Sunday, September 6, 2009

Stitch of the Week: Wheat Sheaf

The Wheat Sheaf stitch is also known as the Shell stitch. It is a good stitch for filling-in areas or as a background. It is also effective as a solitary design element. Since it does resemble a wheat sheaf, it is a useful stitch for a canvas with fields or countryside. It might also be useful on a Thanksgiving or Autumn-themed canvas.

The stitch can be worked over four or six horizontal canvas threads. It consists of five straight up-and-down (Gobelin) stitches. These are followed by a gathering stitch. The gathering stitch begins in the center hole and underneath stitch number four. Use your finger to push the stitches four and five aside so that you can see what you are doing and also do not pierce either stitch with the needle. The goal is to come forward and encircle all of the stitches before returning to the backside. Again, use your finger to push the left side stitches out of the way and return to the backside of the canvas in the middle hole underneath stitch number two.

You may fill in the space between stitch units with a Gobelin stitch or an Upright Cross stitch. Other variations include using a different thread for the gathering stitch, using a different thread for the in-between Gobelin stitches, staggering the rows either horizontally or vertically, covering the exposed canvas threads between rows with backstitches, or looping a thread from one gathering stitch to the next and then returning in the opposite direction (in effect creating a figure eight with a contrasting thread).

The stitch looks especially handsome using stranded threads such as silk or cotton floss.

The Wheat Sheaf stitch is a good stitch to know. It is not difficult to do, it covers the canvas quickly, has a relatively good backing, does not bias the canvas and has plenty of variations that give it a varied appearance.

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