Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Stitch Each Week - Guilloche Stitch

I was inspired to try this stitch after seeing it in the book Embroidery with Wool: 40 Decorative Designs for the Contemporary Home
by Mary Norden. This book has lots of different projects, all stitched in crewel wool on a variety of ground materials. In the book this stitch was used along the bottom edges of a table runner, and also as parallel curves on a throw pillow.

The Guilloche Stitch is interesting because it may be worked on either a straight or a curved line. The stitch itself can be either very precise or more uneven, as desired. It can be stitched in a single color or two or more colors.

The first step is to work a series of satin stitches. These satin stitches will be the anchors for the weaving stitch. If the satin stitches are closer together the circles will be smaller; if they are further apart the circles will be larger.
Step two is to bring your second thread (which can be the same or secondary color) up underneath the first set of satin stitches. Keeping your working thread on the front of the fabric, weave the thread underneath the satin stitches. Weave to the end of the row. This creates a beautiful scallop pattern and could actually be left this way for a variation stitch.
Step three is to weave the working thread back to the beginning. Take this opportunity to manipulate the thread so that you are happy with the shape of your circles. Move the thread back to the back of the fabric and secure the end.
Step four can be to accent the center of each circle. This can be completed with a french knot, a cross-stitch, or a bead. The example below shows a bead.
To work the Guilloche Stitch on a wave or circle, first trace the pattern onto the fabric. This may be done with dressmakers chalk, a marking pen, or for the cheaters (like me) you can simple trace the desired shape on the *back* of the fabric with a permanent thin pen. I then stitch on the front as normal but life the fabric to the light before I make each stitch to make sure it is following the pattern. If I were being truly picky I would use a ruler to mark points to make sure that my satin stitches are evenly stitched before working them.
Some other ideas for this stitch would be using silk ribbon on the edge of a pillowcase, pearl cotton on the hem or neckline of a shirt, or along the collar of a dress jacket in a matching wool.

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