BLOG / November 06 2017

Leaf Stitch – The new needlepoint

Leaf stitch is one of my favorite needlepoint stitches. I first shared this stitch on my blog back in 2010. I thought of revamping the whole idea of needlepoint with Leaf stitch so I created this easy and fun project to make a pair of coasters that look fresh and beautiful.

These colorful coasters will make a perfect gift for yourself, family, or friends. Get your materials and tools and start stitching!


Materials + Tools

  • 8.5 interlock needlepoint canvas (15” x 12” / 38 x 31 cm)
  • Worsted or sport weight yarn in 4 colors
  • Tapestry needle (size 16)
  • Embroidery scissors
  • Stretcher bars (optional but highly recommended)

Yarn. Use yarn that is thick enough to cover completely the canvas. The 8.5 interlock needlepoint canvas is usually covered by a worsted weight yarn; if you use a thinner yarn, such as a sport weight, use a double thread to provide sufficient coverage.

Canvas. The final size of your coaster will depend on the canvas you use. Any 12- to 8.5-count interlock canvas will work fine. The finer the canvas (or higher the count number), the smaller the coaster.

Mounting. You will get better results if you mount the canvas on stretcher bars (or on an old frame as I have done here). The benefit is that you’ll keep the canvas taut and straight at all times. The constant handling, warmth of the hands and stitch tension can distort the mesh resulting in crooked stitches.

Cut a piece of needlepoint canvas that’s the same size of your frame and use thumbtacks or staples to keep it in place. Attach a thumbtack or staple in the middle of each side carefully aligning the middle points of the frame with the canvas. Continue to attach thumbtacks or staples to each side of the previously attached ones until you reach the four corners. The only requisite is that you’ll need to clamp the frame to a table and stitch in a “stabbing” fashion. What’s that? To stab stitch means that you’ll complete a stitch in two movements: You’ll take the needle and thread the back of the canvas and then bring it back to the front again (as opposed to sew stitching).

Palette color guide

  • Very light color
  • Light color 1
  • Light color 2
  • Medium color

To achieve this organic pattern effect, choose four colors that build a gradient-like palette, ranging from very light to a medium color. Because you’ll make a coaster, look at your favorite mug for color inspiration. I have chosen two palettes, a cooler (ecru, light blues, and gray) and a warmer one (ecru, pink, caramel, and straw yellow) that will match my coffee and tea cups. The use of one variegated color (here, the pink and gray) also helps to mix all the shades together.

How to do it

Follow the stitch diagram above to complete one leaf. Bring your needle up in point 1 and take it down at 2. Continue with the following sequence until you complete all stitches. Take your needle to the back in point 22 (which is the same hole of point 2). Your first leaf is ready!

When you move to the next leaf, point 1 will be in the hole previously used by point 21.


How to finish your coaster

Once you have finished the stitching, cut the canvas around each coaster leaving a 3/4″ (2 cm) allowance. Trim the corners.

Fold each side to the back of the coaster. Using a double thread of sewing thread, secure each side with a whip stitch. You should only catch the folded canvas with the yarn stitches on the back; do not pass through to the right side. Once you have folded and stitched the four sides, do the same with the corners.


Make a paper template with the measurements of your finished coaster (measure from the line of the canvas fold to the opposite side). Use this template to cut a piece of felt for each coaster.

Use wool or blended wool felts so it will match nicely the stitched side. Wool felts (and blends) are softer and have a luxurious feel to it—definitely a fine touch to your coaster! If you can’t get wool felt, use craft or eco-friendly felts instead.

Put the felt piece on the back side of the coaster and keep it in place with baste stitches. Using sewing thread, stitch the edges of the felt to the folded line of the canvas with a whip stitch (use a color that will match your felt). Remove baste stitches.


Now, make yourself a cup of tea or coffee, sit back and enjoy your new coasters!


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