TAST Week 44

Twisted chain stitch Rope stitch sample
Just a quick announcement Next year TAST will run in the same format. I will propose a ‘beginners’ stitch for those who are starting out, and a ‘Beyond TAST’ stitch for more experienced stitchers. ‘Beginners’ is in inverted commas as by the end of the year people have usually reached an intermediate stage. No need to sign up, simply subscribe to Pintangle to have an email arrive in your inbox each week. Spread the word! Possibly it will be the last time I will run TAST. Since my husband retired we are traveling more and pre-writing the challenge is becoming more difficult. However I enjoy it so much that can’t quite let it go yet. I am totally happy if your stitching guild wants to run the TAST challenge in their newsletter, as long as they link back to Pintangle and give credit.

TAST week 44 is Twisted Chain stitch or Rope stitch. These are two very similar stitches. Rope stitch is a twisted chain stitch worked closely together, so I am inclined to group them together. They are also an example of a stitch that can look very different if you play with the spacing. You can also lengthen the ‘arms’ of each stitch to produce an interesting barbed line that can be used in floral sprays.
Rope stitch sample

Since Twisted Chain stitch or Rope stitch is a member of the chain stitch, it will follow a curve well and is very useful if you want a line that is solid, but not just regular chain stitch. The tutorial for Twisted Chain stitch and Rope Stitch not only illustrates how to work this stitch, but also shares a few samples to give you some ideas on how it might be used.

Beyond TAST Week 44

Laced herringbone square step 9
For Beyond TAST I propose that readers explore Herringbone Square. Actually, I am throwing two stitches together this week, because if you follow the link to the tutorial, there are also instructions for Laced Herringbone Square Stitch too. Lacing any stitch is always interesting as it gives you an opportunity to experiment with threads as the lacing process does not involve passing the needle through the fabric. This frees you up to try all sorts of thicker threads for the second stage of the stitch. I think it makes for an interesting little motif that can be repeated along a line or arranged in a pattern. Have fun with them both as they are an interesting variation that shows that often, if you take a simple well-known stitch and arrange it in a square, you have a whole different look and feel.

Where to share TAST week 44

If you are new to hand embroidery the challenge is to learn the stitch and share what you have learnt. If you are an experienced embroiderer, enjoy trying out the Beyond TAST stitch,  give your work a modern twist and share it online so beginners can see what can be done with a little imagination.

Stitch a sample, photograph it, put in online on your blog, or share it in the TAST facebook group or where ever you hang out online. Hashtags are #TASTembroidery and #PintangleTAST on places like Instagram etc.

If you have a blog, leave a comment on the Twisted Chain stitch or Rope stitch or the  Laced Herringbone Square Stitch stitch page. Don’t forget your full web address, including the HTTP part of the web address so that it becomes a live link. It means people can visit your site and see what you have done.

If you need more information the challenge guidelines are on the TAST FAQ page.


Thread Twisties!

Close detail of thread twisties

Experimenting with different threads can be expensive, as you would normally have to buy a whole skein of each type of thread. I have made up my thread twisties as 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 so that 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.


  1. Hi I just wondered if you could help me? I am wanting to learn embroidery and have seen you book and wondered if you had a starter kit to got with this or one that you would recommend? Also how would your blogs help me or do you do any tutorials?

    Best Regards, Dawn

    Dawn Varley
    1. Hi Dawn I don’t have a kit. Next year I plan on putting aside some time to produce some basic samplers for beginners but that is no good to you now. I suggest you take a look at the TAST challenge too as the first 15 to 20 stitches are the basic stitches of embroidery. Once you have those you have all the hand motions for 90% of your embroidery stitches. Take a look at the TAST FAQ page and the list of stitches that is at the bottom. For now I suggest you grab yourself some fabric (there is a link to an article on how to choose fabric on the TAST FAQ page) and start to explore stitches then join the challenge next year. Join the facebook group as I moderate it and answer questions there. TAST is effectively a free embroidery course. My next book which will be out towards the end of the year is a book of stitches too! Have fun and Good luck perhaps I will see you in the facebook group


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