Friday, December 3, 2010

Reticello Ornaments

Someone was asking if there were any freebie Reticello patterns available that could be used for Christmas tree ornaments.

Laura of Ricamiamo Insieme in Milan has 6 exquisite little Reticello freebies on her website. I didn't think them for beginners (which I am) but I decided to try to do one anyway to see how well it turned out. I feel pretty good about the framework preparation but you will see that my stitching leaves a bit to be desired.

Before we get started I have to say that this is how I executed the work and not how Laura or anyone else teaches it. This is strictly my own interpretation using the resources that I have. That said, Laura does teach Reticello if you live anywhere near her, or there are a number of good books on the subject if you're not in Italy. For books, check out my Library page or check out "Reticello" under the Labels heading on the homepage of this blog for a number of posts on Reticello.

I used 40 ct Giori linen called Cupolone for this project because a very kind person sent me quite a long strip of it some years ago. I'm not sure that Giori is still producing this linen as I have heard rumours that they have closed. Their website is still up so I'm really not sure what the story is. Anyway, a compact, high count linen is good to use. I also used DMC Coton a Broder thread, weights 30 and 35 for making the framework (if you don't have any, use Pearl Cotton nos. 8 and 12) and Soie d'Alger silk thread and Mill Hill beads for the design.

First I made a Four-Sided Stitch frame around the area (I counted how many from the photos of finished pieces here) using the Coton a Broder no. 30 over four ground threads ending up with a square of stitches composed of 21 x 21 Four-Sided Stitches. For a more open look you can withdraw a thread top and bottom or pull your stitches a little tighter. (I didn't do either for my project):

The trick is not to cut the wrong threads so I always baste to be more confident - remember to leave four threads all around the inside of the square for your overcast edge:

Then the cut threads are folded to the backside and basted down. This gives a much cleaner edge than Hardanger and we will overcast around the square when everything else is done. Basting them down keeps them out of the way so they don't get tangled up with other threads or accidentally pulled out or cut during the working process.

We're ready to needleweave our bars now - I used Coton a Broder no. 35. The needlewoven bars must not be too tight as you will have to travel about your design running your working thread underneath the needleweaving stitches:

Here is where I tread into unknown territory. I tried several threads before settling on the Soie d'Alger. Even now, I'm not crazy about it but my bars were starting to show wear from all the unpicking that I was doing so I decided to carry on with the silk. I only used one strand but I'm thinking that two would have been better.

I was unable to produce nice Bullion Picots so I substituted them with red beads! Once all this was done, I overcast my outer design area with Coton a Broder no. 30 using two threads laid on the fabric for padding. I took the work out of the hoop for this as I find it easier to find the holes I need by laying the fabric over my index finger. The overcast stitches go into each hole and stitches should lay side-by-side going into the row where the Four-Sided Stitch is. This is not as difficult as it seems, just take care not to split your Four-Sided Stitches but come up underneath them. In the corners I skipped two threads on each side like so:

After you have finished your overcasting then you can trim away (on the backside) the excess threads that you folded over and remove your basting.

I strung some beads for the trimming and made a little "star" at the top. I put some Organza behind the open framework but I think it's a bit strong, I'll have to find something more delicate:

Many thanks to Laura for the fantastic Reticello ornament freebies!

If you've got some tips for better execution – they are appreciated! Please leave them below in the Comments section.

If I hadn't unpicked several times, I think I could have done the whole thing in a couple of days, or even one long Saturday so there is still time before the Holidays to try these out!


  1. Beutiful work. thanks for sharing.

  2. This is amazing, I am in deep admiration.

  3. hello jeanine,
    che bello il tuo blog.
    tornerò a trovarti spesso.