The woven wheel stitch is an easy-to-learn embroidery stitch that packs a considerable punch. It is sometimes called woven rose stitch, and as its name suggests, it forms a wheel or rose-like circle of woven thread. Although technically comprised of several stitches, the woven wheel it is referred to as a single stitch. Add it to your bold and beautiful floral embroideries.
This weaving part of this stitch can be done very tightly, which will build up a thicker and more dimensional stitch, or you can keep the weaving a little looser, resulting in a softer and flatter stitch. Experiment with it to see what you like.
Equipment / Tools
- Embroidery hoop sized for practice cloth
- Embroidery needle, size between 1 and 5
- Tapestry needle, size between 22 and 24, for weaving (optional)
- Small sharp scissors
- Pencil or water soluble marker
- Small square of cotton fabric for practicing
- Six-strand embroidery floss
Woven wheel stitch is made up of two parts, the spokes and the weaving around them. The spokes are created with straight stitches, and must be odd in number for continuous weaving. Weaving proceeds in a spiral from the center out, needle and thread going over, under, over, under, around and around to the outside.
Use a blunt tapestry needle when weaving to help keep you from accidentally splitting other threads.
If you are still learning to stitch, go ahead and mark your fabric with a few practice lines for your five spokes as shown below. Use a ruler and a water-soluble pen or a pencil.
Place the fabric in the hoop. Cut a 12 to 14-inch length of six-strand embroidery floss and thread it through the embroidery needle. Knot the other end.
Working Woven Wheel Stitch
To begin, bring the needle up and down through the fabric to make five straight stitches as shown, forming a star. Try to make each stitch evenly spaced and the same length.
- Bring the needle up through the back near the center. Begin weaving the needle over and under each straight stitch spoke. Be careful not to catch any of the threads with your needle.
- Continue weaving around the spokes until the circle is filled in and you can no longer see any of the spokes showing.
- Take the needle down under the edge of the weaving at one of the spokes.
If you run out of thread as you are weaving, bring the needle to the back, secure it, and bring up a new thread where you left off, continuing to weave as before.
When working the straight stitch spokes, you will want to use a sharp needle to pierce the fabric. When you are weaving, however, it's best to switch to a tapestry needle with a blunt tip. This will help prevent the needle from catching and pulling the weaving. Switch back when you are done weaving and ready to finish off your thread.
More Examples and Ideas for Use
There are all kinds of options for making this stitch. You can weave tightly around the spokes, creating a thick and dense flower. Or you can weave more loosely, just tight enough to bring the threads in so they touch. The looser weave makes a much flatter flower, which can almost look too flat to be considered a "woven rose." Fuff the finished flower a bit with your finger to give it a fuller look.
Although shown here with only one color, it's easy to change colors throughout the stitch to create multi-color flowers or other motifs. You can also leave the center open, giving you room to fill it with other stitches, such as french knots. To do this, stitch the spokes so that they don't touch in the middle.
Woven wheel stitch is also commonly used with silk ribbon embroidery. To try this, stitch the spokes with a single strand of embroidery floss. Then do the weaving with ribbon. As you work around the circle, pay attention to the ribbon's twists, folding and turning it to get the look you want. Add this to your stitch knowledge, and you'll be making large roses and floral landscapes in hardly any time!