Sheaf Stitch

Sheaf Stitch

Sheaf Stitch Sample 4

Sheaf Stitch is a quick, easily worked hand embroidery stitch that is ideal for beginners and children yet it is versatile enough to keep advanced embroiderers intrigued. We often underestimate this stitch.

It looks good in a thread that has a firm twist such as cotton perle #5 or Cotton Perle #8 if you like a finer embroidered texture. In my samples, I have used Caron Watercolour’s thread which is a variegated thread on a hand-dyed 27cnt Linda fabric. One ply of Caron Watercolour thread is about the same weight as a #5 pearl cotton but the twist is not quite so firm.

Sheaf Stitch can be worked in lines to form a border. And then again, you can have loads of fun arranging this stitch in some very attractive patterns. Since I have an addiction to patterns, I always enjoy this stitch!

Sheaf Stitch is also very effective when you vary the length of each bar or add to the number of the bars.

Sheaf Stitch Sample1

How to hand embroider Sheaf Stitch

Bring the needle out at the top of where you want your stitch to be and make a vertical straight stitch. This stitch will be the middle stitch in the sheaf

Sheaf Stitch step by step tutorial 1

Point your needle to the right, bringing the needle out to the right. Pull your thread through.

Sheaf Stitch step by step tutorial2

Take the needle to the top, insert the needle, and make a vertical straight stitch. This stitch will be the right-hand side stitch in the sheaf.

Point your needle to the left bringing the needle out to the left. Pull your thread through.

Sheaf Stitch step by step tutorial 3

Point your needle to the left centre of the middle straight stitch. Pull your thread through.

Sheaf Stitch step by step tutorial 4

Thread your needle under the left straight stitch.

Sheaf Stitch step by step tutorial 5

Take your thread over the top and pass your needle under the right straight stitch. Insert the needle in the middle and take the thread to the back.

Sheaf Stitch step by step tutorial 6

Pull snugly to make a small crossbar.

Sheaf Stitch Sample 2

You can arrange Sheaf stitch in patterns.

Sheaf Stitch Sample 3

You can also use this stitch to decorate seams in crazy quilting. This sample is from block 80 on my I Dropped the Button Box quilt. You can get the pattern and see block 80 here

crazy quilt detail 531

I varied the height of the stitches to make them look like butterflies. The thread is hand dyed silk.

Dark tone diamond detail 3

If you are interested in seeing, reading about and getting the free pattern for the crazy quilt block this detail came from you will find it here in my Diamonds are Forever series.

I hope you enjoy the stitch!

Have you seen my Stitchers Templates?


Create your own designs with Sharon’s easy-to-use stitchers templates. Combine shapes to create hundreds of patterns and designs to embroider. It is the ultimate mix-and-match fun for stitchers of all skill levels. I created them to be as versatile as possible. I include four multi-patterned templates in each set. You will find them easy to use, totally clear to help you position them on your work, and they are nice and compact to fit in your sewing box. Each set comes with an e-book filled with patterns and designs that you can create and use as a jumping-off spot for your own designs. They are available now in our shop here!

Happy stitching!


  1. Debbie
  2. I’m afraid that other stitching has caused me to skimp a bit on playing with TAST but I don’t NEED a catch-up week. However, I wouldn’t MIND one!

    Here is my sheaf stitch: http://210920746822434353.weebly.com/1/post/2012/08/wipocalypse-for-augusts-blue-moon-and-more.html
    I’ve done it before on various samplers as a border or a line of stitches — will be interested to see how the talented ladies here use it in ways I never would have thought of!

  3. I’m caught up with stitches, though my samplers aren’t huge. For me, the quality suffers in my samplers when the stitch is too complicated or confusing – like the one last week (week 34). I found myself putting off even starting to learn the stitch and once I did, I was frustrated that I couldn’t figure it out.

    Honestly, I was so relieved when I saw the easy stitch this week. I thought, “Oh, good! I can do something that will look half decent and be happy with it.”

    If the majority of the remaining stitches were easy ones – with the goal of simply learning new stitches – I’d be quite content.

    Here’s what I did this week:


  4. every time I answered “no, I don’t need catch-up week”, but now I have to say I need πŸ™‚
    summer vacations and preparation for new school season…
    well, I have now 3 stitches for catch-up! πŸ™‚ and, sure I can do it without special week, but it would be more easy to have one πŸ™‚
    thank you,

  5. I am loving TAST but when my son had surgery, then while I was helping out there I got called home because my husband had to have surgery–well I am so behind. One week probably won’t make a big difference but it might help me. I have been trying to do 3 or 4 stitches each week in addition to the weekly one. Since I got so behind, I plan to go back over many of the stitches and explore them at a later date because when you do 4-5 stitches a week there isn’t time to really explore any of them.

  6. Hi Sharon,
    I’m okay without a catch up week. But, part of what engages me in TAST is the structure of a new stitch each week and knowing there is a group of us working that stitch. If dedicated people are falling off the wagon…well…that’s just no fun at all. I’m happy to wait for a catch up if that’s what’s needed. I’ll just work on other pieces.
    jeanne-marie mellor

  7. Hi Sharon, I’ve been doing only minimal weekly TAST samples for a little while now and feel the need for a catchup week. Just feeling a bit overwhelmed too, so a play with sheaf stitch will do me good. Cheers, Carole A in the UK

    Carole Auden
  8. Sharon – This might be a good catch-up week, since many are transitioning from summer to fall, vacation to school/work, etc. I hope to finish my big crewel project this week, so I can spend more time on TAST challenges. Also, I am a little confused about your instructions for the Sheaf stitch. The last image looks like only one bar will result across the sheaf, but your words and the first finished images look to have 2 or 3 bars across the sheaf.

    1. The images in in the samples are one thread but it was soft silk that untwisted slightly as it was stitched and looks like two threads. If you look at some of the uprights you will see the threads look like two rather than one. It is in fact 1 thread. Not that it matters too much as thre is no reason why you could not experiment with 2 or more ties with this stitch.

  9. Sharon I’ll go with the majority on the catch-up week.
    You are right about quality slipping and I find I have not always experimented as I should. I’ll try to remedy this.

    Maureen Bond

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