What’s the difference between cable plait stitch and plaited braid stitch?
This is cable plait stitch. It is the stitch used in Mountmellick embroidery. It is a reasonably simple stitch, with only a few steps. Also known as figure of eight stitch to the ladies of Mountmellick, because that’s what each stitch looks a bit like.
Each stitch (or the sequence of steps that goes to make up a single cable plait) is worked separately and sits on the fabric separately (though with so little distance between that it is negligible). Individual cable plaits do not interact or interlace with each other.
When worked wide, (shown here about the widest I would be happy to do) it becomes very unstable. It can be worked quite narrow, which creates a slightly different, more compact, knotty look.
It looks like a simple braid on the surface of the fabric.
Below left is plaited braid stitch. There are two lines shown as each is worked with a different method to create the same result. You can read more about this at a previous post on plaited braid stitch.
It is usually worked in gold or silver thread, and comes from Elizabethan embroidery. It is a more complicated stitch to work than cable plait stitch. Each individual stitch looks a little like a pretzel. (Though if you look at the cable plait stitch picture, each one of them looks like an upside down pretzel… interesting…)
Each stitch (or the sequence of stitches that go to make up a single plaited braid stitch) interlock with the ones one each side of it, so that the effect is much more interwoven than for cable plait stitch.
If this stitch is worked too wide, the stitches start to look too squat. This can be solved by using a thicker thread or narrowing the width. It is quite a stable stitch because of all the interlocking.
It looks like an intricate braid on the surface of the fabric.
I guess an interesting experiment would be to work both stitches in the same thread to see how they compare then. Here we are comparing two different threads, and the thread (its stiffness or otherwise) can really affect ease of stitch construction. With plaited braid stitch it really helps to have a thread with some “body”, but this is not necessary for cable plait stitch.
At some point, I think I’ll have to prepare some samples of each in the same thread. Perhaps one each in Mountmellick thread and one each in gold thread, so that we can compare better.
I have a hunch that in actual fact they’re not all that dissimilar. Just that plaited braid stitch is more interlaced with the stitches on either side.