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Needlepoint Water Stitch


Do you want to know how to stitch water in needlepoint? There is a simple stitch called a needlepoint Water Stitch. It is designed to represent flowing, wavy water and it’s very easy to do.

Charley Harper needlepoint Puffin In FlightI stitched the water in this Charley Harper needlepoint Puffin In Flight just to illustrate how easy and effective the needlepoint Water Stitch is.

The needlepoint Water Stitch is an open stitch and so the idea is that some of the canvas will peek through. This also means it gobbles up the canvas more quickly than a tent stitch.

The Needlepoint Water Stitch is stitched in two parts.

needlepoint water stitch step one needlepoint water stitch step 1
Needlepoint water stitch step 2 needlepoint water stitch step 2

You can see that you get a repetitive, “moving” stitch that looks like flowing water. The problem I have with how I have stitched the water on this canvas is the thread choice I made. I wanted a contrast with the background canvas so you could see the stitch. And I wanted a single ply thread. The thread I used in Step 1 was a Rainbow Gallery Very Velvet. But it is too thick for this stitch on the canvas. Especially when compared with the thread I chose for Step 2 – A Rainbow Gallery Flair Tubular Ribbon - which is a sheer thread.  The two of them together appear unbalanced.

I like the sheer thread, and I used it because it looks a little like the froth on waves. But, if I was stitching this again (and I would be if this wasn’t just for demonstration purposes), I would choose threads of a similar weight, and I would choose threads (single or double ply) that are not too lofty. Something like a perle cotton #5 would be good. This way you get to see the threads and the design being created, and you can still get parts of the canvas peeking through.

needlepoint water stitch
More needlepoint water stitch (photos and stitching courtesy of Sherrie) using a variegated thread. Step 2 of the needlepoint water stitch using a variegated thread to add more movement.


The needlepoint Water Stitch will be a useful stitch for your armory and I hope you get a chance to try it out soon.

See lots more Charley Harper needlepoint canvases. They are easy to stitch and beautifully designed. Charley Harper needlepoint Rainforest Birds