#1 Needle Roll,  Craft with Racaire,  Embroidery,  German Brick Stitch,  German Brick Stitch Pattern #2

Craft with Racaire – Needle-roll #1 & German Brick Stitch Pattern #2


Embroidery comes rather naturally to me but I learned during my last 9 years of blogging, holding classes at SCA events and explaining techniques to friends that unfortunately not everyone is also as fortunate.

In the past this was just one more reason for me to make tutorials and to share my knowledge and my technique “insights” on my blog. As long as I can handle a camera, a tablet and a computer I won’t stop doing it, I promise. Nevertheless, as some people could tell you who already met me in real life, I just love “talking” about my craft & hobby. Posting on my blog is just another way to talk about my craft. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy to be posting again after the break where my blog was offline. During the last days I was working at putting this posting together for you – even while I was sitting in the underground or tramway on my way through Vienna… *lol*


Wile I was working at the following German Brick Stitch pattern chart for my pattern #2, I thought about which extra information I could provide you. Information that could make it easier for you to get started with German Brick Stitch.

Well, I remembered some rather common mistakes which even happen to me from time to time when I don’t pay attention. As well as the small tricks I developed for myself while I was working at several German Brick Stitch projects during the last years.


Therefore I decided to go a little further than just giving you a German Brick Stitch Pattern chart. To also to provide you with information how to read it, to get started and what you can do to ease your life while you are working at it and how you can speed up your embroidery a little…

I think it is important to like what you do to create lovely embroidery. Knowledge can help against the usual frustration points many beginners to embroidery face while they are working at embroidery. I am sure that also you know some projects of this kind – projects put aside for later, already many years ago, or just forgotten or neglected…

…and now back to our first “Craft with Racaire” project:

In the first posting about this project I wrote to you about some of my very basic techniques – like how you can find the best needle + thread + fabric + technique and color combination for your project. Do you have your materials ready? Because in this posting I will introduce to you the German Brick Stitch pattern #2. Furthermore I will explain to you how to read a German Brick Stitch pattern chart, how you can make your life easier while working with this technique and last but not least – how to start…

Let’s start with step 2 of our “Craft with Racaire” project #1:

[emember_protected not_for=4 do_not_show_restricted_msg=1]...I am sorry, but this content is restricted to users with Premium membership.Concerning the German Brick Stitch pattern for this needle roll #1 – you are absolutely not limited to my pattern #2. You can also use:

  • your favourite German Brick Stitch pattern
    You can find some very helpful links at my German Brick Stitch page – like the links to some blogs & websites where you can find some really nice German Brick Stitch patterns (this page is accessible from the header menue)
  • my German Brick Stitch Pattern #1 you can find it or the
  • my German Brick Stitch Pattern #2 which you can see at the following pictures

This line here is devoted to a good friend of mine who tends to “over-analyze” and to “over-prepare” for her projects to have a good excuse not to start them. Therefore – concerning the fabric and the thread – even if you didn’t find the “perfect combination”, just get yourself a piece of fabric, mount it in a frame, take some thread and needles with which you can work on it and just try it. That’s it! No magic involved! And that’s how I started with this hobby about 14years ago.

Perfection can come later. You can also have just some fun and “just” try a new technique. Having fun is absolutely allowed and I would say even required – this is the secret that keeps you working, especially when you are working on big projects.

Even if it doesn’t turn out great you can afterwards still turn it into a small pincushion,… Making a small piece to try something out is absolutely ok – you can still pretend that you just wanted to try how this technique works with this thread and fabric. Read more about this perfect needle – thread – fabric – technique combination <here>

…and now finally we are getting to the real basics for this project:

How the German Brick Stitch is worked:

[emember_protected not_for=4 do_not_show_restricted_msg=1]…I am sorry, but this content is restricted to users with Premium membership.After starting at about Zero for the Klosterstich and Refilsaum techniques it was really nice that I didn’t have to “reinvent the wheel again” for German Brick Stitch. Reference and credit, where reference, credit and respect is due – therefore many thanks to Master Wymarc. His page was one of the few awesome examples of websites about medieval embroidery techniques when I started with medieval embroidery and it is still one of the best – and still “the best” when it comes to German Brick Stitch.

He already put up some really great information and good drawings of how this stitches can be worked at his page: “Recreating the Style” (scroll down to the “Embroidery Technique” part).

There is not much I can add to his technical drawings about this technique therefore I decided to give you the link with the original drawings instead of just copying them. Please visit his website and get inspired by the information you find on his website.

But well, there is something I want to add though – depending on which part of your embroidery you are working at, you might use every one of Master Wymarcs “possible stitching techniques” during your embroidery project – sometimes maybe even without thinking about it and that is absolutely ok. I can only recommend to not think about this too much and just to work your pattern. …and here it is:

German Brick Stitch pattern #2:

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If you are new to German Brick Stitch – I also made a chart for you of how you can work the border – there are some different ways therefore here is only one easy suggestion:


The pattern above is about the easiest variation for the border I could think of – in the future I will also introduce you other patterns. As this is just a suggestion please feel free to get creative and to create and work your own pattern if you like and feel creative.

Btw. if you have never tried German Brick Stitch before – no despair – pattern #2, which you can see above, is a rather easy pattern. Some of you might think that German Brick Stitch is too complicated and might be afraid to try it – no, in this case you are just impressed by the big overall “pattern”. To get over this fear and to get comfortable with the pattern charts and this technique I put together following hints for you:

How you can make your ”embroidery life” easier when working on German Brick Stitch patterns:

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On the picture above I wanted you to give you just a simple impression of one of your best “tools” while working with German Brick Stitch – find the repetitive systems in your pattern. Well, I just pointed out one of the most simple repeating patterns in this pattern.

Ok, first things first – a German Brick Stitch pattern is normally nothing else then just one or more patterns which are repeated and which together form a new embroidery pattern. At the picture above I just pointed out the straight patterns, but when you start looking you can easily find many more repeating “patterns” like for example:

German Brick Stitch -pattern -cross Racaire

  • the X-patterns
    (see the picture above)
  • the small “frame” around the X-pattern
    (also see the picture above)
  • the small 2-4-2 blocks
    (at the next picture)
  • the “frame”/“window” around the small blocks
    (also see the next picture for it)

I am sure you will find also some other “patterns” – big and small – when you look out for them. Because I thought it would be easier for you to see them than just to read about them, I added the detail pictures for you to show you what I mean – enjoy. 😀



How to read the pattern chart:

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Above you can find a chart for pattern #2 with numbers – I took the freedom to put in the numbers to give you an idea of how you have to read this pattern to be able to embroider it.


Btw. a general information which might help you – the German Brick Stitch patterns I worked till now are based on stitches which either go over 2, 4 or 6 threads – well, this is actually what you do when you work at German Brick Stitch – you work horizontally or vertically and count and embroider and count and… It is really as easy as this. Btw. I normally use  uneven numbers only at the border – as you can see them at the top border at the chart for the border on the right side.

Short excursion into the theory about the roots of German Brick Stitch for you:

[emember_protected not_for=3-4 do_not_show_restricted_msg=1]…I am sorry, but this content is restricted to users with Advanced & Premium membership.To understand German Brick Stitch maybe a little better you might like to know that there is a theory that German Brick Stitch was developed to imitate weaving patterns of fabric…* Well, I think that this theory might be right and that this might have been one of the reasons why this medieval embroidery technique was developed… And well, according to another book – actually a thesis about Klosterstich – copying the patterns and pictures of (for example) church windows for wall-hanging embroidery was not uncommon during the medieval time and I think it was also not uncommon for many other things.** I don’t think that it was much different to today – peopled liked something and did their best to copy it.

(* – book: Webereien und Stickereien des Mittelalters – Kestner-Museum Hannover – section: “III. Niedersächsische Stickereien in Leinen und Seide, Ende 13. – Anfang 15. Jahrhundert – page 44)
(** – book: Per Manus Sororum… – (Thesis) by Dr. Kohwagner-Nikolai)

How you can speed up the embroidery:

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You remember the picture where I told you about the repeating patterns at the beginning of the text about this project? Well, you can consider yourself very lucky when you have an end-to-end pattern in one color, especially when all stitches of this pattern have the same color – even when just 50% of them are in one color. As you can see at the picture above and underneath, you can rather fast work this “lines” as running stitches and use them as guidance for the pattern between this lines. I normally work one color part of the pattern first – the one that is most easy to count and to follow – normally the pattern which works like a “frame” and later I just fill up the rest  of it.
Btw. – caution – the pictures I used to show you this lines are worked in a very similar pattern but they are not worked in the German Brick Stitch pattern #2.


Where do you start? …how to end?

Last but not least we came to the beginning of your embroidery. I hope with all the information I provided you till now you feel more comfortable about the German Brick Stitch technique now.

Well, where do you start? That’s a good question if you are new to this technique but also quite easily answered: [emember_protected not_for=4 do_not_show_restricted_msg=1]…I am sorry, but this content is restricted to users with Premium membership.You can really start wherever you want. You can start somewhere in the pattern (like I prefer to do it) – but if you are a beginner, you might like to start with the chart for the border:


If you feel comfortable with a knot, you can make a knot for the very first stitch. I normally just hold the thread at the back side into the area where I embroider and I “work the end of the thread in” as I embroider. You can also first embroider some stitches and then “sew in” the thread into the stitches of the backside. How ever you do it, it could look more or less like at Master Wymarcs picture “Figure 6: Starting a Thread” – btw. you might like to read Master Wymarcs section about “Starting a Thread” (scroll down to the end of the page”). Concerning the tension – you shouldn’t work this technique with too much tension.

For the filling of the middle part you can use this charts:



For the bottom border and the right side you just need to “mirror” the appropriate parts of the chart for the border. For the right side just execute the stitches like shown on the left side of the border chart and for the bottom just execute the stitches like shown on the top. If it is easier for you, you can just print out the chart and turn it upside down – this way you have an easy to read chart for left & top and one (turned around) for right & bottom.

I hope this pattern charts, photos & information above help you to get started and to understand this technique better. I wish you a lot of fun with your embroidery! 😀

When the embroidery part is finished, I will guide you with a step by step photo tutorial through the sewing process. It will show you how I put my needle-rolls together – so to say a “short sewing manual”. I also plan on including a short tutorial about how to make very basic tassels for the end of the “lacing” for the needle-roll for you.

Best regards Racaire