Learn a Stitch Needlepoint Owl

owl needlepoint free project, designed by needlepoint expert janet m. perry

This month’s owl features Box & Tent Stitch variations.

Free needlepoint projects, lots of new stitches, monthly programs, small projects!

What more could you want. My 2013 series, Learn a Stitch Needlepoint Owl, starts this month with this adorable owl.

Inspired by a patchwork cell phone case, you can make these owls in any colors you like.

Every month four new stitches will be highlighted (one for each area except the eyes.

The monthly project will appear on the fifteenth of every month through 2013. Complete instructions for the piece start below.

Prepare your Canvas

For this project you will need:

  • 6 x 8 piece mono canvas in your choice of canvas
  • light-colored solid thread for face
  • dark-colored solid thread for eyes
  • 3 solid or overdyed threads for body areas & triangle
  • (optional) metallic to outline body areas

For this owl I used:

  • Kreinik #12 in4010HL
  • Watercolours in 307 Calypso
  • Conjoined Creations in 825M
  • Burmilana in 3906

  • Hyla’s High Cotton in Custard (604)
  • Ty-Di Just Cotton in 109

I’m challenging myself to use only threads from my stash for these.

Template for Needlepoint Learn a Stitch Owl, designed by needlepoint expert Janet M. Perry

Print this template for your owl

Begin by clicking on the owl template above to get a full-size outline. Use this to trace the outline onto your canvas using a permanent marker made for fabric, such as a Pigma Micron.

Trace all the vertical and horizontal lines, making sure each one is along either one thread of canvas or one column of holes on the canvas.

Mark the dots that are the centers of the eyes.

Mark the intersection that is at the bottom of the triangle. From this point make two diagonal lines for each side of the triangle. This is the easiest way to get a perfect triangle.


Stitch the triangle in Diana, below. This stitch alternates rows of Tent Stitch and Cross Stitch over one thread. Use one of the solid threads for this area.

diana needlepoint stitch for small space, diagrammed by needlepoint expert janet m perry


Eyes & Face

Stitch the center of the eyes, below, in Tent Stitch. Around the Tent Stitched area make a Jessica, below. The diagrammed Jessica has 3 stitches on each side. Yours should be larger, with five stitches per side. The process works the same way for all sizes of Jessicas.

jessica stitch for needlepoint

Jessica for eyes

Once the eyes are stitched, fill the centers with Tent Stitch.

Next stitch the face in Domi, below.

domi stitch for needlepoint



Stitch the left side of the body in Anna’s Cashmere, below, using two of your threads.

anna's cashmere stitch for needlepoint, designed by needlepoint expert janet m. perry

Anna’s Cashmere

Stitch the right side of the body in Reverse Offset Arrowhead Scotch, below.

Reverse Offset Arrowhead Scotch

Reverse Offset Arrowhead Scotch

Once you have completed stitching your owl, you may want to add some edging to the colored areas. I did this by making lines of Whipped Backstitch, below, using metallic.

whipped backstitch

Whipped Backstitch


Don’t forget to visit Nuts about Needlepoint every month on the 15th to get next month’s lear a stitch needlepoint owl!


  1. Betty Goldberg says

    Thanks so much for this lovely needlepoint owl.
    I collect owls so this is absolutely marvelous. I can’t wait to pick up needle, choose colors and start stitching
    Thanks again for all that you do for us.
    Happy Stitching,
    Betty G.

  2. Sarita says


    This looks like fun but I have a couple of questions.

    Can you confirm how big your owl actually is so that I can be sure I get the pattern the right size. Also as a matter of interest what count canvas did you use for your sample? And one further question, do you do the tent stitch for the eyes before or after the Jessica? The instructions suggest both!


  3. Sharon Zotti says

    Janet, I love it from the get go. I have been an owl collector since I graduated from Temple university, home of the Temple Owls, where I met my husband. I am supposed tobe stitching an anniversary card out of River Silks and I will finish that but this babyi is next. He looks like smuch fun!! What can I substitute for the Cojoined Creations, I have never heard of that. Also i have lots of crewel/needlepoint wool what color is the Burmilana can I use Paternyan or DMC. Also what can I use for the cotton flosses. I work mainly with Silk now, is there something in Vineyard or Planet earth with cotton I have literally tons of watercolors and regular DMC floss. I Amos excited to see a owl,,,

    You are the best, my mentor ,and I just re-read some of your old posts explaining the differences between floss and 5 and 8 pearl cotton before I checked my email. Thanks for keeping on your list and you can make any deductions needed for the owl from my Pay Pal account. Thanks for being there and for being a great teacher.
    Your friend,

  4. says

    Sharon —

    The idea is that you can use any colors/threads you want — they should be whimsical.

    Conjoined Creations is a soy thread, so it’s most like Dream House’s Soy Lustre but with more shades in each family. Impressions, Sheep’s Silk, Pepper Pot Silk, or Poppies would all have similar textures.

    I often substitute stranded silk for cotton floss.

    The Burmilana is the olive green for the eyes.

    Thanks for the complement, this morning I need all good wishes.

    Keep Stitching,

  5. says

    I traced the template from my owl, but so often they don’t print right. It’s slightly less than 4.5″ high.and 3 1/8″ wide.

    This model was on 16 mesh, but each one will be on what I pull out of the canvas bin where I keep my small pieces, so you never know. I will be using the same template throughout.

    One eye I did before and one after. Before is slightly easier.

    Keep stitching,

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