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Big Embroidery
In Sanskrit the word ‘mandala’ means circle and this colourful design features rings of embroidery stitches radiating out from a buttonhole wheel centre. Start by raiding your crockery cupboard to find china with ever-increasing circumferences, from eggcups to cups, mugs, saucers, side and dinner plates, ready to mark out your design onto your fabric.

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  • 2019-05-21-111250-MANDALA+STITCH+MAP_edited.pdf 1.01 MB [ Download ]
  • 2019-05-21-111258-MANDALA+STITCH+MAP_edited.jpg 426 KB [ Download ]
  • 2019-05-21-111302-MANDALA+STITCH+MAP_edited2.jpg 364 KB [ Download ]
  • 2019-05-21-111306-MANDALA+STITCH+MAP_edited3.jpg 166 KB [ Download ]
© 2022 Nancy Nicholson / F+W Media · Reproduced with permission.
  • Step 1


    Machine zigzag all around the edges of the square of woollen fabric to prevent fraying as you embroider.

  • Step 2

    Fold the fabric square into quarters and tack (baste) along the folds. Working through the marked centre point, fold along diagonal corners and tack (baste) as before to mark the eighths. This will help to keep everything square as you mark out and embroider the design.

  • Step 3

    To mark out the design, start by plotting out your circles onto a piece of paper). Starting from the centre, each disc needs to be a little larger than the one before it. When you are happy with your design, transfer it onto the fabric square, using a heat-erasable pen to draw around each circle, taking care to line up the stitching guidelines with the marked divisions on the fabric. Alternatively, use the template supplied (see Templates).

  • How to make a stitched cushion. Mandala Cushion - Step 4
    Step 4

    Using knitting wool (yarn), embroider your mandala design. See Embroidery Suggestions for possible stitch combinations, or make up your own using the Stitch Library and inspiration pages in this book: if you intersperse the radials with rows of running stitch it will help tie everything together visually (in fact, using just running stitch rounds throughout makes a simple starter mandala).
    Do experiment!

  • How to make a stitched cushion. Mandala Cushion - Step 5
    Step 5

    Once your embroidery is complete, unpick the tacking (basting) stitches and use a damp cloth to press the finished embroidery to remove the stitching guidelines, then make up as a cushion cover (see Techniques: Making a cushion cover).

  • How to make a stitched cushion. Mandala Cushion - Step 6
    Step 6

    Embroider your design using the stitch suggestions displayed here or in the alternative design provided. Refer to the Stitch Library for instructions for working the embroidery stitches.

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Kevin Huggins
Kevin Huggins
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