The Threadventure continues with our third destination, Washington, DC.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Hi there!

Are you ready for this week’s destination on the Threadventure? Great! Hop aboard the Serendipity Express with me and we’ll take our magical virtual vacation tour bus to our next stop – our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C.  where there’s plenty to see and do! We’ll visit museums, buildings, monuments, and more…


All aboard the Serendipity Express for the next stop on the Threadventure!

And here we are! (WOW…that was quick!)

Welcome to Washington, DC!


Have you ever been to Washington, D.C.? Politics aside, it’s an amazing place! The White House, the US Capitol, The Smithsonian, the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the list just goes on and on!

Over inside the Serendipity Needleworks Facebook group, I asked you to guess what we’ll be exploring in Washington.

If you guessed buildings and monuments, then CONGRATULATIONS! You’re ever so clever. 😉

Buildings and architectural details can be daunting when it comes to choosing the best stitches and threads for your needlepoint projects, but I have some terrific suggestions for you.

Come on, let’s dive in and take a look at a few fantabulous stitches for buildings…

Looking up at the Smithsonian Castle, in Washington, DC.


Don’t you just love to look at the architectural details on old buildings? Every single one has its own personality – just like The Castle at The Smithsonian Institute in the picture above. That James Renwick, Jr. was some kind of talented, wasn’t he? Not only did he design The Castle, but he also drew up the plans for St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York (where we’ll be going next week!).

The Castle is actually red sandstone, but from a distance, it looks like brick.  So, let’s start by taking a look at some stitches that are good for brick buildings.

Our first stitch, Brick stitch, is a terrific choice for brick buildings. 

Kind of a “no-brainer”, huh?! (Tee hee!) Brick stitch is easy to execute – and it’s also easy peasy to compensate. It’s a great first decorative stitch, if you’re new to using decorative stitches, or if you’ve been away from your needlepoint hobby for a while. 

Brick stitch is one those “go-to” stitches because it’s so versatile. Not only is it super small (so it’ll fit in teeny tiny spaces), but you can also turn it on its side and work it horizontally. (And that’s when the stitches really do look like bricks!)

If you’ve worked Brick stitch before, my diagram may be a little confusing to you. Don’t fret, though. It’s really quite easy to get the hang of after you’ve stitched a couple of rows. (And if you prefer to work it the other way – where you alternate your stitches up and down across the row – that’s fine, too. Just be consistent.)


Brick stitch is a great choice for stitching buildings and houses on your needlepoint projects.


I’m using Bravo! to work this stitch.

Bravo! is a four-ply divisible thread. It’s 100% Pima cotton. Each of the four plies is slightly thicker than a single ply of DMC cotton embroidery floss.

Bravo! has 45 exquisite over-dyed colors and each card has a generous 15 yards. The colors of Bravo match the colors of Encore and Overture. I recommend using 2 plies of Bravo! on Congress Cloth, 3-4 plies on 18 mesh, and 5-6 plies on 13/14 mesh.

I also recommend stranding Bravo! (and using a laying tool) so that your stitches lay smoothly on your canvas.

Moving right along, our second stitch is Cashmere stitch.

Cashmere stitch is a box stitch – and it’s easy to execute, too. A small-ish stitch, Cashmere stitch doesn’t require a large area to establish your pattern, either. Work it in vertical, horizontal or diagonal rows. The diagram shows Cashmere stitch executed in diagonal rows. 

Oh – and you can flip this stitch on its side, too. It reeeaaaallllly looks like bricks or blocks of stone when you do that!


Cashmere stitch is great for stitching buildings on your needlepoint projects.


I’m using Mandarin Floss to work the Cashmere stitch.

Mandarin Floss is a six-ply divisible thread. It’s similar in size to DMC cotton embroidery floss, but it’s 100% bamboo! Pretty cool, huh?

Mandarin Floss has 116 lustrous solid colors and 12 magnificent over-dyed colors. Each card has a generous 20 yards.

It has a semi-matte finish that contrasts nicely with high gloss and metallic threads. It’s a bit softer than stranded cotton floss and has many of the qualities of silk.

I recommend using 4 plies of Mandarin Floss on 18 mesh and 6-8 plies on 13/14 mesh.

I also recommend stranding Mandarin Floss (and using a laying tool) so that your stitches lay smoothly on the surface of your canvas. (Not sure what stranding is? Click here to read more.)


Now, let’s take a look at some more terrific stitches for buildings…


A close-up look at the US Capitol dome with the American flag waving in the breeze.


Did you know that many of the buildings in Washington, D.C. are of the neoclassical architecture style? The neoclassical style encompasses the styles of Federal and Greek Revival architecture which were a major influence during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Several of the foundational buildings of the United States government were constructed during this time period.

Our third stitch – and one that is quite effective for all kinds of buildings – is Beaty stitch.


Beaty stitch is a great choice for stitching buildings on your needlepoint projects.


You may flip Beaty stitch on its side, too, and work it as a horizontal stitch, just like you can Brick stitch and Cashmere stitch.

I’m using Flair to work Beaty stitch.

Flair is a stretchy tubular 100% nylon ribbon. It’s available in 99 colors and each card holds 10 yards.

Flair has an inconspicuous glimmer that will not overpower the other threads you use on your project. Use it on painted canvases to reinforce the color underneath for an interesting effect.

I recommend using it “as-is”, directly off the card. Cut short pieces – no longer than 12″ – 15″. Apply Fray Check to the ends (or use a Thread Zap), since it’s prone to unraveling. Remember to use a laying tool to lay Flair, since you don’t want it to twist. (Trust me – the effect is well worth the effort!)

Our fourth stitch, Rosemary stitch, is a super choice for fine details on buildings…

like those in the picture of the Lincoln Memorial below.


The Rosemary stitch is an excellent choice for working the architectural details on buildings like you see here on the Lincoln Memorial.

Rosemary stitch is simple to execute, but you should work it in three steps.

First, work three vertical and three horizontal rows of blocks for a total of nine blocks. Each block has nine tent stitches worked in basket-weave (or diagonal tent stitch).



Next, work two straight stitches over three canvas intersections, following the diagram below. 

Rosemary stitch is a terrific choice for the buildings on your needlepoint projects.


Finally, work a cross stitch in the open space in the center of each unit. 

Rosemary stitch is a terrific choice for the buildings on your needlepoint projects.

I’m using Designer’s Dream, Splendor, and Neon Rays to work Rosemary stitch.

Designer’s Dream is 100% non-divisible wool thread. It’s available in 28 contemporary colors and each card holds 30 yards.

I recommend using 1 strand on Congress Cloth, 2 strands on 18 mesh, 3 strands on 16 mesh, and 4 strands on 18 mesh. You may also use it to top-stitch details like eyelashes. (NOTE: I’m using Designer’s Dream to work the long stitches in step 2 of Rosemary stitch.)

Neon Rays is a flat ribbon. It has 139 colors and each card has a 10 yards.

It has a shiny finish that provides contrast to matte and metallic threads. Use it “as is” off the card, but use a laying tool to ensure that your stitches lay flat on your canvas.

Oh – and two more very important things…

Put a drop of Fray Check (or use a Thread Zap) on the ends of Neon Rays, since it’s prone to unraveling. And use short pieces, no longer than 15″. (NOTE: I’m using Neon Rays to work the cross stitch in step 3 of Rosemary stitch.)

Click here to learn more about Splendor. (NOTE: I’m using Splendor to work the tent stitch boxes in step 1 of Rosemary stitch.)

Personally, I’d use shades of the same color in all three threads to execute the Rosemary stitch when working the architectural details on a building. Of course, it’s your project so do what makes you happy. 🙂


The Department of Commerce features Renaissance Revival style columns and was, at one time, the largest office building in the US.

Our fifth (and final) Washington D.C. stitch is
Elongated Reverse Cashmere. 

It’s a super-terrific option for columns and it’s really fun to work. The direction of the stitches is reversed every other stitch unit (hence the name) and that creates visual interest for the viewer of your work. Light also reflects off the thread differently, depending upon the slant of the stitches, and casts subtle shadows that add more depth and texture. 


Elongated Reverse Cashmere stitch is a terrific choice for stitching columns on the buildings and houses on your needlepoint projects.


I’m using Rainbow Linen to work the Elongated Reverse Cashmere stitch.

I recommend using Rainbow Linen on 18 mesh canvas. It’s a 100% linen thread and you can click here to learn more about it. 

And that, my friend, brings us to the end of our stay in our nation’s capital.

It’s been so much fun sharing “monumental” stitches with you.

A panoramic sunset view of the United States Capitol building in Washington D.C.

Now, let’s hop on board the Serendipity Express and hit the road to our next Threadventure destination…

bustling New York!

Before you go, be sure and tell me what you think we’ll be exploring in New York. (Don’t be shy…I  ❤️ hearing from you and I read every single comment. Pinky promise!!!)

Leave your thoughts down below in the comments box and I’ll enter your name into a drawing for a FREE 6-month membership in The Stitcher’s Club, too. Not sure what The Stitcher’s Club is? Click here to find out more. 🙂

Until next time, happy stitching!
Stitch with a smile!



PS: I’ll share pictures of my stitched samples over on the Serendipity Needleworks Facebook page, inside the Serendipity Needleworks Facebook group and on Instagram, so be sure and follow me there. 😉


  1. Anne

    June 21, 2018 at 2:43 pm

    Hmmmm – my first thought for New York is people!

    • Ellen Johnson

      June 21, 2018 at 3:15 pm

      That’s a terrific thought, Anne! 😉 Thanks for sharing it.

  2. El Mathias

    June 21, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    For New York…If it’s Upperstate New York, then I would suggest leaves on trees, perhaps.
    For New York City…buildings, rivers, bridges

    • Ellen Johnson

      June 21, 2018 at 3:16 pm

      Hi there, El! Thank you for writing. All of your ideas are terrific! 😉

  3. ELEANOR Bellantoni

    June 21, 2018 at 5:22 pm

    I’m thinking of the Statue of Liberty. So maybe statues ?

    • Ellen Johnson

      June 21, 2018 at 8:09 pm

      Hi Ellie!
      Thank you for your note. 🙂 That’s one of the first things I think of when I think of New York, too. Great idea… 😉

  4. Berniece Sullivan

    June 21, 2018 at 7:53 pm

    When I think of New York I think of the theatre, the night life and wonderful restaurants in New York City!

    • Ellen Johnson

      June 21, 2018 at 8:10 pm

      Oooooh, Berniece! What great ideas. Stay tuned to see if you’re right. 😉

  5. Brenda

    June 22, 2018 at 8:06 pm

    I think in New York we will be looking at clothing and maybe skyscrapers. DC was fun. I do not like Rainbow Linen for something I want to look smoothe…even laying it was not very pretty. I did like the high sheen of Mandarin Floss.

    • Ellen Johnson

      June 25, 2018 at 9:52 am

      Hi there, Brenda!
      Thank you for your note. I’m so glad you enjoyed our visit to Washington. 😉 And I’m tickled to hear that you’re getting lots of useful info about the different threads we’re using, too! Thanks for sharing your ideas about what we’ll be doing in NYC! I can hardly wait to share them with all of you on Thursday. 🙂
      Have a great week and happy stitching!

  6. Angela Lepore

    June 23, 2018 at 9:34 am

    New York has lots of things to do! There is the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, where my grandparents and parents came to from Italy. There’s lots of night life, the City never sleeps! Then if you go to the suburbs you can go swimming, fishing, hiking and a whole lot more. I hope you all enjoy my hometown State.

    • Ellen Johnson

      June 25, 2018 at 9:57 am

      Hi Angela!
      Thank you so much for your wonderful note – and for sharing a little bit about yourself here. It’s really fun to get to know more about my stitching friends, so thank you for that. ❤️
      And thank you for sharing your ideas here, too. There really is a lot to see and do in NY!
      Have a wonderful week and I’ll “see” you in NYC on Thursday! 😉

  7. Cherri White

    June 28, 2018 at 10:43 am

    My thoughts of New York are energy, motion, and entertainment…

    • Ellen Johnson

      June 30, 2018 at 10:57 am

      Great suggestions, Cherri! Thank you for sharing them with us. 🙂
      And you’re totally right – New York is absolutely the most energetic place I’ve ever been to!
      Have a happy day!
      Ellen 🙂


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Serendipity Needleworks on Instagram

Don`t copy text!