Pulled canvas is a delightful technique, one which is always a surprise because the look of the finished stitches is completely different than the look of the diagrammed stitches. Because the canvas (and the stitches to some extent) becomes distorted after each stitch is pulled, a lacy effect is created.
This block is found above Winged Square, next to Dolley Madison Star.
Here are some tips to remember when you do pulled canvas:
Always do this technique on mono canvas. Because this canvas is a single, flat weave, the individual threads can be pulled out of alignment.
Be careful to use an even amount of tension when pulling. Otherwise the stitches will be uneven.
Use threads which are capable of being pulled. By and large cotton or linen threads work best here, but in this patch, silk/wool is used for the triangle patches.
When making eyelets, sometimes there are too many threads to fit into the hole at the center. If this is a problem, expand the size of the center hole before beginning the eyelet by using an awl to distort the canvas.
Pull the thread each time the needle is brought into or out of the canvas. This controls the tension and look of each stitch.
To pull, grab the thread near the canvas and pull hard in the opposite direction from the stitch. The change in direction seems to work better for getting good distortion.
Pulling tightly or loosely will change how lacy the finished effect will be. For example, in the striped patches in this block, the model is pulled tightly, leaving very open spaces between the stripes. Pulling less tightly will result in fatter stripes and less space between them.
For this block use:
- Impressions 1095 (seam lines and diagonal patches)
- Impressions 1091 (background)
- Madras 632 (stripes)
- Madras 652 (dots)
Begin by stitching the entire tent stitch outline in Impressions, following the chart below. Then stitch the background in the lighter color of Impressions. By completing the tent stitching first, it is not only easier, but a firm base is created for the pulled stitches and for starting and stopping threads.
In Chain,there are two diagonal rows of patches going across the center of the patch. Typically each row is done in a different fabric. Here, they are done in two pulled canvas patterns. The four triangles on the side of the patch are done in two additional patterns.
Begin with the diagonal which goes from the upper left corner to the lower right. These patches will be done using three strands of Madras 632 (pink). The stripes are done in Pulled Satin Stitch (diagrammed below), which is pulled after the needle comes out of the fabric, making a tight, raised stripe. Begin to stitch one thread in from the edge of the square. Please note that there is one thread between each row of stitches and that the stitches are not all the same length. This stitch when pulled creates stripes.
The other diagonal is done in a variation of the Honeycomb Stitch. This stitch is a popular one in pulled canvas because the small sets of stitches pull the canvas into pleasant rounded shapes. As you can see from the diagram below, the stitches before they are pulled look like blocks. But once they are pulled the canvas threads come together into rounded shapes. The more the stitches are pulled, the more rounded the shapes become.
Stitch these blocks with three strands of Madras 652.
The diagram on the left is for the center squares, while the diagram on the right is for the corner squares. With the center squares leave one thread unstitched on the right and left sides of each block before making the pattern. Do not leave any unstitched threads on the remaining corner blocks.
Please note that the top row of blocks in the diagram is one thread smaller for the corner blocks. Put this narrower end towards the inside corner of the block. There are also an uneven number of stitches in the blocks. In the corner blocks the top and bottom blocks have only two stitches in them. In the center blocks, the bottom blocks only have two stitches. This is reflected in the diagrams below.
Make this pattern in vertical rows and use the outline of the patch (seam lines) to move the thread from row to row.
Once you have completed both diagonal rows, move to the triangular patches which surround the central square. There are two different patterns used, one on the right and left and the other on the top and bottom. All four triangles are done in Impressions 1095.
The right and left triangles are done using the Pulled Four-sided Stitch (diagrammed below). This stitch, unpulled, creates open squares of stitches. When pulled it creates rounded shapes caught in a grid.
Because Impressions is considerably weaker than Madras and so the dark color of the thread would stand out sharply, each stitch is done twice and is pulled after each stitch is made. Center a block on the long edge of the triangle and begin stitching from there, working across each row.
The top and bottom triangles are done in one full eyelet and two half eyelets, creating a very dramatic effect. Eyelets are a great choice for an area which will really stand out on a canvas, even if they are not pulled much. The key to making a nicely rounded eyelet is to pull an even amount on each stitch after it goes in at the center of the stitch. Although eyelets can be pulled strongly, or pulled unevenly to get different effects, these were only pulled gently.
The triangle is diagrammed below. The full eyelet goes from the top to the bottom of the triangle, while the half eyelets fill the remaining space. The full eyelet is a diamond shape with one stitch per hole.
In the diagram of the eyelet, only four stitches are drawn completely for the full eyelet and three for the half eyelet. This is to make the diagram easier to see. The other stitches are marked with dots in the holes where the needle comes out of the canvas. The other stitches of the eyelet can be drawn in with pencil.
Remember all the stitches go into the canvas in the same hole at the center of the stitch! There will be two stitches going into the squares with dots where the eyelets meet, one from the full eyelet and one from the half-eyelet.
Follow the entire project on-line: