Take a Stitch Tuesday 2012: Week 10 – Running Stitch

March 10, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Posted in Embroidery | 3 Comments

Week 10 features the simplest of simple stitches, the running stitch. However, that definitely doesn’t mean it’s boring, not at all! What I like about simple stitches is that they give you a lot of freedom to work with them. First, I started playing on my sampler:

The first rows are 5 lines of running stitch staggered against each other to give an arrow-like impression, which makes me think about Ikat weaving or similar techniques. Below are four equally spaced rows of red running stitch in Nr. 8 perle cotton. I then used the yellow Nr. 5 perle cotton to create a pattern on that foundation.

But almost immediately, something completely different was on my mind for this week’s project, requiring a move to a countable evenweave fabric. Running stitch can be used to imitate weaving patterns: the vertical threads on the fabric become the warp threads of the pattern, and you’re “weaving” in the weft using running stitch. I love those little squares in weaving books that show the different kinds of patterns:

Here’s the result of being inspired by those:

Some patterns are more suitable for this technique than others: the twill and satin on the right have floats that are all the same length, which helps making things look regular. They’re both stitched with three strands of embroidery cotton. Since I found that these are not quite covering the base fabric enough, I went up to four strands for the samples on the right. The upper one has very short floats, over one, two or three warp threads, which worked better than expected. The lower one has floats ranging from two to seven threads, which I think give a very messy look.

So, based on those experiences, I’d recommend patterns that have either all the same or at least very similar float lengths. Floats of one thread can be difficult to work, so should be used sparsely. Very long floats can also become troublesome.

I could have kept playing with this for quite a while longer, but it seems like the week is almost over already. See you next week!



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  1. It is interesting to see and learn from others’ experiments. Thanks for sharing your beautiful work!

  2. It’s impressive to see how much time and thought you have put into this. Well done, and thank you for sharing your experience.

  3. Very pretty interpretations of the patterns!

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