There are about a million embroidery stitches out there. But there are only a few that I use constantly. Here is a round up and tutorial of four of my favorite and most often use stitches.
* Note: All of these stitches are worked with two plies of embroidery floss.
The Back Stitch
The back stitch is the simplest of embroidery stitches, well next to the straight stitch but that's just plain old sewing. The back stitch creates a fine line that can follow a tight curve with ease. It gets its name from the "two steps forward, one step back" style of stitching. The back stitch has a slightly bumpy texture to it.
Step 2: Take your needle back down at point b, where you want your line to start.
Step 3: Come back up at point c, one stitch length away from point a.
Step 4: Go back down at point a. There should be no gaps in the line.
Keep Going: Keep coming up one stitch length past your end point, and go back down at that end point to close the gap. Keep on going until you are done.
The Stem Stitch
The stem stitch is my favorite stitch for making fine lines. The stitches overlap, smoothing out the presence of individual stitches and creating a subtle twisted rope effect. This stitch is great for fine lines, but can get tricky on tight curves.
Step 2: Go down at point b, the distance should be twice your normal stitch length.
Step 3: Bring it back up at point c, in between points a and b. Be sure to come up on one side of the existing thread and keep this consistent throughout the piece.
Step 4: Go down at point d, the distance between c and d should be the same as that between a and b.
Keep Going: Come up again at point b, making sure that you are coming up on the same side of the thread. Keep moving around like this until your line is finished.
The split stitch is a simple stitch that is as great for making fine lines as it is for filling a large area. This stitch is similar to the chain stitch, but is more delicate and has less texture making it great for fine lines.
Step 2: Take your needle back down at point b. The distance between points a and b should be about twice as long as you want the finished stitch length to appear.
Step 3: Come back up at point c, half way between points a and b. When you bring your needle up split your first stitch so that there is a thread on both sides of the needle, this is why it's called a split stitch.
Step 4: Take it back down at point d. Point c and d should be the same distance apart as a and b to ensure an even stitch length.
Keep Going: Bring your needle back up at point b, half-way between c and d being sure to split the stitch as you come up. Keep moving around in this manner until the motif is finished.
The Satin Stitch
The stain stitch is my favorite stitch for making a bold line. It works well for both curves and lines of varying thickness. It can be combined with the stem stitch to create a calligraphy effect, shown above. The stitches of the satin stitch are worked perpendicular to the line, so you will need to draw the thickness of the stitch into your design.
Step 1: Begin by bringing you needle up at point a. This should be at the start of your top line.
Step 2: Take it down at point b. This should be at the start of your bottom line.
Step 3: Come back up at point c. Point c should be on the top line as close as possible to point a.
Step 4: Go back down at point d, as close as possible to point b.
Keep going: Continue coming up on the top line and down on the bottom, keeping your stitches parallel and staying as close to the last stitch as possible to create a smooth effect.
And there you have for of my favorite stitches. These are all of the stitches I used in Three Feathers. I hope you have as much fun creating with them as I do.