How to work Bouclé Stitch

Bouclé Stitch Sample1Bouclé Stitch is a stitch that can be worked on any grid. It is a normally used as a canvas work stitch (also known as needlepoint) but it also can be worked on any fabric that is an even weave. So you can use it on foundation fabrics such as Aida and linen apart from working it traditionally on mono or interlock canvas.

Bouclé stitch is a textured stitch worked within a square.I discovered it in an old book on Canvas stitches by Mary Rhodes titled Dictionary of Canvas Work Stitches.

The trick to this stitch is to match the yarn carefully to the size of the stitch you want to work. Too thick and the texture is so tight you cant see too much effect and too thin and Bouclé Stitch sits flat on the fabric not doing much at all. If you have an interesting thick thread work larger stitches to show off the thread to its best advantage. Also there is no reason why the loops could be one thread and the bars another.

A final tip is on the second pass work the loops quite loose as then the texture of the stitch fills out producing an interesting surface that looks a little like Bouclé.

How to work Bouclé stitch

Bouclé stitch stitch can be worked in a square over any number of threads.

Bouclé Stitch Step 1Work a line of even diagonal stitches with the top each stitch angled toward the right. Have each stitch firm against the fabric, but not too tight as when you create the loops on the second pass these stitches need to be able to pull to one side a little.

Bouclé Stitch Step 2Bring your thread from the back at the top left hand corner of the stitch. To make the first loop take your needle over the top of the bar and pass it under the bar. As you pass under the bar make sure your needle points towards the top left hand corner as illustrated.

Bouclé Stitch Step 3To complete the loop insert the needle back into the fabric at the top left hand corner of the stitch. In the same action bring your needle out at the top right corner of the stitch, as illustrated.

Bouclé Stitch Step 4Work along the line adding a loop to each diagonal stitch.

Bouclé Stitch Step 5For the second part of the stitch. Take your thread back to the start of the row and work a second row of diagonal stitches inserting and exiting your needle at the same hole of the fabric as the first row of diagonal stitches.

Bouclé Stitch Step 6Don’t tension these too tight as the next row of loops will pull them slightly.

Bouclé Stitch Step 7Work a row of loops on each of the diagonal threads using the same method as you did the top line.

Bouclé Stitch Step 8This sample is worked in cotton perle #5 so you can see the structure of the stitch. Worked on a finer fabric Bouclé stitch produces a braid like line or a textured fill.

Bouclé Stitch Sample 2I hope you enjoy exploring Bouclé Stitch!

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Rice Stitch and varieties

Rice stitch detailThis tutorial offers a step by step illustration of Rice Stitch and explores some of its variations including a stitch called Boss Stitch.

Sampler detail 158 Rice stitch is also known as Crossed Corners and William and Mary stitch. This is thought of as a canvas stitch, but as you can see it can be worked on aida or linen too.

Sampler detail 164
At first glance it looks a little boring but it is tremendously versatile. It is known as a canvas stitch background because it can be easily worked and covers the ground quickly. To be honest I am a little addicted to it as I love mixing my threads in the different layers or parts of the stitch.
Don’t let the fact that it is and canvas stitch put you off however because many of the canvas stitches can be worked on Aida (like the samples illustrated) or any even weave fabric with great effect. If you want to work it on other fabric or over an area of crazy patchwork use waste canvas.

How to work Rice Stitch

This is an illustrated step by step on how you work Rice stitch. As you can see it is very simple consisting of a cross stitch foundation with a second layer of diagonal stitches added to each arm of the cross.

Rice stitch illustrated stepsHow to work Variety 1 and 2 of Rice Stitch

I want to share 2 varieties (there are a lot more) As you can see they all have the same structure

Rice stitch V1 illustrated stepsThis variety is a cross worked over more threads so that the diagonal stitches sit apart slightly.
Rice stitch V2 illustrated stepsThe next variety has 3 diagonal stitches worked across each bar.

Rice stitch sample 2You can really have fun with this stitch particularly if you change threads. You can use one thread or colour for the large cross and another thread of colour for the corner tie downs. Swap between thick and thin, metallic and dull or explore colour combinations. Change the size of your stitches and you can always add beads or French knots to really give the stitch a contrast of texture. It is one of those simple stitches that can produce interesting results.

Rice stitch sample 1

I hope you enjoy experimenting with Rice Stitch.

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