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Couched Ray Needlepoint Stitch for Spokes, Rays and Spider Webs

Circles aren't always satisfying to stitch in needlepoint, especially if you're using a tent stitch. We have an easy and effective way to enhance wheel spokes, sun rays, or a spider web using a Couched Ray stitch. This stitch can be done two ways and we're using this Happy Days pillow canvas to show you how.

Happy Days needlepoint
Happy Days handpainted needlepoint canvas with the rear wheel stitched in a Couched Ray stitch.

There are two ways to do this stitch and they both start by laying down some rays or spokes from a central hole.
couched ray stitchBring the rays from the outside edge of
the circle or web into a center hole

Then, couch the rays so they have a three-dimensional look. The easiest way to couch them is to leave the spaces between the rays open. This might look best if the circle is small or if you want a narrow spoke or minimalist look.

Couch each spoke individually by wrapping
the thread around the length. The black
thread shows the spoke being
wrapped (couched).
Each spoke has been individually couched
and there is open canvas between each
for a clean and minimalist look.

The other way of doing the Couched Ray stitch is much the same but it adds more bulk. Rather than couching each spoke individually, couch the wheel in a circle, moving from the inside toward the periphery and laying the thread on top of the canvas between each spoke as you go.

Starting at the inner spokes wrap once around
one spoke, then take the thread across the
canvas to the next spoke and wrap once, then
onto the next one, and so on until you have
gone around several times and wrapped the
length of each spoke.
The Couched Ray stitch with the thread
covering the spaces between the spokes.

Try this easy stitch the next time you have a sun or wheel or spider web to stitch.

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