Stitches F – J! from the Traveling Needle

What a busy week it has been!  I’ve been continuously delighted, time and time again, by the many talented artisans that The Traveling Needle has found in South Carolina!  Stay tuned on the blog for creations by Sari Kandel and phenomenal canvas painter and teacher and as well words of great wisdom and advice regarding needlepoint fibers from Geri Rihn.  How blessed are we to stumble upon these amazing talents?  In the meantime (while I am writing up their blogs) lets dine back into the wonderful world of needlepoint stitches.  We have covered A-E in a previous blog, now let’s tackle F-J.  I searched high and low for a stitch that starts with an “I” and could not find one….if any of you know of one please message me and I will put it in!  Until then here are some of my favorite stitches F-J with two from J, to cover the lack of an “I” stitch…



The Flat Pattern:  This pattern is fantastic for buildings, walkways, clothes and large background areas.


To work Flat Pattern, stitch each “block” as a unit.  When this is finished, continue on to the next one.This pattern is excellent for large areas and backgrounds.



Ginger Jars:  What a FUN stitch this is.  Don’t be intimidated; looks complex but once you get going it is a fun stitch!  This is great fro foliage and clothing.


To stitch Ginger Jars, start on the left and make a series of upside-down V’s, all the way to the end of the row.  (Dark blue)  Then, when you finish the row, make the next row of upright V’s, traveling back to the left side of the canvas.  Start another row of upside down V’s and continue stitching in this manner until you complete the area.

To finish, make the perpendicular and parallel straight lines. (Light blue and black)

It is best to create Ginger Jars in two different colors or threads.  If you wish for pattern only and no contrast, stitch in only one.



The Herringbone:  A beautiful classic that is perfect for clothes, foliage, birds, buildings and backgrounds.


To work Herringbone, come up in the corner and travel down over 2 intersections on the canvas.  You will go back down under the canvas and come back up next to the previous stitch.  Now, travel up 2 intersections and pass your needle under the canvas.  Repeat this process until you have reach the end of the row.  (Follow the pink row.)

For the second row, you may need to use a second needle or your fingernail to come back up to the topside of the canvas.  Continue doing this until you have reached the bottom of the area in which you want to fill in.  (Yellow rows)

Please note:  You will make the first row on the top of the canvas and work your way down.  Never start in the middle or lower portion of your area.


Sadly I could not uncover and “I” stitch – so for this letter we encourage Individuality and creativity!



Because there was not an “I” stitch we are going to highlight two “J” stitches!  The first…

The John Stitch:  This is a great stitch for clothing, especially if you did it with to colors.  If you choose to stitch with just one color the John looks fantastic in any area.  In one color this is a truly multi-purpose stitch!


Work a standard continental stitch from the top of the canvas to the bottom, within the stitch area.  When you have finished going down the length of your stitching area, work your way back up.  Skip the long stitches as you sew this pattern if you are stitching in two colors.  When the stitch area is finished, fill in the long stitches with another thread or color.

If you wish to make John a bit more subtle and work in any background or area, stitch all in one color and just sew the long stitches into your pattern as you go.


The Jus Stitch:  This is a beautiful multi-layered stitch that looks fantastic when used for rolling hills, borders or certain types of clothing.


To stitch the Jus, begin on the left-hand side of the canvas, making a series of upside-down V’s, all the way to the end of the row.  (blue lines) Then, make the next row of upright V’s, and continue stitching rows in this way until you have filled the area.  Once the area has been filled, you are ready to stitch the straight, perpendicular lines.  (also blue)  The last portion of this stitch is the slashed cross.  (blue/green)

We have to be honest – this week it was hard to pick just one stitch per letter….there are so many.  We found ourselves diving into Stitches to Go by Suzanne Howren and Beth Robertson over and over to the point that our copy is now dog-eared and highlighted to death!!  The art of needlepoint is so amazing – and we’re just at the very beginning of this journey – and am so thankful that we are on it with all of you!

Lots more going on this week.  Tickets are being secured for the Traveling Needle to head to Belize in January to work with schools and teach them the craft of knitting.  Then in February the Needle will head to New York, dive into the garment district and meet with some fiber specialists boy are we are excited for this trip and to share what we learn there!  In the meantime the Needle will continue traveling around and exploring all of the offerings in South Carolina:  we have shared that Hilton Head has a true treasure of a shop with Needlepoint Junction – next we will head to Charleston and see what the Needle digs up there!

As always, thank you for coming along on the adventures of The Traveling Needle!

PS. You can find her blog at