Shisha stitch is wonderful stitch that has a long and rich history associated with Indian embroidery. Most people have seen little mirrors secured to Indian textiles and for this reason it is also known as mirror work. This form of embroidery has travelled and is frequently found in the traditional textiles of not only India, but also Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, and throughout Asia.
Today embroiderers around the globe have adopted and adapted this stitch to contemporary techniques. It is most often used to secure not only mirrors but also small flat objects, coins, stones shells etc to their work. I have also seen cut pieces of CD attached to embroidery using shisha stitch. You can cut an old CD into interesting shapes with heavy duty scissors. You can also cut up all sorts of coloured plastics
If you use real shisha do be aware that it is glass. As you stitch take care not to run your fingers along the side as it can cut you.
How to work Shisha Stitch
Commence by securing the glass with two long straight vertical stitches placed at thirds across the disk. If the glass slips get a little piece of double sided sticky tape and stick it to the back of the glass. Make sure the tape is small enough not to poke out from behind the edge of the glass. It does not have to be a big piece just a piece big enough to hold the glass from slipping.
Imagine that the disk is the face of a clock. Bring the needle out at the right side of the disk at approximately 4 o’clock.
Take the needle over the first bar stitch and pass it under the thread as illustrated.
Pull the needle through. The thread will form a loop around the bar.
Take the needle over the second bar stitch and pass it under the thread as illustrated.
Pull the needle through. The thread will form a loop around the bar. Take the needle through the fabric as you have created the section of a frame of stitches that will secure the shisha in place.
Repeat these steps to create the second part of the grid. It looks at this stage a little like a tic-tac-toe grid which is why some people call shisha stitch, anchored tic-tac-toe. You now have the foundation for a frame of stitches that will edge the shisha glass
The next step is to bring the needle out at the point indicated in the photograph.
Take the needle over and then thread it under the point where the foundation threads cross. Pull the needle through.
Make a small stitch along the side of the disk and wrap the thread under the needle as illustrated. Pull the needle through.
Then repeat taking the needle over and then thread it under the point where the foundation threads cross. Move along and repeat this around the disk.
Work your stitches close together as these form a frame that contains the mirror.
You can work in a clockwise or anti clockwise direction. Choose what ever direction you are comfortable with.
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