The needlepoint Ray Stitch: How to do it and the best places to use it.

The ray stitch is often used in needlepoint.   From the simple Diamond Ray, to more elaborate ray stitches it is the ideal stitch for trees and bushes.  It works equally well when used to needlepoint a bird's feathers or breast. The basic ray stitch is simple. You can also turn it on its side or upside down and add stitches to make it fuller. So, if you like to stitch landscapes or birds, this is one to keep in your stitch file.

The Simple Ray Stitch:

single diamond ray stitch

The ray stitch, or Diamond Ray, comprises of 5 stitches all meeting in the center. The key to this stitch is to go up on the outside (odd numbers) & down in the center hole (even numbers).


How the single Diamond Ray stitches fit together:

Diamond Ray stitches

The ray stitch fits in tightly – reminiscent of a crowded train. Use your laying tool to move the stitched thread over when coming up along its side so you don’t catch it in your needle.

House by the lake, JulieMar & Friends needlepoint 

Ray stitches are ideal for bushes and trees.  In House by the Lake by Steven Klein (from the design house of JulieMar & Friends), the tall pines are done in a ray stitch variation (see chart below.)


Ray stitches are also used for birds. 

ray stitches
Very few birds' wings or feathers are painted upright – so you may need to turn the stitch to it’s side, or upside down.

diagonal ray stitch

Or, stitch it diagonally.

Birds with diagonal ray stitch variation
Garden Party by Melissa Shirley - stitches by Tony Minieri.

And if you want to get adventurous, add some more depth to your Ray stitches.

Ray stitch variation in needlepoint

Ray stitch variation was used on the tall pines - House by the Lake.  Whether you use the Diamond Ray stitch, or a more complicated variation, this is the go-to stitch for trees, bushes and bird's wings in your needlepoint.