This is part five of a six-part series on the basics of creative surface embroidery, for beginners and those looking to refresh their hand embroidery skills and knowledge.
There are hundreds of different embroidery stitches, many of which are perfect for this style of creative surface embroidery. Here are five stitches I use all the time:
Stem stitch gives a smooth, neat line of stitching and works well on straight and curved lines. It’s my go-to stitch for outlines.
Mary Corbet from NeedlenThread.com shows you how to do stem stitch, including around corners:
Back stitch is another good embroidery stitch for outlines. It takes a bit on concentration to get your individual stitch lengths even, but is a good stitch to know as it can be used on straight or curved lines and is easy to work around corners or when embroidering sharp points.
Lauren Holton of Lark Rising Embroidery goes through the ins and outs of back stitch:
French knots are probably the most well-known embroidery knots. Ideally, you want all your knots to be a similar size and shape.
Jessica of Cutesy Crafts has some tips for doing French knots (use a milliner needle):
Satin stitch is an easy way to fill areas of an embroidery design. It takes a bit of practice, but looks good and is a nice way to introduce solid blocks of colour into your embroidery.
Jenn Sturiale of Stitcharama.com shows you how to do satin stitch in 30 seconds:
Good for lines and outlines, chain stitch gives a thicker row of stitching than stem or back stitch. It resembles the links of a chain, hence the name.
Sarah Homfray has some good advice on stitch tension when doing chain stitch:
There are so many great surface embroidery stitches out there. Master the basics and learn some of the more unusual or adapted stitches with 120 Embroidery Stitches, an ebook of written and illustrated, step-by-step instructions for all the stitches used in my books, kits and patterns. The convenient PDF format means you can save it to your phone or tablet for stitching on the go, or print it out and bind it into a paper reference book.
Read Part 6: Finishing off + project ideas