For the Love of Stitching Sampler – Band 33

For the Love of Stitching Sampler – Band 33


This band illustrates  a variety of tied Herringbone stitch which I have tied with a horizontal stitch rather than using a vertical stitch. There is an interesting puzzle associated with this stitch.

The more  traditional tied herringbone can be found on can be found on page 75 The Embroidery Stitch Bible by Betty Barnden or on page 73 of Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Embroidery Stitches or on page 84 The Stitches of Creative Embroidery by Jacqueline Enthoven.

Most contemporary published citations tie herringbone with a small straight stitch for instance online you will find this stitch at Rissa Pieces site Pretty Impressive stuff.

However if you dig back in time, you will find a very different treatment on page 81 of Samplers and Stitches, by Mrs. Archibald Christie which was printed in 1920 but has been reprinted by Batsford. My edition is dated 1985. If you have this book you will see that this stitch is worked with a series of coral knots securing the cross of the herringbone.

This shift in what constitutes knowledge is very interesting because I am not sure if this is an example of losing knowledge over time or if Christie made an error. (I actually doubt this)

The Craft of Embroidery A practical study is another old needlework book written by Alison Liley in 1961. On page 47 of my edition Liley uses coral stitch to tie heringbone and calls it Tied Herringbone.  The interesting thing about this book is that Liley wrote it to meet the “standards up to and including those of the City and Guilds Hand Embroidery examination. The Advanced examination demands a wider range of knowledge, interest and ability …” My point here is this is not written as a hobby book but as reference for an examination making it a particularly legitimate source.

Marion Nichols in her book Encyclopedia of Embroidery Stitches, which was originally printed in 1974  lists two versions. (I guess this is the smart thing to do) One on page 126, titled Herringbone with back or running stitch – which is the variety on my band sampler, and the other version on page 125 as Coral knotted Herringbone stitch, which is the ‘older’ version.

Incase you are wondering – yes I collect old and new stitch guides and have great fun finding these little discrepancies. All this aside,  this version which perhaps should be called Herringbone tied with running stitch. This sample was actually created simply to explore the stitch.


A hand dyed cotton (crochet thread)


This section of the sampler is worked on tea towel linen which is not quite an even weave.


Procion cold water dyes


All samples are 15 cm (6 inches) wide and stitched together in one long band sampler.

The sampler is currently 44 ft 5 inches or 533 inches (1353.83 centimetres) or 14.8 yards  (13.53 metres) long and still being added to.


This section of the band sampler is dated 1996 – Jan 1998

Sampler FAQ and back story
For the full back story on this piece visit the Sampler FAQ.

All posts in the series are in the category  the Love of Stitching Band Sampler.

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