Master 12 classic embroidery stitches and you are on your way to hours of getting creative with thread and needle. Below are embroidery stitch how-tos with illustrations and examples.
1. Straight Stitch
Bring the needle and thread up through the fabric at 1. Insert the needle back in at 2, and make a straight line.
Straight Stitch is used here on the picture in a variety of combinations: for the orange and blue flowers, for the bit of green grass, for the leaves on the light green branch, and for the short shading stitches on the cow’s ear.
2. Satin Stitch
Bring the needle and thread up at the edge of shape you’re filling (1). Insert at the other side of the shape (2). Come back up a little below 1 (3).
Satin stitch is used here for the shadowing curve around the top of the tire.
3. Outline Stitch
Bring the needle and thread up through the fabric at 1. Insert the needle back into fabric a stitch-width to the right (2) and then come back up just before the previous stitch (3). The result is overlapping stitches. (NOTE: you’ll start at the LEFT end of the line to be stitched.)
Outline stitch is used to outline the cat, the headboard, and the cluster of pillows in the picture.
4. Back Stitch
Bring the needle and thread up through the fabric at 1. Insert the needle back into fabric a stitch-width to the right (2) and then come back up a stitch-width to the left (3) of the thread. (NOTE: You’ll start at the RIGHT end of the line to be stitched.)
The windows on this building are outlined in Back stitch in blue and plum.
5. Whipped Back Stitch
Stitch the design completely with Back Stitch. Then pass the needle under 1st stitch (1). Come back over that stitch (2), and then go under the next stitch (3). Do this again and again so that all of the stitches are wrapped.
Take a look at these double doors. The outermost brown border is done in Whipped Backstitch.
6. Split Stitch
Do this like the picture, enter right through the middle of the previous stitch rather than to the left of it. This is great for tight detailed curvy lines.
The detailed curves of the dog called for a Split Stitch. It gives a thick rich line but enables great control over the curves.
7. Lazy Daisy
Bring the needle and thread up at 1. Insert back at the same spot and up at 2. As you do this, loop the working thread under the needle at 2. Pull the thread all the way through and create a snug loop under the working thread. Insert the needle back down very near 2 to secure. Loops can be combined to create a full flower.
The Lazy Daisy stitch is used in a variety of sizes and combinations to render flowers and greenery.
8. Chain Stitch
Bring the needle and thread up at 1. Insert at the same spot and up at 2. As you do this, loop the working thread under the needle at 2. Pull the thread all the way through to create a snug loop under the thread. Repeat by inserting the needle at 2 and coming up a stitch ahead–again with the working thread looping under the needle.
The wing of this bird in the picture is partially filled with several rows of chain stitch. Look, also at the red lines int he tailfeathers for more chain stitching.
9. French Knot
Bring the needle and thread up through the fabric at 1. Wrap thread twice around the needle (front to back). Hold thread taut and insert the needle back very very close to 1. Continue keeping thread taut. Slide wrapped thread down to fabric and pull needle all the way through to the back–which creates the French Knot on top of the fabric.
See French Knots on the sun and topping the little flower stems below the camper van.
10. Fly Stitch
Fly Stitch. Bring the needle and thread up at 1. Insert to the side at 2 and back up at 3. As you do this, loop the working thread under the needle at 3. Pull the thread all the way through and pull snugly to create a “V”. Insert the needle back down very close to 3 to secure. Taut, deep stitches will look like a “V” and looser, shorter stitches like scallops.
The Fly Stitch is used in a number of ways. It’s used for the water waves, for the back fin on the fish, and for the toes on the bear.
11. Leaf Stitch
Leaf Stitch. Bring the thread up at the top center of the leaf (1) and insert about halfway down the leaf (2). Come up a bit to the left of the top center (3) and insert below the bottom of the last stitch (4). Come up a bit to the right of the top center (5) and insert again at 4. Continue working side to side along top and filling to the bottom of the leaf.
The cluster of leaves on the quilt is rendered with the Leaf stitch.
12. Wagon Wheel Stitch (aka Rosette Stitch)
Wagon Wheel. Add 5 straight stitches that go from the outer edge of the circle into the center. Come up next to the center. Weave needle and thread over and under the “spokes” of the wheel, going around until the wheel is full. At the end insert the needle at the wheel edge, hidden just under the last round. Don’t pull too tightly as you weave. Let the thread layer up to create a rosette.
The tree is filled with both leaves and Wagon-Wheel Stitched apples in the tree.
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