Blackwork Needlework Designs: Modern Designs with Traditional Windmills

When I was a child, my family would holiday in Norfolk every summer. I was fascinated by the windmills in that area. They weren't just picturesque; they had a job to do back then,

I was recently shocked to discover that very few traditional windmills are still in use, and most have disappeared from the landscape. Those that are left tend to be nothing more than romantic ruins! As a stitcher, I felt it was important to preserve these symbols of the past using blackwork needlework patterns.

Now you can stitch these timeless classics to decorate your home. I chose blue threads as the colour reminded me of Dutch tiles featuring windmills.

See the bottom of the page for details of a windmill we saw recently. 

If you are new to blackwork you might like to get yourself a copy of my blackwork for beginners ebook.

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Windmill 1

Blackwork needlework of a tower mill

Let's start with a cylindrical Tower Mill, made from brick. The farmer would turn the cap on top of these mills to position the sails into the wind.

A delight to stitch with 9 different fill patterns and a little cross stitch. I picked blackwork patterns that resemble trees, flower beds, brick walls etc. and stitched them in three shades of blue DMC embroidery floss.

Design size: 4.4 x 5.3" inches

Downloadable chart £2.25

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Windmill 2

Blackwork design of a smock mill

Our next blackwork design is a Smock mill, named after the garment farmers used to wear. Made from wooden planks in a hexagonal or octagonal form, again just the cap turns into the wind leaving the rest of the building stationary. A typically English windmill, you often found this type in the county of Kent. This design uses 7 blackwork patterns.

Design size: 4.8 x 5.6 inches

Downloadable chart £2.25

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Windmill 3

Blackwork design of an open trestle post mill

Last, we have an open trestle Post mill, where the whole windmill turned around a vertical post. Again English, these were, and still are, found in Kent, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. The easiest of the three, this blackwork needlework design only uses 3 blackwork fills and some cross stitch.

Design size: 4.2 x 5.6 inches

Downloadable chart £2.25

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On the way to a weekend break in October 2022 I drove through a village in Suffolk.

My husband spotted this windmill but by then I had already rounded the corner and there was nowhere to stop, so we made a note of the village name, planning to stop on the way home.  

When we retraced our journey in reverse the wonderful Saxtead Green Post Mill was straight in front of me and I was able to stop to take some photos and video. We were lucky enough to see it with the sails turning. 

For more information check out their website. 


Erica from Cumbria, England, stitched all three windmills and mounted them very cleverly in one frame. Thanks for sharing your finished project, Erica, I love to see how people have interpreted and stitched my designs. I especially like how you have mounted the centre windmill higher than the others. 

Erica stitched all 3 blackwork windmills and framed them together

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