Here’s an easy Victorian canvaswork stitch that makes fluffy ridges and furrows like a giant corduroy fabric:
This is worked with #10 double mesh canvas and double knitting yarn, using a suitably sized tapestry needle (size 18 or 20). You’ll also need some spacers. I used thin bamboo barbecue skewers for the photos, you can also use pairs of cocktail sticks. (The original instructions called for strips of thick card. If you want to use card, cut it just wide enough to cover 2 of the meshes. Cocktail sticks or skewers are much easier than card.) You’ll also need small scissors to cut the pile.
Work close herringbone over a pair of sticks held on the fabric as shown. The sticks cover two threads (with one hole between them) The first row of herringbone takes up the holes nearest to the sticks on each side.
Work a second row of herringbone using the next empty rows of holes, over the first row, and a third row over that. This completes one section. The three rows are shown in dark, medium and light pink on the stitch diagram, for clarity. I’ve used just one colour yarn in the photos, to show the ridges more clearly.
Count three more holes from the outer layer, and then put a pair of sticks over the next two threads. Work the next unit, exactly like the first. Continue working further units in the same way.
The back of the work should look like this:
When you have enough units, take a sharp pair of scissors and cut all the yarn between the sticks, like cutting a pom-pom.
Lift out the sticks. Fluff up the pile, and there you have your Victorian fun-fur stitch.
You can experiment with different colours and see what effects you get, and you can try the stitch with various threads on fabric. You can also work more than three layers of herringbone for more spectacular ridges and furrows – allow two extra holes between the pairs of sticks for each extra layer. You can make the band of fun-fur as deep as you like.
This is a great stitch to teach to children, who really enjoy working it.
I found this stitch in S F A Caulfeild’s Dictionary of Needlework from 1887 (reprinted in two volumes by Dover Books as Encyclopedia of Victorian Needlework) It is in the Supplement, item 271, as “Imitation Fur Borderings for Muff, Collars and Coat Trimmings”. There’s a mistake in the instruction, as it calls for the card strip to be 2½ inches wide, rather than just wide enough to cover two double threads of the canvas and the hole between them. (The picture with the instructions shows the card the correct size. )