How to work Algerian Eye 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 embroiderer’s 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 a 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 larger the central hole becomes.

If you want to 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 



  1. Hi

    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!

    Deb Caldwell
  2. 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!

    Carole Auden
  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

    1. 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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