Tuesday, February 7, 2012

How to: the Open Wave Stitch

While writing my post about Bird embroideries (see post below) the other day I came across a stitch called the Open Wave. Abi had used it to stitch feathers on a wing. The Open Wave Stitch is what I call a 'semi' fill stitch: it fills an area in your embroidered piece without completely covering the fabric.  The stitch was new to me and I'm pretty sure it's not often covered in modern Embroidery handbooks so I thought I'd share this fun and decorative stitch here with you all! (Note: I am left handed but the stitch can be easily worked from all directions)

Start by stitching a row of straight stitches (like the ones on the right in the photo).

Start the second row a little to the left of the straight stitch.

Carefully put your needle underneath the straight stitch in the first row and enter the needle into the fabric again, evenly spaced from the starting point of your 'wave'.

Make sure there is a little bit of space between your 'waves' so exit your needle a little to the right (or left, depending from which direction your are coming) of your finished wave to start a new wave'.

For your third row, instead of putting your needle under the one straight stitch in the row above, you take the outer 'legs' of the stitches of row 2 to form a new 'wave'. And a couple of rows look something like this...

I am trying the Open Wave Stitch on a Koi fish I quickly sketched (and it shows) with a water-erasable marker on a scrap of fabric. This is actually my second try because the curves of the fish made it a bit trickier to stitch. I hope you all have fun with this stitch too!

Something else now. We were very flattered to find out that Sewphie had honoured our brand new blog with an award. And while we are not passing the award on, we would like to recommend Sewhpie's blog Threadhead to all, to read and follow. We love to discover new (at least new to us) blogs, so if you have a Stitchy blog, be sure to share it in our Flickr group and we will certainly drop by at some point!


  1. Ooh, I hope we get to see the koi when it's finished! The sketch is beautiful so far.

    Always nice to see left-handed stitch instructions. I know you can work a stitch from either direction but sometimes I have trouble doing that mental flip!

    1. I hope this tutorial is suitable for right-handers as well though! I often have trouble 'translating' right-handed instructions to left-handed stitches too. Especially with knots or very complicated stitches. I will certainly show the Koi when it's finished (or link to it) :)

  2. I really like the look of this stitch on your Koi ~ thanks for the tutorial, it would be great for a net too.


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