Tutorial on how to embroider Herringbone Square Stitch

Herringbone Square Stitch is a variety of Herringbone as it is simply Herringbone worked in a square. Don’t let its simplicity deceive you. You can work it as an isolated motif stitch but it is a great stitch to arrange in patterns so that it becomes an interesting filler.

You can work it on plain or even weave fabrics but if you use a plain fabric you will need to mark with small dots the insertion points of the needle in order to work this stitch square.

How to embroider Herringbone Square Stitch

Follow the steps illustrated as this is herringbone worked in a square.

herringbone square step 1

Start on the left hand side of the square and take your needle diagonally up and pointing your needle towards the left make a small horizontal stitch as illustrated. This is the first corner of the square.

herringbone square step 2Take your needle diagonally down and pointing your needle upwards make a small vertical stitch as illustrated. This is the second corner of the square.

herringbone square step 3To make the third corner of the square take your needle diagonally downwards and pointing your needle to the left make a small horizontal stitch as illustrated.

The last bar of the stitch is made by passing the needle under the first stitch. This underpass is important to be able to do many of the lacing stitches so don’t forget it!

herringbone square

How to work Laced Herringbone Square Stitch

The second stitch is one of the many varieties of Laced herringbone. I have seen this stitch referred to as Square laced herringbone, laced square herringbone and square herringbone accent stitch, but I call it Laced Herringbone Square.

You can work it on plain or evenweave fabrics as an isolated stitch or arrange them in patterns. It is particularly interesting to experiment with threads as the lacing process does not involve many passes of the needle through the fabric. This frees you up to try all sorts of thicker threads for the second stage of the stitch. You can also tie this stitch off with a bead which adds zest to a piece if needed.

If in the lacing you find you have trouble with tension and the work puckers and pulls work this stitch using a hoop or frame. The lacing is quite firm. It is the tension of the lacing that gives the stitch a different appearance.

Use a tapestry needle for the lacing stage so that you do not split the thread.

Work a herringbone square to form the foundation bars for this stitch

Laced herringbone square step 1Bring your needle up through the fabric on the bottom left hand inside corner of the stitch. Pass your needle under the crossed foundation bars of the top corner of the square form right to left. Do not go through the fabric as you are lacing not stitching.

Laced herringbone square 2Move to the right hand corner and angling the needle from bottom to top pass the needle under the crossed foundation bars.

Laced herringbone square 3Move to the bottom corner and pass the needle from left to right under the crossed foundation bars.

Laced herringbone square 4Move to the left corner where you started and pass the needle from top to bottom under the crossed foundation bars.

Now the stitch is secured with four crossed straight stitches.  To do this insert your needle as illustrated into the fabric at between the top corner and right corner of the square. Make a straight stitch across the laced square.

Laced herringbone square 5

Repeat the straight stitch so you have two straight stitches worked diagonally across the lacing.

Laced herringbone square 6Bring your needle out between the top corner and left corner as as illustrated and work two diagonal stitches to complete a double cross stitch.

Laced herringbone square 7With the second straight stitch the stitch is complete.

Laced herringbone square 8

This what the completed stitch looks like.

Laced herringbone square step 9Note

There are two documented versions of Laced Herringbone Square that treat these final crossed stitches in different ways. In some cases these crossed stitches are laced with the needle passing diagonally under the laced foundation stitches. Other sources have the needle passed through the fabric as I have done. I prefer to go through the fabric as it makes the stitch sit proud on the fabric and if it used on a project like a purse, for instance, the stitch does not catch as much. However, like all situations there are exceptions because if I have a thick interesting thread I then lace the stitch. In other words I dont take it through the fabric in the final wrapping stage.


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