The turkey work stitch is my absolute favorite embroidery stitch because it’s relatively simple to learn but adds so much texture to any embroidery piece. This stitch is fuzzy and is very similar to the stitches made with rug hooking.
How To Do The Turkey Work Stitch
- Go down through the fabric and leave a tail.
- Come up directly to the left of the stitch you just made.
- Go down through the fabric directly to the right of the stitch.
- Come up through the fabric through the same hole the very first stitch was made.
- Repeat the process, this time leaving a loop.
When you are finished, you will have two tails and a bunch of loops of thread. Trim the tails/loops to the desired height.
Ways to Use The Turkey Work Stitch
Mini Umbrella Tutorial
This stitch is a fun one to use to add frilly details to things. It really adds that little something extra when you need it. Naturally, a cute beach umbrella always looks better with a bit of fringe!
- For the umbrella, split stitch the outline using 2 strands of light blue.
- Fill in the 2 outer panels with horizontal satin stitches using 4 strands of light blue, overlapping the stitches over top of the split stitches you made. This will allow you to achieve a neater, more uniform edge to your stitches.
- Fill in the center panel with 4 strands of white floss the same way you did the light blue panels.
- Chain stitch the poll with 2 strands of medium brown.
Make 1 row of stitches underneath each of the umbrella panels, making sure to curve along the shape. (Use 1 strand of thread for each panel, stopping and starting the stitches each time.) The loops of stitches should be facing down as pictured, so you’ll need to work this “upside-down” or opposite of the instructions above.
Trim the pile to the length you want. You may need to iron it to get it to lay nicely. Once you’re happy with it, you have yourself some turkey work umbrella fringe!
Here are two embroidery patterns I have created that use this fun embroidery stitch.
Amanda is a hand embroidery artist and teacher. With over 15 years of experience in the craft industry and embroidery, she owns and runs Crewel Ghoul, sharing tutorials and patterns to help inspire fellow crafters to get inspired and creative. In addition to running this website, she teaches on Skillshare and Youtube.