In my classes, I’m often asked what my favourite embroidery stitches are. I think it changes depending on what I’m making but I wanted to share some of my favourites that I always go back to. The best tip I can give you when learning a new stitch is to practice, some stitches are harder to grasp but you’ll get there.
I think this has to be my favourite stitch; it can be decorative but it’s also practical. I use it for lots of my hand embroidered designs like route maps. I also outline applique with back stitch as I prefer it to the heavier weight blanket stitch.
Detached Chain Stitch
Sometimes called lazy daisy stitch, this looped stitch is great for adding texture to my Stitchscapes. I use it as a filling stitch for shrubs, to create texture for grass and as bold details for plants. I love they way it combines with small fabric scraps and builds up the surface of a piece of work.
This covers so many different stitches; I often just stitch random lines to create texture and experiment with different threads. I also categorise satin stitch as part of the straight stitch family even though I’m not very good at large areas of satin stitch, especially in complex shapes!
I have to be honest, five years ago I had no idea how to do stem stich. I just knew how it looked from my collection of vintage table cloths. I had to watch a YouTube video with my husband to learn the best way to do the stitch. I like to use it in my hand embroidered designs and it’s a popular stitch in my classes.
Perhaps one of the most common problem stitches I come across in my classes, the French knot adds texture to a design. I will be truthful and say that I have a 4 out of 5 hit rate with mine. One always tends look a bit ragged but the best place to hide a sad looking French knot is next to lots of others. I’ve used lots of them in my Miniature Worlds pieces to make the lichen texture.
You can learn some hand embroidery stitches in my online instant access class with Workshop.