Cast On Stitch Step by Step Tutorial

Cast on Stitch sample 8Cast on stitch forms little loops that sit proud against the background fabric and one of those stitches that once you master it and establish the rhythm it is fun and relaxing to work. It also impresses people easily, as it looks outrageously difficult to do. To be honest it’s not that hard. Cast on stitch is a bit tricky, I admit but not so difficult that an intermediate stitcher can’t master.

Most people are introduced to this stitch via Brazilian embroidery but you can use it in other highly textured forms of contemporary embroidery too.

Cast on Stitch is a little time consuming but worth the effort. It really produces a 3D element to a piece embroidery and people invariably want to reach out and touch it.

A tip for working Cast On stitch!

For the best results with this stitch use a milliner’s needle on a foundation fabric stretched in an embroidery hoop or frame.

Most of the problems associated with working cast-on stitch is that people use the wrong needle and dont use a hoop. I suggest you try milliners or in some places people call them straw needles. Why these particular needles? Most embroidery needles have an eye that is wider than the shaft of the needle which means any stitch that wraps the thread around the needle often runs the risk of getting too tight as you pull the thread through.

Milliners or straw needles have an eye and shaft that are the same width which makes sliding the stitch along the needle easy. Try it as it does make a difference!

Where do you get Milliners needles? Specialist needlework shops will or should stock them. If you are not near a needlework store you can buy Milliners Needles online (this is an affiliate link which means if you shop here I get a small commission at no extra cost to you, but that is not why I recommend them!)

Cast on Stitch sample 1

How to work Cast on Stitch

Bring your thread to the front of the fabric and take a tiny bite of the fabric by making a small back stitch, as illustrated and have the needle emerge from the fabric close to where the thread emerged initially.

Cast on Stitch step by step 1Leave the needle in the fabric. In other words do not complete the back stitch. You need both hands for this next step hence the need to have your work mounted in an embroidery hoop.

Cast on Stitch step by step 2Place the thread over your left index finger, rotate your finger keeping the thread still over your finger but under tension.

Cast on Stitch step by step3This movement of twisting your finger creates a loop around your finger.

Cast on Stitch step by step 4Transfer the loop from your finger to the needle by sliding the needle through the loop and moving the loop to the needle.

Cast on Stitch step by step 5Slide the loop down the needle. This is the first cast on stitch.

Cast on Stitch step by step 6This looping action and transferring the loop, is similar to casting on a row of stitches on a knitting needle hence the name.

Cast on Stitch step by step 7Work a number of cast on stitches, gently sliding them down the needle as you go. They look like a line of buttonhole stitches sitting snug but not too tight on your needle.

Cast on Stitch step by step 8Keep them evenly spaced for best results.

Cast on Stitch step by step 9When you have the required number of stitches cast on to the needle hold the cast on stitches with the fingers on your left hand and pull the thread with your right hand, through the cast on stitches. Hold the stitches firmly but not so tight you can not pull the needle through.

Cast on Stitch step by step 10Take the needle to the back of the fabric and pull your working thread firmly but not tight to create the loop.

Cast on Stitch step by step 11The curve of the loop depends upon the number of cast on stitches you use and size of your first back stitch. In other words the distance between the point where the thread emerged from the back of the fabric and the point where the thread entered the fabric. The higher the number of cast on stitches the bigger the loop.

Cast on Stitch sample 7If you add a bead to the middle they make lovely little flower motifs. These Cast on stitches are worked in Cotton perle #5 .

Cast on Stitch sample 2These Cast on stitches are worked in hand dyed silk on stems of feather stitch

Cast on Stitch sample 4In this case they the cast on stitches are worked in hand dyed wool on stems of knotted feather stitch worked in cotton perle #5.

Cast on Stitch sample 3

These are also worked in a red hand dyed wool. The little organic shapes are worked on line of Alternating Up and Down Buttonhole stitches worked in a green cotton perle #5 thread.

Cast on Stitch sample 5

The last sample is a line pansies that are made from 5 Cast on Stitches.

Cast on Stitch sample 6

Anyway enjoy the stitch, experiment with it and I am sure you will discover more that can be done with it!

Basque stitch Tutorial

As the name suggests, Basque stitch is found on old embroideries from the Basque area of northern Spain you also find it used on embroidery from Portugal and southern France. Basque stitch is also known as twisted daisy border stitch. It is a sort of twisted chain stitch worked in line or circle a bit like a buttonhole stitch

Basque stitch creates a line of twisted loops which looks good on a curved line.
Once you get the hang of the rhythm of this stitch it is very relaxing and enjoyable to to work.

How to work Basque stitch

Work this stitch over two imaginary lines. Bring the thread out on the upper line,   take a large bite of the fabric so that the needle is inserted on the top line and emerges from the back on the lower line. Take the thread across the needle then loop the thread under the needle point.

Step by step Basque stitch 1Pull the needle through the fabric to form a twisted loop. Insert the needle on the lower line and bring it out  just beside the top of the loop.

Step by step Basque stitch 2Take the needle through the fabric and repeat this process along the line.

Step by step Basque stitch 3Worked in a circular manner this stitch forms floral shapes which means it can be used to pattern areas.

Basque stitch sample Another tip is to attach a bead or button placed in the center of the circle is also effective particularly in crazy quilting. Small seed beads can be attached at the end of the loop or inside the loop.

sample of basque stitch

This is a stitch that is absolutely marvellous on a curve. This sample was worked on a piece of cotton batik and I just picked out the curve of the printed pattern.

Hand embroidery sample of Basque stitch Here I have worked Basque stitch in a line. You can create patterns by extending the loops at regular intervals.

Hand embroidery sample of Basque stitch This last example is where I used it in crazy quilting. It is really good at emphasising a line in a motif such as a paisley.




How to work Bullion Knot Stitch

Bullion knot stitch sample 7People either love or hate bullion knots  but I am in the love them camp! They are one of those hand embroidery stitches that can be tricky to work so if you have trouble with them do take time to read my tips.

packet of milliners needlesTips before you start Bullion Knot stitch 

Most of the problems associated with working bullion knots is that people use the wrong needle. I suggest you try  milliners or straw needles. Why these particular needles? Most embroidery needles have an eye that is wider than the shaft of the needle which means any stitch that wraps the thread around the needle often runs the risk of getting too tight to pull the thread through.

Milliners or straw needles have an eye and shaft that are the same width which makes sliding the wrapped bullion knot along the needle easy. Try it as it does make a difference!

Where do you get Milliners needles?  Specialist needlework shops will or should stock them. If you are not near a needlework store, you can buy Milliners Needles online (this is an affiliate link which means if you shop here I get a small commission but that is not why I recommend them!)

Another tip is to wrap your thread in a clockwise direction. For most threads this will mean you will follow the natural twist of the direction in which it was spun. If your thread untwists as you wrap  your bullion, it means the thread was spun in the opposite direction to most threads on the market. This would include some rayon threads. In this case wrap your bullion in an anti clockwise direction.

Simply put, wrap clockwise most of the time but if for some reason this untwists your thread wrap anti clockwise.

If you have trouble with stranded threads getting a tangle try a twisted thread like cotton perle #8 0r #5.

Some people get a little tense and wrap too tight. Then, while still on the needle hold the bullion between thumb and first finger and gently rub the bullion back and forth in your fingers to loosen the wraps slightly before you pull the needle through.

Also stretch the fabric in a needlework hoop or frame so that you have both hands free to work the knot. If you need advice on wrapping a hoop and what size to choose skip over to this tutorial on how to bind and us an embroidery  hoop.

When you start to use bullion knots in your embroidery start with a simple 4 or 5 wrap bullion. Then as you master those add more wraps.

Bullion knot stitch sample 1Bullion knot is also known as bullion stitch, caterpillar stitch, coil stitch, grub knot, knot stitch, post stitch, Porto Rico rose and worm stitch.

How to work Bullion Knots

step by step tutorial on how to work bullion stitch 1Bring the thread from the back of the fabric and insert the needle a short space away pointed towards the place that the thread emerges from the fabric. The distance between these two points determines the length of the knot.

step by step tutorial on how to work bullion stitch 2Wrap the thread round the needle five or six times. Do not cross the wraps on the needle, instead make sure the thread coils up the needle. The coil of thread on the needle should be the same distance as where the needle emerges and exits the fabric.

step by step tutorial on how to work bullion stitch 3Pull the needle through the coil, while holding the coil between your first finger and thumb. See the photo below. This grip of the coil will keep the bullion knot smooth and prevent it from knotting in on itself. Pull the working thread up and away from you.

step by step tutorial on how to work bullion stitch 4As the coil tightens, change the direction that you are pulling the thread and pull it to towards you.

step by step tutorial on how to work bullion stitch 5If the bullion bunches or looks untidy pass the needle under the bullion and rub it up and down the length of the bullion to smooth the coils out. Stitchers call this rubbing the belly of the bullion.

step by step tutorial on how to work bullion stitch 6When smooth take the needle through the fabric at the point where the thread first emerged. step by step tutorial on how to work bullion stitch 8The coil of thread which is the bullion knot should now lie neatly on the surface.

Bullion knot stitch sample 3There are many applications for this stitch the body of this praying mantis is made up of Bullion knots.

Bullion knot stitch sample bullion rosesYou can also make hand embroidered bullion roses. These are worked in wool.

Bullion knot stitch sample 4When you combine bullion knots in floral sprays they can be very effective.

Bullion knot stitch sample 6They are ideal to tuck into the fork of feather stitch and its varieties

Bullion knot stitch sample 8Crazy quilters love this stitch as it can add texture to a seam or band of embroidery.

Bullion Knot is one of those hand embroidery stitches that is fun and interesting. Once mastered they are fun. I know they do take a little practice but they are well worth learning and enjoying!