You might remember a few weeks ago, we talked about 3 of the stitches you need to know for cross-stitching. Well today is a bit more fun. Today we’ll talk about the stitches that no…you don’t need to know but they sure are great to add when you can!
Now I know you were expecting some elaborate and fancy stitch that takes a full 5 minutes to work with 5 different needles but I’m afraid we have to disappoint you here. First we’re taking a look at the humble Straight Stitch. The term “don’t judge a book by its cover” truly applies to this stitch because although it looks and is very simple, its versatility is almost endless!
Straight Stitch is made by…you know…making a ‘straight’ stitch. Up through the face of your fabric and down a distance away.
The reason we love this stitch so much (other than it’s simplicity) is that it gives you endless options to enhance your cross-stitch. You can use it to line an area to give it more pop or definition, you can use it to depict small details in your work, you can short ones or long ones, you can use it to fill space you can use it to create something entirely new that you don’t want to fill with cross-stitch such as mountains or the shadow of a building.
Here the straight stitch is used to depict the bark and leaves of a tree!
2. French Knot
Before you say “Blah! I hate French Knots!”, I know, they can be difficult to master but they do give you a lot of options for when you need little round things. You can’t go through life without little round things and cross-stitching is no different.
The problem most people have with getting the French Knot right is the tension. Many people either make the tension to tight making it difficult to slip from the needle and pulling it out of shape or they make the tension too loose and the knot slips off before you can secure it or it leaves a giant odd looking loop. Imagine you are tying a little shoe lace. You don’t want to tie it too tight or you’ll hurt your feet, too loose and your shoes will fall off, this is the same type of feel you should have for the tension of your working thread.
Once you get the hang of them, you can apply them to anywhere you want to add a bit more detail. They work great for depicting bunches of flowers, you can use them in isolation to depict stars or polka dots, you can use them in a line for a border or a necklace.
We especially like them to depict curly hair. The woman’s hair in this gorgeous portrait from our Backgrounds Book is made entirely from French knots!
3. Turkey Work
Also called Turkey Stitch, Loop Stitch or Fringe Stitch, this is the fancy elaborate stitch you’ve been waiting for! Turkey Work is basically making several rows of big loops. You can leave them as loops or what most people do is trim the loops so they achieve a fluffy or fuzzy texture depending on how short you cut them.
Turkey Work is made by first creating a little tail by taking the thread from the front to the back and leaving a short tail. Then securing the tail by making a little stitch over it. You then create a loop by coming up next to the tail and going back into the fabric a little way over. You secure the loop with another little stitch. Continue in that manner until you reach the end of your row. It can be a little difficult to master so a bit of practice will be beneficial.
You can use Turkey work as a border for your cross-stitch but it works great wherever you might need something hairy or fuzzy. Think grass, hair, beards or fur. Our good friend Betsy Wynegar used the stitch to create this fluffy dog!
These are only 3 of tons of different stitches you can use to enhance your cross-stitching or you could just stick to the 3 main stitches! The point is really to have fun and experiment in your cross-stitching to help build skills, build creativity and make something that you’ll be proud of!
What kind of stitches do you use in your cross-stitching? Do you like to stick to the traditional or do you like to experiment with the wacky and wonderful! Let us know in the comments below and as always you can drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org