This technique was originally
reserved for embroidery on silk and velvet using coarse thread. It is
known as laid work. References to the names of stitches in this
category are from Therese de Dillmont's Encylopedia of Needlework.
They are equally elegant using finer threads on any number of fabrics
of sufficient weight to complement their bold beauty. A needleworker might
like to experiment with padding to create a high-relief, adding to the
dimension of the work.
The stitches are used for
large design areas not suitable for satin stitch. If all of the objects
in your piece are done with these stitches, and the designs are outlined
with stem stitch, it is called Arab Work.
For further reading,
Mary Thomas's Embroidery Book and Weldon's Encylopedia of
Needlework also have several pages devoted to laid work, with split
stitch (wool), stem stitch and other patterns "laid" upon a ground of
satin stitches to create lovely textures in large designs.
General Directions: You
will need to use a hoop to maintain constant tension. The sample
was executed with perle coton No. 5 on 1400 linen, while the finished
piece was worked in Caron Waterlilies. It is highly recommended
that you practise these stitches at least once with heavy thread.
Once you see how they are done, and how simple the process is, you can
then incorporate them into your embroidery repertoire.
Begin your work with running stitches to
anchor the thread. It is sometimes easier to start in the center of an
area as shown in the examples. PLEASE NOTE: The
sample is an incomplete example. You would normally start at the center,
go out to one end, then return to the center. From this point, repeat
the process from the center to the opposite end. After the base stitches
are laid, you then proceed with the second set, then third (if any).
Use long lengths of thread - approximately
one yard (one meter). You will use the "stab" method of embroidery. Although
shown below for illustration, the sewing method will not give you reliable
STEP ONE: Using the stab method,
stitch across design. One method of working, shown at left, is to
leave a space between each stitch for a single strand, and fill
this space on a return journey as shown below.
||The back of your work should look like tiny running
stitches, the space between to be filled on the return journey.
||STEP TWO: The
return journey, with all spaces filled. Continue using the stab method.
The needle in the graphic is placed to show direction only. Because
the fabric threads give and take as the needle pierces it and pushes
embroidery threads aside, some spaces may already be filled. Skip
these and continue on until the surface is filled neatly, with threads
side by side (not overlapping one another).
||STEP THREE: After the base threads
have been laid, and using a tapestry needle, neatly attach a new thread
on the back of work and come out at the front perpendicular to the
ground threads. Go over four threads, under four threads, over four
threads, etc. in a basketweave pattern to the opposite end. Bring
needle to back of fabric, and again to front next to the thread previously
laid. Repeat this pattern three more times. Although the original
directions stated going over and under THREE threads, the number can
be adjusted to suit the size of threads and design
||STEP FOUR: Then, begin with UNDER four
threads, over four threads, etc. Repeat this sequence four times.
Continue until the design has been filled.
You may have to adjust your stitches for areas not directly in line
with your work as shown in example.
||Finished leaf with plaited stitch and a border of
closed Herringbone stitch, both areas outlined in stem stitch.