Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Stitch of the Week: Ermine

The Ermine stitch is a very versatile with an open look. The stitch is compromised of three straight stitches: one vertical and two diagonal. The two diagonal stitches cross at lower half of the vertical stitch. The stitch may be varied according to the length of the vertical stitch and/or the spacing between individual stitch units.

Begin the stitch with the vertical portion. Go straight up and over six horizontal canvas threads. Begin the first diagonal stitch up one horizontal canvas thread and to the left one vertical canvas thread from where stitch one began. Go up and to the right over three canvas intersections. Return to the backside. The final portion of the stitch begins up one horizontal canvas thread and to the right one vertical canvas thread from where the first stitch began. This time, go up and to the left over three canvas intersections before returning to the back side of the canvas.

Traditionally the spacing between stitch units is six vertical canvas threads either to the right or left (in the same row of holes). Subsequent rows are staggered so that the vertical or middle portion of each unit in the second row encroaches halfway upon the previous row of stitches and also so that each stitch in the second row is located halfway between the stitch units of the previous row. Tip: if your second row of stitches is placed correctly, the tops of the diagonal stitches in row number two will share a hole with the bottom of the diagonal stitches in the previous row of stitches.

The Ermine stitch makes a nice background when it is done in variegated thread. It also looks quite striking when executed in black thread on a bright white background. The stitches make for a handsome decorative border or band. As an individual stitch the Ermine stitch works well for ferns, shrubs, or ivy on walls.


  1. I'm not familiar with this stitch but I'm going to try it on a piece I'm designing. Thank you for sharing these stitches with us.

  2. You are quite welcome. It's fun to try new stitches and this one is not one that is in every stitch book. Enjoy.

  3. hello ! I happy to read that others like to try new stitches ! If you want let's try some (from Brittany , in the west of France !) on my little blog (I like sharing the things I collect , it's there needleworks) and there too
    'bye !!!
    I hope you'll try some !;o)
    I'm a real celtic fairy, ya !

  4. Very interesting. I will definitely check it out.