Friday, May 24, 2013
Long-and-Short Stitch Tutorial
Although it's a proper stitch in its own right, long-and-short stitch is also a great alternative to satin stitch. When your shape is a little too big and you feel that satin stitches would be too long - resulting in puckered stitches or loose stitches that don't stay in place - long-and-short stitch saves the day!
It looks kind of intimidating though, doesn't it? Like it really takes a long time to be good at it? But it really doesn't! The truth of the stitch is that the less you think about it, the better it looks.
1.) First, draw your shape:
2.) As mentioned in our earlier satin stitch tips post, outline your shape in split stitch for a sturdy, even line to work against. You might also want to draw yourself some arrows (in a removable transfer pen) to help you keep your stitches moving in the direction you want them to:
3.) Long-and-short stitch works in rows across your shape, but succeeds by keep those rows very loosely defined. In other words: work your first row of stitches by coming up through the fabric at random places in the shape, then coming back down outside (and tucking around) the lower outline of the shape. Keep the length of your stitches as random as possible - some very long, some very short and some all the lengths in between:
4.) On the next row (and for the rest of piece), you'll work in the opposite direction, your needle coming up through a previous stitch, like split stitch, and the down again somewhere above. Again, keep your lengths random and make sure you come both up and down at varying points. You are trying to avoid a visible line across your shape which would be caused by all your stitches coming up and down at the same level in your shape. Also keep moving in the direction your arrows indicate:
5.) Continue in this way, working in rows (or waves, as I think of it) across your shape, from one side to the other, then back again. Keep your lengths and placement varied. This is a great stitch to work on if you're distracted, because it will be more successful the less you think about it. Don't worry too much about each single stitch, you're going for a larger effect here. Tuck a stitch or two around your outlines as you reach them:
6.) As you get to the top of your shape, tuck your last stitches around the top of the outline, and that's it! Because your stitches came up and down at random places, you should see a smooth, solid fill and no obvious lines where they grouped together. If you notice any bits that could be smoother, don't be afraid to just plop another stitch over it to even it out!
I hope you enjoyed playing with long-and-short stitch today - and if you do any practice, please come show off in the &Stitches Flickr group!