Just like chain stitch Barred chain stitch is a linear stitch that will follow curves well and can be easily worked on all types of fabrics. It is easy and quick to work and suitable for large variety of threads.
This stitch is suitable for freeform stitching and combines with beads easily.
The size and appearance of the stitch will be influenced by the size and spacing of the prongs. Since the appeal of Barred Chain stitch is based on the textured nature of the line produced you can be very experimental with the thread you use and it is easily combined with other textured stitches to produce interesting results. You can overlap lines of the stitch or use it to couch down another thread.
Barred Chain stitch can be used as thorny outbursts in floral motifs if you are a traditional stitcher. (Yes a ‘thorny outburst’ sounds like a teenage mood swing but I am sure readers will undestand what I mean)
This factor in combination with explorations varying the length of the spines, or the size of the chain, spacing of the spines, width of the line, weight and texture of the thread, should keep most contemporary embroiderers intrigued. Explore the scale you work in and I am sure you will have interesting results.
How to work Barred Chain stitch
To work Barred chain stitch you need to be familiar with chain stitch.
Working down the line start with a basic chain stitch.
Insert the needle to the left of the first chain stitch with the point of the needle out a short space along the line to be stitched. This can vary depending upon how wide you want the ‘spike’ of the chain. The wider the gap the larger the spike.
Wrap the thread under the needle point towards the right and pull the needle through the fabric.The thread should cross as you do this producing a crossed stitch as illustrated.
Next make a basic chain stitch.This pattern of one basic chain and and one barred chain stitch is repeated as you work down the line.
Barred chain stitch can look effective if you add a seed bead to the end of each spine.
You can also create an interesting textured surface if you use bulky threads and work it row up on row together.
Return to the stitch dictionary index