Happy Christmas 2023 to all who read and subscribe to my weekly blog.

I appreciate that you’re here, so I’d like to give a little something back.

Have you given Canvas Work a go?


Canvas work is a form of counted thread embroidery, worked on open weave canvas using a range of threads and stitches to create depth and movement.

It’s a wonderful technique where after a little planning, the stitches almost take care of themselves.


And it’s so relaxing once the stitches and threads are chosen.  Just sit back and stitch.

But the planning phase is important, simply to ensure you have enough space and that the stitches will do what you want them to do.

In this case, I knew I wanted a medallion-style design – perfect when worked in a simple Christmas colourway of red, white, and green.

And the design isn’t all that difficult or time-consuming.

I worked from two great resources – one was a wonderful book ‘Dictionary of Canvas Work Stitches’ by Mary Rhodes published in 1980 for inspiration and counting to ensure the stitches would fit together – still a great resource for the clever stitcher and the other was English embroiderer Sarah Homfray’s YouTube channel.

Now I suggest you watch Sarah’s innovative working of Norwich stitch as, sure enough, my book had numbers everywhere for this stitch making it look extremely complicated.  Sarah’s technique is much simpler.

So if you’d like to create something similar to my design, here are the stitches I used in order from the centre outwards.


  • Norwich Stitch – here’s a link to Sarah Homfray’s YouTube channel showing how to work this stitch
  • Rhodes stitch – here’s a link to Sarah Homfray’s YouTube channel showing how to work this stitch
  • Square Eyelet stitch – here’s a link to Sarah Homfray’s YouTube channel showing how to work this stitch
  • A row of simple Cross Stitch in green
  • Next is a diagonal straight stitch or Scotch stitch worked in opposing directions – here is a link to Sarah Homfray’s YouTube channel showing how to work this stitch
  • Cushion Crossed-cornered is worked in green in each corner
  • A row of simple Cross Stitch in red
  • A row of small white sequins and beads
  • Three rows of Cross Upright also known as Straight Cross
  • Finished with a row of cross stitch in gold
  • The canvas was painted with a gold marker before stitching
  • I’ve used sequins and beads as highlights
  • Plus I’ve used four small wooden beads simply wrapped in red silk to finish each corner
  • A small doyley painted in white was cut and used on each corner of the first green border
  • Cake decorating stamens were used in the centre for yet another texture
  • I did finish the central square with some Indian cord and worked a backstitch feature in Madeira gold between the first green and white rows of stitching

This little door token was enjoyable to make, but don’t hesitate to incorporate your selection of stitches and embellishments – just remember to count and count again to make sure those stitches fit.

I hope you enjoy Canvas work – it’s an old technique, but a good one.

Thank you for your support throughout this year and my best wishes to each of you for a very Merry Christmas.

I’m looking forward to an amazing and creative 2024.


All views and opinions expressed are my own, except where acknowledged information is included from other sources.