Stitch of the Month
June 2005: Penny's Ribbon

by Sharon G

Several years ago I met Penny Evans through the ANG Discussion List. It did not take long for us to nurture a beautiful friendship. Those who came to know Penny through her needlework will miss her enthusiasm and her encouraging words.

Penny's other love was reading. The Penny's Ribbon stitch will make a beautiful bookmark. I named my stitch in honor of Penny Evans, a true friend to the needle arts and to so many of us who have crossed her path. I hope she took extra needles with her. Those clouds are quite puffy.

June SotM Photo
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Figure 1

Penny's Ribbon can frame any design as an elegant border. The design can be stretched into a spectacular background, a lovely ornament or a beautiful ribbon. Envision it as a handle for an evening bag, a bracelet, a choker necklace, a jeweled belt buckle or a barrette. If you have an elegant dog or cat in need of a bit of luxury, Penny's Ribbon can make the perfect status-symbol pet collar. The stitch has a tufted effect that makes it perfect for upholstery or clothing. I can see it in a monochromatic color scheme as a cuff on a Christmas stocking or a bride's handbag or headdress. Imagine it as an all-over pattern in jewel tones for an evening bag.

I used Penny's Ribbon on a painted canvas that has a nine-thread-wide "ribbon." The canvas is called "Intersections." How fitting, as needleworkers often cross paths and those meetings can grow into lasting friendships.


Step 1, Diagram 1: In the first step you will establish the count by making 1 x 1 cross stitches. I chose a #8 weight metallic thread in a blue that matches the silk. These little stitches will show a tiny bit under the strap stitches. They also have another purpose, which is to raise the strap stitches in step 3, creating a button/cushion effect. Be sure they all cross in the same direction. All of the Penny's Ribbon stitch diagrams show the compensating half stitches. If you choose to extend the pattern in length or width, the 1 x 1 cross stitches will serve as the base for placement of the other stitches.

Diagram 1
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Step 2, Diagram 2A and B: Diagram 2A illustrates a small strap stitch. Diagram 2B illustrates its placement. When doing the final arm of this stitch, the final part goes under the thread of the first arm, giving it a woven effect. I chose to use 2 strands of a blending-filament-size thread. It would be perfect with a #4 weight metallic. Note the compensating stitches (half stitches) at the edges surrounding the full motif. If you plan to stretch the stitch to fit a larger area, do this part of the stitch full-size rather than half.

Diagram 2A

Diagram 2B
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Step 3, Diagram 3A and B: This is the step that gives Penny's Ribbon stitch the circular effect. Diagram 3A shows the strap stitch again, but this time it is a larger version and it is tied. I chose to use 3 strands of silk for Step 3. You can use any thread of equivalent weight. It would be very interesting to use an overdyed thread or a narrow ribbon thread such as Neon Rays or Flair here. This portion of the stitch begins to build up the tufted texture of Penny's Ribbon. If you are stretching the pattern, remember to use full stitches rather than the compensating half stitches that are shown. Be consistent in how the strap stitch weaves by paying close attention to the diagram. The tie-down portion of the stitch will draw the arm into the center and will eventually create an oval area that will be filled in with 1/16 ribbon and #4 weight metallic in the next two steps, creating the circular appearance.

Diagram 3A

Diagram 3B
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Step 4, Diagram 4: I chose Kreinik #4 metallic in my favorite color, 002, for this step. The strap stitches are framed with diagonal stitches placed in the space created by pulling in the arm of the strap stitch with the tie-down stitch in Step 3. This step accomplishes two things. It fills in the space so no canvas shows after Step 5 is added. And it also helps create the shape needed to suggest a circle by softening the edges.

There is a small 1 x 1 cross stitch placed in the center where the large strap stitches meet. It is shown in gold on the diagram. Be sure all the crosses cross in the same direction.

Diagram 4
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Step 5, Diagram 5: Now I get to use my favorite thread, Kreinik 1/16th ribbon, color 002. I would be lost without it. Working with this thread offers many surprises. When I placed the first stitch with it in Penny's Ribbon, it did exactly what I envisioned. It compressed at the ends and splayed out in the center. It filled the space perfectly and created a tufted look without having a mass of heavy threads.

Diagram 5
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Step 6, Diagram 6: The "dressing up" part is accomplished by adding a #14 gold bead where indicated on the diagram by a gold circle. I added a row of double tramé couching to finish each edge, using #8 weight metallic couched with blending filament.

Diagram 6
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