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Twisted Stitches


This design is based on three techniques I learned from Jean Hilton. Jean’s first book (Jean Hilton's Needlepoint Stitches, Westminster, California, 1988) was published around the same time as Watercolours and other overdyed threads hit the market. Together they have been a dynamite combination!


1 piece #18 mono canvas, color of your choice, 5" x 5"
Watercolours or Impressions
65 seed beads
embroidery floss to match canvas color
#10 crewel needle
#24 tapestry needle

Stitching Directions:

The gray areas on the Master Chart correspond to the horizontal and vertical centers of the design.

Find the center of your canvas and count 2 threads down and 1 to the left to begin the center Jessica. A Jessica can be any size and creates the illusion of a circle, using straight lines; we'll be stitching a much larger Jessica in Step 3. Using 1 strand of Watercolours or Impressions, stitch a small Jessica following the innermost numbers on the Master Chart. When working a Jessica, you always come up on the outside of previously placed stitches and go down on the inside of those stitches. Note that stitch 21 – 22 slides under stitch 1 – 2; stitch 23 – 24 slides under stitches 1 – 2 and 3 – 4. End off your thread.

Count 8 threads down and 1 thread left from where you began the Jessica and begin stitching the Walneto stitch according to middle set of numbers on the Master Chart. Use 1 strand of Watercolours or Impressions. Place stitches 1 – 2, 3 – 4, 5 – 6, and 7 – 8 as you normally would. When stitching from 9 to 10, come up at 9, slide your needle under the previously placed 1 – 2 and 7 – 8 stitches, and then go down at 10; similarly, come up at 11, slide your needle under the previously placed 1 – 2 and 3 – 4 stitches, and then go down at 12. The arrows on the diagram indicate the direction in which your needle slides under previously placed stitches. Each row slides under all previous rows. End off your thread when you've finished the stitch.

Count 5 threads down and 1 thread left from where you began the Walneto to start the large Jessica. Again use 1 strand Watercolours or Impressions. The numbers follow sequentially around the circle, but be very careful as you stitch to avoid skipping a hole. You may find it helpful to use your laying tool to gently push the stitches aside to find the proper hole. Starting with stitch 155 – 156, make sure to slide the stitches under the previously placed stitches. End off your thread when you’ve finished the stitch.

A bead cluster can be used whenever you have an area of canvas 2 threads by 2 threads to cover. We’re going to place one in the center of the design and another 12 evenly spaced around the perimeter. The black boxes on the Master Chart indicate the center of each bead cluster. The general appearance is shown on the left below and the stitching diagram is given on the right. Using a #10 crewel needle and 1 strand of embroidery floss doubled in the needle, securely anchor the thread. Come up at 1, thread 2 beads on the needle and go down at 2. Come up at 3, thread another 2 beads on the needle and go down at 4. Use your fingernail or a laying tool to arrange the beads like the four corner beads on the chart below left. Come up at 5, thread 1 bead on the needle, and go down at 6. This bead should sit in the middle of the other 4 beads. Come up again at 7, run your needle through this last bead and go back down at 8. This final stitch locks the bead in place.

Bead Cluster Appearance   Bead Cluster Stitching Sequence


Twisted Stitches may be finished as a round box insert or ornament. Round boxes and ornament frames are available at your local needlework shop. To finish as a box insert, follow the directions supplied with the box. To finish as an ornament, use a 2" round gold frame. Center the design in the frame and trace the opening on your canvas. I used the plastic circle to trace. Run a line of white glue along the traced outline. Let glue dry thoroughly. Cut canvas along glued line (the glue will stop the canvas from coming apart) and place in frame.

Master Chart:

For more information, contact Neon Flamingo Designs

Copyright 1996-2002 Patricia Timpanaro
All Rights Reserved.
Last modified: January 31, 2002