Christmas greetings: Festive Noel and Ho Ho Ho embroidery patterns

My workspace over the past year or so has been filled with scribbled letters, sketched alphabets and pencilled stitch ideas. These slowly but surely morphed into embroidered hand lettering and typography, monograms and alphabets, which in turn became patterns for my online shops.

So it didn’t surprise me when I was drawn to an idea from a few years back that involved festive words filled with cheer for this year’s Christmas patterns. 

There are two patterns: Noel and Ho Ho Ho. 

Noel is slightly more traditional with its red, green, silver-grey and white embroidery. But I’ve used fresh, crisp shades of these Christmassy colours to keep the look contemporary. The stitches making up the details inside each letter are interesting, if slightly more involved, but the design doesn’t take all that long to embroider, with just four filled letters.

Ho Ho Ho was designed with beginner embroiderers in mind, but it’s also a good pattern for those looking for a quick project to finish in a day. There are fewer stitches, although enough of a variety to keep the embroidery interesting to do. And I’ve gone with less conventional thread colours for a different spin on Christmas.

Noel would look good framed on a mantelpiece alongside carved wooden reindeer or pinecones and I can picture Ho Ho Ho embroidered on a Christmas stocking. The patterns are available on Etsy and Craftsy.

Letterpress, the embroidered version

Letterpress, an embroidered alphabet inspired by old letterpress letters, is finally here.

Months in the making, this turned into rather a challenging design to embroider - a balancing act between colour and weighting.

I wanted to use bold, quite deep colours and limited the palette to just six thread colours. This meant quite a bit of chopping and changing as I stitched, to keep the colour distribution even.

The other aspect that made it tricky was weighting. The idea was to fill or part-fill quite a few of the letters to add substance to the design and bring in some new stitch ideas, but I had to be careful not to allow the overall design to appear lopsided. It became a case of evenly distributing the more "solid" letters among the more "open" letters and colour played a big part in this, too.

The pattern is available on Etsy and Craftsy

Arrow Alphabet, a typographic embroidery pattern

The journey my Arrow Alphabet design took was a long one, beginning with the arrow design on one of the pouches in the pattern.

It was initially an embroidered appliqué design that I put forward as part of an editorial project that didn't pan out. I liked it though, and kept the design on file for more than a year. While working on another editorial project, I experimented with bands of satin stitch. I loved the way it turned out and knew the idea would work equally well for the arrow design I'd filed away.


I'd been working on embroidered alphabets on and off and with arrows on the brain, it didn't take long to match embroidery stitches to arrow parts. I liked the way the letters were quite different to the ones I'd embroidered before - skinny and almost delicate - and so went ahead with the design to complement my other alphabets.

A zippered pouch was the perfect shape for the large arrow design and, as I was in need of some, I made a second one to see how the alphabet worked when customised, in this case embroidering my initials. Hopefully you'll agree they turned out well, despite a glitch in the sewing phase that sent me back to the drawing board: I was keen to try out a different way of making pouches that I thought might result in a neater finish, which worked well in the end. 

The smaller pouch is the perfect size for pens, pencils and other stationery and the larger, arrow pouch can comfortably hold a sketch or stitch book up to A5 in size as well as needlework paraphernalia - a nice way to take your work on holiday or to a class. 

The thread colours of the embroidered alphabet were chosen in conjunction with the natural linen fabric of the pouches, which I've lined with matching light yellow and taupe cotton fabric. And the white zips add an element of freshness to the finished pouches.

The patterns are available on Etsy and Craftsy.


Blue Bird, a free pattern in celebration of World Embroidery Day

A while back, I came across a stack of embroidery files in a charity shop, one of which contained some old transfers. There were a lot of floral designs, but in among them was this cheeky bird, cut into three pieces.

I imagine someone had a plan for the transfer, but didn't get around to it as it hadn't been used.

Something about the design lodged in my mind and when I began thinking about putting together a free design to celebrate a day dedicated to embroidery, this little bird popped back into the forefront.

I've rearranged elements from the transfer to create a design that fits into a 6-inch embroidery hoop. It lent itself to hoop framing, in my mind.

So set aside some time to embroider this month, especially on 30 July (it's a Saturday). And if you decide to stitch Blue Bird and share it on social media, use the hashtags #WorldEmbroideryDay and then #KFNeedlework so I can find your version. Or tag me @kfneedlework on Instagram.

The free pattern is available to download from my Craftsy shop.

Embroidered insect #7: Anatomical Wasp

I seem to be on a bit of an insect-slash-superhero bent. Whereas I loved the shape and structure of the ant, the striking colours and delicate wings were what drew me to the wasp.

Anatomical Wasp hand embroidery pattern by Kelly Fletcher

And this one looks very much like a superhero to me, despite its anatomical correctness. Coincidentally, Marvel’s Wasp and Ant-Man were among the founding members of the Avengers, if you’ve seen the recent films.

But the first Wasp character I was drawn to was Lisbeth Salander from Stieg Larsson’s Millenium trilogy. She’s the girl with the dragon tattoo and the hacker name of Wasp, after the Marvel character if I remember correctly.

Either way, this is my new favourite of all the insects I’ve embroidered. Probably because it’s the most recent, but also because the wings turned out better than I’d hoped and the colours are so enticing.

If you feel the same way, the pattern is available in my Etsy and Craftsy stores.