How to work Herringbone Stitch

Herringbone stitch idea 1Herringbone Stitch is an old favourite of mine and many other stitchers. It is a versatile crossed stitch that can be worked for a border, as a fill, or along a curved line. You can use it in various forms of surface embroidery and it is a traditional stitch used on crazy quilting.  It is not a difficult stitch, making it ideal introductory stitch for beginners, yet it is versatile enough to be interesting for experienced stitchers.

It is an old traditional stitch used in many parts of the world and known by many other names such as Mossoul stitch, Persian stitch, Russian stitch, Russian cross stitch, plaited stitch, catch stitch, and witch stitch.

How to embroider Herringbone Stitch

Herringbone stitch is worked from left to right along parallel lines.

step by step how to work Herringbone stitch 1Commence by bringing the needle out on the top left-hand side of the line to be worked.

Make a small stitch on the lower line which points to the left, pull the thread through.

step by step how to work Herringbone stitch 2Insert the thread on the upper line a little to the right and make a small stitch which points to the left and pull the thread through.

step by step how to work Herringbone stitch 3Continue in the manner along the line

Ideas on how to use Herringbone Stitch

As I have said there are many things you can do with Herringbone stitch. You can create patterns by working row upon row. This sample is worked in a hand dyed variegated perle #5 thread on 26 count linen. I worked the herringbone stitches then added the bugle beads afterwards. It would make an ideal filling pattern on any project that needed an area covered in decorative stitches. Imagine this worked on a luxury fabric such as silk and used on an evening bag or purse.

Herringbone stitch idea 2This sample is also Herringbone stitch worked row upon row but this time I have offset (or back to back) the rows. The fabric is hand dyed Aida cloth and the blue thread is cotton perle #5. I worked the rows and then added the beads. Once again this pattern is a good filling stitch

Herringbone stitch idea 3This is another sample of two rows of herringbone this time worked in wool before I added the bugel and seed beads. It would make a great border pattern.

Herringbone stitch idea 4

You can change the height of the stitch and use it to fill a shape.

Herringbone stitch idea 5 Another idea is to alternate between working small and large stitches. If you do this it will create a whole new batch of patterns and the combinations are many!

Herringbone stitch idea 6You can overlap lines of the stitch and stack them. This is fun particularly if you change your threads.

Herringbone stitch idea 7Herringbone stitch can also be used to couch down another thread or ribbon. this sample is on a piece of crazy quilting and I have further decorated it with seed beads stitching in the hills and valleys of the stitch.

Herringbone stitch idea 8Herringbone combines easily with other stitches. This sample is is herringbone stitch tied with fly stitch.

Herringbone stitch idea 9

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138 Comments

  1. Pingback: TAST 2012 #5: Herringbone Stitch - Studio Paars: embroidery herringbone stitch

  2. Pingback: 1 Years stitches | CrazyQstitcher

  3. Pingback: 1 Year’s stitches – Days 26-31 | CrazyQstitcher

  4. Really enjoyed learning the herringbone stitch this week! Even found some fish fabric to practice the herringbone stitch on which was fun. Collaged the fabric fish into my journal along with images of fish.

    As a side note, my grandma use to serve pickled herring. Put some info on my post about herring, pickled herring, and how it relates to this week's stitch:

    http://harvestmoonbyhand.blogspot.com/2012/02/take-stitch-tuesday-herringbone-stitch.html

    Ann
  5. I've enjoyed doing the Herringbone stitch this week–it's one of my favorites. However, this week I played around with doing the stitches back-to-back to create a secondary diamond shape pattern. Plan to explore this concept more. I apologize for the poor quality photo, but the stitches are done on an orange color study block for one of the CQ groups. Here's this week's effort: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sue_u/6821416761/in/photostream

    Sue U

    Sue Utterback
  6. I have completed my herringbone stitches and the two January pages on which they reside with the other four January stitches. I am pretty new to experimental embroidery and I am just loving the way I can see myself using these stitches to complete my own style of design. Also enjoying looking at all the inspiration from the others here, and learning so much from all of you. You can find this week and the previous weeks in the TAST set on Flikr.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/54891476@N07/sets/72157628638476925/
    You can also see the range of my art interests in this recent blog entry:
    http://cherylrazmus.blogspot.com/2012/01/full-speed-ahead.html

  7. My post for this week. I confess it was very difficult not eroticize my embroidery this week. The first image that came to my mind was that of fishnet stockings of the dancers and pinups. But embroidery was erotic … so I put a banana peel in the way of the girl … do not worry, she is well and back next week!

    Meu post desta semana. Confesso que foi muito difícil não erotizar o meu bordado esta semana. A primeira imagem que me veio à mente foi a de meias arrastão das dancarinas e das pinups. Mas bordado continuava erótico … por isso eu coloquei uma casca de banana no caminho da menina … não se preocupem, ela está bem e volta na próxima semana, linda!

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/luiz_vaz/6816624259/

    Luiz Vaz
  8. I've posted photos of both Cretan and Herringbone stitches (got a little bit behind last week) on my Flicker site here http://www.flickr.com/photos/susie_w/ All my seams will end up being the same colors because I'm using my CQJP project for my TAST stitches. I learned a good lesson with the Cretan stitch as I ended up with one pink floss that was too light and one too dark. I mixed strands of each one and came up with the perfect value for that seam. Will file that trick for future reference!
    SusieW

    SusieW
  9. Was going to upload my older herringbone stitch sampler, but discovered Picasa ate all my 2011 photos and spent most of my time trying to find them. I know I have a copy somewhere, just don't know where. Anyway, last night I gave up in frustration and stitched to relax and actually got it posted already!
    http://airynothing.net/Blogs/anblog/herringbone

    Also uploaded to the Flickr site. Have not got to Stichin Fingers or Facebook TAST site as of this moment… Was going to do it now, but I caught up on Flickr and want to go stitch again, now.

  10. As I have had pneumonia for the last 2 months, I've just now gotten my photos posted. I'm making a 3 ft. x 3 ft. linen wall hanging . TAST is at the center top and the stitches are in groups on the left as they are assigned. So hope yall like what I'm doin as this is my first time. So forgive the mistakes and think of them as creative licensses.

    http://www.noiseynana.blogspot.com
    Yall go and check me out. Eileene

  11. *lol* Are you reading my mind? Because so far it seems like you managed to pick my favourite stitches every week. Granted, I have so many favourites it's hard to avoid them all, but five in a row is a great start on this challenge. I hope to be able to do something fun with this stitch.

    Have interlaced it once, which was very fun, but a bit tricky given the materials I chose (not floss on cotton fabric exactly): http://wildrosesandblackberries.blogspot.com/2011/06/celtic-braid-cuff.html Maybe it can be of inspiration to someone?

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