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Mary Corbet

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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

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Surface “Free Style” Hand Embroidery

Types of Hand Embroidery on Needle ‘n Thread

Surface “Free Style” Hand Embroidery

Surface embroidery or free style hand embroidery is a general category that encompasses most surface embroidery techniques, but here, I’m using it as a category for all the surface embroidery that’s done today that doesn’t fall in any specific technique category.

Surface embroidery is the embellishment of fabric (and other mediums – paper, leather, etc.) with embroidery stitches. Any type of design may be used in surface embroidery – the stitcher is only limited by imagination.

There are hundreds of documented surface embroidery stitches, with the most popular including backstitch, stem stitch, chain stitch, French knots, daisy stitch (detached chain), buttonhole stitch, satin stitch, and simple straight stitch.

Free style surface embroidery can be used to stitch pictures of people, places, and things using a variety of threads. Today, DMC stranded cotton is the most common thread on the market and it is used in abundance by folks learning surface embroidery. Cotton threads, however, are not the only option: silk, wool, blends, and synthetic fibers are also widely used in surface embroidery.

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