How to work Oyster Stitch


oyster stitch sampleOyster stitch is a member of the chain stitch family and although it looks complex but it is not difficult. Oyster stitch is also very versatile as you can often adapt it to use in situations where you would use chain stitch. It creates a textured slightly raised stitch that is fun to work and adds variety to your hand embroidery. You can also work a beaded variety. I wrote a tutorial on Beaded oyster stitch here

oyster stitch sample8

Step by step instructions on how to do Oyster Stitch

You start Oyster stitch with a twisted chain stitch.

oyster stitch step by step tutorial 1Commence by bringing the thread to the front of the fabric, insert the needle, take a bit of fabric with the tip pointed downwards. Wrap the needle as you would a twisted chain in other words cross the working thread over the needle, then wrap the thread under the needle.

oyster stitch step by step tutorial 2Pull the needle through the fabric to create a twisted chain stitch. Pull your working thread snug, until the loop lies flat but not tight it pulls on the fabric.

oyster stitch step by step tutorial 3Pass the needle under the right-hand top thread above the loop that has formed. Slide the needle through without picking up the foundation fabric.

oyster stitch step by step tutorial 4Pull the thread through.

oyster stitch step by step tutorial 5Insert the needle through the fabric at the top of the stitch, with the needle pointed downwards, slide it behind the knot, so that the needle exists the cloth at the base as illustrated.

oyster stitch step by step tutorial 6Loop the thread under the needle (as you would for a chain stitch) and pull the needle through.

oyster stitch step by step tutorial 7Repeat this process  if you want to use the stitch as a linear stitch or you can use this stitch as you would a detached chain stitch.

oyster stitch step by step tutorial 8It can be used as buds in floral motifs, or worked in a circle with the stitches pointing outwards to create flowers.

oyster stitch sample 5
If you extend the last tie off stitch that secures the chain, to a long straight stitch you have another variety.

oyster stitch sample 6

You can use these pointed towards the middle of circle or outwards to crate daisy and flower like motifs.

oyster stitch sample 4These samples were worked using a cotton perle #5 thread that is variegated.

oyster stitch sample 9Oyster stitch will follow a curve well as it is a member of the chain stitch family.

oyster stitch sample7It 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.

oyster stitch sample 3And of course it is great in crazy quilting

I hope you enjoy the stitch!

How to hand embroider Cable Chain Stitch

Step by step tutorial on Cable chain stitch sample 1Cable Chain Stitch is a variation of chain stitch and also known as cable stitch. It is an easy member of the chain stitch family and worked in a similar manner to basic chain stitch but with an added step of twisting the thread round the needle after each chain loop. The extra loop between chain stitches creates a link between the chains.

Cable chain is used as a linear stitch on both plain and even-weave fabrics.  As with basic chain stitch this version follows curves well.It is pleasant stitch to work because you can develop a good easy paced rhythm.

The sample above is an experimental piece of Cable Chain stitch worked in a variety of unusual threads. Unusual in the sense that they are threads embroiderers would not necessarily normally select. The top is a hand dyed crochet cotton that is the same thickness as cotton perle#5. Second down is a fine knitting yarn. The dark blue line in the middle of the sample is also a knitting yarn. The line of stitching second from the bottom is a hand dyed crochet cotton. The bottom line a knitting cotton.

How to work Cable Chain Stitch

Bring the needle up through the fabric on the line you want to work.

Step by step tutorial on Cable chain stitch 1
Slip your needle under the thread as illustrated above. With the needle under the thread hold the thread with the left thumb and twist the thread around the needle once.

Step by step tutorial on Cable chain stitch 2

Point the needle back into the hole it emerged from. Push the thread down the shaft of the needle, so the loop sits close to the fabric. You want a firm but not tight loop around the needle.

Bring the needle out below the loop and wrap the thread under the needle point as you would for basic chain stitch.

Step by step tutorial on Cable chain stitch 3

Pull the thread through the fabric and you have created your first cable chain stitch.

Step by step tutorial on Cable chain stitch 4Repeat these steps along the line working a row from the top down.

Step by step tutorial on Cable chain stitch 5Cable chain stitch is a very quick and versatile stitch which is interesting on its own or worked in combination with other stitches.

You can also lace and thread this stitch with a contrasting yarn or a bead can be stitched to the middle of each chain.

Step by step tutorial on Cable chain stitch sample 2I hope you enjoy experimenting with this stitch.

Have you seen my book?

holding my book in front of quilt

My book The Visual Guide to Crazy Quilting Design: Simple Stitches, Stunning Results shares detailed practical methods on how to design and make a crazy quilt. Topics such as fabric choice, tricky challenges like balancing colour, texture and pattern, and how to create movement to direct your viewer’s eye around the block are covered in detail. I also explain how to stitch and build decorative seam treatments in interesting and creative ways. My book is profusely illustrated as my aim is to be practical and inspiring.

How to embroider Barred Chain Stitch

barred chain stitch sample 4As experienced stitchers know the chain stitch family has numerous varieties Barred chain stitch is an interesting adaption.

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.

barred chain stitch sample 5The 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 sample 4Barred 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.

step by step barred chain stitch 1Working down the line start with a basic chain stitch.

step by step barred chain stitch 2Insert 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.

step by step barred chain stitch 3Wrap 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.

step by step barred chain stitch 4Next 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.

step by step barred chain stitch 5

Barred chain stitch can look effective if you add a seed bead to the end of each spine.

barred chain stitch sample 3

You can also create an interesting  textured surface if you use bulky threads and work it row up on row together.

barred chain stitch sample 2

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