Saturday, June 20, 2009

Stitch of the Week: Darmstadt Pattern

This week's "Stitch of the Week" is more of a pattern than a stitch per se. It consists of a series of Gobelin stitches (i.e., straight up and down stitches) done over 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 canvas threads. The stitches gradually ascend to the highest point and then recede to the shortest stitch which is shared between adjacent stitch units. Also, the longest three stitches are divided in half; so instead of stitches over 8, 10 and 8 horizontal canvas threads you will have two groups of stitches both are over 4, 5, and 4 horizontal canvas threads, one group is placed above the other).

This all sounds terribly complicated but the stitch is rather easy to do and it works up quickly. The final step to the Darmstadt Pattern is a horizontal stitch in the center of each diamond over four vertical canvas threads using a darker color.

The final effect of all this work is an attractive stitch that makes an "interesting and dynamic background" according to The Needlepoint Book. The stitch has a good backing although it is subject to snagging. Variations on this stitch might include adding or subtracting stitches in the middle portion of the diamond (i.e., the half length stitches). Instead of a center portion over 4, 5, and 4 canvas threads, you could do one stitch over four threads or an additional stitch over six canvas threads. Also, you may want to vary the color of the central horizontal stitch. Most times this stitch is done in a thread that is "a decided contrast" (Background Stitch Reference Book, p. 2) however a more subtle effect might work as well (perhaps even metallic?). I have done this stitch using wool and I like the way it looks but you might try doing it with Neon Rays or some other ribbon-type thread for a different appearance. Whatever thread you choose make sure that it is thick enough to properly cover the canvas (upright stitches will generally require more thread than diagonal stitches). Happy stitching.

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