Sheaf stitch for hand embroidery can be worked as an open fill technique or an isolated stitch, and produces a really interesting and fun texture!
In this post, I've provided written and photo instructions for sheaf stitch; I have a video tutorial for you at the very end of this post, should that be easier for you to follow (feel free to jump ahead)!
Step 1: Stitch three straight stitches, with just a bit of space in between each stitch.
You can see my three straight stitches at the bottom left of this almost-completed example.
Again, this stitch can be worked to cover an entire area, or as a single isolated stitch. In the video tutorial, I stitch all of my straight stitches (in multiples of three) before moving on to my next step.
Step 2: Bring your needle up through your fabric in between your second and third straight stitch.
I'll be using a contrasting color here, but you can use the same color you used for your straight stitches if you prefer.
Step 3: Bring your needle underneath your third straight stitch, and pull.
Make sure you don't pierce the fabric or floss while executing this step.
Step 4: Bring your needle underneath all three straight stitches, and pull.
Again, make sure you're not piercing the fabric or floss at this step. As you pull, your three straight stitches will gather at the middle.
Step 5: Bring your needle over your straight stitches, and back down through your fabric; this will secure your first sheaf stitch.
As you can see below, I'm doing my best to get my needle underneath my sheaf stitch (vs. just next to it). This helps with the illusion that the floss is wrapped around the straight stitches in a never ending loop.
And that's it! What a fun stitch, don't you think?
Video tutorial for sheaf stitch
I hope this tutorial was helpful for you, and that you give this stitch a chance the next time you're designing a hoop that could use an open fill technique!