Thursday, January 21, 2010

Stitch of the Week: English Stitch


The English stitch is a two step stitch that begins with a series of five straight up and down (Gobelin) stitches over four horizontal canvas threads. The second step consists of a series of angled stitches that frame the original group of five stitches. The result is a handsome composite stitch that according to Robertson and Howren (Even More Stitches for Effect, p. 43) can be used for door panels, fences, brick walls, architectural details, baskets, clothing, borders and backgrounds. Ribbon type threads would work well on this stitch.

Mary Rhodes offers the best verbal description for executing this stitch so rather than trying to improve on it I will merely quote from her fine book, Dictionary of Canvas Work Stitches: "Five vertical straight stitches are worked first over the four horizontal threads. The needle is then brought up through the centre [sic.] hole along the bottom edge of the stitch and is taken down into the centre hole on the left-hand side. It then emerges from the centre hole on the right-hand side, to be taken down again into the centre hole on the bottom edge. From this point the needle is then brought up through the centre hole on top edge of the stitch and taken down into the centre hole on the left-hand side. It is brought up once again through the centre hole on the right-hand side and is taken down into the centre hole at the top. A small diagonal stitch over two intersections of the canvas is then worked over each corner of the group of vertical stitches, outside and parallel to the four longer diagonal stitches just worked."

Just take this verbal description one step at a time and you should be fine. Variations on the English stitch involve doing the straight stitches and the angled stitches in different colors or threads. You can also stagger the stitch from row to row.

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