Coral Stitch and Beaded Coral Stitch

Coral stitch is a funny little thing.  It definitely takes some practice and if you screw up the knot, it can be a bitch to undo.  I first learned of it in Inspirations, where they used the beaded version to trip the edges of a small box.  As with a lot of the projects in that magazine, the techniques and articles are more interesting to me than the actual pieces.  They’re all so… girly.  Still, I pour over each project, looking for techniques I can incorporate into more modern, less frilly pieces.I was enamoured of the beaded coral stitch, and after a quick curved test, I decided to try something slightly mad: I wanted to use beaded coral stitch as a filling stitch.I had recently picked up a grab bag from Darrell Thomas Textiles, a store in Ottawa that has a great selection of apparel fabrics and a button collection to die for.  The owners make grab bags of fabric samples they no longer carry and sell them for five dollars a piece.  The money all goes to a local cat rescue.  The pieces in the bags vary in size and texture, but most are at least a fat quarter and some are super expensive if you were to buy them (we’re talking 50$ a meter and up!).  I got a fabulous pink gingham with large squares and a lovely weave.  And then I went mental.

Between each coral knot, there is a bead.  As much as possible, I tried to stagger the beads and the knots so that it could be as tight as possible.  The beads are still able to roll on the thread, making the piece similar to a worry stone in a soothing, tactile way.

The stitching is nowhere near perfect, but I adore it.  Mary Corbet of NeedlenThread has a fabulously clear video that really helped me figure the stitch when I was starting out with it.  Beading it only means threading a bead after each knot.The key to nice coral stitch is to pull your knot in the direction you want it to go every single time.  The knot will want to twist, but if you keep gently tugging it the direction of your line or curve, it’ll come back and behave.

Although traditionally the beauty of the stitch is measured by the even spacing of the knots, it could be fun to play with the spacing, three tight ones, two spaced out, three tight.  It could be an interesting filling stitch, a cute way to illustrate patterned or lacy tights on a pretty lady.


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