Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hardanger 101~Lesson 6~Woven Bars and Picots

Today will be our last day of stitching on this piece. You're almost done!

There are many different filler stitches for Open or Cutwork. The most basic is Woven Bars. Since there is very little openwork on this piece, I am also going to teach you how to add Picots to your woven bars today. Picots are simple and fast, but they can turn boring sections of woven bars into something more interesting.

The Woven bars (also called wrapped bars) are marked in purple on the chart. I told you there weren't very many of them.

Using #8 Perle cotton thread and a size 26 needle, tuck your thread under on the back of the fabric and bring your needle up in the center of the 4 remaining fabric threads in one of the cut work sections--two threads on each side of the needle.


I prefer to work right to left on woven bars, but it does not matter which side you start on as the results will be the same. What does matter is which direction you will be going after you finish each wrapped bar. You always want to place your first wrap stitch on the side that you will be moving to next. For example, if the next wrapped bar that I need to do is below the one I'm starting now, then I will place my first wrap around the lower two threads of the bar. If the next wrapped bar is above, then I will wrap the top two threads first.

By doing this, when you finish the last stitch in your wrapped bar, your thread will be oriented to start the next bar correctly. It will lay nicely on the back without leaving any gaps.

Woven (Wrapped) Bars

Wrapped Bars are exactly what they sound like. From the center of the 4 threads, you will first wrap your Perle Cotton around 2 threads and bring your needle back up in the center, and then wrap the other 2 threads and return to the center. Wrap them tightly (but don't strangle them!). You will continue to do this until the bar is filled with stitches. It is as simple as that.

In the photo, I wrapped the top 2 threads first because I am going to move to the next section above when I am finished. When I pull my needle through, it will complete the first pair of wraps.

There is no prescribed number of stitches that you must do in order to fill a wrapped bar properly. This is one area where personal technique will determine how many stitches you need. Thread count, thread thickness, and the tension of your stitching all play a part. The only thing that I can recommend is that you make sure you use the same number of stitches on each bar. For me, I know that 9 stitches per bar (or 9 pairs, really) is just about perfect. Any more, and after awhile, the bars start to get pushed out of shape by the extra stitches. Any less, and the bars don't look full.

We will discuss this again later with a larger section of openwork.


To add a Picot to your woven bars, complete your wrap stitches to the center of the bar (4 pairs for me). Then, lay a loop of thread above the bars, insert you needle down through the middle of the 4 fabric threads and up through the loop. Like so:

When you pull your needle through, your thread will be sticking up through the tightened loop above the bar. Now you will complete the wrap as before, by passing your needle back up into the center. This will leave a little bump of thread on the side of the wrapped bar. Repeat on the other side, and then finish wrapping the bar normally to the end. When you complete the picot, you can use your fingernail to hold the thread in place. Also, don't pull the thread so tight that it flattens the picot. If necessary, you can use the tip of your needle to tease the picot out a little.

Once you finish all of your wrapped bars and picots, your piece will look like this:

And because you are now Finished with stitching, you can trim all of the little tails off the back of your piece!


Ta-Da! No more hairy mess.