Gobelin stitch is basically a straight stitch worked over a number of canvas threads. By working it over a different number of canvas threads, or at a different angle, you can vary it to create numerous effects.
In the photograph below, the center sample is gobelin worked over 3 canvas threads, in an upright manner. The needle goes down through the last hole of the previous row. Some example ideas for its use could include borders, weather-boarding or roof tiles on a building or a ploughed field in a landscape.
The right hand sample in the photo above, shows slanted gobelin stitch. The stitches are still worked over 3 canvas threads, but the needle goes down one stitch to the right, giving the stitch a slant.
You would want to use a thicker yarn than the one I used to stitch this sample. I just wanted to make it clearer for you to see the individual stitches.
Worked in a similar manner to the slanted variation, the stitches in the left hand sample in the same photo encroach, or overlap, the previous row by one canvas thread. The result is a smoother overall effect. Changing from one color to another gives a softer shaded effect than the abrubt change obvious in the basic gobelin varation.
This can make lovely hair or animal fur in a needlepoint design, in addition to being a wonderful background filling stitch.
A variation is to leave a gap between each stitch. On the following row you then work up into the first, placing your stiches in between the existing ones.
You can work the stitches over any even number of canvas threads. In the photographs below I worked over 6 threads.
Alternating one long stitch (over 4 canvas threads) with one shorter over just two, gives you parisian stitch. For the subsequent rows you make the long stitch under the short one in the previous row.
The photo above is worked with mixed strands of crewel wool in the needle to give a more natural effect to the grass in this design.
If you work two long, and then two short stitches you create double parisian stitch. This almost gives a woven appearance to the needlepoint work. It would work well for a basket if turned by 90 degrees, or even a fence or hurdle.
I have worked this sample in two colors to make it easier to see the diamond shapes that this variation creates. It also works well in a single color.
The stitches, over 2 and 4 canvas threads, are worked in the following order...
Short, long, short then miss a hole and repeat. Subsequent rows are worked with the long stitch going down in the "missing" hole of the row before.
I love using this to represent clothing in a design and have also used it for skys, to give a little texture.
The straight gobelin is also used in Bargello needlepoint, in a similar manner to the double parisian above. You can find more information along with a free pattern for Bargello by clicking the links.
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Instructions and diagrams for all the basic embroidery stitches I have used in my free online needlework lessons. This is building into a comprehensive guide to hand embroidery stitches