Beaded Fern stitch is s simple, versatile variety of Fern stitch and is ideal to use in floral sprays and is an ideal stitch to use for simple Christmas wreaths.
In this sample I have used perle #8 hand dyed variegated thread and a size a size 26 tapestry needle. Since the beading is done during the stitching process not added afterward use a 26 tapestry needle. The eye of a tapestry needle is long which means you can thread perle #8 and Perle #5 through. However the needle itself is thin which means you can add a bead to your working thread as you stitch. I have used seed beads in this sample.
How to work Beaded Fern Stitch
Beaded Fern Stitch consists of a simple arrangement of 3 straight stitches along a central line. Every second arm along the line you add beads to.
Work 3 straight stitches as you would with ferns stitch and bring your working thread out from the back of the fabric. Thread 2 or 3 seed beads on to your needle.
With the beads on the thread work a straight stitch on the left side.
With the beads on the thread work a straight stitch on the other side. Next work a unit of 3 straight stitches that are normal fern stitch.
This pattern is repeated along the line. Beaded Fern stitch is pretty particularly when worked on a curve or in a free form manner. You can also use bugle beads or even some novelty beads if they are the right size.
Fern stitch is a easy quickly worked, stitch that is ideal to use in floral sprays and at Christmas time it is ideal in simple wreaths. You can also work this stitch in groups of 3 to make a bird foot print. It is ideal to create a trail of prints across a sandy beach scene.
In this sample I have worked it on the diagonal to keep the demonstration simple but this stitch is ideal to work on flowing curves. The other way you can work it is row upon row as a diagonal filling stitch as it is also useful to use in geometric patterns. For those who like highly decorative embellished surfaces there is also a beaded version of Fern Stitch
How to work Fern Stitch
The demonstration of this stitch is worked in cotton perle # 5 thread. Fern stitch consists of a simple arrangement of 3 straight stitches.
Bring the thread from the back of the fabric and work a straight stitch at an angle.
Next work a vertical straight on the left side followed by a vertical straight stitch on the right side.
This unit of 3 straight stitches is repeated along the line.
You can vary the length of the side spines to create an organic line and by adding french knots or beads to the spiky ‘arms’ of the stitch it can sit even better in a floral spray. If you want to emphasise the central line the spine can be further decorated by whipping the central line with another thread of a different colour or texture.
It is a very simple stitch that lends itself to all sorts of applications and can be taught to children.
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I was shown how to work Kiko Flower by a lady from Japan. Her English was not good but she called it flower stitch because worked in a ring it can form a flower. True to skills handed on in the oral tradition I call it Kiko’s flower stitch because I have not seen it documented elsewhere. If you know Kikos Flower by another name, leave a comment as I would love to know.
Added Later: Mystery solved! I received an email from Queenie of Queenies Needlework pointing me to the books of Japanese author Sadako Totsuka who looks to be the inventor of this stitch. In Totsuka Embroidery book 8, the stitch is numbered 56, rather than named.
You need to know buttonhole wheel stitch and how to make a bullion knot to work this stitch. You can work 4, 5 and 6 petals of the flower easily. Instead of French knots for the middle you can also add beads.
How to work Kiko’s Flower Stitch
The step by step samples are in perle #5 cotton
Start with a detached chain stitch.
Keeping on a curve (as illustrated) insert the needle at the base of the chain stitch and bringing the point out on the outer edge wrap the thread under the needle to make a quarter of a buttonhole wheel stitches in a small fan shape.
On the outer edge insert the needle into stitches as illustrated.
Make a bullion knot to catch the stitches down.
This unit is what Kiko called a stitch and she worked them in units of 4, 5 or 6.
As you can see it makes a nice shape for a textured flower just ad some French knots or beads to the middle.
You can also create cascades with this stitch to create petals on a wisteria vine