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Thorn stitch (Mountmellick) icon
Thorn stitch (Mountmellick)

Thorn stitch (Mountmellick) main image

This surface stitch is a variation on feather stitch as it has an additional knot worked into every other stitch.  As its name suggests, it is suitable for thorny stems and forms part of the Mountmellick tradition.

N.B. See thorn stitch for a simpler stitch with the same name.

It is hard to be sure when this version of thorn stitch was created, but it was certainly in use by the first part of the 20th century as it appears in Weldon’s Encyclopedia of Needlework.

This stitch is awaiting a sponsor.

Method

Draw or visualise four evenly-spaced parallel guidelines to keep your stitching even.

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1

Bring your needle up at one end of the right-middle line, and take it down on the left hand line, leaving a loop on the surface.

2

Bring your needle up inside the loop, halfway between the entry and exit points and a little further along.  Pull through to create your first feather stitch.

3

Take your needle down on the right hand design line, level with where it came up, leaving a loop on the surface.

4

Bring your needle up inside the loop, on the right-middle line and a little further along.  Pull through.

5

Keeping your working thread under tension, take it over your needle and wrap it twice around.

6

Take your needle down inside the feather stitch (very close to where it emerged) and then back up outside of the feather stitch, slightly towards the centre and slightly ahead.  Keep your working thread under your needle and pull through.

7

Take your needle down on the left hand guideline and bring it back up in the loop, as before.

8

Continue working the stitch in this way, anchoring the right hand feather stitches with the knot.

9

A finished line of thorn stitch.

Thorn stitch (Mountmellick)

Embroidery Techniques

References

  • Jane Houston-Almqvist, Mountmellick Work (1985, 1990, 1996) , p.32
  • Weldon’s Encyclopedia of Needlework , p.258