have done this stitch over and over? I must be the only one on the planet then who has never played with this stitch. Thank you for creating the opportunity for me to have a go!

  32. Angela says:

    I have always wanted to try this stitch and this is what I needed to push to do it. Since it is a stitch that does not really lend itself the crazy quilting I have been doing I did it on paper. Just another surface I love to use.

  33. Hi Sharon, I used eyelet stitch on week 14 satin stitch mandala……..and yes you’ve guessed it……I love the stitch,
    so I’m certainly not complaining !!
    Thank you Sharon for all that you do,
    Chris richards

  34. Hi Sharon,
    I was inspired by your algerian eye stitches on your sampler. thanks for including this stitch on the challenge. my earlier worked sampler is here-
    Thank you,

  35. Liz Ozselcuk says:

    Though I have not been good about keeping up with TAST 2012 (what’s new?) I have always had the most fun with the least “promising” stitches……for me there’s more of a challenge to make something new and interesting out of something perceived as being common than mastering a more complex stitch that perhaps is not as versatile.

  36. Annet says:

    Great timing, it’s the perfect stitch for an embroidery I’m working on! Here’s my weekly post with old Algerian eyes:

  37. Faith says:

    I’m not going to complain. Since you had all those Algerian eye sections on your sampler, I’ve been thinking about it and now you’ve given me a push. Don’t know that I’ll do more than try the different ways you have shown here, but who knows what that might inspire.

  38. Peggy Kimble says:

    Now why would we squawk ? It is a lovely stitch, and now we don’t need to do it – you have done it beautifully for us. !! Best to you. Peg

    • sharonb says:

      Yes Peggy people do squawk but not necessarily publicly but via email. Most are polite about it but it is a case of some wanting more crazy quilting stitches others wanting more surface stitches, others wanting stitches used in drawn work or pulled work or canvas work etc. You would be surprised however just occasionally I get an email that is not so polite. But it’s a case of not being able to please all of the people all of the time so I aim to please some of the people some of the time!

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