Updated September 16, 2022.
What stitch can be any length you like, any slant you like, and is one of the easiest stitches to learn?
If you are new to needlepoint, there are many Gobelin Stitches. The three most common are:
- Diagonal Gobelin is just like a long Tent Stitch, going over more than one intersection on the true diagonal.
- Straight, or upright, Gobelin is a straight stitch going over at least two threads in a straight line.
- Encroached Gobelin is an oblique (slanted but not on the true diagonal) stitch where the beginning of one row of stitches overlaps the ending of the previous row’s stitches.
This stitch’s versatility also makes it fantastic as a background.
Here are seven wonderful ways to use it.
- Make a zig-zag row of Straight Gobelin and leave one canvas thread open between rows. I call this Skip-a-row Gobelin and you can see it in use on the star above. For a background on a piece with a strong focal point, use this stitch in a color like that of the canvas. The stitch is diagrammed below.
- Alternate direction and change widths of Diagonal Gobelin. I used this as the background for this Princess & Me ornament. Although these are straight rows, the background isn’t boring because of the changing widths. It adds great texture to a solid background. This stitch is diagrammed below.
- Alternate Gobelin with open canvas for stripes. This is such an easy and effective background. Pick a great thread with subtle changes such a Joombla (Dinky Dyes) or Overdyed Vineyard Silk (Threadworx). Make the Gobelins the width you like. Separate it by several threads of open canvas. An instant striped wallpaper or fabric! The diagram is below.
- Make Alternating Stripes of Diagonal Gobelin. I love this simple but effective background. Where you have widely separated elements, creating a single color stripe is so easy to do and stitches up quickly. The diagram is below>
- For wooden buildings, alternate Horizontal Diagonal Gobelin with Tent for clapboards.Although I usually do this for buildings, Clapboard Gobelin would make an outstanding background stitch for anything that could be hanging on a building. Think of how it would add subtle realism to a canvas of a wreath or a porch chair. It’s diagramed below.
- Add a random border to define the space. No matter what background stitch you use, sometimes the piece only comes together when a border is added. This Random Gobelin Border takes many threads of a single color and cuts them into random lengths. One thread is stitched until it ends, then a second is picked and stitched. This process continues until the border is done. It looks best sandwiched between more subtle borders. Remember to end each thread before beginning the next.
- Large Encroached Gobelin makes an almost fabric-like background.Because the stitches interact with each other, Encroached Gobelin can make a very smooth background. It’s another stitch that works well when you want the focal point to shine. This effect is most pronounced using stranded threads. It’s diagrammed below.