Sample Stitches

Backstitch onto Wheel

Blanket & Buttonhole Stitches

Braid Stitch

Brick Stitch

Brick Satin Stitch

Chain Stitch


Cretan Stitch

Fly Stitch

Foundation Wheel


Heavy Chain Stitch


Honeycomb Stitch

Lazy Daisy (or detached chain)

Roumanian stitch

Roumanian stitch

Running and Double Stitch

Satin Stitch

French Knot

Stem Stitch

Stem Stitch onto Wheel

Woven onto Wheel

Sample Stitches used in The great Tapestry of Scotland

Want to try your hand? Below we describe the key stitches used in the panels of The Great Tapestry of Scotland. Aand above you will see diagrams showing how to do each.

Braid stitch

Chain stitch

Bring the thread up at the top of the line and hold it down with the left thumb. Insert the needle where it last emerged and bring the point out a short distance away. Pull the thread through, keeping the working thread under the point of the needle. Repeat following the design line.

Detached chain stitch (lazy daisy)

Bring the thread through at A and, holding the thread down with the thumb, insert the needle again just a single thread away. Still holding the thread, bring the needle through at B. Keeping the working thread under the point of the needle, pull the thread through gently to form a small loop, then insert the needle at C to form a small tying stitch over the loop.

Cretan stitch

Bring the needle through to the right of the centre, then, with the needle pointing inwards, insert the needle onto the design line at the left, bringing it out once more to the left of centre, keeping the thread under the point of the needle, as shown. Insert the needle on the design line at the right, bringing it up again just to the right of the centre. Continue until the area is filled.

Buttonhole stitch

Bring the thread out on the lower line, insert the needle in position in the upper line and take a straight downward stitch, keeping the working thread under the point of the needle. Pull up the stitch to form a loop, and repeat.

Buttonhole stitch can be worked with many variations. To work in a circle, bring the needle to the front on the outer edge of the circle, and work the legs towards the centre, as shown. To work in a pinwheel to form a flower, the legs are all worked into the same central hole.


Lay down the cord or braid to be couched and with another thread catch it down with small, evenly spaced stitches worked at right-angles over the top.

Fly stitch

This stitch can be worked singly, in rows or as a filling stitch. Bring the thread through at the top left, hold it down with the left thumb and insert the needle to the right on the same level, a little distance from where the thread first emerged. Take a small stitch downwards to the centre with the thread below the needle. Pull through and insert the needle below the thread, as shown, to hold it in place, bringing the needle up again in position to work the next stitch. For an open fly stitch filling work as in Fig 2, or place the stitches closer together with a short tying stitch for a closed fly stitch filling.

French knots

Bring the thread out at the required position. Keep the thread taut, holding it firmly about 4 cm from where it emerges. Encircle the thread just once with the needle and, still holding the thread firmly, twist the needle back to the starting point, inserting it close to where the thread first emerged (not in the exact place or it will simply pull back through). Pull the taut thread so that the knot slides down the needle until it is touching the fabric. Pull the needle through to the back, leaving a small knot on the surface, as shown.

Honeycomb stitch

Based on back stitch, work this stitch as follows.
1. Bring the needle up at A and down at B.
2. Bring the needle up at C and take it back down at B.
3. Bring the needle up at C and down at D.
4. Bring the needle up at E and back down at D.
5. Bring the needle up at E and down at F.
When working subsequent rows, arrange the stitches as shown (fig 2).

Heavy chain stitch

This stitch makes a solid cord-like line. Start with a small, straight stitch A-B. Bring the needle out at C, slip it under the straight stitch without piercing the fabric and insert it once again at C.

Bring the needle back through at D, a little below C, take it under the straight stitch once again and insert it again at D.

Bring the needle through at E, a little below D, slip it under the two previous chain loops without piercing the fabric, as shown, and then insert once again at E. Continue to work along the design line, always taking the needle under the two previously worked loops.

Herringbone stitch

Bring the needle out at A on the lower line at the left side and insert on the upper line a little to the right at B, taking a small stitch to the left to C. Next insert the needle on the lower line a little to the right at D and take a small stitch to the left (E). Repeat as shown, making sure that the stitches are of equal size and evenly spaced.

Closed herringbone stitch

This stitch is worked in the same way as herringbone stitch, but the stitches are worked so that the diagonal stitches touch at the top and bottom.

Roumanian stitch

Bring the needle out at the top left of the shape and make a straight stitch to the other side, keeping the thread below the needle and bringing it back through in the centre (fig 1). Take a small, slanting stitch over the straight stitch, as shown (fig 2), bringing the needle back through at the left side. Continue in this way until the shape is filled. The stitches can be worked close together, as shown, or spaced further apart.

Running stitch

Pass the needle in and out of the fabric, making the surface stitches of equal length.

Satin stitch

Work straight stitches closely together across the shape, as shown. Take care to keep the edge even, and if you are following an outline marked on the fabric, take your stitches to the outside of the line so that the marked line does not show. To give a good edge, stem, back or chain stitch can be worked around the outline; stitches should be taken over the stitched outline.

Stem stitch

Work from left to right, taking regular small stitches along the line of the design. The thread always emerges on the left side of the previous stitch. This stitch can also be worked as a filling stitch if worked closely together within a shape until it is completely filled.

Surface darning

Work straight stitches across the shape, as shown (fig 1). The stitches can be of different length depending on the shape to be covered. When the stitches are laid in one direction, bring the needle up through the fabric at the edge of a shape and weave by passing the needle under and over the stitches to the edge of the shape. Turn and repeat the action passing the needle under and over the stitches so that they alternate with the previous row (fig 2). Don’t pull the thread too tightly or the shape will distort.

Turkey stitch (tufting)

This stitch produces a series of closely worked loops which can be trimmed to create a raised pile.
1. Insert the needle on the front at A. Pull the thread through, leaving a tail on the front. Bring the needle back up at B. Insert again at C and bring it out at A, pulling the thread through to form a back stitch.
2. Insert the needle at D, bringing it out at C. Pull through, keeping the thread towards the top to form a loop.
3. Holding the tail and loop flat with your thumb, work the required number of loops in this way.
4. Work in rows until the shape is filled. The rows may be aligned, or offset as shown here (Fig 4). To keep the loops an even size, you may find it helpful to work the loops over a needle or crochet needle (for small loops) or over a strip of card (for bigger loops).

Wheel stitches (spider’s web)

All of these stitches begin with a number of straight stitches radiating from a central point. The straight stitches, which should be of equal length, can be worked on the flat fabric or over a large bead.
Woven wheel Begin with an uneven number of spokes in the star. Work around the wheel weaving under and over the spokes as shown.
Back stitch wheel
Work clockwise and pick up each spoke, as shown. This can be worked over any number of spokes.
Stem stitch wheel
Work anti-clockwise and pick up each spoke, as shown. This can be worked over any number of spokes.