How to embroider Alternating Barred Chain Stitch

Alternating Barred chain stitch sample 4Alternating Barred Chain stitch is one of those interesting textured stitches that you may want to add to your hand embroidery repertoire of stitches. It is an interesting member of the chain stitch family that produces a  textured line.  I think that Alternating Barred Chain stitch is in some ways more interesting than its sister Barred chain as I like the pattern and swing that is set up by the alternating arms of this stitch. This swing can create movement in a piece.

Alternating Barred Chain can be worked easily and quickly and looks great in chunky textured novelty threads. This stitch follows a curve well and is great for creating designs with an organic feel. You can use it to represent a thorny vine or in underwater scenes representing seaweed and marine plants.

 

Alternating Barred chain stitch sample 3

How to work Alternating Barred Chain Stitch

Work from top to bottom. Start with a basic chain stitch.

step by step barred chain stitch 1Insert the needle to the left of the chain with the tip emerging a short space down the line.

step by step Alternating Barred chain stitch1The gap can vary, depending upon how wide you want the ‘spike’ of the chain. The wider the gap the larger the spike.

step by step Alternating Barred chain stitch 2Wrap the thread under the needle point, towards the right as illustrated and pull the needle through the fabric.The thread will cross as you do this, producing a crossed stitch as illustrated.

step by step Alternating Barred chain stitch 3The second stitch is a basic chain stitch.

step by step Alternating Barred chain stitch 4Insert the needle to the right of the chain with the tip emerging a short space down the line. Wrap the thread under the needle point, towards the left as illustrated and pull the needle through the fabric.

step by step Alternating Barred chain stitch 5Repeat this pattern of single chain and barred chain angled left, followed by a single chain, then a barred chain angled right.

Alternating Barred chain stitch sample 1Alternating Barred chain produces interesting  hard wearing bands if you work it row upon row.

Alternating Barred chain stitch sample 2Or you can set up a pattern by working two rows back to back and arranging the spines in a regular manner.

Alternating Barred chain stitch sample 5You can change the number of stitches you work on each side too. Of course this creates another variety. Alternating Barred chain is also an ideal stitch to use in crazy quilting!

 

This is more than a hand embroidery sampler

As I sat to write this, I thought this is more than a embroidery sampler. It is not just the size which is 96 feet long it is that I have lived with parts of this cloth sitting in my sewing box for years and years as I started doing it in 1996. If you are not aware of the whole back story you will find it here. The reason I say it is more than a regular hand embroidery sampler is that I always enjoy experimenting with hand embroidery stitches even  the very basic ones, but as time went on I added more and more snippets of text that marked events in my life.

hand embroidery sampler detail 714

In this area I was playing around with basic stitches. In this case I was working back stitch using a hand dyed thread. This is a blackwork filling pattern but the hand dyed thread gives it a modern twist.

hand embroidery sampler detail 715This is also back stitch worked as a chevron pattern. Hopefully beginners will see what is possible with some of the basic stitches.

hand embroidery sampler detail 716

The next band of my embroidery sampler is running stitch worked row upon row.

hand embroidery sampler detail 717

The band after that echos the chevron pattern. It is running stitch worked in a zig zag formation.

hand embroidery sampler detail 718

This is mainly stem stitch worked in various weights of thread. Some are cotton perle #5, others are 3 threads of stranded cotton floss, other threads are wool. There are also French knots and the beads are secured with straight stitch.

hand embroidery sampler detail 719

The next area is mainly worked in chain stitch in different threads. There is some hand dyed cotton perle #5, some  wool and some linen thread. I also used  French knots and once again the beads are secured with straight stitches.

hand embroidery sampler detail 720

I often stitch while watching the evening news. Often snippets are incorporated in my stitching. I was pleased to hear that we were declared to be finally out of drought when the next news story was that there were floods in Pakistan. I added this using a dark green perle #8 cotton to work the letters in back stitch.

hand embroidery sampler detail 721

This is another area of back stitch that is worked in cotton thread. I added  big chunky beads and woven cross stitch worked in wool.

Needlework embroidery sampler section 51 cI hope you enjoy seeing these are details of my hand embroidery sampler. They are bands 714 to 721 of a section of the sampler which was worked between June and December of 2010. The sampler itself is only 6 inches wide but it is 96 feet 5 inches or 29.3878 meters long you can read about why it exists on the Sampler FAQ page

Subscribe to Pintangle and never miss a post

You can have Pintangle delivered to your inbox by using the subscribe feature in the sidebar.