"Pulled Four Sided Stitch"

Pulled Thread Stitches

Four Sided Stitch

Each thread on the charts on this page represents a single fabric thread.

The stitch is done like a Four Sided Stitch but when you come up to the top of the fabric at steps 3, 5, and 3, 7 you pull your working thread when it is on top of the fabric. This action will gather the fabric threads together. It will also open a hole in the fabric. For example at steps 1 and 2 the four fabric threads will be gathered or pulled together when you pull your working thread up at step 3. This will also open a hole at 1 and another hole at 2. This can be seen even better when you do the steps at 2 and 3, because after you gather or pull the four fabric threads together at step 3, the hole at 2 is pulled completely open.

Working on a diagonal

There are a couple of things to consider when you are working on a diagonal with pulled thread stitches. You need to plan for how to get from one step of the stitch to another without having floating threads on the back of your embroidery showing through the front of your embroidery and how to start and finish threads.

Floating threads showing through your pulled thread stitches ruin the look of your embroidery. You want the openings in the fabric that the design or stitch form to be seen and not have floating filling in the holes the stitches form. By following the diagram above you will not have any errant threads.

To prevent floating threads as you are working the second pulled Four Sided stitch take the threaded needle down at step 8 of the first Four Sided stitch. Then bring it up as step one of the new Four Sided stitch. You will need to bundle any floating threads in with the gathered fabric threads of this new stitch so they will not be peeking out of any of the holes your stitch is forming. I can do this by bringing up the threaded needle up on the outside of the stitch at step one, and by looking at the back of the work to insure that I have captured all the threads in the new stitch. This will also insure no thread is split or pulled that could distort the embroidery.

Ending and Starting Threads


Hardanger Band, to learn more about this band or to stitch it please click on the link.

As already mentioned starting and ending threads is problematic in pulled thread work. You can not use an away knot or tail as the knot will distort the fabric or the stitches in unexpected ways whenever you pull the new stitch. The thread tails show through the stitches especially easily in diagonal rows of pulled stitches, and if you are not very cautious you will be able to see the tails from the front of the work.

By starting and ending the thread the way I will be discussing next I did not have to start and finish the threads in a diagonal row except at the very edges of the sampler.

To deal with the problem of starting the thread I left a long tail on an away knot at A to start this row of stitches. I wrapped the tail around a parked needle . Then I worked the stitches across the straight row to C and down the diagonal row and across the straight row to B and ended this thread at B. At B I wove the end of the thread in the exact center of the stitches on the back of the sampler and I skipped every other stitch to do this. I did not literally pick up the stitch, I used a sharp needle to very carefully pick up a piece of the top most thread wherever it naturally fell on the back of the embroidery. The tight stitches formed by the pulling of the stitches allows enough stability for me to be able to pick up pieces of the thread of the back of the embroidery.

To start a new thread I did weave the tail in every stitch for a short distance. When I pulled the new stitch I held the away knot or the thread with my thumb and forefinger so that I would not pull in the edges of the fabric. Or you could lace the edges of the fabric to the frame or buy those straps that hold the edges in place or use a hoop and you would not have to hold anything!

To continue, at B I began a new thread in the same fashion I ended the old thread and I worked the stitches to E, and then out to the upper right edge of the sampler. This left a short diagonal row to finish on the right side of the sampler. For this short row I started the thread at the straight row of Four Sided stitches and then very carefully woven the tail into the topmost thread on the back of the embroidery. I followed whatever path the thread naturally formed and then finished the tail the same way I mentioned above by using a sharp needle and picking up just pieces of the thread on the back of the work to weave in the tail.

At C I started another thread and worked Four Sided stitches up and across to D, down to E, and finished the thread at E. The row from E out to the side of the sampler is already finished.

I rethreaded the tail from the parked needle at A and finished the stitches from A out to the left upper edge of the sampler, wove back through the stitches down to A and then finished the bottom diagonal row of stitches and ended the tail as mentioned by using a sharp needle to pick up pieces of the thread on the back of the embroidery. ©2001, Linda Fontenot, www.AmericanFolkArts.com