Pulled Thread Embroidery Stitches
Stitches for Pulled Thread Work
© Lorelei Halley 2011
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Below are some stitch diagrams, for ones I have used on this website. Refer to the recommended books on the PULLED THREAD WORK page for more stitch diagrams. I see no need to repeat work that others have already done. The ones below will get you started. I have recommended the working direction, and this is based on a right handed person. Using my recommendation for direction will give you the most natural and easiest hand movements, without strain.
|Click where you see a hand for the full size diagram.||*|
This stitch is worked from the top down.
Bring the needle up at the red dot.
Insert it again 3 threads below (or however many you want).
While the needle is still in the fabric, loop the thread from
left to right under the needle’s point.
Pull gently to remove most of the slack.
For the 2nd stitch, insert the needle
again into the same hole it came out of last time (or 1 thread to the
right of it). Bring the
needle up 3 threads below.
Loop the thread under the needle from left to right, etc.
|Coral knot stitch *||Work right to left. The tiny vertical stitch goes into the fabric.|
|Threaded back stitch||
Threaded back stitch is worked in 2 movements.
First make a line of back stitches (the blue lines). Then take the needle and slip it under the back stitches, one after another, without piercing the fabric.
The stitch can also be worked in several rows close together. I like 3 rows. The back stitch rows can be spaced 1 or 2 threads apart. I usually do the 3 rows of back stitch first, and then do the threading.
This stitch makes a satiny undulating line which contrasts well with Palestrina knots.The same thing can be done with running stitches.
Pekinese stitch is worked in 2 movements.
Pekinese stitch starts with a row of back stitch
worked from right to left (blue stitches).
The thin blue line is the thread path on the reverse side.
The 2nd movement (red lines) is just slipped under the blue stitch, but does not pierce the cloth. Start the red row by coming out in the middle of the last blue stitch. Do not rotate the cloth.
Slip the needle under the 2nd blue stitch, from below. Slip the needle under the previous back stitch, from above, without catching the fabric. Slip the needle under the 3rd back stitch, from below. Slip the needle under the 2nd back stitch, from above. Etc.
|Whipped running stitch||Start with a row of running stitches. On the 2nd journey whip a thread through each stitch from above to below the stitch, without piercing the fabric. Several rows can be worked close together, space 1 or 2 threads apart.|
|Outline stitch and Stem stitch||
Outline stitch and Stem stitch
These 2 stitches are worked in basically the same
way, except that for one you keep the thread above the needle, and for
the other below it.
These are worked left to right.
Bring the needle up at the left.
Insert it several threads to the right.
Bring it up again aligned with the middle of the first stitch.
|Danish knot stitch||Work from top down. There will be a tiny diagonal stitch on the reverse side of the fabric.|
|Palestrina knot stitch||Work left to right. Only the vertical stitch on the far left pierces the fabric. The rest of the stitches slide behind the diagonal stitch, but do not pierce the cloth.|
|Sorbello stitch bk||Work left to right.|
|Raised chain band||Work top down. *|
|Hungarian chain stitch bk||Work from the top down.|
|Long arm cross stitch, also called plaited slav stitch or long legged cross stitch||
Work left to right. Start at the red dot. Dark blue is
thread path on the front of the fabric; light blue is thread path on the
|Pulled Stitches||*||These are only some of the pulled stitches. My white sampler has over 110 variants.|
|Wave stitch family|
|Wave stitch||Work right to left.|
|Reverse wave stitch||Work left to right.|
This stitch will have no diagonal lines at all.
The stitches on the back of the fabric will all be horizontal
ones. The thin lighter blue
lines show the thread path on the back side of the fabric.
Start the first row at the red dot.
Bring the needle up at A and down at B.
Then bring the needle up at C, down at B, and up
again at C.
Then take the needle down at D and up at E.
Take it down at D, and up again at E.
Take it down at F, and so forth.
When you are ready to start the 2nd row,
turn the work 180º.
|Four sided stitch family|
|Four sided stitch||Work right to left.|
|Four sided stitch in diagonal rows||Work upper right to lower left.|
|Diagonal four sided stitch||Work upper right to lower left|
|Four sided stitch spaced||See here. Work right to left.|
|Four sided stitch - half drop variant||
Thick lines are stitches on the front side.
Thin lines are the thread paths on the back side.
|Satin stitch family|
|Spaced satin stitch||
|Step stitch||Work diagonally, upper right to lower left.|
|Back stitch family|
|Ringed back stitch||Work right to left, in 2 journeys: an outward journey and a return journey. Outward journey is pink, return journey is green. At the end of the outward journey, and of each row, rotate the work 180 º|
|Square back stitch||Work diagonally in 2 journeys: work half the square in the first journey, and complete the square in the return journey.|
|Small ringed back stitch||
Each row consists of 2 journeys.
The 1st diagram shows the 1st journey. The dark blue lines
are the stitches that appear on the top of the cloth.
Light blue are the thread paths on the reverse side of the cloth.
Note that some holes are shared.
The 1st diagram shows the 1st journey. The dark blue lines are the stitches that appear on the top of the cloth. Light blue are the thread paths on the reverse side of the cloth. Note that some holes are shared.
The 2nd diagram shows 2 rows of stitches and how
they mesh together. Each
row contains 2 journeys.
The blue stitches are the 1st journey of the 1st
At the end of each journey or row rotate the cloth 180 º.
Start the purple journey at the green dot, still working from
right to left. At the end
of the purple journey
rotate the work 180 º again.
These 2 journeys make up one row of stitches.
The orange and green journeys make the 2nd
row of stitching.
Start the orange journey at the green dot.
Start the orange journey at the green dot.
|Faggot stitch family|
||Work upper right to lower left. All the right side stitches are vertical or horizontal, but all the stitches on the back are diagonal. Stitches can be worked over 2, 3, or 4 threads.|
|Reverse faggot stitch||Work lower left to upper right. Stitches on the right side are diagonal, but stitches on the back side are either horizontal or vertical.|
|Diagonal drawn filling||Work upper right to lower left. Each row is a normal row of stitches, but the following row leaves one thread crossing between each row.|
|Greek cross family|
|Greek cross stitch, dense variant||
|| Each Greek cross stitch has 4 movements.
In the top diagram the stitch which lays on the top of the cloth is
blue, and the orange line is the thread path on the reverse side.
I find that working from upper right to lower left gives the best pull.
For the dense variant each stitch shares holes with its neighbors.
|Greek cross stitch - 2 thread variant||
|| This is one of the most difficult stitches to
count, but its appearance is very striking, and worth the effort.
The 1st row is the
most difficult, but successive rows are not quite so bad.
Working 1 row for this variant.
Follow the diagram exactly.
This diagram shows how to space the rows for
|Upright cross family|
|Upright cross stitch||Work from lower right to upper left. This gives
the easiest hand motion. Work in 2 journeys. The 1st
journey, going, makes all the vertical stitches. The 2nd journey,
returning, makes all the horizontal stitches, but uses the same holes as
the 1st journey.
Left shows how each row is worked.
Diagram below shows how to space the rows.
This stitch is worked in 2 journeys: from lower right to upper left, then back down again from upper left to lower right (without rotating the work). All the vertical bars are made on the 1st journey, and the horizontal bars are made on the 2nd journey.
This stitch has many variants which differ by how the rows are spaced. and how tall each stitch is. The vertical and horizontal bars can be 4 or 6 threads tall. The rows all have the same movements.
|Upright cross stitch + spaced 1 thread intersection apart||This diagram shows how the rows mesh together for this variant.|
|Double back stitch family|
|Double back stitch||Work right to left.|
|Cushion stitch||Work right to left. This may look complicated, but is actually the easiest variant, because it is easiest to count threads. All the steps just move 2 threads.|
|Square double back stitch||Work lower right to upper left. There are different stitch sequences that can be used for this stitch. But this one makes true puffy squares, and some of the others create parallelograms.|
The stitch is worked from right to left. It is very important that the thread path on the back should follow this exact path. That is what creates the pattern of holes typical of this stitch. This may look complex, but it is actually very easy to count, since each stitch involves moving 2x2 threads relative to the last stitch.
red row at green dot. Red is the
stitch that appears on the front of the cloth.
Orange is the thread path on the back side of the cloth.
(Or you can rotate the work at the end of the blue row.)
|Three sided stitch family|
|Three sided stitch||I find it easiest to work right to left. Work over each leg 2 times.|
|Diagonal three sided stitch||Work upper right to lower left.|
|Eyelets||Direction doesn't matter. But always come out on the perimeter of the stitch and go down in the central hole. Pull when your needle has just come out on the perimeter. This will produce the largest holes in the center.|
|Square edging stitch||See instructions here. Work right to left.|
|To use three sided stitch or four sided stitch as an edge finish, work the first row of three sided stitch or four sided stitch over one layer of fabric. But work the 2nd row over folded fabric.|
|Four sided stitch||See here.|
|Three sided stitch||Can be worked in any direction, but settle on one and be consistent, or you will become confused. I find that working right to left is easiest to do. See example here.|
|Buttonhole stitch over folded fabric||
||See here. Work left to right or right to left: direction doesn't matter. To cover raw edge more securely, work a row of satin stitch over folded fabric.|
|Hedebo buttonhole stitch|
Other good sources for stitch diagrams:
Last edited: 03/30/14