Saturday, January 8, 2011

Trellis Stitch

     Now it is time to learn the next stitch, the trellis stitch.  While the cable travels in a straight line, the trellis travels between rows.  A cable stitch is used as the pivot stitch, when the trellis changes direction.  Each trellis is defined by 2 things:
1.  The space it takes up (can be a half a space wide, a whole space, etc.)
2.  The number of stitches or 'steps' it takes to go from one side to another.
If you look at this picture, the long trellis is a 2 space (travels over 2 rows), 6 step (it takes 6 stitches to travel the 2 rows).
The next picture is of a baby wave.  This trellis is a half space, 1 step trellis

The distance each trellis travels is a half of a space and it only takes one step to get there.
     There are few things to remember when stitching a trellis.  The thread has to go in the opposite direction that it wants to go.  If you are stitching to the right, the thread has to stay to the left.  If you are stitching to the left, the thread has to stay to the right.  An easy way to remember this is Trellis is Trouble! 
     If you look back at the cable tutorial, Cable is Correct!  The thread goes in the direction it wants to go.  For Trellis is Trouble, the thread has to go in the opposite direction that it wants to go. 
     Another thing that has to be taken into consideration is the needle placement in the pleat.  If you place the needle right over the pleat, when the stitch is finished, instead of butting against the pleat, it will be over the pleating thread, whch will throw the spacing off.  Place the needle in the pleat a thread's width away from where you want the stitch to finish.
Basic smocking ettiquette remains the same:
*The needle is alway parallel to the pleating thread
*The stitch should be about 1/3 down the pleat
*The threads should lie straight and untwisted
*The needle should always point towards you
*Each stitch covers 2 pleats- an old pleat and a new pleat

     To start, we are going to stitch a one space, one stitch trellis (often called a wave).  Hold the fabric over your finger, and stitch a left cable. 
     Run the threads over your thumb as you pull the stitch and make sure the threads are straight.
     After the cable is stitched, move one space to the right.  The thread will want to go the the right also, but you need to hold it off to the left (see picture).  Remember to put the needle into the pleat a thread's width away so that when you complete the stitch, it will butt against the pleating thread.

     Stitch the right cable (remember this is the pivot stitch where you change directions).

     Now we are trellising to the left again.  Remember to hold the thread to the right as we are moving to the left.

     Stitch a left cable and continue trellising.  Remeber to wrap the thread over your thumb and straighten the threads!

     Here is a picture of several waves that I have stitched.

     Starting a baby wave.  That is a 1/2 space, 1 step trellis.  Look at how I am placing my needle just short of 1/2 way - when I pull the stitch, it will end up being right in the middle.

     Here is a picture of a completed baby wave.  Now it is your turn!  Remember - practice!  If you have any questions, remember to post them to the comments and I will be sure to answer them.
Happy Stitching,


  1. Love your sight.
    Hope you'll do picture smocking.

  2. Thanks! I will do picture smocking later, after the smocked yoke dress.
    Happy Stitching!

  3. It's the precision of your stitch placement that results in your beautiful results!

    As a beginner smocker, I can look over my first project (a Wee Care gown for my smocking guild) and see that I could have benefitted from your advice "Remember to put the needle into the pleat a thread's width away so that when you complete the stitch, it will butt against the pleating thread" to keep my rows in absolute alignment.

    I look forward to your next tutorials! Keep up the good work! The photos are so clear and extremely helpful!

  4. I am glad you find these helpful! I am always glad to learn a new tip that helps my stitching!