Thursday, August 2, 2012


    Because of the simplicity, many of the stitches are prevalent in peasant and ethnic embroidery, where the braids are used to edge garments and the chain stitches worked to fill complete designs. Wheatear stitch, for example, is used traditionally for surface decoration on English smocks, and Cretan stitch has been used for centuries to create decorative clothing, this stitch is also found in Persian embroidery.
    Although there is little recorded evidence of looped stitches in medieval embroidery. there are examples in Chinese work, where zigzag chain stitch is worked on a small scale and incorporated in decorative line work.
   These Decorative stitches are used to create braid effects, simple flower shapes, and chains of different textures, quickly covering your background fabric.
   Within the looped stitch family is a selection of buttonhole stitches that can be used to great effect on edgings. Chain Stitch variations work well for both outlining and filling motifs and also provide added texture to a plain chain stitch design. Circles and spirals can be created from many of these stitches - in some cases, they naturally form flower heads and sun or star shapes. In addition to their simplicity, looped stitches offer a refreshing informality. When worked cleverly, they have effect of dancing over the surface of the fabric.
   The finest examples of this can be found on Elizabethan attire where tree style foliage and all kinds of motifs drawn from nature are edged and filled with buttonhole stitch variations worked in shades of rich colour.

Threads and Fabrics
Looped stitches work well on both plain and evenweave fabrics. Much of the effect of these stitches depends on which DMC threads you choose. Bold, bright patterns can be achieved with heavy matt cotton thread, and delicate curves with single strands of cotton or silk. However, always take into account the weight of your background fabric and how the different textures will stand together. Beginners may find it easier to practice with cotton pearl, as this holds loops more firmly than softer threads.
   Looped stitches are also a popular choice among contemporary crewel embroiderers, as yarns emphasize the soft curves that these stitches create.

 Quite simply, looped stitches are all worked by looping the thread under or over the needle before securing it to the fabric. However, the secret of successful looped stitching is to keep all the loops evenly sized. In many instances, you will find it useful to control the loops by holding them down with vour non-stitching thumb as you pull the thread through. Drawing guidelines on your fabric will also help to keep your stitches in even lines.
   The most difficult stitch to master in this family is plaited braid stitch. Traditionally used in goldwork, it forms an embossed and very decorative band. Practice it using a heavy soft cotton thread. You can also find it helpful to pin the thread loops as you work. This keeps the loops open, enabling you to see where next to insert the needle.
   Most of the stitches in the looped stitch family can be worked successfully without a frame and benefit from a freestyle approach.

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