Ever since I stumbled into the world of digital embroidery, I’ve been fascinated by the results that people have been getting. There are traditional feats of skill, modern takes on old methods, neat tricks to be done with fancy computer programs. However, all of the stuff that I personally have been exposed to up to this point has been under the process of manually embroidering by moving the material around and using the thread like an artists paint brush, or by digitizing art and letting the little cnc attachment do the moving of material.



TurtleStitch goes further up-stream from the needle and allows you to design patterns and artwork using the familiar block based system that many of us have already toyed with. You give basic commands to the turtle, such as move “10 steps forward”, “turn 90 degrees right”, etc and it leaves a trail on the “canvas” to draw a picture. By building up more complex command sets with the blocks, you can achieve some pretty cool generative art.  The tools are simple, and there is a growing collection of examples that you can open up and explore and learn from.

The interesting thing about this tool to me is that it seems just as practical from very different angles! Do you have someone who is already interested in embroidery that you’d like to introduce to code? Turtlestitch is perfect for that! Do you have someone who is familiar with code but might also be interested in embroidery? Again, perfect! Or, if you’re like me, this may just be another wonderful tool to add to my embroidery toolbox.

The existing tool has a few limitations. There is no color code built in, so you’re stuck manually creating variations in color, either through crafty swapping of your bobbin or by creating multiple instances to run as separate files. However, the team has launched a kickstarter to take Turtlestitch a step further, adding features that the community has requested.