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Needlepoint Swirl Stitch

A needlepoint swirl stitch is a diagonally flowing stitch that establishes a pattern on the canvas. There are a few ways to set up this pattern and we'll show you one of them.

needlepoint swirl stitch
The Needlepoint Swirl Stitch partially stitched on the wave of this Pacific Wave handpainted needlepoint canvas.

Below you will see a pattern for a small needlepoint swirl stitch. Start on the right hand side of the area you are stitching and work right to left and then come back along the row beneath. You might find it easiest to insert compensating stitches at the end.

needlepoint swirl stitch small
A pattern for a simple needlepoint swirl stitch. There are other patterns that are similar but larger.

What's great about this stitch is the pattern it forms on the canvas. It has a flowing effect and so is a wonderful stitch to use for things like sky and water.

needlepoint swirl stitch

This is an open needlepoint swirl stitch using a variegated thread.

It is an effective pattern for sky and water.

The stitch has a lot of movement in it which makes it useful for objects that flow, like clouds scuttling across the sky.

needlepoint swirl stitch
This needlepoint swirl stitch uses two colors of thread - the blue is sky and the white represents fluffy clouds.

The stitch can flow up and to the right or up and to the left, depending upon the direction you want it to take on your canvas.

needlepoint swirl stitch
A pattern for a larger needlepoint swirl stitch which needs a bigger space for the pattern to get established. Note the stitches flow up and to the left, but they could easily be reversed.

Use a single color thread, a variegated thread, or make clouds or waves by using two colors to establish the pattern. There are plenty of options when it comes to the needlepoint swirl stitch.

needlepoint swirl stitch


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