Filling stitches – the web or dove’s eye

The web (or dove’s eye) is the most common filling stitch in Hardanger embroidery. It is what gives a sturdy, serviceable piece of stitchery it’s lacy look. It seems a bit daunting at first, but with practice you will find that it is a fun way to finish a project.

It is easiest to complete a web when you have woven the bars rather than wrapped them, because you will need to come up in the middle of the fabric threads, and it’s easier to see the middle in a woven bar. So the first step in completing a web is to weave 3 and 1/2 sides of a square (see picture 1). This is where you want to keep careful count of how many figure-8s you make when weaving, so that your web will remain in the center. For the purposes of this tutorial, I will assume that you made 6 figure-8s (as I did in the sample).

After completing the 3rd figure-8, pass the needle back through (pnbt) the middle, over the top, and come back up in the middle, making half a figure-8. Then bring the needle to the center of the bar to the right of your working bar (see picture 1) and come up in the middle of the threads. Pull the working thread through, but not too tight. Pass your needle under the working thread (see picture 2) to the center of the bottom bar, and pull snug. You should have a loop around the bottom of your right bar. Repeat the process, always looping under the working thread. After you complete the loop on the left side, bring the needle back to your half-finished bar. Pass the needle over the first side of the web and bring the needle up in the midde of the bar, needling to the left of the web and completing the bottom half of your figure-8. Finish weaving to the end as before (see picture 3).

There are many other possible filling stitches available. As I said, the web is the most commonly used, and should get you started with our tutorial SAL piece. If you would like to learn some others, you can check out the links at the bottom of the page. As I try them and learn them, I’ll add them here, too. Yay!

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