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Stitch Guide: The Straight Stitch

So you've almost finished the cross stitching on your project, and it's nearly time to add those additional stitches (shown on the reverse side of your TSK patterns). These extra stitches can seem fiddly, but they are the final touches that add the detail to bring your piece of art to life.

While there are instructions in each of the kits, I thought it might be helpful to go through the stitches used within the designs one by one with more detailed instructions, photos, top tips to make your stitching effective and tidy, and other interesting points of note. First up, the easiest of the lot... the simple but classic straight stitch.

What is a straight stitch?

A straight stitch is the most simple type of embroidery stitch. It is simply a single long stitch.

How do you do a straight stitch?

  1. Bring your needle up through the fabric where you would like your stitch to start (in cross stitch this is usually at a hole in the aida, but can be inbetween).

  2. Bring your needle back down through the fabric where you would like your stitch to finish,

ie up at position 1, down at position 2.

straight stitch on aida, embroidery stitch
A single straight stitch

Top Tip for Straight Stitches

Straight stitches are often used to create a long, seamless line within a pattern, however the longer they are, the less likely they are to stay in position and can look a little saggy. While one option may be to use a back stitch technique, I find that this can make the line look too 'bitty', dependent on what you want to use it for.

straight stitch, back stitch, aida, embroidery stitches
Straight Stitch vs Back Stitch

For example, the cables on the Northern Spire design (see right) look best with long uninterrupted straight stitches. Back stitching just wouldn't look right. So what can you do instead to stop the sagging?

My top tip for very long straight stitches is to anchor them at points along their length. What I mean by 'anchor' is to (using the same coloured thread as the straight stitch) bring your needle up through a hole that the straight stitch crosses over the top of, then bring your needle over the straight stitch and back down through the same hole. (This is similar to the couching stitch technique often used in embroidery, but with subtle differences so I'm not going to call it that here)

straight stitch on aida with couching, embroidery stitches

Try to put as few anchors in as possible to ensure it stays in the right position while not spoiling the seamless effect. I actually use them very rarely!

What else can you do with straight stitch?

The straight stitch is one of the basic embroidery stitch types, and so you can do all sorts with it! For example, Running Stitch is just lots of short straight stitches in series, Seed Stitch is just lots of short straight stitches near each other in random directions, Satin Stitch is just lots of straight stitches next to each other, and the most obvious one... Cross Stitch is just two tiny straight stitches stitched one of the other to form a cross! And just like that, you now know, and can do, five commonly used embroidery stitches! You can see all five of your newly learnt stitches and some extras here....

straight stitch, back stitch, running stitch, cross stitch, seed stitch, satin stitch, basket weave stitch, aida, embroidery stitches

In the next stitch guide we will look at possibly the most commonly used stitch in cross stitch designs (with the exception of cross stitches... obviously!), Back Stitch!

J xx


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