Stitch of the Month
October 2005: Sharon G's Favorite Border

by Sharon G

Photo of Stitched Sample
(Click on the image for a more detailed picture)
Figure 1 - Stitched Sample

I love to contain my designs in an elegant border made up of a combination of stitches. This allows a bit of containment for the design. For framed pieces, a border allows the eye to be drawn to the needlework, rather than to the frame.

This border uses Kreinik Metallic Ribbon, one of my favorite threads. The more I work with this thread the more versatile I find it.

These are the threads I used in Sharon G's Favorite Border:

  • Access Commodities Soft Twist Cord in Renaissance Gold. You can substitute a #16 or #12 braid or any one of many Rainbow Gallery threads of comparable weight.
  • Bijoux 425 or similar-weight thread that matches the color of the cord or braid.
  • 1/16" Kreinik Metallic Ribbon #5005. You can also use any similar-size ribbon, or Rainbow Gallery Fyre Werks or Soft Sheen Fyre Werks.
  • Soie d'Alger Noir. You can substitute any stranded floss or silk.

(Click on the image for a more detailed picture)

Refer to chart for exact placement of each thread type.

  1. Leave corners empty until step 7.
  2. Lay Access Commodities Soft Twist Cord and couch with Bijoux 425. These are the thick red lines on the chart.
  3. With 4 strands of Soie d'Alger, do the square mosaic stitches. These are indicated by a thin black line. Be sure to leave the corners empty.
  4. With 1 strand of Kreinik 1/16" Metallic Ribbon #5005, do diagonal Gobelin over 4 threads. These are blue lines on the chart.
  5. With 4 strands of Soie d'Alger Noir, stitch a row of diagonal Gobelin over 2, placing the stitches outside the outermost couched Soft Twist Metallic Cord. I like to do this as a "buffer" on pieces that will be framed. This way, you allow the framer a bit of stitched area to use as a buffer for matting, so the mat doesn't cover any of the design but no bare canvas shows between the edge of the design and the mat.
  6. With 1 strand of Bijoux, do vertical stitches over 2 between the square mosaic stitches. These are the thin red lines on the chart.
  7. Now we are going to fill in the corners we so carefully left empty. With 4 strands of Soie d'Alger, stitch a partial rice stitch in the outermost areas of each of the four corners. This is shown with thin black lines on the chart.
  8. The center of the each corner motif consists of a cross stitch surrounded by basic strap stitches, which are stitched in increasing size to create a concentric "nest" of strap stitches. You may want to refer to the April Stitch of the Month, diagram 3b, for a detailed chart of the basic strap stitch. Begin with 4 strands of Soie d'Alger and stitch the cross stitch in the center of the corner motif. This is shown as a black X on the chart. Next, continue stitching with the silk floss and stitch the innermost strap stitch, shown in gray lines on the chart. As you complete each basic strap stitch, be sure to tuck the last pass of the stitch under the first pass or arm of the stitch. Switch to Kreinik Metallic Ribbon and stitch a second strap stitch, just larger than the first one (shown with blue lines on the chart). Continue stitching strap stitches of increasing size to fill the corner motif, alternating the silk floss with the Kreinik Metallic Ribbon. End with the Kreinik Metallic Ribbon.

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