AREA 12: Heart Darning Pattern

By Beth Robertson

Threads Used:


Use 1 strand of Splendor S820 (My Thread ___________) to work the Heart Darning Pattern Background. Optionally, you can stitch the darning pattern with 1 strand of Splendor S822 (My Thread ___________) for a slightly different look.

Notes: Be very careful on the edges of the rows when you are turning around that your thread does not slip under the weave of the canvas. You can see this on the red sample above. It is easier if you extend the thread past the last heart a consistent distance on both sides (See Blue sample above). This will provide a consistent shadow. Also, on the sides next to the heart, flip your work over and carefully to tack the thread in the edge of the heart for the same consistent shadowing.

Comments on Stitch

Darning patterns are openwork patterns that create a fabulous background option for the stitcher who doesn't need heavy coverage. All the patterns are worked in an over-under method, starting with an away waste knot and leaving a tail to be ended outside the body of the piece. Most of these patterns are worked in straight lines, but there are also ones that can be worked to create a diagonal pattern.

These patterns can be used to create snow, sky, grass, or water. They also make great backgrounds for pieces that may be finished as standing dolls. Metallic threads like Tiara, Candlelight, Gold Rush, or one of the Kreinik Braids work very well in darning patterns. They add shimmer and shine to a piece giving just a hint of coverage. The metallics are extremely effective for stitching snow scenes, or a snowy background. Consider lining the piece with a shiny fabric such as lamé to increase the sparkle and add dimension of the darning pattern background.

Softly twisted threads like pearl cotton, especially the finer sizes, are very effective. Try #5 pearl cotton for 13/14 mesh or #8 or #12 pearl cotton for 18-mesh canvas. To create a very subtle look, try to match the pearl cotton color to your canvas or fabric color.

The finer sizes of the overdyed threads such as Wildflowers, Bravo! and overdyed pearl 8 are also great for darning patterns. Also consider using variegated pearl cotton for sky or water. The twisted silks and rayons such as Elegance and Panache will also work well in these darning patterns. These threads will shine more than pearl cotton and add elegance to the piece.

Finishing Touches

Designer Biographical Information

Beth Robertson is co-author of the popular books Stitches For Effect, More Stitches For Effect, Even More Stitches For Effect, Stitches To Go, The Thread Thesaurus, Knots, Fur, & Turkey Work and New Twists on Needlework Embellishment. Her designs have appeared in needlepoint now, NeedlePointers, Piecework, and The Stitchery magazines. In 1998 she was awarded the ANG Literary Award. She designs hand-painted canvas with stitch guides called Just Add Threads™ as well as counted needlepoint designs. Beth has taught classes for retail shops, local guilds, The National Needlework Association, ANG National Seminar, and Callaway Gardens.