Herringbone Stitch

Herringbone Stitch

Herringbone stitch idea 1

Herringbone Stitch is an old favourite of mine and of many other stitchers. I think it is a very versatile crossed stitch. You can work it for a border, as a fill, or along a curved line. You can use it in various forms of surface embroidery and I have seen it used traditionally on crazy quilting.  It is not a difficult stitch, making it an ideal introductory stitch for beginners, yet it is versatile enough to be interesting for experienced stitchers.

It is an old traditional stitch used in many parts of the world and we know it by many other names such as Mossoul stitch, Persian stitch, Russian stitch, Russian cross stitch, Plaited stitch, Cat stitch, Catch stitch, and Witch stitch.

How to embroider Herringbone Stitch

Work Herringbone Stitch from left to right along parallel lines.

step by step how to work Herringbone stitch 1

Commence by bringing the needle out on the top left-hand side of the line to be worked.

Make a small stitch on the lower line which points to the left, pull the thread through.

step by step how to work Herringbone stitch 2

Insert the thread on the upper line a little to the right and make a small stitch which points to the left and pull the thread through.

step by step how to work Herringbone stitch 3

Continue in the manner along the line

Ideas on how to use Herringbone Stitch

As I have said, there are many things you can do with Herringbone stitch. You can create patterns by working row upon row. I worked this sample in a hand-dyed variegated perle #5 thread on 26 count linen. I worked the herringbone stitches, then added the bugle beads afterwards. It would make an ideal filling pattern on any project that needed an area covered in decorative stitches.

Imagine this, worked on a luxury fabric such as silk and used on an evening bag or purse.

Herringbone stitch idea 2

This sample is also Herringbone stitch worked row upon row but this time I have offset (or back to back) the rows. I stitched these on hand-dyed Aida cloth and the blue thread is cotton perle #5. I worked the rows and then added the beads. Once again, this pattern is a good filling stitch

Herringbone stitch idea 3

This is another sample of two rows of herringbone, this time worked in wool, before I added the bugle and seed beads. It would make a great border pattern.

Herringbone stitch idea 4

You can change the height of the stitch and use it to fill a shape.

Herringbone stitch idea 5

Another idea is to alternate between working small and large stitches. If you do this, it will create a whole new batch of patterns and the combinations are many!

Herringbone stitch idea 6

You can overlap lines of the stitch and stack them. This is fun, particularly if you change your threads.

Herringbone stitch idea 7

More uses

Herringbone stitch can also be used to couch down another thread or ribbon. This sample is on a piece of crazy quilting and I have further decorated it with seed beads, stitching in the hills and valleys of the stitch.

Herringbone stitch idea 8

Here is Herringbone used in crazy quilting. The spacing allows you to add bugle and seed beads.

Seam embroidery on crazy quilt block

Herringbone combines easily with other stitches. This sample is herringbone stitch tied with fly stitch.

Herringbone stitch idea 9


Thread Twisties!

Experimenting with different threads can be expensive. You would normally have to buy a whole skein of each type of thread. My thread twisties are a combination of different threads to use in creative hand embroidery. These enable you to try out stitching with something other than stranded cotton. For the price of just a few skeins, you can experiment with a bundle of threads of luscious colours and many different textures.

These are creative embroiders threads. With them, I hope to encourage you to experiment. Each Twistie is a thread bundle containing silk, cotton, rayon and wool. Threads range from extra fine (the same thickness as 1 strand of embroidery floss) to chunky couchable textured yarns. All threads have a soft and manageable drape. Twisting them around a needle makes experimental hand embroidery an interesting journey rather than a battle.  Many are hand dyed by me. All are threads I use. You may find a similar thread twist but no two are identical.

You will find my thread twisties in the Pintangle shop here.

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  1. Pingback: embroidery stitches herringbone stitch - Studio Paars: embroidery classes

  2. Pingback: TAST 2012 #5: Herringbone Stitch - Studio Paars: embroidery herringbone stitch

  3. Pingback: 1 Years stitches | CrazyQstitcher

  4. Pingback: 1 Year’s stitches – Days 26-31 | CrazyQstitcher

  5. I enjoyed the simplicity of Herringbone stitch but I found it difficult to push this one very far. I still got a few nice sample sections onto my big piece of work. I'm looking forward to filling this piece of fabric with all the different stitches.

  6. I've enjoyed doing the Herringbone stitch this week–it's one of my favorites. However, this week I played around with doing the stitches back-to-back to create a secondary diamond shape pattern. Plan to explore this concept more. I apologize for the poor quality photo, but the stitches are done on an orange color study block for one of the CQ groups. Here's this week's effort: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sue_u/6821416761/in/photostream

    Sue U

    Sue Utterback
  7. I have completed my herringbone stitches and the two January pages on which they reside with the other four January stitches. I am pretty new to experimental embroidery and I am just loving the way I can see myself using these stitches to complete my own style of design. Also enjoying looking at all the inspiration from the others here, and learning so much from all of you. You can find this week and the previous weeks in the TAST set on Flikr.
    You can also see the range of my art interests in this recent blog entry:

  8. My post for this week. I confess it was very difficult not eroticize my embroidery this week. The first image that came to my mind was that of fishnet stockings of the dancers and pinups. But embroidery was erotic … so I put a banana peel in the way of the girl … do not worry, she is well and back next week!

    Meu post desta semana. Confesso que foi muito difícil não erotizar o meu bordado esta semana. A primeira imagem que me veio à mente foi a de meias arrastão das dancarinas e das pinups. Mas bordado continuava erótico … por isso eu coloquei uma casca de banana no caminho da menina … não se preocupem, ela está bem e volta na próxima semana, linda!


    Luiz Vaz
  9. I've posted photos of both Cretan and Herringbone stitches (got a little bit behind last week) on my Flicker site here http://www.flickr.com/photos/susie_w/ All my seams will end up being the same colors because I'm using my CQJP project for my TAST stitches. I learned a good lesson with the Cretan stitch as I ended up with one pink floss that was too light and one too dark. I mixed strands of each one and came up with the perfect value for that seam. Will file that trick for future reference!

  10. Was going to upload my older herringbone stitch sampler, but discovered Picasa ate all my 2011 photos and spent most of my time trying to find them. I know I have a copy somewhere, just don't know where. Anyway, last night I gave up in frustration and stitched to relax and actually got it posted already!

    Also uploaded to the Flickr site. Have not got to Stichin Fingers or Facebook TAST site as of this moment… Was going to do it now, but I caught up on Flickr and want to go stitch again, now.

  11. This week was fun. I used a brilliant golden rayon floss and incorporated herringbone into my ongoing work. You can check it out and let me know what you think (!) at http://beautifulmetaphor.blogspot.com

    Thanks so much for the stitch challenge and to all the people who've been in touch with interesting and encouraging comments and sharing.

    Liz Adams
  12. As I have had pneumonia for the last 2 months, I've just now gotten my photos posted. I'm making a 3 ft. x 3 ft. linen wall hanging . TAST is at the center top and the stitches are in groups on the left as they are assigned. So hope yall like what I'm doin as this is my first time. So forgive the mistakes and think of them as creative licensses.

    Yall go and check me out. Eileene

  13. *lol* Are you reading my mind? Because so far it seems like you managed to pick my favourite stitches every week. Granted, I have so many favourites it's hard to avoid them all, but five in a row is a great start on this challenge. I hope to be able to do something fun with this stitch.

    Have interlaced it once, which was very fun, but a bit tricky given the materials I chose (not floss on cotton fabric exactly): http://wildrosesandblackberries.blogspot.com/2011/06/celtic-braid-cuff.html Maybe it can be of inspiration to someone?

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