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2010

By: Sharon B

Stitch Dictionary

All content is exclusive rights of Sharon B from blog Pin Tangle. Sharon
maintains several online stitching sites including a stitching community
forum, a website, and a blog. All Sharons work is free to the public but
we ask that you please give credit when using her ideas and content.

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Cross stitch

Cross stitch
Cross Stitch, which is also known as sampler stitch, Berlin stitch and point de marque, is currently very popular due to
a huge industry in designs and kits. It is one of the oldest stitches in the history of textiles and used world wide today
as in the past.

Cross stitch can be worked individually completing each cross before moving on to the next. This is a useful way to
work if you are using multicolored thread. To work cross stitch in rows work a line of diagonals in one direction and
then on the return journey work the top diagonals as illustrated.

Cross stitch in its simplest form is made by two bisecting diagonal stitches. It is extremely quick and easy to work
usually on even weave fabrics.
Although the actual construction of cross stitch is the same there are different ways of working. One rule remains
constant, and that is, that the top diagonals should always lie in the same direction.
This rule however, is broken by some contemporary embroidery if a deliberate effect is desired in which case the top
diagonals will vary in order to catch the light in a particular direction or simply to break up the even surface.
Cross stitch is based on the simple action of crossing one thread against the other. This action in stitching has been
used around the globe since the beginning of textile history. For this reason, there are many variations to Cross stitch
and some listed here. They are Alternating cross stitch, Rice stitch, Double cross stitch, Long arm cross stitch and
Montenegrin.

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Half and Quarter cross stitch
As illustrated half cross stitch and quarter cross stitch is just that. Half a cross stitch or a quarter of the stitch worked
where it is required to smooth out the jagged edges of a design.

Alternating Cross stitch

Alternating Cross stitch is only suitable for even weave fabrics. The advantage to working cross stitch in this manner
is that the stitches on the reverse of the fabric form also a cross stitch. Since cross stitch is one of the oldest stitches
in the world many variations are practiced. Cross stitch is used mainly on even-weave fabrics, where the threads can
be counted. Although the actual construction of cross stitch remains the same, there are different methods of
working.
If working cross stitch in a traditional manner one rule applies to all methods. The top diagonal stitches must always
fall in the same direction. I should point out however, that in contemporary embroidery this rule is sometimes broken.
To work cross stitch using this method, first work every second diagonal stitch of the bottom row. On the return
journey work the missing diagonal stitches. On the third journey work every second top diagonal stitch then return
working the final top diagonals.

Double cross stitch

This version of double cross stitch is a canvas stitch but it is also a pleasure to work this stitch as a filling on linen or
any even count fabric in a fine thread. As a hand embroidery stitch it has much potential.
This illustration is worked in Color Variations thread on 26 count linen.
It is simple and easy to work as the cross is formed by
working two horizontal stitches then two diagonal stitches over
seven threads.
This forms the first cross. This is then crossed again by
two sets of diagonal threads.
To complete this stitch work a small upright cross stitch in
the threads left between the double cross.
You can use other stitches in these small places such as a
French knot or a small bead.

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Long-armed Cross Stitch

Long-armed Cross is also known as Slav stitch, long legged


cross stitch, plaited Slav stitch, Greek stitch, Portuguese
stitch, and twist stitch.
This is often seen as a canvas stitch but it can be worked in
a fine thread, as a filling, on linen or Aida.
On even weave fabrics it can be used also as a border
stitch. Any type of embroidery thread can be used as long as it is compatible with the fabric or canvas.
Long armed Cross is simple and quick to work as it consists of one diagonal stitch twice the length of the short cross
stitch.
Work from left to right.
Start the row with a cross stitch.In the illustration I have worked over four threads.
Bring your needle out at the base of the cross on the left hand side.
Take your thread obliquely over, in this case eight threads, and down through the fabric to make a stitch which is
twice the width of the first cross stitch.
Bring your needle out at the base of the row and make a diagonal stitch the width of your cross stitch.
Bring your needle out at the base and make another oblique stitch.
Continue in this manner until you have completed the row.

Rice stitch

Rice stitch is also known as crossed corners and William and Mary stitch.
On a canvas foundation cloth rice stitch produces a rather dense texture.
Although this stitch is classified as a canvas stitch It can be worked as a filling on linen or Aida in a finer thread.

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It can be worked in two colors or two thicknesses of thread.
It is simply and quickly worked.
First work a foundation of large crosses then work a diagonal stitch on each corner of the cross.

Montenegrin

Montenegrin is a form of cross stitch which is also known as Montenegrin cross stitch, and two sided Montenegrin
cross stitch.
It is sometimes confused with long armed cross stitch which looks similar but it has an extra vertical stitch made
during construction.
This is another canvas stitch that can be worked as a filling on linen or Aida in a fine thread. On even weave fabrics it
can be used also as a border stitch. Any type of embroidery thread can be used as long as it is compatible with the
fabric or canvas.
Montenegrin is simple and quick to cover an area.
Work from left to right.
Start the row with a diagonal stitch twice the width of the depth of the cross stitch.
In the illustration I have worked over four threads.
Work the diagonal stitch and then work the vertical stitch as illustrated.
Continue in this manner until you have completed the row.

Back stitch

Back stitch

Back stitch is an old and very adaptable stitch which can be used as a delicate outline or as a foundation in
composite stitches, such as Pekinese stitch and herringbone ladder filling stitch. This stitch follows intricate curves
well if the stitches are worked in small and in an even manner in order to follow the flow of the curve. The front of the
work is similar in appearance to Holbein stitch but, where Holbein stitch is quite flat, back stitch is slightly raised.
If you want to work blackwork patterns using variegated threads use back stitch. Many blackwork patterns can be
very effective worked this way.
To start this stitch bring the thread up from the back of the fabric on the line that you want to create. Make a small
backward stitch through the fabric. Bring the needle through the fabric a little in front of the first stitch and still on the
line. Pull the thread through the fabric. Make the second stitch backward, bringing the needle out a little in front of the
second stitch and still on the line. Repeat this movement and continue sewing in such a manner along the line.

Whipped back stitch

Whipped back stitch creates a slightly raised line which is simple, quick and easy to work.
Work a foundation row of back stitches. Make each stitch slightly longer and looser than usual.
Next whip the row. You do this by bringing the needle up from the foundation fabric, take the thread over the top and
pass the needle under the first back stitch. Do not pick up any of the fabric as you whip.
Repeat this action until you have moved the length of the row.
Use a blunt-ended tapestry needle, for the second thread so that you do not split the foundation threads as you sew.
If a heavy, thread in the same color as the foundation stitching is used, the line you sew will look like a fine cord. This
is also useful if a raised line is required on a delicate fine fabric which can not accept a heavy thread through the
weave. This stitch can also be worked with variations of contrasting colou producing a candy cane effect or a lightly
textured thread. It is an easy, quick stitch to work making it ideal for use in children's sewing projects and suitable for
beginners. Lettering and motifs tight curves are effective using this stitch.

Threaded back stitch

This quick stitch creates a useful decorative line.


Since threaded back stitch can be worked in different weights of thread, colors, or textures it lends itself to many
interesting variations and it is possible to create numerous effects.
Work a foundation row of ordinary back stitch. Make each stitch slightly longer and looser than usual. Use a bluntended tapestry needle, to weave a second thread alternately up and down behind this row of foundation stitches. This
weaving movement is made without entering the fabric.

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Chain stitches

Chain stitch

Chain stitch is also known as tambour stitch and point de chainette. Chain stitch is one of the oldest of the decorative
stitches and is the basis of a large group of stitches.
Its use has a long history and is widespread, throughout the world. It is believed to have originated in Persia and
India, where it is worked with the aid of a fine hook known as an 'ari'. In the west this tool which looks like a crochet
hook, is known as a 'tambour' hook. The needlework produced using this method is known as tambour embroidery.
To distinguish between chain stitch sewn by hand from that worked with a hook you need to examine the back of the
embroidery. Needlework that is done with a hook has a continuous thread without any joins where as, chain stitch
done with a needle, will display separate stitches.
Chain stitch is simple to work. Bring the needle up through the fabric and hold the thread with the left thumb. Insert
the needle back into where it first came out. Take the needle through the fabric bringing the point of the needle out a
short space along the line to be stitched. With the thread wrapped under the needle point pull the needle through the
fabric.
A large variety of threads can be used from the finest silk to ribbon, the size of the stitch will depend on the weight of
the thread used. it is an ideal beginners stitch and suitable to teach children as it is easy to sew.

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There are many other stitches in this group. The stitches that I have listed here in the chain stitch family are:
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o

Alternating barred chain stitch,


Barred chain stitch,
Butterfly chain,
Detached chain
Feathered chain,
Heavy Chain stitch
Reverse Chain stitch
Twisted chain,
Open chain,
Oyster Stitch,
Rosette Chain,
Whipped chain
Zig Zag chain.

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Barred Chain Stitch

To work Barred chain stitch you need to be familiar with chain stitch and twisted chain stitch. It is easy if you know
these two for it is simply a single chain stitch followed by a twisted chain stitch.
This pattern is repeated as you work down the line. Turn your work so that you are sewing in a downward line.
As a stitch barred chain follows a curve well producing a thorny line.
A large variety of threads can be used from the finest silk to ribbon, the size of the stitch will be influenced by the
weight of the thread used and your spacing.
It is also a stitch easily worked on all types of fabrics and equally effective when worked in straight lines or following
curves. This means it is ideal for those who are interested in Crazy quilting. This is a stitch that looks interesting in
over dyed multicolour threads.

Since its appeal is based on its textured nature it can be successfully combined with other textured stitches such as
buttonhole bars and knots such as French knots, Colonial knot and Bullion knot.

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Combine other textured stitches with explorations varying the length of the spines on the twisted chain, or the size of
the chain, spacing of the spines, width of the line, weight and texture of the thread, and this should keep most
contemporary embroiderers intrigued.

Alternating Barred chain stitch

To work Alternating Barred chain stitch you need to be familiar with Barred chain stitch, and its components chain
stitch and twisted chain stitch. Alternating Barred chain is easy if you know these two stitches for it is simply a line of
a single chain stitch followed by a twisted chain stitch. The twisted chain is worked first to the left and then to the
right, swinging back and forth as you work down the line.

As a stitch Alternating Barred chain follows a curve well producing a thorny line. The longer the spines of the twisted
chain the more the spikiness is emphasized. A large variety of threads can be used from the finest silk to ribbon, the
size of the stitch will be influenced by the weight of the thread used and your spacing. It is also a stitch easily worked
on all types of fabrics and equally effective when worked in straight lines or following curves. This means it is ideal for
those who are interested in Crazy quilting and works well in floral motifs. Since Alternating Barred Chain stitch holds
its appeal on its textured nature you can successfully combine with other textured stitches such as buttonhole bars
and knots such as French knots, Colonial knot and Bullion knot.

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Heavy chain stitch

Heavy chain stitch also known as heavy braid chain stitch. It creates a solid sewn line which looks like a fine braid. As
with most of the chain stitch family it is versatile and can be worked on even-weave or plain fabrics easily.
Work this stitch in a downward direction.
The row starts as you do with reverse chain. Start by sewing a detached chain stitch upside down. After this first
stitch bring the needle out of the fabric further along the line at the base of the detached chain. Leave enough space
for one chain stitch.

step 2
Slide the needle under the tie of the chain but not through the fabric and take the needle back down through the
fabric where it came out. You should have two chains tied with the same stitch.

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step 3

step 4
Bring the needle out of the fabric further along the line and once again slide the needle under
the base of the first chain but not through the fabric and take the needle back down through the
fabric where it came out.
The difference between this stitch and reverse chain stitch is that the needle is passed under the
previous two chain loops,. In reverse chain the needle passes under just the previous chain.
Make sure when you pass the needle under the chains that you do not pick up any fabric.

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Detached chain stitch

Detached chain stitch is also known by a number of names such as: daisy stitch, lazy daisy stitch, tall chain stitch,
loop stitch, tied loop stitch, picot stitch and knotted knot stitch.
Detached chain stitch is also useful as an isolated stitch which is made by working a single isolated chain stitch
hence its name.
Detached chain stitch can be used to make leaves and flower shapes hence the name 'daisy stitch'. This stitch can
also be worked either with a double or triple loop to form more complex designs. To work this stitch bring the needle
up through the fabric and hold the thread with the left thumb. Insert the needle back into where it first came out. Take
the needle through the fabric bringing the point of the needle out a short space away. With the thread wrapped under
the needle point pull the needle through the fabric. Fasten the loop made with a small stitch. Scattering this stitch
across an area to create a powdered filling also works well. Although the weight of thread used determines the
bulkiness of stitch most threads work well.

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Reverse chain

Reverse chain is also known as Broad chain stitch


It can be worked on even-weave or plain fabrics and creates a bold line. A thread which has a firm twist will hold the
shape of the line created by the stitches better than a soft thread.
Sew this stitch a downwards direction.

Start by working a detached chain stitch upside down. After this first stitch bring the needle out of the fabric further
along the line at the base of the detached chain. Leave enough space for one chain stitch. Slide the needle under the
base of the chain but not through the fabric and take the needle back down through the fabric where it came out.
Repeat this along the line. When stitching dont pull too tight and you will get a good shape to each chained loop.

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Rosette Chain Stitch

Rosette chain stitch can be worked on all types of fabric. As a


decorative stitch it is also known as bead edging stitch and simply
Rosette stitch.
Worked in a thread with a good twist this stitch creates a braided line
useful for borders on sewing projects.
Rosette chain stitch can also be used to create small floral motifs by
working a number of stitches around a small circle, with the chain
stitches pointing outwards.

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Work from right to left. Commence by bringing the thread to the front of the fabric, insert the needle, take a small
stitch and wrap the needle as you would a twisted chain.

Take the needle through the fabric and pull until the loop lies flat but not tight on the fabric.
Pass the needle under the right-hand top thread above the knot.
Slide the needle through without picking up the foundation fabric.
Move along the line and repeat this process.
Rosette chain stitch is a variation of twisted chain stitch and part of the chain stitch family.

Butterfly chain

Butterfly chain is what is referred to as a composite stitch used for decorative purposes on many types of fabrics. You
are not restricted to even weave fabric as your foundation. This stitch can also be worked on the curve and in
contrasting threads as it is worked in two journeys. You can use the same thread for both journeys, or you can
incorporate threads of two contrasting weights or colors.
Work a foundation row of three vertical straight stitches. With this stitch watch the space between the foundation
blocks as the space between the groups of stitches should be about the same width as the area covered by the three
stitches.

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On the second journey, simply tie each group of stitches together with a twisted chain stitch. Before moving on to the
next block of stitches pull each twisted chain stitch to clutch the group of three foundation straight stitches together.
On the second journey, do not allow the needle to enter the ground fabric except at the beginning and end of the row.
A foundation row of three vertical straight stitches is the traditional number of stitches to work but you can vary this to
create different effects. You can also vary their scale. For instance, making the middle straight stitch longer that the
side two. The thread that you use to clutch the foundation stitches together can be of heavier or lighter weight. It can
also be ribbon of fine cord.
For those interested in bead work and crazy quilting beads can be incorporated easily at various stages of stitching or
added afterwards at the points of the foundation stitches. This is a stitch that looks good worked row upon row to form
various patterns and designs depending upon the placement of the foundation blocks.

Tip
A tip to remember is that if you have tension problems which result in puckering, work Butterfly chain stitch with the fabric stretched in an
embroidery hoop.

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Open chain stitch

Open chain stitch also known as ladder stitch, square chain stitch, and Roman chain stitch. Open chain stitch is a
variation of, and worked in a similar manner to chain stitch.
You can work Open chain stitch in either an open or closed manner by adjusting the spacing between the stitches.
A large variety of threads can be used from the finest yarn to ribbon. The size of the stitch will depend on the weight
of the thread used.
It can be used to couch down cords, narrow ribbons or other threads.
For decorative effect, beads, a French knot or Colonial knot can be placed in the centre of each chain or you can
weave a bulky thread in an out of the stitch.
Work this stitch over two imaginary lines. It is useful to mark the fabric with two parallel guide-lines using a water
dissolvable marker or fade out fabric marker.
Bring the needle up through the fabric on the left hand side and hold the thread with the left thumb.
Insert the needle on the right hand side. Take the needle through the fabric and bring it out to left of the line to be
stitched.
With the thread wrapped under the needle point pull the needle through the fabric.
Insert the needle on the right hand side inside the loop, and take the needle through the fabric to the left of the line to
be stitched. This action starts the next stitch.

Twisted chain stitch


Twisted chain stitch has a hand embroidery stitch which has slightly textured appearance.
It is a variation of chain stitch and can be effectively introduced in many types of needlework projects.

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To work twisted chain bring the needle up through the fabric and hold the thread with the left thumb. Insert the needle
to the left of where it emerges from the fabric. This point can be varied depending upon how wide you want the 'spike'
of the chain. The wider the gap the larger the spike.
Take the needle through the fabric bringing the point of the
needle out a short space along the line to be stitched.
Cross the thread over the needle, then wrap the thread under
the needle point and pull the needle through the fabric.
The stitch that you have created is a twisted chain. It is ideal for
linear details as it follows curve with ease.
Worked with large long spikes this stitch can have an organic
quality. A large variety of threads can be used from the finest
thread to silk ribbon, the size of the stitch will depend on the weight
of the thread used.
Twisted chain stitch can also be worked in the same way detached chain is worked with each loop being anchored by
a small straight stitch. It can be worked as single stitches or arranged in a circle to form floral motifs. In the illustration
above the stitch is worked on a crazy quilt block in rayon ribbon topped off with a row of bugle beads. It is a stitch that
is also suitable for silk ribbon embroidery.

Whipped chain stitch


Whipped chain stitch creates a slightly raised, line.
The thread that you use to whip with can be of a contrasting color,
weight or texture.

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First work a foundation row of chain stitch.
Make each chain stitch slightly longer and a little looser than usual. You need to keep each chain stitch loose
because it will tighten slightly when you whip it.
Taking care not to pick up any of the fabric, with a second thread whip the foundation row as illustrated. Use a bluntended tapestry needle for the whipping to avoid splitting the stitches on the foundation row.
This is a useful stitch if a raised line is required on a delicate fine fabric which can not accept a heavy thread through
the weave. This stitch can also be worked with variations of contrasting color or texture. Metallic threads and
multicolored threads are also effective. It is easy and quick to work making it ideal choice in children's sewing
projects.

Zigzag chain stitch

Zigzag chain stitch is also known as Vandyke chain stitch. Zigzag chain stitch is a variation of chain stitch.
Zigzag chain stitch is effective when sewn stitched row upon row to build up patterns for borders or as a single row.
The illustration is an example of this hand embroidery stitch used as a seam treatment on a crazy quilt block.

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Work as you would chain stitch but place each loop at right angles to the
previous loop to create the zigzag line.
As you enter the fabric with each loop pierce the end of the previous
loop.
This will ensure that each section of the chain lies flat.

Feathered chain stitch is also known as chained feather stitch.

If evenly spaced and of equal size, feathered chain stitch creates an interesting zigzag line which has many creative
possibilities.
If you want to maintain a neat zigzag line some people find it useful to mark the fabric with two parallel guide-lines.
This stitch can also be worked in a free manner wandering over a piece of fabric.

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The stitch consists of chain stitches which have a long tie down section.
Each chain is worked on a diagonal slant, alternating from left and right.
Mark two lines on your fabric.
Bring the needle up through the fabric on the right hand line and hold the thread with the left thumb. Insert the needle
back into where it first came out.
Take the needle through the fabric bringing the point of the needle out a short space diagonally across the line to be
stitched. The needle should point towards the left hand line.
With the thread wrapped under the needle point pull the needle through the fabric. Tie the chain down with a straight
stitch that is on the same diagonal. The tie stitch should finish on the left hand line.
To make the second stitch bring the needle up through the fabric on the left hand line, close to the end of the tie
stitch, and repeat the process so that the tie stitch is on the right hand line. Continue in this zig-zag motion.
A large variety of threads can be used from the finest thread to ribbon or fine cord, the size of the stitch will be
influenced by the weight of the thread used and your spacing.
If you are interested in crazy quilting to make a more decorative line use beads, french knots, colonial knots or
embellish with detached chain or three straight stitches can be added to the chain. Threads can also be couched into
place using this stitch.

Oyster stitch is a member of the chain stitch family and although it looks complex is not difficult to work.

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You start Oyster stitch with a single Rosette chain stitch. As a variation of twisted chain stitch you commence by
bringing the thread to the front of the fabric, insert the needle, take a small stitch and wrap the needle as you would a
twisted chain.

Take the needle through the fabric and pull until the loop lies flat but not tight on the fabric. Pass the needle under the
right-hand top thread above the loop that has formed. Slide the needle through without picking up the foundation
fabric. At this stage you have created a single Rosette chain stitch.

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To turn it into Oyster stitch, insert the needle at the top and slide it under the knot,
so that the needle exists the cloth at the base of he knot.
Loop the thread under the needle and pull the needle through.
Making a small tie stitch take the needle to the back of the fabric. You have just
made a chain stitch around the first Rosette chain.
You can use this stitch as you would a detached chain stitch.
It can be used as buds in floral motifs, or worked in a circle with the stitches
pointing outwards to create flowers.
If you want to use oyster stitch in a line instead of using a small tie stitch as the last
step move to creating the next twisted chain stitch as the base for the first knot.
Oyster stitch can also be used in combination with
other stitches such as fly stitch or spaced at the spines
of feather stitch.
It has a highly textured appearance so sprinklings
of this stitch in contemporary work produces a nobly
relief particularly when worked in a thread with a good
twist or a fine ribbon.

Buttonhole stitches

Buttonhole stitch also know as blanket stitch

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Buttonhole stitch is also known as blanket stitch because it was often used as an edging on blankets. This stitch is
worked from left to right over two imaginary lines. Bring the thread out on the lower line, insert the needle in position

in the upper line making a straight downward motion and then loop the thread under the needle point. Pull the needle
through the fabric to form a loop and repeat this process along the line.
By altering the lengths of the upright stitches buttonhole can be both decorative and practical. Basic buttonhole stitch
is the foundation for a family of stitches.
The upright lengths can also be varied to form pyramid shapes. Rows of the stitch can be built up to create patterns
or it can be worked back to back as in the illustration below. It is an ideal stitch to use as a seam embellishment in
crazy quilting as the spines can be further decorated with detached chain, french knots, colonial stitch or beads.

Buttonhole can also be worked in freeform manner with rows stacked to create texture as in the illustration to the

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right.
It is also useful to use buttonhole stitch or arrangements of buttonhole to couch textured threads.
In another variation the row of loops at the base of the stitch can be whipped or threaded with a contrasting color.

Buttonhole family:
There are many other stitches that are classified in this group. The stitches that I have listed here in the Buttonhole
family are:

o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o

Barb stitch
Berwick stitch
Bonnet stitch
Buttonhole Bar
Buttonhole wheel
Closed Buttonhole stitch
Closed Feather stitch
Crossed Buttonhole stitch
Detached buttonhole stitch
Feather stitch
Rosette of thorns
Up and Down Buttonhole
Up and Down buttonhole feathered

Barb stitch
Barb stitch creates an ornamental line with a ridge down the center.
Barb stitch is a composite stitch because in order to work it two foundation rows of buttonhole stitch are sewn closely
together with the loops of the buttonhole stitch arranged back to back.
With a second thread, using a blunt-ended tapestry needle, so that the foundation threads do not split whip the loops
as illustrated.
It is an easy and quick stitch which makes it an ideal choice for children and beginners as they will be able to sew
projects quickly and gain a sense of achievement and satisfaction yet Barb stitch is versatile stitch and has many
contemporary applications in needlework for the more skilled stitcher.
The thread used to whip can be of a contrasting color, texture or thickness to the thread used for the foundation rows.
Metallic yarns can create a rich effect. You can use the buttonhole rows to couch down textured threads, then whip
the spine with another thread creating a heavy textured line.
Barb stitch can be worked in a single line, or sew in a uniform manner and repeat rows to create a border. As stitch it
lends itself to creating patterning. Different arrangements of the rows can build up interlocking patterns to create
interesting needlework fillings. it is also a stitch that can be sewn on a curve. Worked in a free manner the stitch takes
on an organic feel. This nature can be exploited in floral designs and patterns.

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Berwick stitch

Berwick stitch is also known as Looped edge stitch and forms a


line of upright stitches each with a knotted base. This is a quick
and easy version of buttonhole which is useful on needlework
motifs that have curves.
This needlework stitch is worked from left to right sewing over two
imaginary lines.
Bring the thread out on the lower line, insert the needle in position
in the upper line making a straight downward motion and then wrap
a loop of thread around the needle point. Pull the needle through
the fabric to form a loop. Tighten the knot slightly before moving to
the next stitch.
Berwick stitch is equally effective with the knotted edge on the
inside or outside of the curve.
In the case of using berwick stitch as an decorative embellishment on crazy quilting a more decorative line can be
created with the use of beads, and a detached chain, or French knots sewn at the top of each spine.
The length and spacing of the spines can create ornate patterns and effects. This build up of patterns using the
texture of the ridge at the base of the spine is also very effective in forms of counted thread and drawn needlework.

Up and Down Buttonhole Stitch


Up and down buttonhole stitch is also known as Mirrored buttonhole stitch It is a variation of buttonhole stitch easily
worked on all types of fabrics. The line this stitch forms is interesting as creates a pair of vertical stitches which are
crossed with a tie at the base.

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Work this stitch from left to right.


Each stitch of the pair is separate step.

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Starting as you would with buttonhole work the first stitch of the pair, take the needle through the fabric next to this
stitch as illustrated.
Wrap the yarn under the needle and pull the needle through the foundation fabric.

For the second stitch of the pair instead of pointing the needle down ward and looping the thread under the needle at
the base, point the needle up ward and wrap the thread under the needle at the top as illustrated.
Pull the needle through the fabric.
As you do this hold down the loop that forms with the left thumb to prevent it slipping.
This loop forms the bar at the base of both stitches.

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Move along the line and repeat the process.


Up and down buttonhole stitch creates a bold outline, which is easily worked on curves and circles.
The vertical stitches can be varied in length and angle making it ideal as foliage in floral motifs or as a seam
decoration in crazy quilting.
It can be worked as a couching stitch to hold down textured threads or further decorated with beads, french knots or
bullion knots in combination with straight stitches.
If the prongs are worked in a slight V shape you can add detached chain stitches and bullion knots worked as rose
buds.

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Bonnet stitch
Bonnet stitch is a variation of buttonhole that forms a line of stitches which have a upright twisted looped prongs. You
can use this stitch on even-weave or plain fabrics and it is quick and easy to work.

Work from right to left. Bring the needle out of the fabric at the base of the line and take it up vertically. Make a small
stitch to the right and have the thread under the needle.

Take the needle through the fabric. As you do this, a small loop will form. Nudge the loop to the left with your thumb
and you will notice that the thread is looped under the vertical stitch.

Point the needle through the fabric at the base and to the right of this stitch. Bringing the needle out further along the
line with the thread to the left under the needle. Pull the needle through the fabric and you have the first stitch in the
row.

Most thread types are suitable for bonnet stitch. You can be quite creative with this stitch as it can be varied by
changing spacing and the lengths of the uprights. It is also effective on a curve or used as a couching stitch.

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Feather Stitch

Feather stitch is also known as single coral stitch and briar stitch. Feather stitch is found extensively on traditional
English smocks and on antique crazy quilts. The feathery line created is useful as a smocking stitch and a
needlework stitch as it is equally effective when worked in straight lines or following curves. There are many
arrangements and combinations of this stitch. Today as a stitch it is still used by stitchers who are interested in the
traditional and historical needlework crafts and by contemporary needle workers. This versatile stitch can be found
worked today in smocking and is still one of the most popular stitches in crazy quilting.
Feather stitch is actually a variety of buttonhole stitch.
When working this stitch it is useful to imagine 4 parallel lines. It is useful to mark the fabric with guide-lines using a
water dissolvable marker or fade out fabric marker.
Bring the needle out at the top of the line to be worked and hold the thread down with the left thumb. Insert the needle
a little to the right on the same level and make a small stitch in a downward motion so that the needle point appears
on the centre line, keeping the thread under the needle point pull the thread through the fabric to make the stitch.
Next insert the needle a little to the left on the same level and make a small stitch in a downward motion so that the
needle point comes out on the centre line and keeping the thread under the needle point, pull the thread through the
fabric to make the stitch. Work these movements alternatively.
In the case of using this stitch worked as a seam embellishment on crazy quilting a more decorative line can be
created with the use of beads, as in the illustration above or place arrangements of detached chain, or French knots
at the top of each spine.

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The length spacing and number of spines can create ornate patterns and effects. It is also very effective worked in
hand dyed multicolored thread.
The stitch that is referred to as Single Feather stitch is a variety of feather stitch and also part of the buttonhole family
as it is simply buttonhole worked on a slant as the illustration right demonstrates.

Buttonhole Bar

Buttonhole bar is often used in traditional pulled and drawn needlework and often seen used in combination with
needle weaving.
As a stitch it is raised from the foundation cloth and can be employed in effective and imaginative manner. It is also
easier to sew than most people realize.
In order to work a buttonhole bar you need to know how to work buttonhole stitch.
Start with two or three horizontal straight stitches across the area you wish the bar to lay.
This forms the bar on which you sew.
Bring the thread out on the lower left hand side of the straight stitches you have just created.
Work from left to right. Work a buttonhole stitch over the straight stitches being careful not pass the needle through
the foundation fabric.
As you work slide the stitches long the bar so that the finished stitches are spaced closely together.
When you first learn this stitch use a thread with a firm twist. When it is mastered experiment with other threads.
For a contemporary treatment you can use a variety of threads such as metallic or slightly textured threads.
multicolored threads can also look interesting as with this type of thread the color shifts along the bar.
Since it is important to sew the buttonhole stitches over the foundation threads without entering the foundation fabric
use a blunt ended needle such as a Tapestry needle of suitable size for the buttonhole stage of the stitch.

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Keeping your tension even is important so stretch the fabric in an needlework hoop or frame while you work.

Buttonhole Wheel

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Buttonhole wheel is also known as wheel stitch and buttonhole rings. This stitch is buttonhole stitch worked in a
circular shape.
Sew this stitch on a firm foundation fabric. It is often used to form motifs of small floral sprays.
In pulled and drawn embroidery if worked on a loosely woven fabric under slight tension the fabric threads are pulled
by the stitching and a neat circular hole forms at the centre. The size of this hole can be increased with the aid of a
stiletto.
To work a buttonhole wheel you simply make buttonhole stitches in a circle, passing each vertical stitch through the
same space in the centre.
If the edges of your wheel edge flips up it is probably because you are not spacing the stitches close enough
together.
Button hole wheel can also be worked in halves and quarters in various
arrangements.
It is a useful stitch often seen employed contemporary crazy quilting and
patchwork.

Whipped spider's wheel

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Whipped spider's wheel is also known as raised spider's web wheel, ribbed wheel and back stitched spider's web.
A Whipped spider's wheel creates a ribbed, circular shape. This stitch can be worked on an even or uneven number
of spokes.
Work a single fly stitch then two straight stitches of the same length each side of the fly stitch tail so that you end up
with a circle which has five 'spokes'. These form the foundation stitches.

Bring the thread out at the centre of the wheel and slide the needle under two threads and whip the first spoke. Move
to the next stitch by sliding the needle once again, under two threads (but only one thread around the wheel). This
action can be described as making a spiral of back stitches over the spokes. The needle does not pass through the
fabric.
Use a tapestry needle to avoid splitting the foundation stitches. Repeat this action, whipping each spoke as you
progress around the wheel until the circle is filled.
You can also do this on foundations that are one third of the number of spokes or on half circles to create fan like
shell shapes. Instead of going around in circles in a constant motion you turn at the end of each row and go back and
forwards until the shape is filled.

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Whipped spider's wheel can be used alone as an accent stitch of color or texture, or can be scattered over a shape to
make a powdering.

Detached buttonhole

Detached buttonhole is a detached filling stitch which produces a solid area in a closely embroidered shape.
This stitch is formed in the same way as buttonhole stitch but it is worked into itself rather than into the foundation
fabric hence the name.

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With this stitch you are actually constructing a layer of fabric over the foundation fabric. This adds texture or high
relief to a piece.

This stitch is seen used in needlelace and Stumpwork.


Stretch the fabric in an embroidery hoop as it is important to work this stitch at an even tension.
To work the stitch you first lay a line of foundation stitches down. In order to do this you can use any linear stitch that
you can attach buttonhole stitches to. For instance back stitch, chain stitch are both suitable as foundation stitches.
For the illustration I have used a buttonhole bar as my starting point.
Working from left to right work a row of buttonhole stitches over these threads without entering the foundation fabric.
In order to not pierce the foundation threads and fabric use a blunt ended needle such as a Tapestry needle of
suitable size.
These stitches should be worked closely together and for the best results use a firm thread.
Turn your work and sew the next row into the loops of the previous row, once again without entering the foundation
fabric. Continue in this manner working from side to side until you have filled the shape required.
To create shapes in this stitch you increase by working two stitches into one loop or decrease by not working a stitch
into the loop at the end of each row. To produce a neat edge the final row should be worked in a slightly tighter
tension. When complete use small straight stitches to secure the edge to the foundation fabric.
You can raise this stitch by working it over padding such as felt. Cut the padding to shape but slightly smaller than the
area you wish cover. Stitch the padding into position before commencing detached buttonhole and then work over it
until the shape is filled.

Rosette of Thorns

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Rosette of Thorns is a variety of Buttonhole which creates a decorative line. It is named such as it creates a
decorative pattern of crown shapes linked together.
This stitch can be worked in a line or as a gradual curve, with arms of the stitch fanning outwards or in a severe curve
to form a circle.
As with buttonhole stitch the line is worked from left to right. This variety of button hole is simply made up of groups of
five buttonhole stitches.

Closed Buttonhole Stitch


Closed buttonhole stitch is a variation of buttonhole stitch. It is easily worked and can be used as an edging or
worked in multiple rows to create a patterned border or fill in an area.
Work closed buttonhole stitch from left to right over two parallel
guide lines which are first marked on the fabric using a water
dissolvable marker or fade out fabric marker.
Bring the thread out on the lower line, insert the needle slightly
to the right on the upper line and make a downward diagonal
motion, with the needle pointing left, bringing the needle point out
on the bottom line.
With the thread looped the needle point, pull the needle
through the fabric.
Insert the needle on the top line close to the top of the stitch
you just created. Make a downward diagonal motion, with the
needle pointing right, bringing the needle point out on the bottom
line. Continue this process sewing along the line.
Since Closed buttonhole stitch has a strong geometrical
construction. It lends itself to building up in rows in order to create
patterns. Rows of Closed buttonhole worked closely together
produce a net effect, which makes a good filling for larger areas.

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Since this creates a grid of shapes an isolated stitch such as French knot or a bead can be placed in the centre to
further decorate the filling. Closed buttonhole is also a useful decorative stitch to use when couching and can be an
interesting and different seam embellishment in crazy quilting.

Closed Feather Stitch

Closed feather stitch is a variation of feather stitch which can be


used to fill an area or as a decorative pattern filling when worked in
multiple rows. You can also use it to couch thick or textured thread,
fine cord or narrow ribbon to the surface of a fabric.
The stitch is worked downwards between two parallel lines. It may
be useful to mark guide-lines on the fabric before you start to sew.
This stitch is worked with the same hand motions of feather stitch
but the needle is inserted vertically, rather than at an angle.
Bring the needle out at the top left line, and insert the needle on the
right line and make a small vertical stitch in a downward motion, so
that the needle point reappears on the right line. Keeping the
thread under the needle point pull the thread through the fabric to
make the stitch.
Next, insert the needle on the left line, and make a small stitch vertical stitch in a downward motion so that the needle
point reappears on the left line, and keeping the thread under the needle point, pull the thread through the fabric to
make the stitch. Work these movements alternatively down the row.

Crossed Buttonhole Stitch

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Crossed buttonhole is a variation of buttonhole stitch which is useful as an edging, a linear stitch, or can be used to fill
an area.
This is a simply worked stitch, as it consists of pairs of but tonhole stitches worked at an angle and crossed.
The second buttonhole stitch forms a cross over the first stitch. Work the stitch in two steps as illustrated.
See directions for Buttonhole and Closed buttonhole stitch if you are unsure.
Variation can be achieved by narrowing the distance at the base
of the stitch or lengthening the height of the stitch.
If you are using this stitch in crazy quilting you can further decorate
the stitch along the spines with the addition of detached chain, a
French knot or a bead.
Worked evenly and row upon row a patterns are easily achieved. It is
also interesting to use this stitch to couch on textured threads.

Herringbone stitch
Herringbone stitch is also known as Mossoul stitch, Persian stitch, Russian stitch, Russian cross stitch, plaited stitch,
catch stitch and witch stitch.
Herringbone is an old stitch which has many variations. In the fourteenth century the Italian painter Giotto illustrated
herringbone worked with great precision on the borders of garments. Herringbone creates a regular crossed zigzag
line.
This versatile stitch can be used to couch ribbon, cord and heavier threads or can be laced with contrasting threads.
Herringbone is also used as a foundation row for many composite stitches. Herringbone and its variations is often to
be found in crazy patchwork.

This stitch is worked from left to right along parallel lines. To keep the width of the stitches even, guide-lines need to
be marked on the fabric. To do this, use one of the fade out or water dissolvable pens available.
Commence by bringing the needle out on the left-hand side of the line to be worked. Make a small stitch on the upper
line which points to the left. Keep the thread below the needle and pull it through the fabric. Insert the thread on the
lower line a little to the right and make a small stitch which points to the left. Pull the needle through the fabric with the
thread above the needle.

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This version of double herringbone stitch creates a decorative zigzag pattern.


Guide-lines may be useful to keep the stitch even.
It is useful to mark the fabric with two parallel guide-lines using a
water dissolvable marker or fade out fabric marker.
First work a row of herringbone stitch as the foundation.
The second row of this stitch is also herringbone worked over the
top of the foundation row and through the fabric.
As you work the foundation row stitches flatten slightly so that only
the tips of the crosses in the foundation row are seen.
This version of double herringbone can also be worked in multiple rows to create a filling for an area. The rows touch
each other at the tips of the crosses. Beads or French knots can be placed in the grid like pattern that forms.This is a
version of double herringbone often found decorating the seams in crazy quilting.

This version of double herringbone stitch is also known as Indian


herringbone stitch.
Work by first laying a foundation row of herringbone stitch.
The second row, also a row of herringbone is worked so that the
stitches are woven or interlaced through the first row as illustrated.
This stitch can be used worked in two colors as a decorative line or
further interlaced such as in twisted lattice band.

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Double Herringbone

Twisted lattice band creates an attractive band which can be used as a border or where you might place a braid.
With the fabric stretched in an embroidery hoop or frame, a row of double herringbone stitch is worked quite loosely.
Space the stitch wider than normal. The lacing on the second row will tighten the stitches.

Make sure that the double herringbone stitches are worked correctly with part of the second row of herringbone stitch
threaded under the first row of herringbone. If you make an error here, the lacing will not work. Lace the herring bone
foundation stitches as shown in the illustration. Thread the needle under the herringbone in an upward direction then
move across the crossed bars of the herringbone turn the needle and thread in an upward direction again. The lacing
is worked in two journeys. Work along the base of the herringbone foundation stitches then along the top. Use a
tapestry needle to avoid splitting the foundation herringbone stitch. With this stitch, take care to lace and not to pick
up any of the fabric.
Twisted lattice band can be worked in two threads of differing color or weight. Rows can he arranged as a filling.
Beads or French knots can be placed in the grid like pattern that forms. This is particularly effective when a metallic
thread is used for the lacing.

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Chevron stitch

Chevron stitch is actually a variety of Herringbone stitch and worked with a similar hand motion.
Chevron Stitch is traditionally worked from left to right on two imaginary parallel lines.
To keep the width of the stitches even, guide-lines need to be marked on the fabric. To do this use one of the fade
out or water dissolvable pens available.
Bring the thread out through the fabric on the left of the lower imaginary line. Insert the needle a little to the right on
the same line, and with the needle emerging at the middle make a small stitch.
Take the needle diagonally up and insert on the upper imaginary line and make a small stitch a little to the left, take it
across to the right and insert, bringing it once again out in the middle. Work this way along the row alternating up and
down.
Since Chevron stitch has a strong geometrical
construction it does not follow curves well unless they are
very gradual.
Rows of Chevron stitch worked closely together produce
a lattice effect, which makes a good patterned filling for
larger areas. Since this creates a grid of diamond shapes.
An isolated stitch such as French knot, Colonial knot or a bead can be placed in the centre to further decorate the
filling. Chevron is also a useful decorative stitch to use when couching.
Chevron stitch and half Chevron are both a variety of Herringbone stitch since both are worked with a similar hand
motion.
Work from left to right on two imaginary parallel lines. To keep the width of the stitches even on fabric that is not an
even weave guide-lines can be marked on the fabric using one of the fade out or water dissolvable pens available.

48
Step 1

Step2

Bring the thread out through


the fabric on the left of the lower
imaginary line. Insert the needle a little to the right on the same line, and with the needle emerging at
the middle make a small stitch.
Take the needle up and insert on the upper imaginary line and make a small stitch pointing the
needle downward and have the thread looped under the needle.
Take the needle through the fabric. Move diagonally across to the right and insert on the lower
imaginary line, bringing the needle out a little to the left, and pull the needle through the fabric.

step 3
Still working on the bottom
imaginary line take the needle
across to the right and insert,
bringing it once again out in the
middle. Work this way along the
row.

step 4
You can work this stitch on plain and even weave fabric in most
types of embroidery thread to create useful border or outline stitch,
which unlike Chevron stitch follows curves well.
It can also be worked row on row to make a filling stitch. Since
this creates a patterned grid isolated stitches such as French knot,
Colonial knot or a bead can be placed in the centre to further decorate the filling. The lower edge of the stitch looks
and is exactly the same as chevron stitch.
The top spine of Half chevron stitch or the whole band of half chevron can be used to couch heavier threads to a
piece of work.

Knots

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Bullion knot

Bullion knot is also known as bullion stitch, caterpillar stitch, coil stitch, grub knot, knot stitch, post stitch, Porto Rico
rose and worm stitch.
Bullion knot is a versatile stitch which is can be used as an accent or massed together to create a dense texture. The
weight of the thread used, determines the size of the finished knot. You can create interesting effects by using two or
three contrasting fine threads threaded in the needle at the same time.

Step 1
Bring the thread to the surface of the fabric and insert
needle a short space away. Point the needle backwards so that
point emerges near the place that the thread comes out of
fabric. The distance between these two points determines
length of the knot.

the
the
the
the

Wrap the thread round the needle five or six times and then pull
the needle carefully through the coil. While performing this action
hold the coil down on the fabric with the left thumb. Pull the working
thread through the coil until it tightens and take the needle through the fabric at the point where it first appeared. The
coil of thread should now lie neatly on the surface
Step 2
Increase the number of wraps on the needle to create a
different appearance to the knot. This change can be quite
radical from small grub like humps (just a few wraps) to long

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twisted loops (25-40 wraps). The weight of the thread you use will also effect the look of this stitch.
If you find bullion knots tricky stretch the fabric in an needlework hoop or frame so that it is possible to have both
hands free to work the knot.
Bullions wrapped with a detached chain stitch used in a floral motif on crazy quilting. Worked in hand dyed silk
thread.
Sometimes called figure eight knot, Colonial knot looks very much like a French knot
To work Colonial knot stitch, bring your thread up through the fabric.
I hold the thread in my left hand and with the thread loose place the needle to the right of the thread with the needle
pointing away from you. Take the thread under the needle and then over the needle to form a figure 8. This can be
done in a hooking action by turning anti-clockwise the needle 180 degrees.
Take the needle to the back of the fabric close to where it first came out. Before you pull it through make sure the
loop is snug around the shaft of the needle.

French knot

A French knot is a little tricky but with some practice it can be mastered. Some
people find it better to work the knot with the fabric stretched in an embroidery
hoop using a chenille or straw needle.
French Knot is also known as French dot, knotted stitch, twisted knot stitch and
wound stitch.

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The weight of the thread will determine the size of the finished stitch

Step 1
Bring the needle out through the fabric and holding the thread taut and flat to the fabric with your left thumb. With your
right hand twist the needle round the thread twice.

Step 2
Still holding the thread firmly take the needle back into the fabric one thread away from where the stitching thread
emerges from the fabric and insert the needle.

Step 3 The completed french knot


At this point it is sometimes helpful to brush the knot down the shaft of the needle with the nail of your left thumb so
that it is sitting firmly on the fabric. Pull the thread through to the back of the fabric. You have completed the knot!

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Ghiordes knot

This stitch produces a series of closely worked loops which are combed cut and trimmed to shape producing a pile
which resembles a rug pile or if worked in a very fine manner in a fine wool a soft thick velvet like pile.

Ghiordes knot is also known as Turkey rug knot, single knot tufting, quilt knot stitch, tufted knot stitch, and single
knotted Smyrna rug stitch. It is a pile stitch which has traditionally been used in canvas but is enjoying a revival as
one of the textured embroidery stitches.
Since Ghiordes knot is a high relief stitch it combines well with other stitches that produce a high texture such as
Casalguidi stitch and contrasts well with stitches that are extremely flat such as satin stitch. Many of the canvas
stitches since they too are flat work well with Ghiordes knot.
Other interesting contrasts can be discovered by exploring the drawn and pulled family of stitches.
The needle can be loaded with several fine threads and worked at the same time.
Gentle shading can be achieved by using several different colored threads together.
As you work row upon row of the stitch change the color of one thread, one at a time so that the color shifts from one

53
shade to the next.
To work the stitch stretch the fabric in an embroidery hoop or frame as it is important to work this stitch at an even
tension.
Secure each loop with a back stitch as illustrated. Each row is worked above the other.
After working all the loops cut, smooth out and trim to desired length. For a smooth pile work row upon row closely
packed together.

I have had requests for a more detailed view of this dragon. Click on the image
to see him in all his glory. It is a large graphic so please be patient.

Basque stitch
Basque stitch is also known as twisted daisy border stitch. As the name suggests, this stitch is found on old
embroideries from the Basque area of northern Spain. Embroideries from Portugal and southern France also make
use of this stitch.

Basque stitch creates a line of twisted loops which looks good on a curved line.

54

Work this stitch over two imaginary lines.


Bring the thread out on the upper line, insert the needle in position on the lower line making a straight downward
motion and take the thread across the needle then loop the thread under the needle point.
Pull the needle through the fabric to form a twisted loop. Insert the needle on the lower line and bring it up in a
straight upward motion at the point just before the top of the loop.
Take the needle through the fabric and repeat this process along the line.
Worked in a circular manner this stitch forms floral shapes which means it can be used to pattern areas. Another tip is
to attach a bead or button placed in the center of the circle is also effective particularly in crazy quilting. Small seed
beads can be attached at the end of the loop or inside the loop.
Basque stitch worked in two lines back to back can look like stems of leaves which makes it useful for floral patterns
and motifs.
Basque knot also known as Basque Loop stitch, and Knotted loop stitch. As a stitch it can be employed singly, or
scattered over an area.
They can also be worked as a textured line, as they can be easily worked joined together. The line produced is well
defined as it is knotted.
Basque knot is similar to Palestrina. The main difference, as you can see from the illustrations you work the stitch
from right to left, along a line instead of left to right.

55

This knot stitch is often seen on old embroideries in combination with Basque stitch. The stitch is worked in the same
manner as Palestrina stitch only work the stitch from right to left, along a line instead of left to right. Also instead of
moving diagonally behind the fabric you move horizontally.

For a single knot take the thread to the back of the fabric after you have completed the first knot.

Coral stitch

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Coral stitch is also known as coral knot, German knot stitch, knotted stitch, beaded stitch, and snail trail. It is also
incorrectly known as scroll stitch.
Coral stitch is an old embroidery stitch which creates a line that looks like a row of knots and is used for outlines and
follows a curved detail well.
Coral stitch is frequently found in seventeenth and eighteenth century English crewel work. It is also a very useful
stitch for twiggy bits in a floral design. It can also be used to create a knotted filling with the knots form a secondary
pattern across the filling.
Coral stitch is worked from right to left.
To work bring the thread up from the back of the fabric and
hold it loosely on the surface of the fabric with your thumb.
Insert the needle at a right angle, above the line to be
worked and bring it out just below the line to be worked.
Pull the needle through the fabric and over the thread to
form a knot.
Coral stitch can be varied by altering the angle of the needle
as it passes through the fabric, and by altering the spacing
of the knots along the row. The effect created is also altered by the weight and twist of the thread used.

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Cretan Stitch

Open Cretan stitch is a variation of Cretan stitch. This stitch can be used as a border stitch, line stitch or to couch
contrasting weights of thread to a foundation fabric. Open Cretan stitch can also be arranged in rows to create a
lattice pattern. This grid can be further decorated with isolated stitches such as a French knot or a bead placed in the
centre of each section looks effective.

Open Cretan is worked in the same manner as Cretan stitch but the needle is inserted vertically into the fabric, rather
than at a slant and the stitches are then spaced in an open manner. This creates a zigzag line which can follow a
gradual curve.
Knotted Cretan stitch is a variation of Open Cretan stitch. It looks similar to zigzag coral stitch and Palestrina stitch.
The method of working is the same as open Cretan stitch, but a knot is made after each slanting stitch is completed.
When worked on a small scale Knotted Cretan stitch follows gradual curves well. It can also be used as a filling as
the zigzag pattern it creates is attractive. It can also be used to couch heavy thread, cord or ribbon to the foundation
fabric.
If you want to keep this stitch on a straight seam work along two
parallel guide lines marked with a water dissolvable pen.
Bring the needle up through the fabric on the left line, move across
towards the centre of the two lines, and make a small stitch and

58
keeping the thread under the needle pull the thread through the fabric.
It is at this point you make the knot. Pass the needle under this small stitch but not through the fabric. Wrap the
thread under the needle and pull the thread through. This creates a small knot which should be tightened firmly
before proceeding to the next stitch. Move to the right line and repeat the action.

Stem Stitch

Stem stitch is also known as crewel stitch, stalk stitch and South Kensington stitch. Stem stitch is often worked to
outline a shape

Work from left to right taking small regular stitches with a forwards and backwards motion along the line of the design.
Bring the thread up from the back of the fabric on the line you want to stitch.
Make a stitch forward and bring the needle up, a little to the back of the first stitch.
Pull the thread through the fabric.
Make the second stitch forward, bringing the needle out a little to the back of the second stitch.
Repeat this back and forth movement along the line.
The thread is kept to the right of the needle after picking up a small piece of material. This means that it always
emerges from the left side of the previous stitch.
If the thread is worked to the left of the needle, the stitch produced is slightly different, and is known as outline stitch.

59

The knots can be worked closely together to produce a heavy line or spaced quite far apart. In the illustrations I have
used quite large foundation stitches so that people can see how the stitch is made.
Normally and traditionally you would make these stitches smaller and a similar scale to the knots. This spacing will
change depending on the thickness of your thread. This spacing and scale can also be used to create different
effects.
If the bars are extended and above the knot (as they are in the illustrations) this stitch becomes Long Armed
Palestrina stitch and if the bars are long and below the knot it becomes Long Legged Palestrina stitch.
You can have a lot of fun waving these arms and legs around moving the extended bars up and down in the process
changing the line and shape. Different effects can be created by using different weights of thread. It is a very versatile
right line and repeat the action.

Palestrina Stitch
Palestrina Stitch is also known as Double knot stitch, Tied coral stitch, Old English knot stitch, Smyrna stitch and
Twilling Stitch. It is a stitch found often on Italian embroidery - hence the name.
With this stitch you are not restricted to even-weave fabrics as it is easily worked on many types of fabric forming a
characteristic attractive knotted line. It can be used for outlines and linear elements or you can work it row upon row
solidly, to form a textured filling. It can also be worked as an isolated stitch. A firm twisted thread, such as pearl
cotton, show the knots to their best advantage.

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Work the stitch from left to right, along a line. Bring the needle up through the fabric and make a small stitch by
moving across in a slanting diagonal manner and take the needle down through the fabric. This forms the first bar on
to which the stitch is made.

Moving down vertically behind the fabric bring your needle up again at the base of this diagonal stitch (see the
illustration). Slide the needle under the diagonal stitch moving from the top down. This action takes the thread over
the top of the bar.

Once again pass the needle under the bar. With the needle still under the bar but not through the fabric loop the
thread around the needle and then pull the needle under the bar. This is actually a buttonhole stitch. Pull the thread to
form a knot.

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To move on to the next stitch, move along the line and take the needle down through the fabric this section of thread
forms the second bar on to which you work your knot. Space the knots evenly and close together to produce a
textured line which follows a curve.

The knots can be worked closely together to produce a heavy line or spaced quite far apart. In the illustrations I have
used quite large foundation stitches so that people can see how the stitch is made.
Normally and traditionally you would make these stitches smaller and a similar scale to the knots. This spacing will
change depending on the thickness of your thread. This spacing and scale can also be used to create different
effects.
If the bars are extended and above the knot (as they are in the illustrations) this stitch becomes Long Armed
Palestrina stitch and if the bars are long and below the knot it becomes Long Legged Palestrina stitch.
You can have a lot of fun waving these arms and legs around moving the extended bars up and down in the process
changing the line and shape. Different effects can be created by using different weights of thread. It is a very versatile
stitch. The knots can also be work individually and scattered across an area.

Long Armed Palestrina stitch

This is a version of Palestrina Stitch which is simply worked on many types of fabric forming a highly textured
attractive knotted line. It can be used for outlines and linear elements.

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It can also be worked as an isolated stitch. A firm twisted thread, such as pearl cotton, show
the knots to their best advantage.
Work the stitch from left to right, along a line. Work a Palestrina stitch three times over the bar
instead of moving along the line after the first loop.
Space the knots evenly and close together to produce a textured line which follows a curve.
The knots can be worked closely together to produce a heavy line or spaced quite far apart.

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Sorbello stitch

This looped stitch is very similar to Squared Palestrina as it is a


member of the Palestrina stitch family.
Sorbello stitch originates from the Italian village of Sorbello. This
quick to work stitch can be used for straight and curved lines and
individually.
As you work keep the tension loose so that each stitch covers a
small square. In Italian embroideries this grid like aspect of the
stitch has lead to it being used like many embroiderers today use
cross stitch. Patterns and designs can be created because it can
be worked on a grid.

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Work this stitch from left to right.


Bring the thread from the back of the fabric and make a
horizontal straight stitch at the top of the square.
Taking the needle diagonally across the back of the fabric
bring the thread through to the bottom left-hand corner.
Next, loop under the horizontal stitch and over the thread as in the illustration.
Repeat this for a second time to form the knot.
Take the thread through the fabric at the bottom right-hand
corner bringing it out at the top left corner of the next stitch
and repeat the process.

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Pekinese stitch

Pekinese stitch also known as Chinese stitch since it is to be


found in Chinese embroideries.
It was worked in silk, on a small scale, row upon row in
blended shades to fill shapes.
In old Chinese embroideries this stitch can be found worked
30-40 stitches to the inch.

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When worked on a larger scale Pekinese stitch creates a braided line.
First work a foundation row of back stitch in a fairly loose manner because the threading will tighten them.
A second contrasting thread is then threaded as illustrated. To create a neat textured line take care to tighten slightly
after each threaded loop is created. As you move from stitch to stitch do not pass the needle through the ground
fabric. Use a blunt ended tapestry needle for this part of the process to avoid splitting the foundation stitches.
The thread that you use to lace with, can be a metallic or fine ribbon. Experiment with contrasts of texture and weight.

Renaissance stitch
Renaissance stitch is also known as Queen stitch and is a
variation on Roumanian stitch which creates a beautiful
regular pattern.

This hand embroidery stitch produces a series of diamond shapes that can be arranged in patterns or worked solidly
to produce a filling.
Work on even weave fabric. It is ideal worked with a thread that has a firm twist to it.

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As can be seen in the illustrations first make a straight stitch and bring your needle out of the fabric near the center of
the stitch and make a small stitch to tie it down.

Bring your needle out at the top of the stitch and make the second vertical stitch.
Bring the needle out near the center of the stitch.
Tie this down with a small stitch also.

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The same needle action is repeated with the third vertical.

Scottish stitch

Scottish stitch is a canvas stitch but I find it a pleasure to work this stitch as a filling on linen or Aida in a fine thread.

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It is a stitch which is very similar to cushion stitch and creates a neat filling of framed squares. As illustrated this stitch
is made up of diagonal straight stitches framed by a border of tent stitch.
Interest can be created by working different combinations of thread which catch the light in different ways. For
instance contrast a shiny thread such as silk with flat thread such as cotton.

Running Stitches

Double interlaced running stitch

Double interlaced running stitch is an attractive line of humps.

o
o

Work two rows of running stitch. Lace or thread the


stitches with a contrasting color or weight of thread.
You can also thread a fine ribbon through the
running stitch foundation.
Use a tapestry needle to avoid splitting the
foundation running stitch. With this stitch, take care
to lace and not to pick up any of the fabric.
If you are interested in crazy quilting and want to
further decorate this stitch it is fun to work with a
bead or a French knot placed between each hump.

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There are many varieties of running stitch. You will find a few here: Running Stitch, Interlaced Running Stitch,
Interlaced Double Running Stitch No 1, Interlaced Double Running Stitch No 2, Interlaced Double Running Stitch
No 3, Stepped Threaded Running Stitch (version 1), Stepped Threaded Running Stitch (version 2), Threaded
Running Stitch, Whipped Running Stitch

Double interlaced running stitch

Double interlaced running stitch creates an attractive line of waves.


First work two rows of running stitch. Lace or thread the stitches with a contrasting colour or weight thread. You can
also thread a fine ribbon through the running stitch foundation.
Use a tapestry needle to avoid splitting the foundation running stitch. With this stitch, take care to lace and not to pick
up any of the fabric.

This stitch makes a good crazy patchwork stitch particularly in combination with other stitches. A bead, detached
chain stitch or a French knot can be placed between each wave.

Interlaced running stitch

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Interlaced running stitch is an attractive line of loops which follows curves well.

To work this stitch simply pass the needle over and under the fabric to create a line of running stitch. Lace or thread
the stitches with a contrasting colour or weight thread. This forms the first half of the loops. At the end of the row, turn
and lace to form the other side of the loops.
Use a tapestry needle to avoid splitting the foundation running stitch. With this stitch, take care to lace, and not to pick
up any of the fabric.

Eye stitch
Eye stitch which is also known as eyelet stitch is made using the same construction principle as Algerian stitch.
Algerian eye stitch also goes by the names of Star stitch and Star eyelet stitch.

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This is a stitch often found on canvas needlework, pulled work embroidery and forms of counted thread work.
Worked on even weave embroidery fabric, it is made up of stitches arranged in a square. Work this stitch with the
fabric held under tension in an embroiderers hoop or on a needlework frame. Refer to the diagram and work each
straight stitch into the center hole.
With each stitch pull the thread slightly so that the fabric distorts slightly, as it this tensioning action that creates the
holes in the center of each stitch.
If you want to neaten or emphasis the central hole you can do so with the end of a knitting needle. Gently poke the
end of the knitting needle into the whole to widen it a little.
It is very easy to build up interesting design motifs and patterns using arrangements of Algerian eye stitch. This
needlework stitch can also be built up row upon row to create interesting border patterns on houshold items and
garment.
You often encounter this stitch in pulled and drawn thread needlework and worked in
combination with cross stitch. You will also frequently encounter it in old needlework
samplers.
For another version see also Eye stitch which is related to this hand embroidery stitch.
The trick to neat central holes is to be sure that when you insert the needle into the
fabric that the needle is taken down in the center and reappears through the fabric on
the outside of the square not the other way around.
This sample is worked on hand painted Aida needlework fabric (the type most people
use for cross stitch projects) in hand dyed rayon thread.
This is a stitch found on canvas work, pulled work and counted work. It is worked on
even weave fabric, with the fabric held under tension in a hoop or a frame. It is and
made up of stitches arranged in a square.
As a filling stitch it creates a regular geometric pattern of blocks which if worked under
tension and pulled with each stitch, have a small hole in the center.
This stitch is simple to work as
can be seen in the diagram
you simply work a straight
stitch into central hole.

be sure that when you insert


the needle is taken down in
through the fabric on the
If you want to make the
pull the thread slightly so that
this tensioning action that
of each stitch. If you want
linen or a fabric that is used
work and use a stiletto or a
define the hole.

The trick is to create neat


central hole. In order to do this
the needle into the fabric that
the center and reappears
outside of the square.
holes larger with each stitch
the fabric distorts slightly as it
creates the holes in the center
larger holes again, work on
for pulled and drawn thread
fine knitting needle to further

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Closed Fly stitch

This is variation of fly stitch which goes under the name of Closed Fly stitch. It is simple work for is consists of a
number of fly stitches stacked together.
As you work each individual fly stitch you pack the y shapes close together and sew a small tying-down stitch.
This variation of fly stitch also creates a ridge line down the center of the stitch.
This stitch can also be used as a filling for long, narrow shapes by graduating the widths of the stitches, or it can be
worked solidly, row on row, for filling a larger shape.

This stitch is often employed to work leaf like shapes and foliage in
floral sprays.

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It is ideal to tuck in and around flowers in Silk Ribbon Embroidery or in Brazilian Embroidery.
As can be seen from the illustration this version of fly stitch is simply arrangement of fly stitches that are one upon the
other.
Fly stitch is worked easily since it is made up of a V-shaped loop which is then tied down by a vertical straight stitch.
To work simply lap each stitch over one another to form a pattern as in the illustration.
This is a simple version of fly stitch.
The first step is to sew a foundation row of fly stitches.
Turn your work and sew a return row upside down superimposed on the foundation row.
The tail of the stitches are traditionally made short but you can change the proportion of these to create a number of
effects. (See Reversed fly stitch threaded and Reversed fly stitch whipped)
You can use threads which contrast in weight or colour. The stitch can be worked in a line or rows banked one upon
the other to create a pattern which ideal to fill a shape. Pairs of this stitch can be effective too as fly stitches can be
scattered to make a powdering.
For further embellishment sew a seed bead to the center of each pair.

Reversed Fly Stitch

This is a version of Reversed Fly stitch is simple and


easy to work and effective worked in a number of threads particularly threads that have been over dyed.
First work a row foundation stitches in fly stitch. The return row is also fly stitch superimposed upside-down on the
foundation row. In this version the tail that ties the fly stitch is short and the first row of fly is wider than the second. It
produces a pattern that can be used as a border or built up row upon row to create a design that can fill an area.

Threaded fly stitch


Threaded fly stitch produces a branched line with a central braid
like section.

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First work a foundation row of fly stitch.
A second contrasted thread is then threaded as illustrated.
As you move from stitch to stitch do not pass the needle through the ground fabric. Use a blunt ended tapestry
needle for this part of the process to avoid splitting the foundation running stitches.
The thread that you use to weave with can be of a different weight or sheen or a specialized thread such as a
metallic, fine ribbon, fine cord or use a thread of contrasting color and experiment with contrasts of texture, sheen and
weight.
In Crazy quilting or for further decoration beads or French knots can also be added to the central loop in the threading
for a more decorative effect. Beading can run down the spine of the stitch or from each spine. It is an interesting stitch
to use in your needlework.
As a hand embroidery stitch it has many possibilities for interesting hand work such as use on borders or built up into
a pattern.

Whipped fly stitch

Whipped fly stitch is also known as whipped attached fly stitch. Whipped fly stitch produces a branched line with a
central ridge.
First work a row of fly stitch.
Whip the row of fly stitch in a second thread.
Be careful not to pick up the ground fabric or split the fly stitches.
Use a blunt-ended tapestry needle while you are whipping to avoid
doing this.
This stitch has lots of creative possibilities in hand embroidery as
the thread that you use to whip with can be of a heavier weight to
the foundation stitches or a metallic or fine ribbon of contrasting
colour. Experiment with contrasts of texture and weight to create
variety.

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Split stitch
Split stitch is also known as Kensington outline stitch. Since split stitch follows curves well it is used for outlines. It is
also extremely effective worked solidly as a shaded filling. Worked solidly it can create a brush-stroke quality in
embroidery. It is an easy stitch to master, quick to work and produces effective results.
It was used during the Middle Ages for embroidering figures. Split stitch became one of the preferred stitches of the
embroiderers of 'opus anglicanum' where it is worked on a fine scale in a dense manner following the contours of
features making the modelling of faces and hands very life like.

To work this stitch successfully you need to use a thread that is soft and can easily be split by the needle. Tapestry
wool, crewel wool, stranded cotton embroidery floss is ideal for this type of work.
Working this stitch is similar to stem stitch but in the case of split stitch the thread is split by the needle as it emerges
from the fabric.
Bring the thread from the back of the fabric and make a forward stitch through the fabric and pointing the needle
backwards along the line push it back through the first stitch, through your thread as illustrated. Repeat this
movement along the line.
The completed stitch can look a little like chain stitch.

Couching
Couching is also known as convent stitch and kloster stitch.
Medieval embroiderers made full use of couching to be economical with expensive threads, such as gold thread, on
the surface of the work. It is used, to this day, to attach threads which are too thick, or textured to pass through the
foundation fabric. The term is from the French word 'coucher', which means to lay down.
Couching is extremely simple to work. Work with the fabric
stretched in an embroidery hoop or frame.
To commence bring the heavy thread up from the back of the fabric
with a large eyed needle. The surface thread is laid on the fabric,
and then anchored by a second finer thread.

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Small, straight stitches are taken over the thick thread and back through the fabric. Work along the thick thread until
you have completed the line.
Take the heavy thread to the back of the fabric with a large needle and secure both ends of the heavy thread by
using a few small stitches. Do not clip the heavy thread too close, otherwise it will pop up to the surface of the
embroidery.
The second thread can be arranged in patterns - as in laid work. Other types of couching involve using embroidery
stitches such as herringbone, fly stitch, arrowhead stitch, satin stitch, detached chain stitch, buttonhole and numerous
other embroidery stitches over the thread to be couched. Metallic thread, ribbons, fine cord or groups of threads
twisted together can all be couched.

Scroll stitch

Scroll stitch is also known as single knotted line stitch. Scroll stitch creates a knotted line which follows the curve of a
design well.

Work scroll stitch from left to right along the line. Bring your needle out of the fabric on the left, move along the line
slightly and insert your needle on the line in a diagonal position pointing left making a small stitch. With the thread
wrapped behind and under the needle pull your needle through the fabric. Do not pull the loop too tightly. Repeat this
along the line.

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Wheatear stitch

Wheatear stitch creates a branched line with a heavy central section which looks like wheat or corn.

The stitch is worked in a downward motion. It is simple to work being made up of two diagonal straight stitches set at
right angles joined by a chain stitch as illustrated.
This is a versatile stitch as the length of the diagonal straight stitches can be varied and many types of embroidery
thread can be used. This stitch can also be worked in single units.
Spider's web, woven wheel, woven spot and woven spoke stitch are
all names for this stitch.
An odd number of foundation spokes is first made.
These should radiate from a central point of a small circle.
The stitched example shows how to make a five-spoke wheel by
using a fly stitch combined with two straight stitches.
After completion of the foundation spokes, a second thread is woven
under and over the spokes, beginning at the centre and working
outwards; be careful not to pick up any ground fabric.

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Use a blunt-ended tapestry needle for the second thread to avoid splitting the foundation stitches.

The second thread can be of a contrasting color or texture.


Ribbon roses are made of this stitch using a fine silk ribbon. If making ribbon roses do not weave the ribbon tightly let
the ribbon fold naturally as you weave around the shape, as these folds produce natural looking petals.

Satin Stitch
Satin stitch is also known as damask stitch.
As one of the oldest embroidery stitches to be found satin stitch is
worked on traditional embroideries in practically every country. The
traditional embroiderers of China and Japan excelled in the use of
this stitch. It is formed by working straight stitches close together.
To use satin stitch to advantage stitches should lie evenly and closely together and some practice is needed to gain
this effect. Stretch the fabric in an embroidery hoop or frame to prevent puckering. This stitch is only suitable for small
areas as long satin stitches can become loose and untidy. If you need to cover a larger area divide the shape into
more workable areas. The other alternative is to use long and short stitch or encroaching satin stitch.
To work the stitch bring the thread up through the fabric and make a single straight stitch. Bring the needle out very
close to the stitch just made and continue to fill the shape.
Stitches related to single satin or straight stitch in this dictionary are Satin stitch and Padded satin stitch.

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Areas of satin stitch can be raised by first working a foundation of padding. This can consist of rows of stem stitch,
chain stitch, or running stitch or if you want a very raised effect satin stitch can be worked over thin felt or depending
upon the use of the item you are working, even card.
Work the padding first, in the illustration I have used a few long straight stitches. Cover this padded area with satin
stitch. Be careful to completely cover the padding. When completed only the satin stitches should show.
Stitches related to single satin or straight stitch in this dictionary are Satin stitch and Padded satin stitch.

Single Satin Stitch

Single Satin stitch is also known as straight stitch and stroke stitch.
This simple stitch is made of single isolated stitches. This stitch can
be worked in a regular or irregular manner, in a uniform or varying
size.
Single satin stitch is simple to work, with the only concern being
that the stitches should not be too long or too loose. Contrasting
threads adds interest particularly when worked in a free manner at
different angles. Straight stitch is often used to illustrate grass and
other landscape details.
Stitches related to single satin or straight stitch in this dictionary are
Satin stitch and Padded satin stitch

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Arrowhead Stitch

Combine other textured stitches with explorations varying the length of the spines on the twisted chain, or the size of
the chain, spacing of the spines, width of the line, weight and texture of the thread, and this should keep most
contemporary embroiderers intrigued. Arrowhead stitch consists of a pair of straight stitches worked at right angles to
each other.

Arrow stitch or Arrowhead stitch is often used as a needlework filling or worked in a row as a border. Part of its
appeal is its regularity. Arrowhead stitch lends itself to patterning because of its geometrical structure. Many patterns
can be developed using it either on its own or in combination with other stitches.
It can be worked in vertical, horizontal or diagonal rows and is simple and quick making it an ideal embroidery stitch
for those new to hand sewing. For this reason it is ideal on children's craft projects. As often the case with simple
stitches it can be used in a sophisticated manner as well.

Arrowhead stitch can also be effective scattered at random across an area such as the example to the right which is
worked on hand painted Aida cloth the even weave fabric that is most often used with cross stitch, in a combination of
metallic and hand dyed threads. It is equally effective if you stack this stitch row upon row to create patterns. It is also
possible to couch down a textured thread or ribbon using this stitch. It is one of those simple yet versatile stitches that
you can return to again and again.

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Arrowhead stitch consists of a pair of straight stitches worked at right angles to each other.

Arrow stitch or Arrowhead stitch is often used as a needlework filling or worked in a row as a border. Part of its
appeal is its regularity. Arrowhead stitch lends itself to patterning because of its geometrical structure. Many patterns
can be developed using it either on its own or in combination with other stitches.
It can be worked in vertical, horizontal or diagonal rows and is simple and quick making it an ideal embroidery stitch
for those new to hand sewing. For this reason it is ideal on children's craft projects. As often the case with simple
stitches it can be used in a sophisticated manner as well.

Threaded arrow stitch

Threaded arrow stitch is also known as threaded arrowhead, sham hem stitch and zigzag sham hem stitch. It is
simple and quick to work and ideal for anyone who is learning.
Threaded arrowhead stitch creates an line which can take on a
braid like appearance. Lines of this stitch can be used as a border
pattern in needlework projects or built up to create an interesting
textured filling.
It is a stitch which is worked in two journeys. Work arrow stitch
close together placed on a horizontal row. A second thread is then
threaded as illustrated. As you move from stitch to stitch take care
that you do not pass the needle through the ground fabric.
Interesting effects can be achieved by using a contrasting thread or
fine ribbon. Metallic and textured threads also look good. This can
be further embellished with beads to add a bit of sparkle to your
sewing.
Use a blunt ended tapestry needle for this part of the process to avoid splitting the foundation running stitches. It is
one of those stitches that lends itself to interesting effects if you are adventurous with it.

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