Open Skies

Honestly, I can't think of a time I wanted a sky stitch to stand out above other stitches on the canvas.  It's the nature of skies.  This explains why most of my favorite sky stitches tend to be open stitches with unassuming thread choices that are neutral in direction.  These elements project a perfect minimalism.

This week's sky stitch is a perfect example.

The stitch consists of stitch pairs over five rows on the horizontal and the vertical.  I purposefully leave the open areas blank, especially for a sky, to minimize the stitch and let the shading show through.  Two colors are used in the diagram for clarity.  Typically, I use only one color thread for sky stitches*.  

As for the thread choice, the lighter weight the better.  On the Instagram stitched sample, I used two plies of DMC Floss on 13-mesh canvas.  It was insane but it worked.  My favorite threads for skies are 2-4 strands of DMC (or Anchor) Floss, Splendor, or Planet Earth Silk.  The number of strands depends on the mesh size and the desired coverage.  My favorite single strand threads are Elegance, Pepper Pot Silk, DMC (or Anchor) Pearl Cotton, especially sizes #8 and #12.

When I'm using a metallic for a sky, my two go-to's are Petite Silk Lame and Kreinik Metallics Very Fine Braid (#4) for 18-mesh and Fine Braid (#8) for 13-mesh.  

The *.  My commentary on this stitch focuses on its use for a sky.  This stitch serves many other purposes that may call for the use of multiple threads, whether they combine thread finishes or colors. I reserve the right to repurpose this stitch diagram for another post where I may elaborate on that point.   (Otherwise, this post may never end.)

This stitch diagram, along with other #whimsicalwednesday and #smallspacesunday stitch diagrams, can also be found on  

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If you like what you see on this blog, want to learn some very creative decorative stitches, and how to put them all together, sells stitch guides for seasonal Melissa Shirley designs.  22 guides are currently available and more are in the pipeline.