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What is Turtlestitch?

Turtlestitch is freely available software that enables the generation and stitching of patterns using a digital embroidery machine. It gives programmatic control of the machine, enabling a wide range of patterns to be designed and stitched onto fabric. It was developed by Andrea Mayr-Stalder, and runs in a browser window.

Online learning: programming and maths

TurtlestitchLink opens in a new window is used by WMG for outreach activities, as a means of raising awareness of the breadth of engineering. The WMG Outreach team has created a number of resource cards and video tutorials to support its use by teachers, parents and students, including maths task cards suitable for upper key stage 2 (school years 5 and 6). Children work out the answers to maths questions and check them using Turtlestitch.

Parental supervision is advised when accessing external websites.


The cards can be viewed online or printed individually or in sets. To print the full sets of cards, we recommend setting your printer to print landscape on both sides and flip on short edge.

Teacher training

Book an online teacher training session about using Turtlestitch to teach computing and maths.


Share pictures of your designs with us on Twitter @wmgwarwick #WMGOutreach

For enquiries about the cards and videos or to report an error, please email wmgoutreach at warwick dot ac dot uk dot

Lesson plans - years 5 and 6

We have created cross-curricular lesson plans for the years 5 and 6 maths and computing programmes of study. Each lesson plan contains links to videos for teachers to familiarise themselves with the content in advance, and activity cards for children to use during the lesson. Each lesson takes 50-60 minutes, but could be broken down into shorter activities.

Learning objective

Lesson 1

Maths and computing (years 5 & 6)

We are learning to calculate missing angles on a straight line.

Lesson 2

Maths and computing (years 5 & 6)

We are learning to apply our knowledge of properties of shapes. 

Optional L3

Maths and computing (year 6)

We are learning to find the highest common factor of two numbers.

Lesson 4Link opens in a new window

Maths and computing (years 5 & 6)

We are learning to use variables in programs. 

Basic skills

Writing programs on Turtlestitch

green and blue turtlestitch commands
Getting started: video & card
save project box
Saving your file: video
black lines crossing in a circular pattern on a purple background
Displaying your design without a machine: video
twelve overlapping blue squares in a circular pattern
Creating patterns with shapes and rotation: video & card
different coloured turtlestitch command blocks, including one called my block, next to a pattern of 24 blue squares overlapping in a circular formation
Creating your own block: video & card
large and small blue squares overlapping in a circular pattern
Stitching a shape in different sizes: video & card
a star drawn from blue lines crossing over each other
Creating a star and other shapes: card
a triangular spiral
Creating your own variable: video & card

Printable set of skills cards - set your printer to print landscape on both sides and flip on short edge.


Practise year 5 and 6 maths using Turtlestitch
Part of a nonagon with an interior angle marked as 140 degrees and a letter b showing the missing angle on the straight lign next to it

Missing angles on a line: questions & answers

a triangle labeled as equilateral, with interior angles totaling 180 degrees. The letter a shows a missing interior angle, and the letter b shows a missing angle on the line next to it.

Properties of shapes: questions & answers

an intricate pattern next to colourful blocks of code

Highest common factor: questions & answers

a grid with four quadrants and blue lines which look like a mountain range reflected in water

Coordinates: introduction

Translation: questions & answers

Printable set of maths cards - set your printer to print landscape on both sides and flip on short edge.


Things to make with a digital embroidery machine
4 yellow and white felt coasters with patterns stitched on them

Coaster: card

three felt finger puppets in green and brown with eyes stuck on

Finger puppet: card

a white leatherette key fob with the letters w m g stitch on it in red. It is joined to a key ring with keys on it.

Key fob: card

red paper in a frame with holes in it in the shape of stars with many points. White paper standing in a cylinder shape, with holes in it in the shape of stars. Light glows through the papers.

Light/lamp panel: card

Printable set of project cards - set your printer to print landscape on both sides and flip on short edge.


Concepts to explore
a tree drawn with blue lines

Recursion and creating a binary tree: card

several different blue spiral patterns made from thin lines criss-crossing

Spirals: questions, answers & video

Printable set of investigation cards - set your printer to print landscape on both sides and flip on short edge.

Teacher CPD sessions

TurtleStitch CPD. An introduction to TurtleStitch aimed at teachers wishing to use it in their classrooms. Adults with an interest in using TurtleStitch are also welcome to attend. The next session will be 4th October 2023. Register your interest here.

Resources created by
Helen Luckhurst.