Kimberly Servello's Embroidery Blog

Kimberly Servello - Pattern Drawer and Embroideress

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Spiral Trellis Stitch Instructions

Spiral Trellis was used here to create the Ladybug's body with silk perle thread.  

Notice the spiral effect of the stitches.

Needle and Threads:
   This stitch is best worked with a tightly twisted thread, like perle or gobelins, (use #8 embroidery needle for perle, #9 for gobelin).  Trebizond silk was used for this tutorial to make it easy to see the individual stitches. 

Spiral Trellis, as its name implies, is worked in a spiral, making it perfect for filling circular shapes.
Begin with an away waste knot, and outline the circle in back stitch.  If using perle thread, backstitches are about 1/8" long, shorter if using finer thread.

As shown here, to backstitch, bring the needle up thru fabric 1/16"-1/8"(depending on thread thickness) ahead of the last stitch.  Needle goes back down thru fabric against the last back stitch (sharing the same hole as last stitch).

Continue in this way until the outline is complete.

Once the circle is outlined, begin the Spiral Trellis by bringing needle up thru fabric between the first and last back stitches.

Looking down on the circle, the working thread has come up thru the fabric between first and last back stiches.  We will be travelling counter-clockwise.

Slide the needle under the first backstitch as shown.

Wrap the working thread around the needle exactly as shown here.  Be sure that the thread wraps over the needle first and then under .  The most common mistake in Spiral Trellis is to wrap the thread incorrectly in this step.

Keeping the wrapped thread in place (with a finger pressed against it if necessary), pull the needle the rest of the way under the backstitch.

When done correctly, a knot will be formed on the backstitch; pull the knot tight.

Continue counter-clockwise, repeating the last 2 steps until a knot has been formed on every backstitch...

Once a knot is formed on each backstitch, Row 1 is complete.  Take a second to look closely at the Trellis stitches.  Notice that on either side of each knot is a "leg" connecting the knots. To begin the second row of Trellis stitches insert the needle under the first leg of the first knot.

Below is a closeup of where the needle is inserted to start Row 2.  The knot on the right is the first knot of Row1; the needle is inserted under the leg.

As before, wrap the working thread around the needle and pull it through to form a knot.

Continue working the knots (or Spiral Trellis stitches) around and around to close up the circle.

As you progress, the knots will start to get crowded.  Skip a stitch occasionally, to alleviate the crowding.

To finish, plunge the needle down through the center of the circle, catching a bit of a "leg" on the opposite side, as shown here.

The only stitches appearing on the back of the fabric will be the backstitched circle.  Run the needle under 5 or 6 stitches to secure it and trim the excess.

Spiral Trellis worked in Trebizond silk thread

Try to cut enough thread to complete the entire process.  If you run out of thread part way through, or want to change colors, end the old thread after making a knot, by plunging the needle down through the fabric where the "leg" of the next knot would be.  Start your new thread with an away waste knot and bring the needle up through the fabric close to the last knot formed. Continue as before.


  1. Spiral trellis is such a fun stitch, isn't it!

  2. That's a neat looking stitch. Thank you for the tutorial!

  3. Wonderful tutorial with great pictures for each step. Thank you so much!

  4. This is a great tutorial! Thanks for sharing it!

    Monica Fullerton

  5. Thanks for such a clear tutorial.

    1. You're welcome, Imogen.

      If you decide to use this stitch, I'd love to see in what application you use it! Feel free to email pics to me at



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