How to embroider Alternating Barred Chain Stitch

Alternating Barred chain stitch sample 4Alternating Barred Chain stitch is one of those interesting textured stitches that you may want to add to your hand embroidery repertoire of stitches. It is an interesting member of the chain stitch family that produces a  textured line.  I think that Alternating Barred Chain stitch is in some ways more interesting than its sister Barred chain as I like the pattern and swing that is set up by the alternating arms of this stitch. This swing can create movement in a piece.

Alternating Barred Chain can be worked easily and quickly and looks great in chunky textured novelty threads. This stitch follows a curve well and is great for creating designs with an organic feel. You can use it to represent a thorny vine or in underwater scenes representing seaweed and marine plants.

 

Alternating Barred chain stitch sample 3

How to work Alternating Barred Chain Stitch

Work from top to bottom. Start with a basic chain stitch.

step by step barred chain stitch 1Insert the needle to the left of the chain with the tip emerging a short space down the line.

step by step Alternating Barred chain stitch1The gap can vary, depending upon how wide you want the ‘spike’ of the chain. The wider the gap the larger the spike.

step by step Alternating Barred chain stitch 2Wrap the thread under the needle point, towards the right as illustrated and pull the needle through the fabric.The thread will cross as you do this, producing a crossed stitch as illustrated.

step by step Alternating Barred chain stitch 3The second stitch is a basic chain stitch.

step by step Alternating Barred chain stitch 4Insert the needle to the right of the chain with the tip emerging a short space down the line. Wrap the thread under the needle point, towards the left as illustrated and pull the needle through the fabric.

step by step Alternating Barred chain stitch 5Repeat this pattern of single chain and barred chain angled left, followed by a single chain, then a barred chain angled right.

Alternating Barred chain stitch sample 1Alternating Barred chain produces interesting  hard wearing bands if you work it row upon row.

Alternating Barred chain stitch sample 2Or you can set up a pattern by working two rows back to back and arranging the spines in a regular manner.

Alternating Barred chain stitch sample 5You can change the number of stitches you work on each side too. Of course this creates another variety. Alternating Barred chain is also an ideal stitch to use in crazy quilting!

 

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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