A gathered stitch can be an effective way of stitching curly hair or loops of animal wool.
The gathered stitch looks complicated, but it really isn’t. Here are some basic guidelines:
1. Use a Chenille needle – these have sharp points – because when you stitch a gathered stitch, you pierce the thread to gather up the stitch.
2. Use a twisted thread. If you use a single ply, or untwisted thread like embroidery cotton, you won’t have any spring in your curls!
3. Use a long thread so you don’t have to tie off and start again very often. Try to do the entire hair using one thread length (this may not be possible if it’s a large area).
How to do a Gathered Stitch
Thread the Chenille needle and bring it up from back to front of the canvas (at A), having secured it behind. You can start anywhere on the canvas as this stitch is not really worked in rows so much as the stitches are strategically placed – the closer together the stitches are, the fuller the curls.
Next, pierce the thread at 3 points, about 1/8” – 1/4” apart.
Then, bring the needle down again in a hole adjacent to where you brought the needle up (at B). Pull the needle through, and your curl will sit nicely on top of the canvas.
Next, bring the needle up again in an adjacent hole and continue until you have covered the entire area.
Another way to stitch curly hair is to use a French Knot – the effect is a tighter curl.