Stitch of the Month
July 2005: 6 x 6s Turn in the Rhodes

by Sharon G

One of the most useful families of stitches is the Rhodes stitch family. Any shape or size can be tackled with this wonderful stitch. You simply decide where you want to start, sink the needle at the point opposite your start and continue around the shape, going one up or down from your starting point and moving in the opposite direction on the sinking end of each stitch. Continue until you complete the trip and end up where you started.

Some say that it's impossible to compensate the Rhodes family of stitches. One hint I can offer is to lay your thread in the direction it would go if there were room for that bit of the stitch, and then to sink the needle at the point nearest to where the thread lies. You can use a sharp needle and pierce the canvas thread if that helps to keep the thread in the correct position. You can study the photo to see how I worked this stitch into the area next to the area where I used the May Stitch of the Month.

I call this Rhodes version Turn in the Rhodes because the stitch turns in every row. Combined with the Scotch stitches that also turn, it gives a beautiful effect. It would even make a perfect picture frame or border on a primitive or folk art design because its texture resembles tramp art. It is also great in a modern art setting. Turn in the Rhodes offers texture and different shading depending on the angle from which it is viewed. The stitch appears to move.

Study the photo to see how you can achieve soft color changes by blending threads in the needle and changing your colors from one complete Turn in the Rhodes stitch to the next in perfect gradual shading.

To add a nice touch, I chose to "emboss" it with Bijoux. Blending filament can be used if you want a more faceted look. Thus stitch is another one of a collection of 6 x 6s.


July SotM Photo
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Figure 1

Step 1, Diagram 1: The Rhodes stitches in the sample are done in a 6 x 6 block. I used 3 strands of Gloriana silk. You can substitute 3 strands of comparable silk thread or any comparable thread. If you want to lighten up on the strands, you can, but you will lose the high-low texture. I began with green and gradually shaded to yellow by needle-blending my threads. The color change is so gradual.

Note that the second horizontal row changes direction. Be sure to pay attention to the numbering in the diagram.

Diagram 1
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Step 2, Diagram 2: The second part of the stitch continues with the shading. The Scotch stitch also changes direction, but in the diagonal rows. I used 3 strands of the same threads used in Step 1 and matched the shading.

Diagram 2
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Step 3, Diagram 3: This step is shown in darker green in Diagram 3. I used #8 weight metallic. The corners have a 1 x 1 cross stitch. Lay the tramé portion first and couch each arm before moving on to the next, to insure that your stitched thread's tension isn't too slack or too tight.

Diagram 3
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Step 4, Diagram 4: This step adds the finishing touch. I love to "emboss" a stitch with Bijoux or a blending filament. The red lines in Diagram 4 show the embossing around the Rhodes and Scotch stitches. You will use a backstitch.

Diagram 4
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See you next month.

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