Stitch of the Month

designed by Sue Reed


Last year I was asked to do a mystery geometric design as the project for the 2010 Stitch of the Month. Since the piece is composed of many elements and stitches, you will see that more than one stitch may be given each month. Many of the stitches will be familiar to you since geometrics, as in other designs, need areas of quiet...a place for the eye to rest before moving on to other areas.

January will be a busy month: not only do you search for threads and make color selections, you will be marking your canvas and starting to stitch.


  • #18 canvas
  • Stretcher bars, tacks
  • Threads
  • Laying tool
  • Tapestry needles sizes 22, 24 and beading needle
  • Frame weight or holder
  • Usual stitching supplies

CANVAS – The model was stitched on #18 white canvas. The design size is approximately 8.33” x 8.33” on canvas cut to 12” x 12”. *My canvas was cut down to 12” x 12” for ease in traveling in my carry-on. If you desire a bit more canvas beyond the design, use a 13” x 13” piece of #18.

There is a bit of canvas that peeks through in Area E with the stitch that I selected. When we get to that later in the year, I will give you a suggestion for coverage, especially if you don’t like a bit of canvas showing. Another option is to use a canvas color that enhances the thread selection, thus allowing the canvas to show.

THREAD AND COLOR SELECTION - listed are the threads and colors that I used on the model, opting to go outside of my comfort zone and selecting colors that will show up the stitches. So the palette of soft blues and greens that keep calling to me will just have to wait for another project because I feared that they would not scan nor photograph well enough for you to see.

Feel free to make substitutions. I know that’s a hard thing to suggest since you don’t know the final results. If you want to use a hand-dyed thread, one option is to use it in place of the Vineyard Family A for lots of hand-dyed visible. A second option would be in place of Vineyard Family B for less of the hand-dyed visible. If you select a hand-dyed for either of those two threads, I would suggest also selecting a solid color to be used in the Area E pattern. A hand-dyed would muddy the pattern.

Whatever you elect to do, you can pull from your stash and/or visit your local needlework shop to see the threads and colors first-hand. Rely upon your sense of color and, if need be, rely upon the expertise of the people who work in the shop for comparable weights and threads for a #18 canvas. Color is very personal. Even though I selected colors outside of my comfort zone, I was pleased with the final results because I liked the combination of colors together.

Thread Listing

MARKING YOUR CANVAS – You will need to use a #4 or #5 hard lead pencil for drawing the design. Any mistakes in counting can easily be remedied with a white fabric eraser. Another option is to baste the lines in place.

The counts given on the master chart represent the number of threads. Do not count holes because you will always be one off.

Mark in the channels.

Begin by finding the center of your canvas. Move (if necessary) a canvas intersection away to place your center to the lower left of a vertical thread intersection. Mark it by placing a horizontal line and a vertical line to cross at the lower left of a vertical thread intersection.

[Hint: Having the center as the lower left of a vertical thread intersection makes it easier to mark a canvas. Also if you are counting an even number of threads you should always end up at the lower left of a vertical intersection.]


  • Find and mark the center of the canvas.
  • From the center count (but don’t mark) 12 threads to the right to begin marking the middle Area B.
  • With pencil, count/mark down 12 threads.
  • Mark to the left 24 threads.
  • Mark up 24 threads.
  • Mark to the right 24 threads.
  • Mark down 12 threads (should bring you back to initial marking).
  • Mark a 6 x 24 thread rectangle at the north, south, east and west.
  • Mark a 24 x 24 square at the north, south, east and west, beyond the 6 x 24 rectangles.
  • Count out 6 canvas threads to mark the outer edges of Area A.
  • Square off the design by marking the corner squares (30 x 30 threads).
  • Count out and mark 8 canvas threads to border Area D.
  • Count out and mark 16 canvas threads to border Area E.
  • Count out and mark 3 canvas threads to border Area F.

Schematic for SotM 2010

STITCHING AREA A – 6 threads wide:

Click on image for larger version

Using 1 strand Vineyard Silk Family A (__________________), work an inner row and an outer row of Slanted Gobelin “over 2” threads. Change slant at the north, south, east and west midpoints. **Note that there will be two (2) canvas threads exposed in between these Slanted Gobelin borders. This will be filled in next month. You can see an example of the Gobelin Stitch here.

Click on image for larger version

Click on image for larger version

The mark of a successful stitcher is to not be afraid to take something out if it doesn’t work for you and replace it with another color/thread. So learn from your stitching, but most importantly, have fun!

See you in February.


Portions of this Website presenting information on this project may be printed or electronically reproduced by individual stitchers for their personal use and by ANG Chapters for use in their newsletters and Chapter activities. ANG Chapter republication of these pages should give credit to Stitch of the Month and ANG, Inc.