Using the Satin Stitch in Needlepoint

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    Smooth Sleek Satin Stitch for Needlepoint

    Satin Stitch examples
    Cheryl C. Fall

    The satin stitch is extremely versatile and is worked side-by-side across multiple threads of needlepoint canvas, creating a large smooth “satiny area.” As the stitches are placed close together vertically, horizontally, or diagonally across any number of canvas threads, they create a sheen that brightens the colors of a needlepoint project.

    Works With Most Needlepoint Thread Types

    Satin stitch is equally effective when worked in a variety of needlepoint threads. Even matte-finished fibers in single-ply or stranded can create a smooth, satiny look and feel. Metallic threads will glow even brighter, while wool will take on a new luster.

    Whenever you wish a motif to stand out or a specific design area to be highlighted, consider the satin stitch as an ideal solution—no matter the size of the space. The stitches can vary, from as small as two canvas threads to as large as seven threads.

    When to Use the Satin Stitch

    Satin stitches will dramatically enhance and define any needlepoint design. These highly decorative techniques make perfect filling stitches for small detailed areas such as circles, triangles, or areas that you would like to bring forward in a needlepoint design. Satin stitches are often used instead of basic tent stitches for areas such as this because they sit higher on the canvas.

    A needlepoint project worked in satin stitch can be finished quicker than if worked in traditional stitch techniques, as multiple threads of the canvas are crossed with each stitch. You can experiment with satin stitch in the French braid needlepoint pattern, where the stitch is used to enhance the impact of the design and highlight various motifs.

    The satin stitch is one of the easiest ones to make in needlepoint. The simple technique can be learned in less than five minutes with these quick two-step instructions.

    Continue to 2 of 2 below.
  • 02 of 02

    Easiest Way to Work the Satin Stitch in Needlepoint

    Satin stitch diagram
    Cheryl C. Fall

    Not to be confused with Gobelin stitches, satin stitches can be easily adjusted to fit any space--no matter the shape. However, for large open areas, where the stitch length will be greater than seven threads, it is usually better to work several groups of stitches or to divide the area with a row of backstitches to ensure that the satin stitches lie flat and evenly on top of the canvas.

    Make the Satin Stitch in Two Steps

    Follow the simple stitch diagram in the image to learn how to make quick and easy Satin stitches. The stitch is made the same way horizontally, vertically, and diagonally.

    1. Bring the needle up through the back of the canvas at position (1), and then across the desired number of canvas threads to go down at position (2).
    2. Move directly to the next space in the canvas at position (3), and bring the needle up once again and down at position (4), being very careful not to pull the thread too tightly as this will cause the canvas to pucker and the thread to cluster.

    That's all there is to it! Just continue placing each stitch exactly next to the previous one.

    Using Satin Stitches in Odd-Shaped Areas

    • For Circles: When filling in circles or triangle shapes with satin stitches, work the center stitch first, and then fill in the ones directly next to the center stitch on one side, adjusting the stitch length as you work to “round out” the area. Continue to work on the other side in the same manner.
    • For Odd Shapes: Make the longest stitch first, and then work in descending order until the area has been filled.

    Important Quick Tip

    To ensure a smooth, satiny effect, a laying tool is required for placing each stitch when working with two or more strands of thread in the needle. This tool will help the thread to lie flat and even as new stitches are made.

    When satin stitches are placed properly, you will get a smooth, fluid appearance and will not be able to tell where one stitch ends and another one begins. There will also be proper thread coverage on the back of the canvas.