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

Crazy quilt template set 2 Have you seen my Stitchers Templates?

As someone who loves crazy quilting and embroidery I designed these templates with other stitchers in mind. With my templates you can create hundreds of different patterns to apply to your stitching and crazy quilting projects. They are easy to use, totally clear so you can position them easily and they are compact in your sewing box.

Templates set 1 you will find here 
Templates set 2 you will find here 
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How to embroider Fern stitch

fern stitch sampleFern 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.

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

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

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

fern stitch step 4You 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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Tutorial on how to work Beaded Herringbone Stitch

Beaded herringbone is a variety of Herringbone stitch which makes a very attractive 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 or 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

I hope you enjoy this variety of Herringbone stitch

I hope you like this variety of Herringbone stitch!