The Astrakhan Velvet Stitch is a variation of the velvet stitch. Like the velvet stitch, this stitch is a member of the "Looped Stitch" family and also a "Pile Stitch". Pile Stitches are stitches that extend out from the canvas, creating a "pile" effect. The pile is formed by loops. These loops may be cut (for example, when working a rug) or may remain uncut. Instructions for cutting the loops are on the velvet stitch page (see Diagram 7). The velvet stitch may be worked on rug, mono or penelope canvas. When creating the loop, you may choose whatever size you want. Just be sure all of the loops end up the same size. Three diagrams have been used to demonstrate this stitch. Clicking on the PRINTABLE VERSION icon, located at the end of the series of diagrams, will direct you to the page to print these instructions.
Astrakhan Velvet Stitch Diagram 1:
Bring the needle up at A and create a loop (any size you choose). Holding the loop in place, bring the needle down at B. Helpful Hint: Although the loop you create may be any size that you choose, keep in mind that the longer the loop (or any stitch), the more chance it has to snag and break. Helpful Hint 2: When using this stitch as a rug stitch, be sure to make all of the loops the same size. Now, continue on to diagram 2...
Astrakhan Velvet Stitch Diagram 2:
While holding the loop we created in diagram 1, bring the needle up at C, move up and to the right over two canvas intersections, bring the needle down at B. Bring the needle up at D, move up and to the left over two canvas intersections, bring the needle down at A. This cross stitch should be worked OVER the loop we created in the first diagram, holding it in place. Bring the needle up at B and create a loop. Holding the loop in place, bring the needle down at E. While holding the loop in place, bring the
Astrakhan Velvet Stitch Diagram 3:
This diagram illustrates how the next row should be worked into the first row of stitches.
needle up at D, move up and to the right over two canvas intersections, bring the needle down at E. Bring the needle up at F, move up and to the left over two canvas intersections, bring the needle down at B. Again, this cross stitch should be worked OVER the loop we just created, holding it in place. Bring the needle up at E and create a loop. Holding the loop in place, bring the needle down at G. While holding the loop in place, bring the needle up at F, move up and to the right over two canvas intersections, bring the needle down at G. Bring the needle up at H, move up and to the left over two canvas intersections, bring the needle down at E. And yet again, this cross stitch should be worked OVER the loop we just created, holding it in place. Now, continue on to diagram 3...
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design coming to life is fantastic! Years ago, the latch-hook rug designers would print the design directly on the canvas. The designs would be printed in multi-colored inks to make working the rug easy. However, the cost of doing this caused the latch-hook rug kits to become extremely expensive for the consumer. Today, you may still find some of the smaller rug kits with the design printed directly on the canvas.
Most of the larger kits, however, consist of blank 3.3 mesh rug canvas, the yarn, plus the design printed on paper. I know, it sounds too difficult to work a rug in this manner, doesn't it? Wrong! It is actually very simple! OK, I must admit that the first time I worked a rug without the design printed on the canvas, I was a little nervous. However, I managed to develop an easy-to-follow system that has worked well for years. To state that the rug canvas included in these kits is blank would be erroneous. The canvas in these kits does, in fact, have a graph printed on it. Every tenth thread on the canvas is marked by a graph line, both vertically and
horizontally. The design that is printed on paper is also graphed in the same manner, making it easy to follow. My easy-to-follow method of working latch-hook rugs is to begin by working from the bottom right corner across to the bottom left corner. Work one graph square at a time. Do this by latch-hooking one row of one graph square (this will be ten canvas holes). Once a row is completed, use a marker to draw a line through the corresponding row on the design sheet. Move up to the second row of the graph square and proceed to "hook" that row. Again, once the row is completed, use a marker to draw a line through the corresponding row on the design sheet. I find that this method of "hooking" is quick and prevents me from losing my place – or worse – working the same graph square twice! Yes, I did that on the very first non-printed rug that I did. Fortunately, I caught the mistake in a reasonably short amount of time. I was forced to pull out only one graph section of rug, one hundred canvas holes… Trust me, it is better to keep
track of the work in progress, line by line, than be forced to remove and rework an area.
My most aggravating problem when working latch-hook rugs involves my own physical comfort. I finally found the perfect spot, located in the corner of my couch, to work my rugs. Unfortunately, my cats, Trouble and Mischief, found that particular
corner of my couch to be comfortable, too. After a few hours of trying to prevent them from messing up the rows of yarn that I had carefully laid out, I surrendered the couch corner to them. They are now in the process of forming their own government in the area that they conquered. I have fallen back to the middle area of the couch for my rug hooking.
Now, this is where I have a very helpful hint: I attach the rug canvas to a small pillow (1 foot x 1 foot)
using four metal clamps (chip clips or paper holders will work). This allows me to hook into a soft background without having to hold the canvas in place. If you have ever worked a rug on a table or other flat surface, you will understand how difficult it can be. And, yes, I know that there are rug frames available that work just as well. However, the rug frames I have seen are designed for chairs, not sofas. I'm a couch potato, not a chair potato.
So, find yourself a great latch-hook rug kit (see the EBay ad, above), turn on your favorite television show and locate a comfortable couch or chair. You are now ready to hook your way through the television commercials…Happy hookin'…
Confessions Of A Happy Hooker
By: Carolyn McNeil
I admit it. Yes, I confess. I love hooking…latch-hooking, to be more specific. There is a quiet pleasure in the repetition of hooking yarn in those little 3.3 mesh canvas holes that I just can't seem to get enough of. Latch-hook rug making is one of the most relaxing needleart crafts around. And, yes, in spite of the fact that it does not
require a needle, I still consider it to be a member of the needleart family.
Rug making has come a long way since the early nomads of Europe and Asia realized that the wool from their sheep could be used to create fabrics and rugs to help stay warm. Back then, rugs were made entirely by hand, using no tools of any kind (needles, hooks, etc.). A knot would be tied around a base material over
and over again to form beautiful and creative patterns. Although this method is still used in some Asian countries, most rug making, today, is done using hooks of some type. The basic rug hook was invented about three hundred years ago. Latch-hook rug making is currently the easiest, not to mention most pleasurable, method of working rugs today.
As I stated earlier, I find the most pleasure from the constant repetition of rug hooking. Filling one canvas hole at a time and witnessing the creation of a beautiful
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