The art of decorating fabric with needle and thread or yarn dates back to ancient times. The primary stitches used today have been found in the earliest surviving fabrics. Free instructions often can be obtained by retailers of embroidery supplies.
Straight or flat stitches are made without crossing or looping the thread. These stitches include the basic running or straight stitch, the double running stitch, the darning stitch and the satin stitch.
The basic cross stitch is made by crossing two equal-sized straight stitches in an X. When many cross stitches lie side-by-side in unlimited variations of color, they make a picture. Variants include the herringbone stitch and fractional cross stitches.
The French knot and the Turk's head knot are both examples of an embroidery stitch in which the thread is knotted around itself before the needle is pulled back through the fabric.
The chain stitch, the whipped chain stitch and the lazy daisy stitch are all constructed from loops of thread or yarn secured with a follow-up stitch. These stitches sit on the surface of the fabric and look much different on the back side of the fabric.
- Photo Credit embroidery image by 26kot from Fotolia.com ethnic embroidery image by GeoM from Fotolia.com cross-stitch image by Lytse from Fotolia.com
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