Simple Tribal Needlepoint Pattern

Do you ever start doodling on a piece of paper only to realize a few minutes into your absentminded drawing that you’ve actually created something pretty? Don’t worry, me neither. Luckily for all my readers though, some random stitch practice on my phone case turned into a pretty awesome tribal pattern so I’m sharing it below!

It’s been awhile since I gave y’all an update on my needlepoint projects but truth be told, that has more to do with my lack of stitch time than anything else.

One project I did make time for though this past month is my phone case. If you’ve interacted with me lately and I tried to casually throw my phone in your face to show off my new case, I’m sorry. Actually, I’m not. I rarely get to stitch projects for myself so now that I have one, I’m going to show it off.

Onyx loves the phone case too. Or maybe just the thread. 

Onyx loves the phone case too. Or maybe just the thread. 

Much like starting with a beginner’s kit, stitching a phone case is actually pretty simple. It’s also smaller than other potential projects, like pillows and belts, so it won’t take up your whole year.

I bought this phone canvas on Etsy and while I started intending to use the threads provided by the kit, I quickly ran out and had to buy more. As such, if you plan to branch out and do your own pattern, which I highly recommend you do, invest in your own thread from the start so you can easily get more if needed.

Despite the initially (potentially) overwhelming appearance of my case thanks to multiple shapes and colors, the pattern itself is deceivingly simple. Let me break it down for you.

Three Stitches

This tribal pattern looks pretty but the truth of the matter is that it uses three very basic (and sturdy stitches). My phone (and thus its case) are an extension of my arm. That means that I’m constantly fiddling with it. If I’m not fiddling with it, it’s being jumbled about in my bag or coat pocket (don’t get any ideas metro pick pockets) so it needed some sturdy stitches to hold up.

  • Continental (1-4) - about as basic as they come. The continental stitch is a staple of this project. If you have the room, feel free to swap it out for basketweave. Same external look, stronger on the backend.
  • Giant Knitting (A-F) - While not quite as giant as a full giant knitting, this stitch is somewhere between a larger continental and a giant knitting.
  • Reversed Mosaic (a-j) - See how the stitches on this one reverse throughout the length of each layer? Yup, you guessed it, that’s where the name comes from.


I worked with 12 ply stranded cotton thread in shades of purple, green and yellow. I worked with 3 threads at a time but for thicker coverage you should consider working with four. This was a bit of a change for me since I’m used to working with much thicker merino wool while making belts. Did I love getting tangled pulling apart the threads? No. But practice makes perfect so I’ll confess that I was getting better by the end of the project.

Follow the Grid

The stitches themselves are all pretty basic so it’s just a matter of following the pattern. Start at the bottom and work your way up, one layer at a time.

So, now that you have all that you need you are ready to get stitching! Make sure to drop me a note if you give this a try or want to share some of your favorite stitches!