Today, a simple – but fun! – Stitch Fun tutorial for a somewhat basic stitch that can be used as the foundation of much more elaborate decorative bands.
For newcomers who might not be familiar with the Stitch Fun! series on Needle ‘n Thread – or for those who might have forgotten about it – please let me introduce you! Stitch Fun! is a series of hand embroidery tutorials that explores less popular or more obscure embroidery stitches, stitch combinations, simplifications, and techniques, to help bring a little extra fun and excitement to your embroidery projects.
Today’s mock wheatear stitch tutorial falls into the realm of a stitch simplification. Though it simplifies the wheatear stitch, the mock wheatear opens up the possibility of working with a wider range of colors when constructing the wheatear stitch. At the same time, it offers a foundation for building elaborate bands of color and texture.
The original wheatear stitch is a variation of chain stitch, with barbs extending off each side, to mimic the look of a shaft of wheat.
The original wheatear stitch looks like this, more or less:
The original wheatear is worked with one continuous thread of the same color. The top of the stitch line can vary – you might have a straight stitch, for example, right at the top of the line, rather than the separate side “barbs” at the top of the line.
Wheatear stitch is worked backwards when you think of the chain stitch construction. It’s like a reverse chain stitch, that passes under the side barbs and the previous chain stitch. You can find a tutorial for regular wheatear stitch here, if you want to explore it further.
If you want to read about reverse chain stitch, you can see it worked in a project here.
But back to today’s stitch! The mock wheatear stitch begins with a line of chain stitch. (You can find a tutorial for regular chain stitch here.)
The chain stitch can be in any color you want – it doesn’t have to be the same color as the side barbs, for example.
Once you have your line of chain stitch, I bet you can guess what I’m going to tell you to do with it!
If you want the side barbs to be a different color, switch to a new thread.
Bring your needle and thread to the front of the fabric, near the top of your chain stitch line, as shown above.
Take the needle and thread down into the fabric, right at the base of the first chain stitch and inside the loop of the second chain stitch down the line – as shown above.
Then step out to the other side of the chain stitch line, across from the point where the first barb began, and bring the needle and thread to the front of the fabric.
Take the needle and thread to the back in the same hole where you ended the first barb, and then continue this process straight down the chain stitch line, to fill in the barbs on each side.
In the photo above, I’ve worked down the line of the chain stitch, adding the barbs on each side in a different color.
Then, I backstitched down the center of the chain stitch with a darker coral to add another level of color to the decorative line.
From here, you can add French knots at the tips. You might decide to whip down the chain stitch line to add another layer of color. You might even add double barbs on each side, varying the length of them. Maybe you won’t add a barb to each side of the line? Maybe you’ll alternate sides and barbs?
This is where the idea of Stitch Fun! comes into play! Start playing with the developing line and see what develops!
Stitch Sampler Alphabet – Packed with Stitch Fun!
I used the mock wheatear extensively in my Stitch Sampler Alphabet, which is a project e-book packed full of similar tutorials for simple stitches, composite stitches, and stitch combinations.
There are over 65 stitches, composites, and combinations in the alphabet, as a matter of fact!
All the instructions are step-by-step photo instructions like these, to help you explore a large variety of stitches and combinations in order to create your own beautiful monograms – or to apply the combinations to whatever embroidery masterpiece you’re creating.
If you don’t have your own copy of Stitch Sampler Alphabet, you’ll find the e-book available here.
I’ve marked it on sale at 10% off through this weekend, just to celebrate the whole notion of having fun with your embroidery stitches!
Looking for More?
You can find more Stitch Fun! tutorials available here on Needle ‘n Thread.
You can also find an extensive collection of how-to videos for embroidery stitches available here! There’s an alphabetical index for stitches available below the video library, too, if you want to explore stitches that way.
Have a wonderful weekend!