Tuesday, August 31, 2010

100 Stitches - satin stitch

This little baby rattle has several examples of the latest stitch on my 100 Stitches odyssey, the satin stitch:I have realized that this stitch is an easy stitch to learn and do, but a difficult stitch to do well! So here goes. I started with 6-strand embroidery floss and a #24 chenille needle:
I wanted to do this stitch over a small shape so that my stitches would look smooth and even and have less chance of looking out of line. I also wanted the shape to be a circle. I first traced the outline of a nickel - too big, then a dime - still too big. I finally found this knitting-needle gauge with a perfect circle in a perfect size. This largest circle has a 1/2" diameter:
I drew the circle and then threaded my needle with the six-strand embroidery floss. This is dmc color 827, a really pretty powder blue:
Now according to 100 Stitches, for the satin stitch, you can just work straight stitches across your shape. Or you could make padding under your stitches by outlining the shape with chain or running stitches. Apparently this gives a really nice raised effect. Instead of the chain or running stitch, I just outlined the edge of my circle with backstitch. Once this was completed, I switched to a single strand of the six-strand embroidery floss. After some experimenting, I found that using the single strand gives the smoothest satiny look. So to do the straight across stitches, 100 Stitches clearly shows that you work from the outside of the outline stitching. First, come up through the fabric on one side:
and go into the fabric on the opposite side:
After some more experimenting, I started at the widest part of the circle because it is easier to establish nice straight lines. Just keep working back
and forth
until you have covered the whole shape
with this beautiful satin stitch:
This stitch works so well on circle shapes. I haven't tried it on any other shapes but I definitely plan to. I still need practice on keeping the edges of the circle clean, and making even straight across stitches. It is really obvious if they are not straight and even!
This stitch is number 6 and is categorized in the flat stitches section of 100 Stitches.


John'aLee said...

Since I am new to hand embroidering I have thoroughly been enjoying your posts. They truly spell it all out for a person. That rattle is just the cutest thing!
Thanks for taking the time to share!

Kim said...

Thank you John'aLee - So glad you are enjoing these - I am enjoying posting them - I love taking the process pictures. I still have 60+ stitches to go!

Libby said...

Yikes! I missed this post. I LOVE the look of the satin stitch but I really stink at it! I love the way that you have broken the steps down. Maybe I need to try it again!

Wendy said...

Satin stitch is my nemesis! I hate him... I haven't tried a raised satin stitch like you show here, I might, but I'd never just do one strand at a time, I'm far too impatient for that!!

Kim said...

Libby - I love the look of the satin stitch too - now that I am stitching on the outside of the outline of the shape, I like it even more! I need to keep doing it though because it is so hard to keep everything smooth.
Wendy - I have so much trouble with satin stitch but I think it gets easier with practice - I never think the one strand is going to look right and then after just a few stitches it does!

Anonymous said...

I like to use 3-6 strands when doing my satin stitches. But I mostly embroider on linen and getting satin stitches to sit close to each other, you need more thread. I can see how one strand is enough for the tight weave fabric you're using.

Beverly said...

I found your blog and am enjoying it very much. Your work is lovely and I can tell you have patience and take your time with your stitches. They are so neat and consistent!! I have had problems with my satin stitch turning out smooth looking. I read recently about stitching twice. First one direction and then the second time perpendicular to the first stitching. This has worked the best for me. The second time over, the threads lay smoother and look neater. Also, like you, I start in the middle of the circle each time. Thank you for your blog. I will be back!
Beverly in WA state