Needlepoint Whipped Backstitch

One of my favorite stitches is the needlepoint Whipped Backstitch (often called a Wrapped Backstitch). Why?

needlepoint whipped backstitch
  • It makes great lines. You can stitch a straight line or a curve without using the "steps" that a tent stitch makes when the line goes up and to the left.
  • It's quick.
  • It' s great for outlining shapes and objects, and drawing attention to elements of your design.

I wanted to use a Whipped Backstitch on this Lisbon Tile because I thought the curling black lines wouldn't look as good if stitched in tent stitch. These lines form a symmetrical pattern, so in a tent stitch when the line goes in the same direction as the stitch it would look like a straight line, but when it leans toward the opposite direction it would look like a stepped line. I wanted the lines to look smooth regardless of their direction.

needlepoint whipped backstitch
The needle is sliding under each backstitch, one after the other, until they have all been "wrapped" or "whipped".

So I backstitched each line which allowed me to "draw" in all the curves and curls in a smoothly flowing manner, and then I "whipped" this backstitch to give it a thicker and curvier appearance. To whip the stitch all you do is slide the needle under each stitch, wrapping the thread around each consecutive stitch a bit like a snake coiling around a branch. It's so easy.

 If you are whipping a curve, slide the needle under the backstitch toward the inside of the curve.

I have finished all the backstitching and all the whipping (see the picture below) and the design is ready for me to decide what to stitch next. The black lines look a little like leadlight which I think really works well for this design.