Mary Corbet

writer and founder


I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

Contact Mary

Connect with Mary



2024 (61) 2023 (125) 2022 (136) 2021 (130) 2020 (132) 2019 (147) 2018 (146) 2017 (169) 2016 (147) 2015 (246) 2014 (294) 2013 (294) 2012 (305) 2011 (306) 2010 (316) 2009 (367) 2008 (352) 2007 (225) 2006 (139)

Stitch Fun: Embroidering a Thick Stem or Branch – Simple, but Effective


Amazon Books

In embroidery, thick stems and branches often get the same treatment: filled with stem stitch, filled with chain stitch, sometimes satin stitched, maybe a little texture added with knots and so forth. And all these techniques work great!

Here’s another option, though, that can supply a little bit of color depth and a little bit of texture, without a whole lot of complex effort. It’s easy, it’s fun, it’s quick. It would work great in crewel embroidery, in regular surface embroidery, with different types of threads – you can mix it up and play with it and come up with all different looks to it. But it really is just one simple stitch: whipped chain stitch.

Whipped Chain Stitch stem

This on the Jumble sampler project, where I’m working out lattice stitches and whipped stitches from the Stitch Fun series. In this case, I’ve worked a stem up the middle of the jumble, using coton a broder 25 in three shades of green.

Starting on the inside right of the stem, I worked a line of dark green chain stitch, and then, right next to it, to the left, I worked a line of medium green chain stitch.

Then, taking the light green, I whipped the adjoining edges of these two lines of chain stitch.

Then, the next line to the left is the medium green chain stitch again, with the adjoining edges of these two center lines of medium green whipped with the light green again.

Finally, the outer edge is dark green again, and the touching edges of the two lines of chain stitch are whipped with the light green.

Whipped Chain Stitch stem

Obviously, it doesn’t create a realistic looking branch or stem, but that’s not what this particular sampler is about. It’s just a nice way to fill a thick line with some depth of color and a bit of texture.

Whipped Chain Stitch stem

Here’s my bizarrely jumbled up sampler of lattice and whipped stitches from the Stitch Fun series. I pick it up now and then, generally when I’m frustrated with whatever else I’m working on, because this is not frustrating in the least.

It’s random and it’s fun, and it gives me something to muck about on.

And sometimes, we just need that!

Hope you have a terrific weekend!

You can find all the techniques, pattern, materials, and back information on this piece listed under the Stitch Fun series index, where you’ll find a a whole slew of embroidery stitch and technique tutorials.


Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


(9) Comments

  1. Hi Mary;
    I’d like to replicate the Jacobean Jumble pattern using the same stitches you have in each section. Is there a labeled chart on this website somewhere that I can refer to. I’ve gone to the index for the individual articles but I am at a loss to get started with any one shape.


  2. Thank you! Your jumble sampler makes me smile each time it appears here. The whimsy and variety of fillings makes me want to take up a Colbert Embroidery project, just so I can echo the fun you’re having. Looking forward to more details on this one, and on your other projects. -Kim

  3. Interesting looking at this as a whole – the mix of colours, even tho they’re bright when you look at them close to, actually makes something quite subtle when looked at from further away. Fascinating.

  4. Mary – I just love this. So much fun; I love the pattern; the colors are terrific. It just says “FUN!” when you look at it. Thanks for sharing.

More Comments