Embroidery – BellaLalita

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Posted: Dec 08 2016


Embroidery is a craft that involves stitching pictures, scenes or decorative accents on cloth or other materials using a needle and either thread or yarn. It can be done by machine or by hand. It can be simple in design or extremely intricate.

The are so many of embroidery styles:

The versatility on embroidery lends itself to numerous styles & each has it's loyal supporters. These are just a few types to consider.

1. Crewel.

2. Cross Stitch.

3. Needle Point.

4. Needle Painting.

5. Blackwork, Blue work, Rework & Whitework.

6. Hardanger.


1. Crewel: This form uses wool thread & a variety of stitch types - including split, satin & chain stitches. Given the thickness of the thread, designs are usually somewhat large & bold. It uses firm fabrics, such as linen, cotton, jute & velvet.

2. Cross Stitch: Counted cross stitch involves precise placement of X-shaped stitches on fabric that has evenly spaced threads & stitch holes. Stamped cross stitch involves stitching over pre printed picture. Stiff Aida fabric is common, but linen, perforated paper, plastic & vinyl are also used. Cotton floss is the most common thread material.

3. Needle Point: This form of counted stitching uses canvas with evenly placed stitch holes. Thread may be silk, cotton, wool or wool blends.

4. Needle Painting: This extraordinary form of embroidery uses very closely placed, long & short stitches to create a detailed intricate picture. 

Stitches are placed in different directions to simulate the brush strokes of a painting, and each row of stitches splits the previous row to help blend the work. This form is also called thread painting or silk shading, and it uses many colors to create a realistic picture.

5. BLACKWORK, BLUEWORK, REDWORK & WHITEWORK: This embroidery forms use a single named color of thread on white or natural colored fabric.

Whitework uses only white fabric. Stitching methods include Cross Stitch and crewe, But designs often consider of outlines without filled areas.

Whitework can be more elaborate & uses a variety of techniques, including Hardanger.


The creativity and art of embroidery depend heavily on the stitches used. Each type creates an unique appearance, and as with every other element.

There are multitudes of types & variation. This is a brief overview of a few common stitches.










-STRAIGHT STITCH. It's very basic stitch. Here the needle comes up through the fabric and down again at a forward point. This stitches are often used in a line or in adjacent placement.

- CHAIN STITCH: It's one of the oldest decorative stitch. This is also known as the Tambour Stitch. Here the needle comes up through the fabric, drawing the thread through and then moves back down through the same hole, leaving a small loop of thread above the fabric. Then the needle comes back up in a forward position that catches the loop & anchors it with the next stitch.

- SPLIT STITCH: This stitch is also called KENSINGTON STITCH. It's frequently used to outline other stitched areas or as fill in shading. It requires thread that can be split easily. Such as Crewel or Tapestry yarn & embroidery floss. Here the needle moves down behind the last stitch and then up through the middle of the thread in that previous Stitch.

-BUTTON HOLE STITCH: Button hole stitches are also known as blanket stitches. It's the foundation for many other stitch types & can also prevent fabric edges from raveling.

 Here the needle up through the fabric and the thread is laid horizontally to the right. Above the horizontal thread at a right angle the needle moves down through the fabric and then up again near the horizontal line, anchoring the thread segment with the next stitch. Buttonhole stitches resemble a backward L.

-SATIN STITCH: It's called sometime Damask Stitch. This embroidery technique placed several straight stitches very close to each other over an area of fabric. Which creates a satin appearance. Careful alignment of satin stitch edges keeps them smooth and even.

-BACK STITCH: Back stitches are often used in outlining. Here the needle come up at a point forward from the last stitch, leaving a blank space and then moves backward to the point just in front of the previous Stitch to cover the space.

-CROSS STITCH: It's a X-shaped stitches. Here the needle comes up through a lower left stitch hole and moves diagonally to the upper-right stitch hole and through it. Then the needle comes up through the hole directly beneath, which is the lower-right stitch hole and completes the X-shape by moving down through the upper-right position. Typically the first halves of the X

Shapes in a row of stitches are all stitched first. The top halves are completed when moving back across the row.

-KNOTTED STITCH: These stitches leave a knot. Above the fabric as a decorative accent and there may be groups of knots to create a particular effect for flowers and other designs. Knotted stitches generally involve bringing the needle up through the fabric, wrapping the thread around the needle one or more times and then moving the needle back down through the fabric very close to the initial point, perhaps only a thread away.

EMBROIDERY MATERIALS: Basic embroidery materials are: CLOTH, NEEDLES, THREAD and PATTERNS. A few items related to patterns are frequently required as well and other accessories come in very handy.

CLOTH: An extensive range of cloth and other items can serve as embroidery-Canvas, Silk, Cotton, Linen, Leather, Felt, Hats, Shirts, Bags, Jeans and towels are just a few examples. The choice is largely up to the stitches imagination.

NEEDLE: Hand embroidery needles vary by the type of stitching, the stitching material and the cloth on which the embroidery will be performed.

 The needle length, thickness, eye size and even sharpness are specific to the embroidery style. Yarn work required a thicker needle and a larger eye than stitching done with silk thread. Likewise, fine silk fabrics need a thin, sharp needle while counted embroidery styles typically use a blunt needle.

THREAD: Embroidery thread encompass a variety of materials. Embroidery floss or thread is often made from cotton. Other materials include silk, rayon, satin and blended threads. Metallic threads are common as ribbon's and wool or other embroidery yarns. Embroidery also uses braids,  beads and other accessories to enhance designs.

PATTERNS: Embroidery patterns are limited only by the imagination.Traditional designs, landscapes, portraits, lettering, numbering, animals and nature images are only the beginning. Fabric is sometimes pre-printed with a pattern. Otherwise the pattern must be transferred to the fabric. Iron on patterns, embroidery stencils and tracing are common transfer methods. Those who can draw free hand have that option as well. 

Perhaps embroidery has endured because of the level of creativity it allows. The craft has practical uses as well.

But the ability to keep traditions alive and to express new and imaginative ideas may account for it's long history. Embroidery engages precision techniques & artistic sensibilities, making it both challenging and fun.



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