Straight Stitches

One of the questions I heard several times at the Retreat was what stitch should be used to follow a single line. The answers given were varied and sometimes the stitch names were used incorrectly. So, today’s topic is going to be another Stitchology on

The instructions below are given from my right-handed view point. A left-handed person may be able to do the stitches as described, but may be more inclined to reverse the instructions. However, we have two great resources designed specifically for the right- or left-handed stitcher:

A straight stitch is exactly what it sounds like….a simple stitch that comes up at a point along a line, with usually a short-stitch that goes back down along that same line. Here are a few of the most common straight stitches.

Running Stitch »

Darning Stitch (for mending) »

Stem Stitch »

Outline Stitch »

Cable Stitch »

Back Stitch »

Split Stitch »

Other Uses of the Straight Stitch


The straight stitch is a very important stitch for the canvas needle artist. Many of the basic stitches are created using straight stitches such as the Brick, Gobelin, Satin, and Hungarian.

Silk Ribbon and Brazilian Embroidery

Many forms of embroidery, such as silk ribbon and Brazilian embroidery use a twisted straight stitch to create stems, leaves, and petals.

Twisted Stitch »


Double Running »

What does “plotting a journey” mean in Blackwork?

The diagrams shown in the link above are what people refer to as plotting a journey. You look at the design and design the best way to work your way across the design so that you can reverse and come back along that same line. I find it very helpful to use different colored highlighters when I plot my journey. Otherwise I get all these stitches done and forget where I am supposed to go! I recommend that new erasable highlighter pens so you can do one journey at a time and then erase the highlight.

Here are some wonderful resources on these and other stitches.

We hope this guide makes your stitching easier and more enjoyable!

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“The following article was written by Debi Feyh of Nordic Needle and published in their weekly e-mail newsletter. Permission was granted by Nordic Needle to share this article in (name of your publication). For information on subscribing to their weekly e-mail newsletter, visit A free mail-order catalog is available to you upon request if you live in the USA or Canada.”

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