Traditionally blackwork is worked, as the name suggests in black thread. For this project, we will be using the stitching techniques of traditional blackwork embroidery but adding a vibrant twist with a mixture of thread colours.


In this project, you'll learn how to stitch this beautiful blackwork meadow adorned with a pretty rainbow. Intermediate stitchers will enjoy spreading their wings and dabbling in the blackwork style, created by stitching repeating designs in backstitch. This intricate project will require your full attention, but it’ll be well worth it. If you are a beginner and have learnt the basics of cross stitch, why not give this project a try as your first blackwork stitch?

We mounted our cross stitch on a beautiful gingham card and added a tassel at the bottom to finish. Top tip: Use double-sided sticky tape to attach your stitch onto the backing card.

This blackwork pattern was created by Lesley Teare, originally published in Cross Stitch Crazy issue 240. Would you like weekly inspiration and free cross stitch projects? Sign up to our newsletter.

What is blackwork embroidery?

Blackwork is a traditional form of embroidery often worked in a geometric pattern. Originating in Tudor England, blackwork is often worked onto counted fabric to create uniform stitches and geometric patterns. Despite the name blackwork other colours were often used such as blue, green, gold and silver. If you want to read more about the fascinating history of blackwork embroidery we'd recommend visiting Nordic Needle.

Blackwork rainbow fact box:

  • Stitching Time - Approx 5 hours
  • Type of Stitches - Cross stitch, backstitch
  • Ease of Stitching - Intermediate

What you’ll need:

  • Threads - Stranded cotton as listed in the key
  • Needle - Size 24 tapestry needle
  • Fabric - Zweigart 14-count white aida at 20x12cm (73⁄4x43⁄4in)
  • Extras - Backing papers (we used gingham)

Free blackwork pattern

Click the link to download the free blackwork embroidery pattern. The download is an A4 PDF and an accompanying key.

blackwork embroidery

Blackwork dragonfly

Are you looking for another blackwork project? We have this delicate dragonfly blackwork designed by Rhona Norrie that you might like. This cute critter makes a lovely plant poke!

Free blackwork dragonfly cross stitch pattern

More projects for you

If you enjoyed creating the blackwork design and would like to try some more intricate designs, try this lovely bird cross stitch, or the cat cross stitch. We also have this lovely floral cross stitch which would make an ideal gift for Mother's Day. This pretty floral hoop will be a nice challenge for beginners too. If you would like to find gifts for the stitcher in your life. then check out these cute needle minders or these lovely modern cross stitch kits and the printed cross stitch kits which contain everything you need to complete your whole project, ideal for those new to the craft. If you want more inspiration for cross stitch ideas be sure to browse through our large collection of free cross stitch patterns, there is something for all ages and abilities.


Lesley TeareCross Stitch Designer

Lesley Teare is one of the UK’s leading cross stitch designers, providing designs and charts for many needlework magazines including The World of Cross Stitching, Cross Stitcher, Cross Stitch Gold and Cross Stitch Crazy. She’s also created designs for retail trade and card companies and is author of the book ‘Cross Stitch Cute Baby Models – 20 lovely designs to stitch for new babies, young children or parents’. She’s loved by stitchers everywhere for her colourful and easy-to-stitch designs that never fail to wow.

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