Herringbone, Gobelin, Whatever

The original pin for this stitch did not include a name.  When I first came across it on Pinterest, I thought it was a Gobelin stitch.  When I started to diagram it, I realized it is a Herringbone.  And that, my friends, is how you come up with a blog post title.

Unlike most stitches using a single thread, the sequence is critical.  The core single stitch is easy; it is over two rows and up three.  The graph below illustrates it three ways.

The layered effect of this stitch results from a consistent starting point, specifically the top (or the bottom) for every row.  In addition, to keep the integrity of the stitch intact, note the first stitch is a compensation stitch (the double aqua lines).  

Personally, I have no preference between starting from the bottom or top (or the far right or far left if you are doing this on a horizontal axis).  However, I strongly believe you should do one or the other and not do alternating.  It's a subtle difference but I prefer the consistent pattern presented by the top or bottom starting point.

I am not aware of any trick to make this easier.  It will involve tying off the thread at the end of every row and beginning the next row at the top (or bottom).  If the space is not overly large, you could drag the thread across the back to begin the next row, but that is not always the best solution as it can add bulk to the back of the canvas which can impact finishing, especially framing.

While I may not favor the "Alternating" sequence, that doesn't mean you shouldn't do it!  It could work on a basket or shrubbery stitch, where the alternating directions could enhance the woven appearance.

The stitched sample on Instagram is a small taste of the "starting from bottom" version.

This stitch diagram, along with all other #whimsicalwednesday and #smallspacesunday stitch diagrams, can also be found on a Pinterest board here.

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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, whimsicalstitch.com sells stitch guides for Melissa Shirley Designs and Zecca Designs.  28 guides are currently available and more are in the pipeline.