Stitch of the Month
November 2006: Woven Milanese

by Kathy Fenchel

The Milanese stitch is a stitch that can be used to create a lot of interest on a canvas and it is quite versatile. It can be worked on the diagonal leaning to the left or right and can also be worked horizontally and vertically. If stitched with Neon Rays, the light play is fantastic! For another interesting effect use one color of thread for the "up" trip, and a different thread for the "down" trip.

Each row of the Milanese stitch, whether stitched on the diagonal or vertical is made up of a string of triangles. When stitched on the diagonal, the triangle covers, in succession, one, two, three and four canvas intersections. And then the next triangle begins with the same count. The second row of triangles is stitched in the same way as the previous row but facing in the opposite direction. This allows them to butt into the previous row.

If stitching a vertical or horizontal Milanese stitch, the count is slightly different but a string of interlocking triangle is the result! Rather than crossing intersections, each stitch crosses one, three, five and seven canvas threads before beginning a new triangle.

Another variation of the Milanese stitch is the woven Milanese. In reality, it isn't "woven" in the true sense of the word...it just looks that way! The stitch is done in three steps and uses at least two different threads and two needles.

  1. Begin by stitching every other stitch of each line of triangles. In the diagram below the stitches covering one and three intersections are stitched. Stitch the entire row in the area you are using this stitch. Park your needle to the side, on top of the canvas.
  2. Using a needle with another color of thread (gold line); bring the thread up at the base of the row. Lay the thread the length of the row on top of the one/three stitches. Take the needle to the back of the canvas and park it out of the way of your line of stitching.
  3. With the first needle, work your way back down the row stitching over the two and four diagonals.
  4. To stitch the next row, use needle #1, which has been set-aside at the bottom of row one to stitch over one and three diagonals. When you reach the top of the row, park the needle to the side.
  5. Needle number #2 is at the top of row one. Bring it to the front of the canvas at the top of row two and lay the thread the length of the row.
  6. With needle #1 which is now at the top of row two, stitch over two and four diagonals.

This method creates a smooth, woven appearance. To create a little more texture, try reversing the stitches that are laid in the second row. In other words, stitch over two and four diagonals in row number two, lay the length of thread with needle #2 two and then stitch over one and three diagonals. Refer to the diagram below. This technique creates more texture, and takes a little more concentration when stitching!!!

This stitch is very effective if you use an overdye thread in needle #1 and a metallic in needle #2. A flat thread, such as Neon Rays works well on 14 or 18 count canvas. The possibilities are endless!!!!!

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