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Stitching Oysters on the Half Shell

Stitching Oysters on the Half Shell

I finally finished my Oysters on the Half Shell ornament! That makes this 2/20 finished pieces for the year (my first finish was my champagne bucket). 

I got so many wonderful ideas from you all on Instagram about how I should stitch the background so I wanted to share them with you. Before we get into it, I had so many people tell me "omg I didn't realize it was ice underneath the oysters - I thought it was a white oyster plate". The best part about needlepoint is that you can stitch it as either! It's really interesting to see how people interpret my work because while I designed it to be oysters sitting on ice, some people could see that it was a white oyster plate. So by all means - please stitch it how ever you see fit and however makes you happy! After all, there are no rules in needlepoint. 



For the oyster canvas, I stitched most of it in basketweave and continental. However, I wanted to do a different background to replicate ice. I decided to stitch Alicia's lace with beading. While it felt a little too geometric since all of the ice cubes were the same size, it was the best stitch I could get that I was happy with. 

I got the idea to do the Alicia's lace with beading stitch from's online beading class. I have never beaded before since I was a bit intimidated, but the class made it super easy to learn and gave me a lot of inspiration with how to use beads in the future. I got it as a gift for Christmas and would highly recommend it! 

For Alicia's lace with beading, feel free to follow the diagram below. The navy represents stitches, the light blue represents beading thread, and the teal represents a bead. I suggest stitching the navy thread areas first. The final part of your canvas that you should stitch are the beads. I stitched the white clear beads first and then added on a little pearl bead in 1 oyster.

While I said there were no rules in needlepoint - I actually do suggest beading this way because it's a more fragile addition to your canvas. It's best to do it last so that none of the beading gets messed up!


Because Alicia's lace is an open stitch, meaning it doesn't cover your whole canvas, I decided to use a thicker thread. I went with Silk and Ivory's Stardust in White #502. It has a tiny bit of sparkle in it that I think complemented it really well. While most people would suggest against using Silk & Ivory on an 18-mesh canvas, I liked how it provided more coverage on an open stitch. Here are the other supplies I used for the background:

Thread: Silk and Ivory Stardust in White #502

Beading Thread: Sundance Beading Thread White 

Pearl Bead: Sundance Beads Pearls 3mm Glass

Glass Seed Beads (for ice): Mill Hill 00161

Beading Tray: Bead Buddies by TMC 

Beading Needle: John James


Other Stitches/Suggestions

I think in the future it would be fun to just bead the whole background using different sized beads to imitate ice! Here are some other background suggestions that I received off of Instagram to help inspire you:

  • Threads: Kreinik Metallics, Iridescent Fibers, Frosty Rays, Fire & Ice with longer stitches
  • Stitches: Diagonal Mosaic, Smyrna Cross
  • Beads: Clear, square beads 
  • Techniques and Special Stitches: Ruching, French Knots in varying sizes

If you have any further ideas or plan on stitching this canvas - let us know how you are stitching it in the comments below!  

Comments on this post (4)

  • Apr 21, 2021

    I just ordered the oysters on the half shell canvas and wanted to see what threads/colors you suggest.

    Thank you,

    — Pearce

  • Aug 12, 2020

    Instructions for finishing as ornament, please.

    — Suzanne

  • Apr 22, 2020

    Question- since the canvas is 18 mesh, did you separate your fibers? I’ve heard I should only use 4 of the 6 strands.

    — Caroline

  • Mar 12, 2020

    This turned out beautifully. I can’t wait to try it. Thanks for detailing it out!

    — Courtney B.

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