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Embroidery stitches

The satin stitch
The 'satin stitch' embroidery stitch This is a basic stitch from which many other stitches are derived. To make a satin stitch, simply pull the needle through the fabric and reinsert at the desired length. The stitches are in halves for light space filling or arranged more precisely to form a flower. Very tightly grouped satin stitches make up the different variations of straight stitch and other stitches designed for filling in smooth surfaces.

Crewel or stem stitch
Crewel/stem stitch embroidery Also called the stalk stitch, this stitch produces a twisted line which is useful for filling in surfaces when stitched in paralell lines.
The stem stitch is threaded against the twist of the yarn, from left to right, by pulling through and restitching exactly on the line. Restitch half way down the stitch, keeping the thread low, then tighten by pulling the thread towards the left. Each stitch should protrude by half a stitch length ahead of the last.

Tambour or chain stitch
Tambour/chain embroidery stitch Useful for marking out a line or surface filling, the tambour/chain stitch is popular because of the raised effect it can generate. It was traditionally used in whitework to pad embroidery scallops. Each 'link' is formed from the previous one, with the thread arranged in a loop at the moment of tightening.

Picture in satin stitch embroidery using wool thread
Satin stitch embroidery

The running stitch
The running stitch This is a simple stitch, its success depending on its regularity. Pull the needle from the fabric and restitch at regular intervals. When well aligned, whether in a straight line or a curve and with very regular stitches and spaces between stitches, this is a very pretty stitch.

French knot
The French knot allows you to create 3D dots, which is very useful for flowerheads, eyes and very small detail. Once the thread is through the fabric, take it in your left hand and wrap it round the needle (once for a small knot, twice for a larger one).Without releasing the thread, reinsert your needle beside where it came up, pull the needle down slowly through the fabric. It's important to hold the thread tight to the base of the needle before passing it through the fabric - otherwise you risk having an oversized knot! There's no second chance with the French knot. If unsuccessful, pass to the underside of the fabric.
For the double knotInsert the needle as close as possible to where it came up and wrap the thread twice round the needle tip. Draw and hold the knot under your thumb and insert the needle into the fabric in front of the knot.

Herringbone or Persian stitch
Herringbone/persian embroidery stitch The herringbone stitch forms a zigzag pattern and is embroidered in a straight line, from left to right.
Pull the needle through the lower line and reinsert it through the upper to make a small, straight stitch, working from right to left, on the underside of the cloth. Start another small, straight stitch on the lower line while maintaining a regular spacing. Continue.