Making It Up As I Went Along – Part Two

The idea of the sampler section was to give my cousin some inspiration for her own embroidery, and the chance to see what stitches look like in real life, since however good the book or the photo, it doesn’t come close to having the stitch there in front of you in real life! So I decided that it would consist of a sequence of stitches using a variety of threads. Naturally, I included some of my own favourite stitches!

Close Up 1

Close Up 1

Here, the top one is Up and Down Buttonhole Stitch, using a stranded linen thread from DMC. I first used this stitch in the Persian Fantasy, and I’ve loved it ever since. In this case I’ve added to the ornamental effect by alternating long and short upright stitches.

The next is Diamond Stitch, using an over dyed pearl cotton from Stef Francis. This is a stitch I’ve never used before but often wanted to. I’ll use it again, I’m sure – it was rather fun!

The third – in standard Anchor pearl cotton – is Cable Chain Stitch, which is my favourite chain stitch variation. It isn’t always suitable, because it is a stitch with a very strong character, and sometimes something more subtle is needed, but I always enjoy stitching it.

The fourth is Ladder Stitch, which I struggled with so much on the Tudor and Stuart Goldwork Masterclass course. Here I have used an overdyed soft cotton (Stef Francis again) and found it so much easier to do!

The fifth is Heavy Chain Stitch, which I have found very useful a number of times. It produces a smooth, clean line, definition without texture, which can be hard to achieve in embroidery, which after all is a very textural form of expression!

Close Up 2

Close Up 2

The first new stitch in this photo (sixth in the sampler panel) is Loop Stitch, this one in a round mercerised cotton. It’s another stitch I’ve not often used, but it provides a great contrast in texture with the Heavy Chain Stitch above it.

Stitch number seven is Coral Stitch (remember I used it for the little girl’s hair in the Holiday Traycloth?). I used another overdyed pearl cotton – one of my favourite threads, because it brings stitches to life.

Closed Herringbone Stitch is next, using an almost untwisted rayon thread. This produces a dense plaited effect – very glossy and dramatic.

The final row in this second photograph, number nine in the sequence, is a combination of Stem Stitch set beside Outline Stitch. I know it looks a lot like chain stitch, but the two stitches are mirror images of one another!


  1. coral-seas says:

    This is a great idea!

    I also like the DMC linen. It is quite a delicate thread and breaks easily, especially when using a single strand but I like the soft colours and matt finish.

    Like you, I struggled with ladder stitch on the sampler. The one you have done here looks far better than any of mine. Ladder stitch and its variations are the one thing that I would like to redo on my sampler. It is still on the frame, so I may yet do that.

    You have used a nice selection of stitches and threads here.

  2. Penny says:

    Its always amazing to me how intricate these stitches are — and for some of them, the viewer has to look very closely to realize that it is different from the other one that seemed so much like it. Its all in the detail – and no one does detail better than you do!

  3. ladyfi says:

    I never realized there were so many stitches!

  4. Jules says:

    I have never yet managed to achieve a sampler of stitches as I’m far too impatient! Great stuff.

  5. Such neat stitches, and lovely threads!

  6. Carolyn says:

    That is a great idea and I love the thread.

  7. Janice says:

    It’s a lovely idea and I hope has provided your cousin with much inspiration. Such a nice present!

  8. karen says:

    I said it before…..I think! and I will say it again. You have a very lucky cousin.

  9. Alex says:

    I really enjoyed looking at the close ups of these stitches. The soft variegated greens are lovely with the holly berry red.

  10. Susan says:

    This whole gift is such a great idea! Love including the case with the tools and then a sampler of stitches is brilliant. Will you include a “key” to the stitches, kind of like what’s included in a box of chocolates 😉