Long Tail Chain Stitch Plain, beaded and whipped

sample of Long Tail Chain stitch 2Long tail chain is also known as long arm chain and Long leg chain!  With all these tails arms and legs you would think we are talking about a beast of stitch but it is not the case.

Long tail Chain Stitch is a stitch of hidden talents as it is very versatile particularly when you introduce a second process like whipping or if you add beads.  Long tail chain is simply a chain stitch with a long tie stitch. It is not difficult to work and is easily added to or arranged in interesting patterns.

It is a good idea to be familiar with detached chain stitch as Long Tail Chain is a variety of  Chain stitch

How to hand embroider Long Tail Chain stitch

Bring the needle up through the fabric and insert it back into where it emerged and take a small bite of the fabric to have the point of the needle positioned as illustrated.

Long Tail Chain stitch 1Wrap under the needle point as you would for chain stitch and pull the needle through to create a chain stitch.

Long Tail Chain stitch 2On the same line tie the chain down with a long straight stitch.

Long Tail Chain stitchWhen this stitch is worked in a single unit it is called a long tailed chain.

sample of Long Tail Chain stitch 3You can arrange long tailed chain stitch is all sorts of ways and I have worked some samples to show you.

sample of Long Tail Chain stitch 4sample of Long Tail Chain stitchYou can even create interesting fills or patterns with this stitch.

Circles are a common pattern as they then look like flower petals.

Tip! How to work neat stitches in a circle.

This tip works not only for this stitch but also for detached chain flowers (lazy daisy) bullion flowers and many of the hand embroidery stitches where you have to work a circle of spokes that radiate from the centre.

When you work long tailed chain in a circle, imagine a clock face.

Work a stitch at 12 o’clock and then another stitch at 6 o’clock then take your thread across the can work a stitch at 3 o’clock and another at 9 o’clock.

Long Tail Chain stitch step 1Next you add a stitch between 12 and 3 o’clock and another between 3 and 6 o’clock and so on.

Long Tail Chain stitch step 2If you do this you will get nicely balanced hand embroidered flowers without having to mark the fabric.

You can create some nice flower patterns with this stitch.

Beaded Feathered chain stitch step 7

Tip! How to work Beaded embroidery stitches

With this stitch the beading is done during the stitching process not added afterward so you need to use a size 26 tapestry needle. Since the eye of a tapestry needle is long you can thread perle #8 and Perle #5 through the long eye. However the needle itself is thin which means you can add a bead to your working thread as you stitch. It is a case of the best of both worlds!

Beaded Long Tail Chain stitch1To work this beaded version you create a chain and before you tie it off the with the long straight stitch thread 3 seed beads on to the tail.

Beaded Long Tail Chain stitch

Long Tail Chain stitch step 2

How to hand embroider Whipped Long Tail Chain stitch

The last variety I would like to share with you is Whipped Long Tail Chain. This stitch is also known as whipped long armed chain, and whipped long tack daisy.

Work 8 long tail chain stitches so that they radiate in circle.

The tails of the stitch are the foundation threads for the whipped stitches.

Bring the thread out at the centre and slide the needle under a ‘tail’ and pull it through. In this stitch you are not going through the fabric just under the long tail stitches which are acting as spokes.

Whipped Long Tail Chain stitch1

Take the thread up and over the top of the spoke and move back a spoke to slide the needle under two spokes as illustrated. Your thread should wrap around the spoke. This whipping action of forward 2 spokes and back 1 spoke is a bit like making a series of back stitches over the spokes but not through the fabric.

Whipped Long Tail Chain stitch 3Repeat this action, whipping each spoke as you progress around the wheel until the circle is filled.
Whipped Long Tail Chain stitch 4It is a fun stitch and I hope readers will enjoy experimenting with it a bit.




Looped Cretan and Beaded Looped Cretan stitch

Beaded Looped Cretan stitch sampleI discovered Looped Cretan stitch in an old embroidery book by Edith John titled Creative Stitches.

It is called Looped Cretan and the beaded version is my adaption which includes adding a bead. It is really useful to know the foundation stitch which is of course Cretan stitch. Both samples are worked using a cotton perle #5 thread. With the beaded version, the beading is not done afterwards but during the stitching process.

Tip! Use a size 26 tapestry needle. Since the eye of a tapestry needle is long you can thread perle #8 and perle #5 through the long eye. However the needle itself is thin which means you can add a bead to your working thread as you stitch.  This choice of needle is key to success with this type of beaded embroidery.

How to work Looped Cretan Stitch

Work from top to bottom between 2 imaginary lines.

Looped Cretan stitch 1Bring the needle through the fabric at the start of the line on the top left side. Move across the line and insert your needle on the right edge. With your needle angled and pointing towards the center of the line make a small stitch.

Looped Cretan stitch 2Keeping the thread under the needle as illustrated pull it through your fabric. It should look like a shallow unsecured fly stitch.

Looped Cretan stitch 3Insert your needle on the right edge in the same place, as illustrated. Angle your needle downward as illustrated and make a small stitch.

Looped Cretan stitch 4Keeping the thread under the needle as illustrated pull it through your fabric to create a loop. This loop is like adding one buttonhole stitch. It is also this extra loop on the Cretan stitch that gives this stitch its name.

Looped Cretan stitch 5Move across the line and insert your needle on the left edge. With your needle angled as illustrated and pointing towards the center of the line, make a small stitch. (As you would for regular Cretan stitch)

Looped Cretan stitch 6Keeping the thread under the needle as illustrated pull it through your fabric.

Looped Cretan stitch 7Insert your needle on the left edge in the same place, as illustrated. Angle your needle downward and pointing towards the center of the line make a small stitch.   Keeping the thread under the needle as illustrated pull it through your fabric to create a loop.

Looped Cretan stitch 8

Looped Cretan stitch 9Move across to the right and repeat this process. Continue working downward, back and forth until the line is worked.

As you can see this is a decorative and interesting stitch  and would be useful working in trailing lines as part of a floral motif.

Like Cretan you can work Looped Cretan stitch close together to form a very different patten in the movement of the stitch. You can vary the length of the wings or the angle of the wings to creat interesting effects. You can increase the width of the wing , then return to the established line  to created an alternating pattern of wider wings.

You can work this Looped Cretan stitch in a circle to create other organic like forms.

It is very verstaile and I hope readers enjoy experimenting with it.

How to work Beaded Looped Cretan Stitch

You work this stitch using the same method as Looped Cretan stitch but add a bead to your working thread. I have added a bead after each loop is created but you can add beads at any of the steps and each creates a different pattern.

Use a size 26 tapestry needle as this type of needle is thin enough to take the bead yet the ye is large enough to take perle #8 or perle #5 thread.

Beaded Looped Cretan stitch 1Work from top to bottom between 2 imaginary lines.

Bring the needle through the fabric at the start of the line on the top left side. Move across the line and insert your needle on the right edge. With your needle angled and pointing towards the center of the line make a small stitch.  Keeping the thread under the needle as illustrated pull it through your fabric.

Beaded Looped Cretan stitch 2

Insert your needle on the right edge in the same place, as you did at the first step, as illustrated. Angle your needle downward as illustrated and make a small stitch.   Keeping the thread under the needle as illustrated pull it through your fabric to create a loop.

Beaded Looped Cretan stitch 3Add a bead to your work thread and tuck it up against the last stitch.

Beaded Looped Cretan stitch 4Move across the line and insert your needle on the left edge. With your needle angled as illustrated and pointing towards the center of the line make a small stitch.  Keeping the thread under the needle pull it through your fabric.

Beaded Looped Cretan stitch 5Insert your needle on the left edge in the same place, as illustrated. Angle your needle downward and pointing towards the center of the line make a small stitch.

Beaded Looped Cretan stitch 6Keeping the thread under the needle as illustrated pull it through your fabric to create a loop.

Beaded Looped Cretan stitch 7Add a bead to your work thread and tuck it up against the last stitch.

Beaded Looped Cretan stitch 8Move across to the right and repeat this process. Continue working downward, back and forth until the line is worked.




How to hand embroider Raised Cup Stitch

Raised cup stitch is a fun and quick to work. As the name implies it produces a little cup that is raised from the surface of the fabric. As with many of these 3D stitches if you work this stitch using a thread with a firm twist such as perle cotton, it not only looks better, you can see what you are doing!

After mastering this stitch if you try it in thicker threads such as wool, chenille or even silk ribbon you will be surprised and I am sure delighted by the results.

If you add a bead to the middle of the cup this stitch makes great flower like shapes that can be arranged in sprays or to resemble hollyhocks.

How to work Raised Cup stitch

Raised cup stitch 1First work a foundation of three straight stitches arranged in a triangle.

From this point on you will not be stitching through the fabric so use a blunt needle to avoid splitting the foundation threads by accident. If you prefer you can change your needle at this point in the process. Using a tapestry needle also allows for experimentation with the threads you use such as chenille or novelty threads.

Raised cup stitch 2Pass the needle under the first bar.

Raised cup stitch 3Working in an anti clockwise direction first wrap your thread over the needle then wrap your thread under the needle as illustrated. (As you are working remember over, under, over, under, and so on)

Raised cup stitch 4Pull your needle through gently to form a loop which as you pull further becomes a knot on the foundation bar. The knots create the stitch.

Raised cup stitch 5Repeat this process working around the triangle

Raised cup stitch 6When you have completed one ring move to the second round by simply continuing to stitch between the spaces of the first row of stitches.

Raised cup stitch 7If you want this stitch to splay outward add a few more stitches to the ring by working two stitches into one space every 4-5 stitches. Different effects can be created by working higher or splaying out the cup.

Raised cup stitch 8When the required height is achieved weave the thread back down the side of the cup, take it to the back of the fabric and tie off.

As I said this stitch is really interesting if you try it in textured thread, chenille, silk ribbon or wool. Adding beads to the middle often makes this stitch sing.

The sample below contains raised cup stitch that has been worked in a mauve thread which is a mix of mohair and wool. These little mauve flowers have been tucked in a spray of flowers on a crazy quilt block.

Raised cup stitch on crazy quilting

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