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A to Z: Beyond the Basics

Embroidery


Embroidery is used to add another dimension to your work once the knitting and blocking is complete. It is most effective on simple stitch patterns—stockinette stitch is the best.

Many types of yarn can be used for embroidery, but you should select one that is smooth enough to go through the knitted fabric. Make sure that the weight and content of the yarn is appropriate for the knit piece. Yarns that are too thin will sink into the fabric, and a too-thick yarn will stretch out the piece. The embroidery yarn should have the same care properties as the yarn used for your sweater and should be colorfast.

Complex patterns can be drawn on lightweight non-fusible interfacing and basted in place. Embroider over the interfacing and through the knit fabric. Cut away the interfacing once the pieces are complete. If the knitted fabric is lightweight, back the embroidery with a non-fusible interfacing on the wrong side of the work.

Work evenly and not too tightly, using a blunt needle with an eye large enough to accommodate the yarn but not so large that it will split the stitches. Thread the yarn by folding it around the needle and inserting the folded end into the eye. Do not knot the end of your yarn, but weave it through to the place where you will begin embroidering.

backstitch stem stitch couching
Back stitch is used for outlining and lines. Draw the needle up. In one motion, insert the needle a little behind where the yarn emerged and draw it up the same distance in front. Continue from right to left, by inserting the needle where the yarn first emerged. Stem stitch is used for stems or outlining. Bring the needle up, then insert it a short distance to the right at an angle and pull it through. For stems, keep the thread below the needle. For outlines, keep the thread above the needle. Couching is used to catch yarn laid on top of a knit piece. Place the yarn as desired, leaving a short strand at either end. Make stitches over the yarn as shown. To finish, thread the short strands and pull them through to the underside of the piece.
cross stitch herringbone stitch blanket stitch
Cross stitch is a filling stitch. Pull the yarn through and make a diagonal stitch to the upper left corner. Working from right to left, make a parallel row of half cross stitches. Work back across the first set of diagonal stitches in the opposite direction, as shown. Herringbone stitch is used to hem, to fasten down facings or as a filling stitch. Working from left to right, bring the needle up, then across diagonally and take a short stitch. Go down diagonally and take a short stitch. Blanket or buttonhole stitch can be used to apply pieces such as pockets, to reinforce buttonholes or for hemming. Bring the needle up. Keeping the needle above the yarn, insert it and bring it up again a short distance to the right, as shown. Pull the needle through to finish the stitch.
chain stitch lazy daisy stitch satin stitch
Chain stitch forms a line of chains for outlining or filling. Draw the needle up and *insert it back where it just came out, taking a short stitch. With the needle above the yarn, hold the yarn with your thumb and draw it through. Repeat from the *. Lazy daisy stitch is used to make flowers. Work a chain stitch, but instead of going back into the stitch, insert the needle below and then above the stitch in one motion, as shown. Pull the needle through. Form new petals in the same way. Satin stitch is ideal as a filling stitch. Be careful not to pull the stitches too tightly to avoid puckering. Bring the needle up at one side and insert it at an angle, covering the desired space in one motion. Repeat this step.
french knots bullion stitch duplicate stitch
French knots can be used for flower centers, or they can be worked in bulky yarn to form rosettes. Bring the needle up and wrap the thread once or twice around it, holding the thread taut. Reinsert the needle at the closest point to where the thread emerged. Bullion stitch is similar to French knots. Bring the needle up. Reinsert it as shown and wrap the yarn four to six times around it. Holding the yarn taut, pull the needle through. Reinsert the needle a short distance from where it emerged and pull it through. Duplicate stitch covers a knit stitch. Bring the needle up below the stitch to be worked. Insert the needle under both loops one row above and pull it through. Insert it back into the stitch below and through the center of the next stitch in one motion, as shown.

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