Sunday, May 24, 2009


When I posted about the Golden Rabbit's bullion stitch paw, Mickstitch wrote this comment on Blogspot, "I love your bullions! Any tips on how to get them to lay flat? I've been practicing them for one of my current projects, but I always get an extra strand underneath that twists the bullion. Any suggestions?"

I thought perhaps Mickstitch wasn't pulling the tail of the loose end of thread tightly enough, or perhaps wasn't holding the wraps tightly enough to keep one from unraveling into that extra strand underneath. It's not possible to diagnose a problem without seeing the problem stitch but here are two websites with good instructions for making bullions.

The first is SharonB's site. She has a whole series of stitches here, all with clear instructions. Note that she is making a small bullion. When you are learning, just do a few wraps. A 20 wrap bullion is a lot harder to do than a 5 wrap. Wait until you understand the stitch before running wild, ok?

This site is by Carol of Stitchin Time. I think she is a counted thread and XS designer, although I'm not certain. Look carefully at the needle she uses to explain how to make a bullion. It is longer and thinner than the one SharonB used for a reason. Bullions are made by wrapping thread around a needle, then sliding the needle through the wraps. Using a needle with a narrower eye than tapestry needles means you don't have so much trouble sliding the needle through the middle of the stitches. A lot of folks use millinery or crewel needles for bullions since they have narrower eyes. That's my first tip--use a needle with a skinny eye! They will have sharp tips, though, so be careful. By the way, MickStitch, perhaps your bullions are curving because you did too many wraps for the area you want to cover? Carol is curving her bullions because she is making roses from them.

Another tip I've heard--as you pull the needle through the wraps you've made, think of this little rhyme. "Pull his tail, tickle his tummy." Pull the needle through the wraps, and continue to pull on the thread to snug the bullion down on the ground fabric. Don't rush this and use the tip of the needle to gently stroke the underside of the bullion so it lies smoothly. Bullions actually are about practicing until you get the tension right. You have to wrap the thread around your needle tightly but not too tightly, then hold the wraps steady with one hand as you pull the needle through the wraps with the other. This takes practice.

Gay Ann Rogers is called the Queen of Bullions by her students. Want to know why? Check this out!

Gay Ann says if you practice bullions ten minutes a day for ten days, you will own this stitch. I recommend you try it! You won't "get" this stitch immediately but you will eventually and it will become second nature.

Jane/Chilly Hollow
Main blog at


Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for these fantastic tips! I know what I'm going to do today -- practice bullions!

Front Range Stitcher said...

Thank you Jane, as always very informative, oh and let's not forget enabling. :) I love that Katie Molineaux canvas featured today. Very tempting!

The Chilly Hollow Needlepoint Adventure said...

Isn't it a pretty bird? The Shorebirds piece, I mean. And not wildly expensive, either. I hope you take it home, Madonna. I'd love to see the little guy stitched some day but I already have some bird canvases in my stash and I try not to repeat myself too much.

The Chilly Hollow Needlepoint Adventure said...

Hope all this helps, MS. Gay Ann Rogers' tip is the best of all--practice a bit each day for 10 days. I imagine you will master them pretty well by then! GAR is a very experienced teacher and she wouldn't say that unless it works.

Unknown said...

Thankyou for these links. I am scared of bullions!

The Chilly Hollow Needlepoint Adventure said...

Not to worry, e-Rose. David McCaskill will take care of them mean ole bullions for you! Stay tuned to see what I mean....