Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Autumn Stitching: Free Designs & Projects


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It’s that time of year when many of us – not all of us, true, but many of us – start to delve into seasonal stitching.

Because hand embroidery is a slow process, it makes sense to stitch a season or two ahead, depending on your project. But sometimes, seasonal changes dictate The Mood. For me, I know when that first autumn chill hits, I suddenly want to stitch anything and everything Autumn. And as the daylight hours shorten, I am prone to be inside earlier and ready to take evening handwork for longer stretches of time.

For me, autumn stitching doesn’t necessarily have to be on a particularly autumnal design; it might just be stitching with those autumn colors that I love so much! The vibrant palettes and the muted palettes of this time of year tug at my little autumn-loving heart strings with great ferocity! They are color palettes that I find hard to resist.

But for most stitchers, it’s more of a question of what to stitch. Once you have the design, you can pull your own favorite seasonal colors of threads out and put them to work.

Today, I’d like to share a collection of hand embroidery designs and embroidery projects that are autumn-themed, most of which you can find right here on Needle ‘n Thread for absolutely nothing. The designs work great on household linens, in small frames, for hoop art, accent pieces, and anywhere you can conceive of using embroidery. Maybe one of the designs will spark your interest and awaken that Autumn Mood in you, too!

Autumn Embroidery Designs and projects on Needle 'n Thread

If you’ve been hanging around Needle ‘n Thread for a while, you’ll likely recognize many of these projects. Maybe the list will serve as a little nudge, though, for something you’ve forgotten about!

If you’re new to Needle ‘n Thread in the last few years, many of these may be new to you.

Here’s a list with links to the designs or projects:

A Maple Leaf – the quintessential autumn leaf, ready to stitch. You might just use it as an accent on a linen, towel, or the like, using line stitches. But you might go all out with long and short stitch shading and work your own needle painted masterpiece!

Leafy Corner – perfect for a quick stitching project with just a touch of fall. It’s also well-suited for tambour embroidery.

Turkey – a bit juvenile, but fun!

Blackwork autumn leaves – meant to be worked on a grid, if you want to work it on plain weave, you’ll find ideas on how to do that here.

Wheat Tile – formal, attractive bunch of wheat, it would look great as a corner motif.

Scarecrow and Pumpkins – Juvenile, true, but lots of possibilities to dress him up!

Pumpkin Basket – this comes with a pattern and a stitch guide with instructions.

Fall Acorn Border – another quicker study, depending on how you stitch it. If you want to go all out, you could fill the leaves and the acorns!

Smalls for Autumn – they would make interesting jewelry inserts (which is what the article is about), but they’d also work up into fall-themed scissor fobs, mini ornaments, and whatnot. If you own Lavender Honey & Other Little Things, you could use the finishing instructions in there to make ornaments, fobs, and little needle books with these designs.

Autumn Leaves & Acorns – an fall kaleidoscope pattern. I’ve already seen a gorgeous interpretation of this, stitched up, in the Needle ‘n Thread Community on Facebook. It’s a fun design and works up beautifully.

Autumn Fire – this is a Stitch Snippet stitch along project from 2022, featuring a small autumn tree. The index will take you to the free pattern and all the stitching instructions.

In this index of projects with patterns and stitching instructions from 2021, you’ll find a project that features realistic wheat stitched five different ways and you’ll find a “sampler” featuring a bunch of grapes, both of which would be excellent starting points for some fall stitching.

Although it isn’t free (sorry!), probably one of the most popular designs here on Needle ‘n Thread happens to be this autumn Leafy Tree project that comes with a full kit and downloadable PDF. I only have a few of those left in stock, but if you’re hankering for a fun challenge, it’s a good one!

I hope you enjoy this list! If you’re looking for more, you can find an index of more free hand embroidery designs available here.

In Stock!

Lately, we’ve stocked up the shop again with several things that we’d run low on – poppy needle threaders (singles and sets), hoops of all sizes, thread drops, all the color palettes of floche, metallic thread sets (just in time for sparkly holiday stitching), and natural linen fabric sample packs. If you’ve been waiting on any of the above, they’re in!

I’ve also got Margaret Light’s beautiful book A Fine Tradition 2 on sale for $10 off and reduced shipping. The cover piece on that book is ideal for autumn!


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