Diamond eyelet (pulled thread)
A diamond-shaped stitch consisting of twelve stitches radiating out from a central hole. It is worked on even-weave fabrics such as canvas or within pulled thread work.
This stitch features strongly in Icelandic embroidery, most probably dating back to the mid 16th century but popular in the 18th and 19th centuries, where it was used to completely cover household textiles such as bed and cushion covers. The Icelandic name of augnasaumur translates as ‘eye stitch’. It also features on a 19th century woman’s bodice from southern India, currently held by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Stitch 1: Make a vertical stitch down over three threads and bring the needle up again one space diagonally right and down (1 o’clock) from the starting hole, give a quick pull against the bottom of the first stitch to open the threads of the fabric.
Stitches 2–4: Make three stitches at 1, 2 & 3 o’clock radiating around the centre hole, always taking the needle down into the same centre hole, again remembering to pull with increased tension on the up stitch to open up the fabric in the centre hole.
Stitches 5–6: Make two more stitches at 4 and 5 o’clock with good tension, bring the needle up to the surface again in the 3 o’clock hole.
Repeat the last six stitches for a new diamond and repeat again for any subsequent diamonds you need to fill the space.
Stitches 7–12: On your return journey, to fill the space you will complete the other half of each diamond by bringing the needle up with increased tension at 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 o’clock and taking the needle down into the centre hole each time.
On completing each diamond, move onto the next at 6 o’clock and work round to 11 o’clock.
This stitch can be worked at a larger scale with more stitches. This variation shows the first stitch is over five threads of the canvas and the whole stitch consists of 20 stitches and cover 10 x 10 threads of the canvas.
When worked traditionally with white thread on white fabric the characteristic diamond shape is lost and creates a diagonal pattern of circles.
Structure of stitch
Identifying Diamond eyelet (pulled thread)
The example below consist of all 12 stitches worked into central point with those positioned at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock being the longest (over 3 stitches) which form the diamond shape. A complete isolated stitch will cover 6 x 6 threads of canvas.
Various Authors, The Royal School of Needlework Book of Embroidery (2018) , p.328
Elsa E. Gudjonsson. (1982) 'Traditional Icelandic Embroidery', Reykjavik Icelandic Review. Available at: https://www.scribd.com/doc/50608406/Traditional-Icelandic-Embroidery
'19th century Indian bodice', Victoria and Albert Museum (2021). Available at: https://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O476901/bodice-unknown/?carousel-image=2006AN8380 (Accessed: 12 October 2021)