Easy Embroidery! Lesson 1 (Running stitch)

So, as promised this is the first of the THREE FREE lessons of my Easy Embroidery! online course for compete beginners. Check out the how-to film and the course notes below and give running stitch a bash in your own time. Then just come back over the next two weeks for the next two free lessons. If you love what you see, pick up the course and join the exclusive Facebook group for a bogglingly good £45. You’ll get a full 12 lessons, to own and do in your own time, on creating professional-looking hoops. You’ll also get loads of extra course notes, handy links, inspirations, challenges, help and support.

Now, fingers at the ready…

Running stitch

Listen up! Don’t forget to check out my film that shows you how to do running stitch, ‘kay? You can find it right HERE. You can also find the following handy info in the documents of the exclusive Easy Embroidery! Facebook group, when you buy the course.

  • What you need for Easy Embroidery!
  • How to buy and use an embroidery hoop.
  • How to unravel a skein of embroidery thread.
  • How to build up your course confidence.
  • What fabric do you need for Easy Embroidery?
  • How to start and finish a line of stitches.
  • Needles and thread: what you need to know.

How to do running stitch

Top tip! Each stitch must be the same size as the other stitches and each space must be the same size as the other spaces. This makes running stitch really useful for outlines and borders because it creates a sense of neatness and order.

Start – as you will with every lesson – by making sure your fabric is clean and taut in your embroidery hoop. It’ll make stitching much easier and far more accurate. Chose your thread and load up your needle with at least enough thread to get you from one side of your hoop to the other. Knot it and…

Working in whichever direction feels comfy to you, bring your needle up from the back of the fabric where you want the line of stitches to start.

Decide on the size of your first stitch. Bring your thread down through to the back of the fabric that distance along, on the line where you want your stitches to sit. You have made your first stitch!

Now decide on the size of your first space and bring your needle through to the front of the fabric, that distance along. Make sure the stitches are on the same trajectory and aren’t at any wonky angles!

The last step is to take your needle through to the back of the fabric, making a stitch exactly the same size as the first stitch. Then just repeat this process, making all stitches the same size and all spaces the same size. Finish your line of stitches as explained in the group file ‘How to start and finish a line of stitches’. Holler with delight because you have learned your first embroidery stitch.

Practice notes

On a piece of practice fabric, write your signature in pencil or pen. Make it big and as flourish-y as you can. Then follow this line with your running stitch. Try it with the stitches close together as well as far apart to get a sense of how the density of stitches impacts on the appearance of your name on the fabric.

Question: how do you cope with the rounded parts of your signature? Are your stitches small enough to accommodate them? Are they so big that you can’t stitch the ‘bends’? And what does this tell you about whether running stitch is useful for curved work?

Extra fun!

  1. On a piece of fabric, write your fave swear word. Make your stitches and spaces the same size as each other and, bringing a contrasting thread up at the start, weave it under each stitch until your profanity appears.
  • Create two lines of running stitch, parallel to each other, making sure that the stitches on each line are exactly opposite each other. Now, on a different part of your fabric, create two lines of running stitch parallel to each other but with a stitch opposite a space instead. Finally, weave a contrasting thread under and along the stitches of the first parallel lines and, separately, over and under the second parallel lines. Notice how the positioning of the stitches and spaces impacts on the effect.

Mess it up!

Shake off the fear of perfection by making your stitches and your spaces uneven in length. Instead of working hard to put your needle in the right place, make your next stitch or space at the first place the needle comes through the fabric. Keep going and see what happens. Do you love the randomness? Does it make you itch? How easy would it be to undo? Did your needle placing become more accurate with practice? And did the world end when you made a mess of it?

Lesson challenge

Place a fresh piece of fabric in your hoop and create a running stitch border around the entire edge. You can choose the size of your stitches and spaces. Then create another line parallel to that. Finally decorate it by weaving through them a coordinating or contrasting thread of your choice.

Don’t forget to come back next week for the second free lesson which is on stem stitch. You can find out loads more about the Easy Embroidery! online course here and here and you are welcome to message me here if you have any questions.