Pulled Thread Tutorial 2
Pulled Thread Embroidery Lessons - Pulled Thread Free Patterns
© 2009 Lorelei Halley You may copy this for personal use, not for commercial use. Copying any part of this to another web site is specifically prohibited.
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For those who prefer not to make a whole sampler, I recommend making a bookmark using a few stitches that you want to try out. Then make a small project using those stitches. For any bookmark, start with a piece of cloth 3 to 4 inches wider and longer than the finished piece (working cloth 13 x 7 inches or a little larger). This will give your hoop something to grab. Select an outline stitch and then fill the area with a pulled stitch. If you think the fabric will fray too easily, overcast the edges before you start. For the fringed version you could start by working one row of 4 sided stitch all around, then your edge is already done. Change the size of the filled areas or of the whole bookmark, as you prefer. Small mats (coaster size) are also a good way to start.
See Pulled Thread Stitches for diagrams of many basic pulled thread stitches, including wave stitch, faggot stitch, ringed back stitch, square back stitch, 4 sided stitch, 3 sided stitch, cushion stitch, square double back stitch, upright cross stitch, Greek cross stitch, eyelets, step stitch, Palestrina knot, Hungarian chain, Portuguese stem stitch. See the bottom of that page for links to online resources for stitch diagrams and instructions. See the pulled thread introduction page for a list of books with lots of good stitch diagrams. More pulled thread stitches diagrammed below.
Each of these bookmarks took me about one day to make, so they are good for trying out some pulled thread stitches and getting a feel for the technique. *
This bookmark is a small project to try out the technique of pulled thread, without making a whole sampler.
Finished size: 9 1/2 x 2 3/4 inches without fringe, 25 count linen. Start with fabric 7 inches x 13 inches. I used Broder cotton #16 for the outlines and the edge stabilizing 4 sided stitch. I used Fresia linen 30/2 for the filling stitches. I find linen is a good choice because it doesn't stretch and is hairy enough that it doesn't slip. Both these factors helps maintain strong tension. But any cotton thread that is not slippery or weak will work.
To begin, stabilize the outer edge of the working cloth. In this case I decided to have a fringed edge held in place by 2 rows of four sided stitch, and this is sufficient. So I worked that all around, about 1 inch in from the edge of the cloth. But I didn't remove the excess threads until I was entirely finished with the embroidery. A fringed edge is OK for something that won't be washed often. But I did use it on a small cotton tablecloth that I washed every other week for 3 years. After 3 years, all the fringe had disintegrated. The four sided stitch is still holding the cloth from coming apart, but the pretty fringe is gone.
After stabilizing the edge, work outlines around areas that you want to fill. I didn't leave enough empty cloth for it to look well. I recommend leaving more empty space than I did -- at least 1/2 inch (1 cm). As outlines, I used Palestrina knot, Hungarian chain, Portuguese stem stitch. The purpose of the outline (aside from highlighting the fillings) is to provide a place to hide the beginning and ending tails of the pulled stitches. Never start or end a pulled thread in the middle of a row. It will make an irregular area which will be too visible.
Filling stitches used: wave, window, double window. All the pulled stitches on this example are variants of the wave stitch: window and double window use different spacing than basic wave stitch. This shows how spacing variants affect the final appearance. I think the wave stitch family are the easiest stitches to work, so they are a good place to start.
Go to Pulled Thread Stitches for diagrams of all the stitches I used in this bookmark.
Finished size: 9 1/4 x 2 1/4 inches, 25 count linen. Start with cloth 13 x 6 inches. But make it any size you wish. Just leave about 3/4 inch (1.5 cm) outside the 4 sided stitch edge. And leave about 1/2 inch of empty cloth between the 4 sided stitch edge and the outline stitches.
Stitches used: ringed back, faggot, spaced satin stitch, but you can use any stitch you want..
Outline stitches: raised chain band, Van Dyke, Sorbello. I decided after doing this piece that I didn't like the Van Dyke stitch as an outline and haven't used it since. Try out other outlining stitches that interest you. Just choose ones that are wide enough to hide the thread tails. Other possible outline stitches: coral knot, chain stitch, Palestrina knot, Hungarian chain.
See Pulled Thread Stitches for diagrams of all these stitches..
Outer edge: 4 sided stitch with 2nd row worked over folded fabric.
The method of working the edge finish over folded fabric is also explained here, near the end. The description is for squared edging stitch, but the same method can be used for four sided stitch or three sided stitch.
Pulled thread work
||Bookmark #3 Free
© Lorelei Halley 2009
To start, transfer the design to the cloth. I use children's water soluable felt tip markers. The light blue really does wash out relatively easily. Just lay the fabric on top of the pattern and draw the thinnest possible line onto the fabric. Fabrics used for pulled thread usually have spaces between the threads and it will be possible to see the pattern through the cloth.
I worked it on 25 count linen (25 threads/inch). The pulled stitches were worked with 35/2 Bockens linen, although a finer thread would also work.
The finished bookmark is about 11 inches long and 3 3/4 inches wide. But start with cloth a little larger, so your hoop or frame has something to grab. I strongly recommend a hoop or frame for pulled thread because it is otherwise almost impossible to get good tension. The first one involves first outlining each leaf in chain stitch, then filling in the leaf with a simple pulled stitch. I used pearl 8 for the chain stitch on the first one. One does the outlining chain stitch first so that the beginning and ending tails of the pulled stitches can be hidden by the chain stitching.
To begin, stabilize the outer edge of the working cloth. In this case I decided to have a fringed edge held in place by a row of four sided stitch, and this is sufficient. So I worked a row of that all around, about 1 inch in from the edge of the cloth. But I didn't remove the excess threads until I was entirely finished with the embroidery. A fringed edge is OK for something that won't be washed often. But I did use it on a small cotton tablecloth that I washed every other week for 3 years. After 3 years, all the fringe had disintegrated. The four sided stitch is still holding the cloth from coming apart, but the pretty fringe is gone.
I outlined the motifs in chain stitch to start.
The first leaf was worked in 4 sided stitch with one thread left unworked between stitch and between each row.
The 2nd leaf was worked in wave stitch, the easiest pulled thread stitch (I think), made in rows running up and down the vertical axis of the leaf. This allowed me to make fewer, but longer rows. The stitch appears in row 1 of the yellow sampler.
The 3rd leaf is faggot stitch.
I added the leaf veins in chain stitch after working the filling stitch. But the chain stitch veins are too thick and obscure too much of the leaf. Back stitch, double running stitch or stem stitch would have been a better choice.
The outer edge is secured with 4 sided stitch, and fringed.
Also there is no reason in the world why you have to use exactly the same stitches I did. The only limitation is that the leaves are rather small, and some pulled stitches need a lot of room to develop. I chose 3 which have their pattern appear readily in small spaces. Chain stitch is not the only possibility for an outline stitch either. Also a fringed edge can be made with 3 sided stitch used as an edge stabilizer instead of 4 sided stitch.
After finishing all the embroidery, including the edge, wash the piece in hot tap water and rub color free dish detergent into the fabric along the inked lines. Massage the detergent in with your fingers. Then rinse in hot water, under the running tap (to wash all the color away). I find that all the color does really wash away. Lay the cloth on a mirror or plastic surface, push into shape with your fingers and let it dry untouched. Often this is the only finishing needed. If you choose to iron it, place it face down on a thick terry cloth towel and iron on the wrong side.
Four sided stitch with 1 thread left between each stitch and each row.
See Pulled Thread Stitches for diagrams of all these.
© Lorelei Halley 2009
This design illustrates the 2nd way of organizing a pulled thread design: outline some motif, but leave the motif empty, and fill in the background with a pulled thread stitch instead. You can use whatever thickish line stitch you like for the wiggly lines. Traditional stitches would be: Danish knot, coral knot, chain stitch, couching. Because the wiggly lines have lots of curves I suggest using a stitch which curves well. Any of the above mentioned traditional stitches would work. You can hide the beginning and ending tails of the pulled stitches behind the wiggly line stitch and the buttonholing, or you can use the "away waste knot" method and weave the ends in later.
You may notice that the design on the pattern is a little different than the one in the picture. I had done that one freehand, and didn't like some of the curves, so I improved it. The finished bookmark that I photoed is about 10 x 3 inches. The current pattern should produce a bookmark about 11 x 3.5 inches. (You can reduce or enlarge the pattern to suit your fabric.) Start with cloth a little larger, so your hoop or frame has something to grab. I strongly recommend a hoop or frame for pulled thread because it is otherwise almost impossible to get good tension.
To start, transfer the design to the cloth. I use children's water soluble felt tip markers. The light blue really does wash out relatively easily. Just lay the fabric on top of the pattern and draw the thinnest possible line onto the fabric. Fabrics used for pulled thread usually have spaces between the threads and it will be possible to see the pattern through the cloth.
This one was worked on 25 count linen (25 threads/inch). The pulled stitches were worked with 35/2 Bockens linen, although a finer thread would also work. Start by stabilizing the edge so it doesn't ravel while you are working.
I started this by working chain stitch and coral knot stitches along the squiggly lines, then added random flowers and French knots. Then I buttonholed the edge. I worked ordinary buttonhole stitch over 4 threads as the edge stitch. I used pearl cotton #8 for the buttonholing. I did this at this early stage so that the background stitches would have more than one place to hide their beginning and ending tails. I could use both the squiggly lines and the buttonhole to hide ends. I worked the buttonholing about 3/4 inch from the edge of the cloth.
I filled in the background with diagonal drawn filling, a faggot stitch variant. You work perfectly normal diagonal rows of faggot stitch, but work the rows with one thread junction separating the rows. The arrow shows where to start each row. After completing the first row, rotate the work 180 degrees, then work the 2nd row. The movement for this stitch is easiest and most comfortable if you work your rows from upper right to lower left. When I was first learning I had trouble with this one, but have since come to like it because it has such a striking appearance.
I added some freehand flowers and things, but I'm not sure I like the effect. Leave the wiggly forms empty or not as it suits you. You can, of course, use any other pulled stitch that you want to try out.
After all the embroidery is finished, carefully cut the excess cloth along the outer edge of the buttonholing.
diagonal drawn filling
|Small Flower Mat #1 - Free Pattern
Another option is a small mat with some simple motif outlined in surface stitching, and filled with any pulled thread stitch you like. The flower below uses cobbler stitch and is outlined in Palestrina knots. The flower center is chain stitch and French knots. (I could have made a better choice since these 2 stitches are not visually distinctive enough relative to each other.) The larger leaf is diagonal cross and the smaller leaf is horizontal cable. Since the leaves are quite small, I would have done better to use pulled stitches which don't need so much room, perhaps faggot, wave, or 4 sided. I should also have used a thinner thread for the pulled stitches in the leaves They are outlined in Hungarian chain.
The edge finish is 3 sided stitch worked over folded fabric.
The finished mat is 7 1/4 x 4 5/8 inches, but you can make it any size. You should choose whatever stitches you want to use.
A further option is to work a series of small geometric mats. I have designed several as learning pieces. The first 4 use only the stitches from the yellow sampler on the Pulled Thread Tutorial page. *
Pulled thread embroidery
Beginner's piece #1
This little square piece uses only the easiest pulled thread stitches and is quick to make. I used linen which is about 21 threads per inch, and DMC Cebelia #30 for the stitching. The finished piece is 4 7/8" x 5 1/8". It was supposed to be square--the myth of evenweave.
In the diagram at left each square on the graph paper represents 2 threads by 2 threads.
The red stitches are wave stitch.
The yellow-orange stitches are 4 sided stitch worked over 4 threads.
The purple stitches are 3 pulled satin stitches worked over 4 threads and spaced 6 threads apart, with the rows staggered.
The green stitches are squared edging stitch. The diagram shows only the first row. After that 1st row is completed, you fold the fabric along the outer edge of the stitches, and work another row inside it, over both layers of fabric. This is considered a sufficient edge in pulled work, but I like to work a third row so more of the fabric is caught on the back.
The yellow sampler on Pulled Thread Tutorial has all the stitches and stitch diagrams used in this piece. The pulled stitches are from rows 1, 2, and 3 of the yellow sampler, and the edge stitch is the same -- squared edging stitch. In the diagrams which accompany the yellow sampler, the blue lines on the graph paper represent 1 thread of the fabric. Stitch diagrams can also be found on the Stitches page.
Edge is square edging stitch. See here for details.
|| Start by overcasting the edges of the cloth to prevent fraying as you work.
Then run basting stitches, each exactly 4 threads tall, down the center of the
cloth, vertically and horizontally. These basting stitches will help you
count and position the parts of the design correctly in relation to each other.
The 2 photos at left show this method of basting, on a much more complicated piece. Since the little puffy squares of square double back stitch are worked over 6 threads, I had to work all the other stitches in multiples of 3 threads. Therefore the green basting stitches are all exactly 3 threads tall. The basting lines tell me where to pivot and change direction. For any piece, choose a stitch length for the basting that will best help you count for the particular piece you are making.
Work the little square mat in concentric rings, starting with the wave stitch center. Then do the 4 sided stitch; follow with the spaced satin stitch. Complete with the squared edging stitch.
|Beginner's Piece #2
Pulled Thread Beginner's piece #2 uses stitches which appear in rows 2 and 4 of the yellow sampler: ringed back stitch and 4 sided stitch. However in this piece the 4 sided stitch is worked over 3 threads instead of 4. The ringed back stitch will use the same stitch diagram as in the yellow sampler. And there are stacks of pulled satin stitches just outside the 4 sided stitch.
One difference in this piece is that since all the stitches are worked over 3 threads (an uneven number) the exact center of the piece is a single thread, not a trough between two threads. The diagram at left shows the relationship between all the parts. In this diagram each blue line is one thread of the fabric.
The red stitches are ringed back stitch.
The green stitches are 4 sided stitch.
The blue stitches are satin stitch.
The black stitches are ordinary buttonhole stitch worked over folded fabric.
Also notice that the photo shows each row of ringed back has 5 ringed stitches, but the diagram shows 3. The diagram therefore shows just a little more than 1/4 of the whole piece.
Outer edge is buttonhole stitch with detached buttonhole picots, worked over folded fabric, plus one row of satin stitch worked over folded fabric. bk
This photo shows back side.
Once the back stitch, 4 sided stitch and satin stitch are done, start the edge. Fold the fabric exactly on the thread line. Work buttonhole stitch over both layers of fabric, putting in 2 detached buttonhole stitches every 6th stitch. The little dots on the end of the buttonhole stitches represent my attempt to produce picots. I've tried various picots suggested in pulled thread books, but couldn't make any of them look right. So I improvised. I worked 2 detached buttonhole stitches into every 6th ordinary buttonhole stitch, and it looks reasonably like a picot. Use the diagram left. The long buttonhole stitches are worked into the fabric. The little detached ones do not pierce the fabric, but are made into that little loop at the bottom of the stitch. I decided then that I wanted more security for the fabric ends on the back side of the work, so I did a row of plain satin stitch inside the buttonhole row, working through both layers of fabric.
The row of satin stitch just inside the buttonhole stitch is there to help cover the raw edge of the fabric on the back side of the cloth, so it must be worked last, after the buttonholing is finished.
Beginner's Piece #3 Free Pattern
In this design each square on the graph paper represents 3 x 3 fabric threads. The brown stitches in the center are Greek cross, worked over 6 fabric threads (each leg is 3 x 3 threads). The blue-green stitches are upright cross worked over 6 threads. The orange stitches are two rows of reverse faggot worked over 3 threads. The 2nd row uses some of the same holes used in the 1st pass.
The edge stitch is 4 sided stitch. * The working method is similar to that for squared edging stitch. Work the outer row of 4 sided stitch first. Then fold the cloth exactly on the outer edge of the stitch row. Work the 2nd and 3rd inner rows over 2 layers of fabric. Cut off any of the 2nd layer fabric which remains visible on the wrong side of the piece.
The stitches appear on the yellow sampler rows 5, 6 and 7 and are diagrammed there.
Beginner's Piece #4 Free Pattern
In the diagram for this one each paper square represents 2 x 2 threads of fabric. Stitches used are cushion (a form of double back stitch) for the central area; 3 sided stitch is the first concentric ring; eyelets and satin stitch stacks are the outer ring.
Cushion is row 8 of the yellow sampler, 3 sided is row 9, and eyelets are row 10. These eyelets are worked over 4 x 4 fabric threads and are the same ones shown in cell 10 left and cell 10 center left.
These stitches appear in rows 8, 9, and 10 of the yellow sampler and are diagrammed there.
The edge finish is squared edging stitch, the same as in the first one and the yellow sampler. See here.
© 2009 Lorelei Halley This has been posted on the internet for the personal use of viewers. All and any commercial use or posting on another website is prohibited without permission in writing from Lorelei Terry Halley.
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Embroiderer's Guild of America has correspondence lessons and some involve pulled
Embroiderer's Guild of America has correspondence lessons and some involve pulled thread work:
Pulled Thread Work
White Sampler Pulled Thread
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Pulled Thread Work The White Sampler Pulled Thread Tutorial Pulled Thread Gallery