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!


How to work Wheatear stitch

Wheatear stitch sample1

Wheatear stitch is an versatile easy stitch that is often used to depict wild grasses and wheat as in the sample above. In this sample various forms of wheatear are used. Wheatear consists of two straight stitches that are worked diagonally in a V like shape before a chain stitch laces together the stitches at the base.

This is a versatile stitch that will follow a curve well or can be worked in single units and arranged n patterns. Since the structure of the stitch is simple being a form of lacing between two stitches the wear and tear on the thread you use is at a minimum this means once you know and understand how the stitch is worked you can easily experiment with a large variety of threads.

How to work Wheatear Stitch

Step by step how to work Wheatear stitch 1The stitch is worked in a downward motion. Commence with a straight stitch worked at an angle.

Step by step how to work Wheatear stitch 2Make a second straight stitch also worked at an angle. Make sure the base of the stitch meets the base of first stitch. Bring your thread out a little below the base of the V.

Step by step how to work Wheatear stitch 3Pass your needle from right to left under the two straight stitches.

Step by step how to work Wheatear stitch 4Pull your needle through and take it to the back of the fabric so that the thread loops in a single chain.

Step by step how to work Wheatear stitch 5At this stage this unit is a single detached wheatear stitch and you can arrange these units in patterns. See the sample below.

Step by step how to work Wheatear stitch 6Add another diagonal stitch.

Step by step how to work Wheatear stitch 7Add a second diagonal stitch and bring your thread out further down the line.

Step by step how to work Wheatear stitch 8Pass your needle under the two diagonal stitches to make the chain like loop and continue in this manner down the line.

Step by step how to work Wheatear stitch 9

Wheatear  is a versatile stitch as the length of the diagonal straight stitches can be varied, it lends itself to beading and many types of embroidery thread can be used. You can also work with single units of the stitch and arrange them in patterns.

Wheatear stitch sample 4Wheatear also lends itself to hand dyed and variegated threads. In this sample I used 1 ply of Caron Watercolour thread on Aida.

Wheatear stitch sample 2In this sample I  stacked row upon row and worked to create a pattern. I worked rows in both directions and lined them up so they slightly overlap. This method covers enough of the foundation fabric for it to be used on canvas as a needlepoint stitch.

Wheatear stitch  can easily be laced or threaded and you can use the rows the couch down thread. Some very interesting effects can be built up this way.


Wheatear stitch sample 3Single detached Wheatear stitch can also be worked in a square. In this sample I have worked 4 squares building up a pattern. You could easily infill with other stitches such as satin stitch or add beads to build up the the patterning.

This last sample the stitch has been used on a Crazy Quilting Block.

Wheatearsample5I used a silk thread and added extra straight stitches in a metallic thread then topped it off with a bead.
Crazy quilt template set 2 Have you seen my Stitchers Templates?

As a stitcher 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 embroider on 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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