Sprat’s heads

A sprat’s head is an interesting stitch that looks woven in the center. The stitches lay on top of previous stitches but it is not woven, so relatively easy to stitch. I’ve heard two different things for this stitch. One is that it is named for the fin of a sprat, a small fish with a triangular fin. The other is that it comes from tailoring, to reinforce corners and points like corners and pockets, because of the way it looks on the back when stitched traditionally. I recommend a stitching order that is not the traditional way, so we’ll go with the fin definition.

For this stitch I used Caron Collection Watercolours 007 Pistachio Nut, 1 strand. The original uses Rainbow Gallery Silk Lame’ Braid SL232 Maui Blue. I used the overdyed because I wanted to get the color back into the project, to help tie the other colors together. And, I like the way this stitch looks in an overdyed!

Begin the stitch with the first two stitches crossing each other at the top. It can be tricky to count for correct placement. These first two stitches cross 11 canvas threads each, but getting them placed requires some careful looking at the placement diagram.

Notice that the upper left sprat’s head is one canvas thread away from the center motif, but the upper right sprat’s head shares holes with the waffle stitch. This is the tricky part, so count carefully!

There are two sprat’s heads on each side of the center motif. You can reverse them if you like, or stitch them as shown, it’s up to you.

I anchored with pin stitches placed under the sprat’s heads, but you can also put pin stitches where they’ll be covered by the next stitches.

This is another case where you can turn the canvas to stitch if you like, since there isn’t a direction to the stitches.

If you like you can stitch the sprat’s head as shown in this diagram, which is more the “traditional” way to stitch a sprat’s head. It will look exactly the same on the front of the canvas, but the thread carries across the back will look different. You have 8 sprat’s heads to stitch, so you may enjoy experimenting to see which way to stitch you like best.

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