TAST Week 1

chain stitch sample 1


First off, Happy New Year! and it’s the start of a new TAST challenge — TAST week 1. First, let me welcome you all to Take a Stitch Tuesday for another year! I hope everyone is energised and up for it. I am certainly looking forward to seeing what everyone does this year.

For those who are new to TAST, the first 20 or so stitches are the foundation stitches of hand embroidery. If you are new to hand embroidery, it is a good idea to learn these 20 stitches and master the hand movements associated with them. This will give you the skill to pick up most other stitches in TAST or in any other embroidery challenge.

So try to hang in there for at least the first 20 weeks. Hopefully, by the end of 20 weeks, you will be so addicted to stitching that to not complete the rest of the stitches in TAST would feel like a huge lost opportunity in your life!

Just to give everyone the heads-up there will be 48 stitches this year and 4 catchup/break weeks.

Also, Beyond TAST for those who have done TAST before, or are intermediate stitchers, will have a stitch each week. My idea is to feature some of the more interesting stitches that currently languish in the stitch dictionary.

Anyway, let’s dive in and get started! Grab your embroidery box and here we go!

TAST Week 1

Week 1 for Take a Stitch Tuesday is Chain stitch. This is a tremendously useful stitch that is quick and easy to do. Chain stitch is a foundation stitch for a whole family of looped stitches. The trick with all the chain stitches is to not pull the stitch too tight, as a tight tension will pull the loop of the stitch tighter causing a puckered line.

Chain stitch will hold a curve well and is ideal to use to outline a pattern or for lettering. The sample above is a sample worked in cotton perle #5 thread

chain stitch sample 2

This sample is worked in a fine knitting yarn that has a metallic blended thread in it. It is worked on 26 count linen.

Beyond TAST Week 1

For those who have done TAST before, or if you already know the basic embroidery stitches I hope you take the opportunity this year to enjoy Beyond TAST. Every week there will a stitch announced for people who have either done TAST or are intermediate to advanced stitchers.

So what is the first stitch? There are many varieties, versions, spin-offs and riffs on common Chain stitch. In fact well over 100, but for this week, I am going to point people in the direction of Linked Chain stitch. Linked Chain is like many of the varieties of chain stitch which make an interesting linear stitch that follows a curve well. The beaded version is fun too! Try it and see how you go.

Where to share

Stitch a sample, photograph it, put in online on your blog, or share it in the Take a Stitch Tuesday Flickr group, or 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 stitch page with your full web address. Don’t forget the HTTP(S) bit of the web address so that your address becomes a live link. That way, others can visit your site and see what you have done.

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

Have you seen my Stitchers Templates?

marking a seam using my stitchers Templates

As someone 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 apply to your stitching and crazy quilting projects. They are easy to use, totally clear so you can position them easily and they fit compactly in your sewing box. And we laser cut them ourselves in our own studio workshop to ensure the highest quality.

To see what they look like, find out about the free ebook of patterns that come with them visit the information pages. You can find out more about both sets by simply going to our Pintangle shop.


  1. Dear Sharon. Where do I start? I bought your beautiful book so that is my first step your suggestions for cotton pearls number 8 which is so beautiful. Where do I purchase this?? Thanks you!

    Kate shelton
    1. Kate I don’t know where you live but you can buy cotton perle # 5 and # 8 thread worldwide. Google it to find a close supplier. In Australia places like Spotlight and Lincraft sell it. In the US I am sure the big craft chains sell it. Or shop online. DMC makes a range of colours it is not hard to find.

  2. I have wanted to do TAST, but am hesitant to start, spend so much time worrying about the right fabric (what to use, calico, linen, denim, blend?), what to stitch with (Sulkey12, DMC, floss vs twist?), how much fabric, how big? And then I am weeks behind and just give up.

    sue atkins
    1. Hi sue you can use any of the fabrics you list and any of the threads you list – all are Ok but I would recommend cotton perle #8 or $5 as many stitches sit better with a thread that has a bit of twist to it rather than a stranded type cotton. ( Stranded is great for cross stitch however) As to fabrics I recommend linen fabrics as it has more give in it – I have a full article about such selections here
      I hope it helps


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