Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Stitch Fun: A Little More Lattice Filling


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I’m overlapping my Stitch Fun articles these days, playing back and forth between lattice fillings (like the Griffin stitch and these lattice variations with French knots) and lacing and whipping various embroidery stitches.

Working on a very strange looking sampler pattern that I’m calling Jacobean Jumble, I’ve been embroidering different Stitch Fun stitch combinations and varieties onto the sampler. With a sampler that is made up of shapes rather than lines, you can especially see how filling stitches like these lattice variations can work on your own projects.

Lattice Filling Stitches on an Embroidery Sampler

The last time we looked at lattice fillings on shapes, I filled the resulting grids (one diamond-shaped, the other square) with French knots, in each little open area of the grid. On this shape pictured above, I worked a small diamond grid in a pale salmon, with the intersections couched in a dark blue, and instead of placing a French knot in each opening in the grid, I worked in every other opening. This creates a lighter look to the filling, but also adds some nice texture from the French knots.

You Can Draw the Whole Line

With this particular shape, you can see how a lattice filling can fill any wonky shape! It’s just a matter of gridding out your lines carefully, so that they carry neatly across each part of the shape. In this case, I actually marked the full line with a ruler using a light pencil.

If you draw your grid lines onto the fabric with a light pencil, even with a fine thread like coton a broder (which is what I’m using in all these lattice demonstrations so far), you can easily cover the lines with the long laid stitches that make up the lattice.

Lattice Filling Stitches on an Embroidery Sampler

Here’s another variation. This one has three layers of laid stitches. The first two layers are in an orangey-red, making the square grid. Then I crossed the diagonal of the grid with blue. Finally, I couched the intersections with bright yellow.

You’ll notice I haven’t outlined any of these shapes first. That’s because I’m not 100% certain yet what’s coming next, and how I will work the next filled area in with this filled area. Well – that’s the fun of a sampler! You can pretty much play around with any approach, to see what works best.

Lattice Filling Stitches on an Embroidery Sampler

Here, you can see that the blue diagonal laid stitches cut across each square in the foundation grid. You can achieve a more open look to this filling, by taking the diagonal over every other row. But I wanted a slightly denser filling, so I worked diagonally over each line of squares.

Tension on Couching Stitches

When couching the intersections, be careful with your stitch tension. If you pull your couching stitches too tightly, your laid stitches to pull in at the intersection and bump up in the middle between the couching stitches. This can actually look interesting, but if your couching stitches are even slightly off, it will be much more noticeable. Also, pulling too tightly can cause the grid to look slightly warped.

You want your couching stitches just to hold the intersections in place. Pull the thread through on each couching stitch with enough tension to hold the intersection in place, but not so much tension as to choke the life out of the laid threads!

Lattice Filling Stitches on an Embroidery Sampler

Here, you can see the French knot filled lattice we looked at last week in the background. The top one (with the salmon pink French knots) is not quite filled. That’s a lot of French knots!

Lattice Filling Stitches on an Embroidery Sampler

Here, you can see a smattering of all four lattice variations. On the right, the two lattices filled completely with French knots, one made from a square grid, and the other from a diamond shaped grid (which is just a square grid, turned 45 degrees). The center is the square grid cut by one layer of diagonal laid stitches. On the left, you can see the square grid with French knots in every other square.

So you can see that it’s just a matter of changing the various elements of each lattice ever-so-slightly, to get a different look.

Jacobean Jumble Sampler Pattern?

If you’re interested in this “Jacobean Jumble” drawing, let me know, and I’ll post it for you. It’s definitely nothing beautiful – it’s just two Jacobean motifs that I’ve swirled together into something resembling a splotch or a glob. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? But it does give me plenty of scope for filling shapes and for working some lines, bands, and circle elements that we’ve covered in the Stitch Fun series.

Have You Latticed Lately?

Have you done anything with lattice stitches lately? Is there anything about lattice stitches that you don’t like, or that might intimidate you? Do you have any tricks or techniques for working lattice stitches that you’d like to share with everyone else? Have your say below – we’re all ears!

(Shhhhhhhh…. don’t tell anyone, but Monday, I’m giving away three Trish Burr kits….! Keep an eye out for the give-away!)

If you enjoy these tips on varying your embroidery stitches, you might want to take a look at the Stitch Fun series here on Needle ‘n Thread. It’s a series articles focusing on particular stitches and techniques that can help you add variety to your hand embroidery projects. In the series, we explore various stitches, combinations, or variations that are, in short, fun!



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(54) Comments

  1. Got the book “Women’s Work: Embroidery in Colonial Boston” yesterday (I love Amazon Prime-too much, I’m sure). Anyway it is BEAUTIFUL and worth every penny. Even the embossed cover is beautiful! Thanks for telling us about it! Pat in SNJ

  2. Hi Mary,
    Yes please do post the “Jacobean Jumble” design. I’ve been planning a project where I have a constant design that I use for a number of small projects using different techniqs, like Blackwork, pulled thread, crewel etc.
    Marlene Smit

  3. Really lovely. You have put together nice color combinations and the relaxed tension on the yarns make it look beautiful.

  4. Hello Mary: Yes I just love the appearance of the lattice work you are showing us. It gives a lacey look and although I have not tried this type of work yet I would love to try it. I would am interested in seeing the whole drawing for “Jacobean Jumble” it might be a good place for me to try this lovely stitch out.

    Thanx for this website, it is so helpful,

  5. Yes I would like to see your pattern, mostly to see how big and what kinds of shapes you are using, all the better to guide my samplers.And what type of ajustments are required to take close ups such as you publish in this blog. I have no camera and am open to all help I can get on what to buy. Thanks

  6. Mary, your stitching is perfect and your sampler is such an inspiration for trying these combinations. I would appreciate very much if you would share your sampler pattern. It would be fun to play along.

  7. I would love the pattern, too. It looks like an all-purpose job for trying out techniques. I can’t draw, so most patterns are of interest to me. I can’t choose colours either. BUT I don’t like just doing someone else’s pattern. Yours looks like it would enable me to do something nice with a bit of originality that is not ruined by my shortcomings in art and colour. As for the shortcomings in stitching – well, that’s another matter. Give me a few years and I’ll get there!
    Thanks again for interesting and instructive posts.

  8. Mary
    over the holiday I was cleaning out my craft closet and ran across a large piece of cross stitch fabric. I immediately thought it would be the perfect canvas to learn this stitch. I spent the weekend completely involved with choosing floors of thread and I had a BLAST. I am thinking I will continue to cover the fabric with other variations of this stitch. The Colorado of the old fabric is ugly but if I continue to create variations of this new stitch you won’t be able to see it. I read your blog first every morning it is there at work while I enjoy my coffee. Just don’t tell the boss that

    Ni you for all Houyhnhnm info. I too learner to embroider at a very young age. My 2 sisters and I we to a woman’s home to learn mym
    mom r
    Thought it was important to know. Now many years later I agree

    Thank you

  9. These filling stitches are really fun. I have been looking at “filling” for my latest piece. The background is all chain stitch, but I made the mistake of adding some words on the side of the piece before I had done the chain stitch there. Now I am not sure how to fill around the small letter shapes (they are outline stitch). Can you suggest something?

  10. I am very interested in the Jacobean Jumble drawing. A lattice sampler would be a great project for me. Have you decided how many different stitches you are going to use in Jacobean Jumble?

  11. I’d love to see the “Jacobean Jumble” pattern! I really like samplers…practice pieces that I can do when I’m not ready for a project that probably won’t get finished. I can pick up a sampler from time to time and add to it and eventually have a piece worth displaying.

  12. PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESE, pretty please with a cherry on top, post the jacobean jumble design

    thank you

    Gill UK

  13. Yes, please post the pattern. I LOVE this look. I am so new to needlework, other than the basic stitches, that every day I learn more. And most of it from your blog.

    I’m fascinated with Zentangle and I think lattice work would couple beautifully with that style.

  14. Mary.
    When preparing Lattice or Trellis foundation lines, I now always use a template if counting threads is not possible. A reverse side of a business card is good for this. Make two small pencil marks that indicate your chosen spacing between the foundation lattice/trellis lines and use the marks to end line 2 and start line 3. Add up to around 5 extra spacing marks and follow them to establish accurate spacing.
    The other thing that I do, is place the first catch stitch at the intersection of the longest vertical and horizontal lines. Place catch stitches along the length of both those lines. This leaves the 1/4 areas remaining needing catch stitches which go in quite easily and are much less likely to be displaced in the stitching. This is the easy way to go about this and I am looking for ways to make success easier to achieve.
    And Yes, I would love to have a copy of your Jacobean Jumble Design.
    Thank you Mary,

  15. I join the others in asking for the Jacobean Jumble to be posted. I just found a stash of coton a broder #26 – usually used to smock but this would be nice too. Looking forward to seeing the pattern!

  16. I would be interested in the Jacobean Jumble. It looks like it would be fun toplay with color and texture. Any opportunity to do that is worth doing. G Daniece

  17. I’ve enjoyed your daily emails so much and have taken full advantage of them. I’m currently using the lattice stitch to fill the wings of a bird. Not sure how I’m going to fill the open areas yet.

  18. Hi Mary

    I love reading your email every day. I am always interested, inspired and sometimes challenged to try the suggested examples of your suggestions, ideas and tips. I have learnt so much from what you write. You are so generous with your talents and knowledge. I am ‘hooked’ on your Hungarian Braided Chain stitch designs and now your lattice samples. I am stitching all your examples and am having great fun experimenting. I would love a copy of the Jacobean Jumble drawing you refer to. Is it possible to ’email’ a copy. I have been turning them into square patterns and inserting them into cards so that I will have a few ready for ‘birthdays’ and ‘thankyou’ cards for my friends. (I hope this is not breaching any copyright laws)

    Every morning when I get up the first thing I do is check my emails to read what you have sent.

    Kindest regards

    Chris – Australia

  19. Yes the pattern would be wonderful! I’m having huge trouble getting my lines to always match up. I am using a tiny ruler and marking them. But they are still not matching up 🙁 the whole thing is a “Little Dutch Girl” that was originally an quilt block applique pattern. The section I’m workign on is about 2.5 in X 1 in. and I’m marking them at 1/8 in intervals. Too big of an area? Too small of increments? Maybe I just need practice or to be neater? any suggestions will help!

  20. Dear Mary, I haven’t taken enough brave tablets to try lattice work yet,but after seeing your samples I am at least now mire than tempted! I would very much like a copy of your Jacobean twisted sampler, and who knows I may not even need brave tablets to start. Thanks Mary for all your inspiration over the past year or so, I so enjoy my daily ‘fix’. I a going to Europe in a few months and have managed to have been accepted by the Royal School of Needlework for a week’s course on illuminated lettering – note to self, don’t forget the pills!!! Annie

  21. G’day Mary,
    ‘Splotch or a glob’ and all, I’d love to have that sampler pattern. Thank you for the offer.
    I find lattice stitching fairly straight forward but am really happy to have the tips on angles, pattern density, couching tension etc. I guess if anything the shapes curling back around or with ‘bites’ out of them have been a bit intimidating but seeing you work them it all becomes more interesting than intimidating. Thank you.
    HEY EVERYONE, ON MONDAY MARY IS GIVING AWAY….but don’t tell anyone! Sounds good Mary. Can’t wait to see what they are.
    I’ve finally got to order some items from Trish, including a couple of little kits, so am excited about that. A special gift from me to ME! Hubby has always been unromantic and, now with depression a major problem, he’s in the running for the most unromantic ever, so I need to romance myself a little now and again to…well just, to! : )
    Thinking of the wedding run and hope all are well and safe.
    Cheers, Kath.

  22. I would like to have a copy or pdf of the Jacobean design you are working on. IT seems to be what I am looking for to practice my stitching. Thank you Orella

  23. Hola, que bonitos puntos de rejilla, nunca los he realizado, se difíciles, pero puedo aprender.
    Gracias por los hermosos puntos de bordado que nos enseñas.CARIÑOS

  24. Hi Mary,
    I would love a copy of the Jacobean Jumble pattern. I love the idea and am planning to do a stitch play to teach a young buddy of mine how to stitch play.

    Thanks for sharing your talents with us. It is so inspiring to watch the progress on the whole stitch play concept piece you have designed.

    Heidi in Stillwater

  25. Hi Mary, I hope you do post the “Jacobean Jumble”. Your samples look like so much fun. Lattice is not my best stitch, but it would be great to practice with your JJ.

  26. Hope that you will post the drawing so that we can make the sampler along with you. It looks like fun learning. Thanks.

  27. One of the Thistle Thread Stumpwork course ladies used your Griffin stitch suggestion to make a beautiful patterned underskirt for a stumpwork lady – just gorgeous! I checked, and yes, she was inspired by your recent blog entry!

  28. I would absolutely love to have this jacobean jumble drawing! I want to teach myself all these cool stitches so I can show them to my hand embroidery club…we are a new club, most of us only know the stem stitch and outline stitch..
    My grandmother taught me to embroider the basics 35 yrs ago. I have taught myself over the years to do other stitches. Your site is helping me take it to a whole new level!! I can’t wait to finish my first sampler!!

  29. Hi mary,

    sorry to leave a comment so late, but i really like the jacobean sampler, and i like to try what you have done so if possible please post the sampler design.

  30. I would love to have you post the Jacobean Jumble. I always have so much fun doing samplers and this one is unique. I want it please.

  31. Hi Mary
    I am very interested in Jacobean embroidery, and have great fun making my own colour combinations and lattice stitches. Please post your Jacobean Jumble . I have followed your sebsite for a couple of years, and it s as fresh and appealing as when I first found it. Just recently I have bought the felt book for a stitching friend who recently had her first baby and that has been followed by a laying tool for another dear friend with whom I did a Margaret Lee workshop last year in Adelaide.
    Not sure how you find the time for everything you do!
    Many thanks for the pleasure you give embroiderers all over the world
    Helen in P earth,westernaustralia

  32. Thanks for the pattern. I like the idea of a finished somthing after I play. I dont try as much when I just do a little on a scrap to try. this way I get a little something when I am done.

  33. Hola:Gracias,esta puntada la he buscado mucho porque me gusta y me parece hermosa,no sabia como se llama, sus obras son maravillosas.

  34. Mary,

    Would it be possible to publish the entire picture of the lattice sampler? Also can you share the design.

    1. Hi, Anitha – yes, I’ll show the whole thing next time. The design is already available on the website, in the Stitch Fun index (linked in the article above). – MC

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