Friday, September 17, 2010

Stitch of the Week: Plaited Square

Sherlee Lanz in her book A Pageant of Pattern for Needlepoint has this to say about plaited stitches: "Even when their structures are completely known, one finds a certain unaccountable mystery in them" (p. 254). Less poetically she also calls plaited stitches "dynamic" and "rewarding" and I agree with her. I was surprised while doing research for this Stitch of the Week to discover that the Plaited Square stitch is not listed in the index to many stitch guides. Perhaps it is known by another name. If not, it deserves a wider audience. The stitch is easy, versatile and makes a fine fill stitch.

Like many stitches describing how to execute the Plaited Square is more difficult than actually doing it. The stitch consists of four straight stitches (all of the same length) that alternate in orientation from vertical to horizontal as they proceed in a counter clockwise direction. Each new stitch overlaps the previously completed stitch except for the fourth stitch which ends underneath stitch number one, completing a nice, neat little package.

A variation on the Plaited Square involves orienting the stitch unit diagonally rather than straight up and down (the Plaited Square Diagonal).

How the individual stitch units are arranged creates the versatile nature of this stitch. They can be arranged side by side or one can leave a space between stitch units to be filled in by another row of stitches halfway below the first. Alternately, one can leave space in between the stitches to be filled in with tent stitches or any other appropriately sized decorative stitch that fits.

The stitch can be executed in most types of thread. I used wool to stitch up the examples included here but a plied thread might have been a better choice to show off the stitch detail. I would probably use a thread slightly smaller than normal for the size mesh.