I bet you already have all you need to make these lovely woven patches: a small amount of yarn, a large blunt needle, a piece of cardboard (cereal box cardboard works!) and scissors. These patches are great for covering worn-out elbows or holes or just for embellishing your favorite knits.

For this project I chose to work with a monochromatic palette. What’s that about? It’s a color scheme built of varying intensities of the same hue (pink, in this case). I also added some warm neutrals for achieving contrast and texture. Why did I choose this scheme? The monochromatic scheme is safe to work with as you are juggling varying intensities of the same color rather than different hues therefore you can get a more controlled look which will be easier to match to your wardrobe.

(Interested in learning more about color schemes? In my book Colour Confident Stitching I explain the meaning and preferred use of color schemes and how to build a beautiful color palette).

Got all the materials with you? Scroll down to find the directions for these woven patches and start the fun!




Apuesto que ya tienes en casa todo lo que necesitas para hacer estos parches tejidos: un poco de lana, una aguja de lana grande y con punta roma, un trozo de cartón (el cartón de las cajas de cereales funciona perfecto) y tijeras. Estos parches son geniales para cubrir codos gastados o agujeros o solo para adornar tus tejidos favoritos.

Para este proyecto decidí trabajar con una paleta monocromática. ¿De qué se trata? Es una combinación de colores que se construye a partir de distintas intensidades de un mismo color (en este caso rosado). También le incorporé algunos neutrales cálidos para ganar algo de contraste y textura. ¿Por qué la escogí? Una armonía monocromática es segura de trabajar ya que solo compatibilizas versiones de un mismo color en vez de varios colores distintos lo que ayuda a conseguir una apariencia más controlada y fácil de combinar con el resto del guardarropa.

(¿Te interesa aprender más sobre combinaciones de color? En mi libro Colour Confident Stitching explico el significado y uso sugerido para estas combinaciones).

¿Ya tienes contigo los materiales? Sigue leyendo que abajo vienen las instrucciones para tejer estos parches.


How to weave a patch

1. Cut a circle of cardboard and draw a grid on it. The circle here is roughly 9 cm of diameter with a grid of 4 mm. Draw an inner circle 4 mm smaller and cut slits in all vertical lines. Don’t go through the inner circle line.
2. Secure the tail of your yarn on the back with masking tape and start running the vertical threads through the slits until you cover the whole circle.
3. Start weaving in the middle using a blunt needle. Go under the first thread, then over the second one, under the following and so on. In the next row invert the sequence: go over the the first one (note you are working now from the opposite side), under the next one and then over the following thread and so on. The third row starts from the same side as the first one following the same sequence.
4. You can change the colours of the yarn or experiment with different sequences, for example, going over two threads and under one for a herringbone effect.
5. When finished remove carefully the cardboard circle or tear it if necessary.
6. Hand wash your patch, weave in all tails and sew it to the material to be mended (I used sewing thread) tucking in all the border loops.




Cómo tejer un parche de lana

1. Corta un círculo de cartón y dibuja una grilla en este. Este círculo mide aprox. 9 cm de diámetro con una grilla cuadriculada de 4 mm. Dibuja un círculo al interior 4 mm más pequeño y haz pequeños cortes en todas las líneas verticales. No pases de la línea del círculo interior.
2. Fija con cinta de papel por el reverso el extremo de la lana y comienza a pasar los hilos verticales a través de las hendiduras hasta completar todo el círculo.
3. Empieza a tejer en el medio usando una aguja de punta roma. Pasa por debajo del primer hilo, luego sobre el segundo, debajo del siguiente y así sucesivamente. En la siguiente corrida invierte la secuencia: pasa sobre el primer hilo (fíjate que ahora se trabaja desde el lado opuesto), bajo el segundo y luego sobre el siguiente y así. La tercera corrida comienza del mismo lado de la primera y siguiendo la misma secuencia.
4. Puedes ir variando los colores de la lana o experimentar con distintas secuencias, por ejemplo, pasar sobre dos hilos y bajo uno para un efecto de espiga.
5. Cuando esté terminado remueve cuidadosamente el círculo de cartón, rómpelo si es necesario.
6. Lava a mano tus parches, mete con la aguja todos los extremos sueltos y cóselo al material que va a ser remendado (para esto usé hilo de coser) doblando hacia adentro todos los lacitos del borde.

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Next time you feel your embroidery is taking too long, remind yourself that embroidering is more of a marathon than a sprint. It requires a lot of training and several stages until you cross the finish line. I’ve outlined the timeline I followed for this fruit sampler—the whole run took me around 40 days!

Motif. I used a design I had created years before for block-printing. The clean lines and geometric shapes offered enough surface for practising and allowed to render each fruit freely in the stitch’s own language. Tip: Out of ideas? Check the patterns in your upholstered furniture, pillow covers, totes and see which ones you can use for embroidering.

Colour. I visited the Design Episodes exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago and immediately loved the colours of this bold teapot (Fleetline by Peter Shire for Memphis). I took a picture and kept it for my reference (I can’t resist a combination with blue, pink and neutrals). Tip: In my book Colour Confident Stitching you can find a step-by-step guide to capture and use colours from inspiring sources.

Stitch plan. Using an outline of the motif, I decided on the stitches I’d use in each section and the direction they’d take. I considered the texture each stitch brought into the composition and positioned them so as to get a balanced piece.

Tracing. I cut out the motifs from thick paper with a fine utility knife; I then use every cut piece as a stencil or template to trace the whole design (this helps to keep a clean line when tracing on fabric as compared to doing it freehand).

Stitch sequence. If I’m teaching, the order goes from easiest to most complex. For other cases, I start with flat stitches and leave more textured or delicate ones for the end or start with stitches from background shapes and move toward foreground elements.

Ready to go? See below how my students did with the sampler! Some of them finished almost in time while others took a slower pace. One of them complained that stranded and pearl cotton were too thin for her to see and stitch comfortably. So I suggested that she blew everything up: use wool yarn instead of embroidery floss and stitch the enlarged motifs on an open weave fabric (such as linen) so she could work at a totally different dimension. And it worked!





I’m so happy to finally announce that my first book Colour Confident Stitching is ready! It’s been loooong months of work so being able to actually touch it and browse through its pages feels like a dream come true.

Colour Confident Stitching will help you create beautiful colour palettes for your projects. It does not matter how many times you feel you have failed in the past when choosing colours. The good news is that colour is a skill that can be learned. We all have the potential to shine just by learning the process and putting it into practice. Although the focus here is embroidery, the theory and process of creating colour palettes has many potential applications beyond stitching.

Get started with this book that brings together tips on how to discover and dissect a world of colour and harmony into palettes, grids and stitches to build your own interpretation. Through a simple and yet thorough understanding of color theory, I share concepts, tools and explanations to recognise, understand and combine colours that can be applied to any kind of creative project. Colour Confident Stitching walks you through wonderful visual narratives that were conceived especially for this book. With my camera I take you on a trip around the streets, into the home and those small surprises that provide vivid examples of the core premise: anyone can train to capture and build their own colour palettes.

Colour Confident Stitching : How to Create Beautiful Colour Palettes
by Karen Barbé

Paperback, 128 pages
The Pimpernel Press
London, United Kingdom
Language: English

The publication date is March 2nd, 2017 but you can pre-order it now from these online shops:
Book Depository



Colour Confident Stitching is my first book and I have dedicated it to my niece Violeta because I love her so much and because I wanted to honour all the moments we’ve spent together colouring with pencils and recognising colours in things, flowers and animals. I’m not sure if she understands this now but this is my way of handing down to her my passion for colour and embroidery.


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BLOG / December 22 2016

Colour Confident | Palette Nº3

The days leading up to Christmas must be the time of the year I love the most: sunny and long days, warm evenings spent in a terrace drinking something, twinkling garlands everywhere. So I thought this palette should bring a bit of each thing: palette Nº3 tells about a relaxed celebration amongst the glitter of metallic threads, the freshness of a summer cocktail and the warmth of an evening shared with family and friends.

Have you already seen the tutorial of these cardboard stars?


Creo que el momento que más me gusta del año son los días previos a la Navidad: días soleados y largos, noches tibias en una terraza tomando algo, guirnaldas de lucecitas por todas partes. Así que pensé que esta paleta debiera tener un poco de todo eso: la paleta Nº3  cuenta sobre una celebración relajada en medio de los brillos de los hilos metálicos, la frescura de un cóctel refrescante de verano y la calidez de una tarde compartida con la familia y amigos.

¿Ya viste el tutorial para hacer estas estrellitas de cartón?



DMC E898 – Dark Oak (metallic)

DMC 433 – Brown Medium

DMC 3776 –  Mahogany Light

DMC E3821 – Light Gold (metallic)

DMC 964 – Sea Green Light

DMC 958 – Sea Green Dark

DMC E3849 – Aquamarine Blue (metallic)




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BLOG / December 14 2016

How-to | Christmas stars

I thought of making these quick and easy stars to add a hint of light to any Christmas gift, card, ornament, wreath… anywhere really! As usual, I’m working with my favourite material (cereal box cardboard) but you can choose any other cardboard you like.


• Make copies of the stars template. Download the file here.

• Cut a rough circle around each star in the printed paper. Cut the circles slightly larger than the star shape.

• Arrange and attach the circles on the cardboard using a small piece of double sided tape in the centre of the shape. Do this on the wrong side of your cardboard in order to avoid any damage on the cardboard once we remove the template (note that, as I used the brown side of the cereal box, I attached the circles on the right side).

• Using scissors and/or an utility knife, cut the star following the lines of the template. The piece of double sided tape will keep the template in place while you cut out the shape. Once you’ve cut all sides, carefully remove the paper template.

• Leaving a 8 cm/3″ tail on the back, start winding a length of knitting cotton yarn (I like this one because it builds a nice structure on the star but you can try any kind of yarn or thread) around the inner angles of the star. You can see the how to wind the yarn in this video. Once you’ve joined all the pairs of angles, tie a knot with both tails of yarn on the back side. Weave in the tails through the back using a large blunt needle; cut ends.

• You are ready now!


Se me ocurrió hacer estas estrellas rápidas y fáciles para darle un toque de luz a cualquier regalo de Navidad, tarjeta, adorno, corona… ¡lo que sea! Como siempre, estoy usando mi material favorito (cartón de caja de cereal) pero puedes ocupar el cartón que más te guste.


• Imprime la plantilla con las estrellas. El archivo lo puedes descargar aquí.

• Corta un círculo alrededor de cada estrella. Los círculos, que no tienen que ser perfectos, tienen que ser ligeramente más grandes que la estrella.

• Distribuye y pega los círculos sobre el cartón usando un pedacito de cinta doble faz en el centro de la figura. Tienes que pegar los círculos por el lado del revés del cartón en caso que al despegar las plantillas la cinta dañara el cartón (fíjate que, como he usado el lado marrón de la caja de cereal, he pegado los círculos por el lado derecho).

• Usando tijeras o una cuchilla fina para cartones, corta las estrellas siguiendo las líneas del papel. El pedacito de cinta adhesiva mantendrá la plantilla en su sitio mientras cortas las figuras. Una vez que hayas cortado todos los lados, despega el molde cuidadosamente.

• Deja una cola de hilo de 8 cm por el revés y empieza a devanar el hilo de algodón (aquí ocupé un algodón para tejer porque le da una buena estructura a la estrella pero puedes probar cualquier otro hilo o lana) alrededor de todas los ángulos internos de la estrella. En este video puedes ver cómo se hace. Una vez que hayas unido todos los pares de ángulos, haz un nudo por el revés con ambas colas de hilo. Enhebra estas colas en una aguja grande sin punta y pásala entremedio de los hilos del revés; corta las puntas.

• ¡Y estamos listos!


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