How to work Back Stitch

Back stitch sampleBack stitch is often used along side cross stitch to define a clean neat line in a design. It is classified as a linear stitch because you can create lines with it! Back stitch is an old adaptable stitch which can be used as a delicate outline or as a foundation in composite stitches, such as Pekinese stitch. It is also a great stitch to whip or thread with a heavier yarn. You can add beads to it too!

Back stitch sample using hand dyed threadIf you want to work blackwork patterns using hand dyed or variegated threads use back stitch. Many blackwork patterns can be very effective worked this way and the changing colours  add a contemporary touch to a traditional style of hand embroidery.

Back stitch sample on contemporary hand embroideryThis is a stitch that is considered a basic stitch as it is always introduced to beginners, but I feel  people underestimate  its versatility which ensures its timeless appeal to generations of stitchers. For instance in this sample (click to see a larger version)  I have used back stitch to define the lines of the sand. Set against the highly textured embroidery the simple ‘basic’ stitch creates the contrast I wanted.

Back stitch step by step tutorialIf needed, mark your line with a quilters pencil or soluble pen or pencil. Bring the thread up from the back of the fabric on the line that you want to create. Make a small backward stitch through the fabric.

Bring the needle through the fabric a little in front of the first stitch and still on the line. Pull the thread through the fabric.

Make the second stitch backward,inserting the needle down into the hole made by the first stitch and bringing the needle out a little in front of the second stitch but still on the line. Repeat this movement and continue sewing in such a manner along the line.

Back stitch is also known as point de sable

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Take a Stitch Tuesday 134 Fern stitch

fern stitch sampleThis is an easy stitch that is ideal to use for floral sprays and since Holiday season is just around the corner this stitch is ideal for simple wreaths. In this sample I have worked it on the diagonal to keep the demonstration simple but you can work fern stitch on curves or in geometric patterns

How to work fern stitch

Fern stitch consists of a simple arrangement of 3 straight stitches.

fern stitch step  1Bring the thread from the back of the fabric and work a straight stitch.

fern stitch step  2Next work a straight on the left side followed by a straight stitch on the right side.

fern stitch step 3This unit of 3 straight stitches is repeated along the line.

fern stitch step 4The spine can be further decorated with french knots of beads.

It is a very simple stitch that lends itself to all sorts of applications and can be taught to children.

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How to join TAST
Stitch a sample of this stitch or ANY of the stitches listed on the TAST FAQ page. Once you have worked a sample,  photograph it and put it online at your blog, flickr site etc then swing back to the Last TAST post listed   and leave a comment.  This is a guilt free challenge to learn hand embroidery stitches. You can stitch 1,  10 or all of the TAST stitches, swing in and out of the chellenge as life dictates and generally mooch along learning a bit here and bit there.  All are welcome.

Take a Stitch Tuesday # 125 Beaded Herringbone

Beaded herringbone is a variety of herringbone which makes a very attractive edge or border stitch and is an ideal to use in crazy quilting to decorate a seam.

With this stitch the beading is done during the stitching process not added afterward. The trick is 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.

The samples below are worked in # 5 cotton perle thread.
Beaded Herringbone stitch step 1Start Beaded Herringbone as you would regular herringbone stitch and work from left to right between two lines. Bring the needle out on the bottom left-hand side of the line to be worked.

Beaded Herringbone stitch step 2Make a small stitch on the top line which points to the left, pull the thread through.


Add 4 0r 5 seed beads to your thread.

Beaded Herringbone stitch step 3

Insert the thread on the lower line a little to the right and make a small stitch which points to the left and pull the thread through.

Beaded Herringbone stitch step 4

Work a second crossbar by moving to the top of the line to make a small stitch which points to the left and pulling the thread through. Continue in the manner along the line

Beaded Herringbone stitch step 5

How to join TAST
Stitch a sample of this stitch or ANY of the stitches listed on the TAST FAQ page.

Once you have worked a sample,  photograph it and put it online at your blog, flickr etc then swing back to the Last TAST post (you will find it under the category each week)  and leave a comment.

You can leave a comment about any TAST stitch

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