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Raised honeycomb filling stitch icon
Raised honeycomb filling stitch

Raised honeycomb filling stitch main image

This detached filling stitch is a complex raised trellis.  It is formed by working a standard square trellis, the threads of which are overcast, then a new thread is whipped around the trellis and that whipped thread is also overcast.  The trellis is so heavily embellished that the gaps between it resemble hexagons rather than squares - this presumably is the reason for its name.

N.B. some authors show this stitch without any of the overcasting.

There is another honeycomb trellis stitch with a similar name honeycomb filling stitch but a very different form: it is a hexagon trellis and much simpler to work.

This version of a trellis is first documented in the early 20th century but it seems to have been in use in the early 18th century as it features on a whitework waistcoat panel held by the Art Institute of Chicago.  See the end of this entry for an image.

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Method

This stitch is largely detached from the fabric, so the needle only goes through the fabric at the edges of the trellis.
Choose the thickness of your threads carefully as the overcasting obviously thickens them considerably. This version uses a different thread to show each element clearly but it could all be worked in the same thread.
You may want to use a tapestry needle for the overcasting and the whipping.

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1

Work several evenly spaced vertical threads back and forth across the design area.  Repeat with horizontal stitches to form a square trellis.

2

Bring the needle up at the end of one of the vertical threads, and working along the thread, overcast it.  Where it crosses the horizontal thread, overcast around both threads.

3

Continue overcasting the vertical and then the horizontal threads.  Make sure that the wrapping is in the same direction for all of the parallel threads.

4

Bring your needle up at the end of the first vertical trellis thread and whip the working thread diagonally over each trellis intersection in turn.

Raised honeycomb filling stitch method stage 5 photograph
5

When you have reached the end of the vertical trellis thread, continue whipping in the opposite direction.  Repeat for the other vertical trellis threads.

6

Whip the horizontal trellis threads in a similar way, although the threads should cross between the trellis intersections.

7

Now overcast the whipped threads: bring your thread up at the end of one of the vertical threads and work the overcasting.  Ensure you only catch the whipped thread.  At the end of the line, work back down the other whipped thread.

8

Once the vertical whipped threads have been worked, repeat for the horizontal ones.

9

A finished area of raised honeycomb filling stitch.

Raised honeycomb filling stitch

Common uses

Embroidery Techniques

Related Stitches

References

  • Mrs Archibald Christie, Samplers and Stitches (1921) , p.70–1
  • Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches (1934) , p.124–5
  • Jo Bucher, The complete guide to embroidery stitches and crewel (1971) , p.217-8

Examples of Raised honeycomb filling stitch

18th century whitework waistcoat front panel

A version of raised honeycomb filling stitch is seen on the central petal. It does not look to have been overcast, but the whipping is clearly visible.

Art Institute Chicago, accession number: 1926.33

https://www.artic.edu/artworks/27779/waistcoat-front-panel