Does the word darning make you think of holes in socks? Pattern darning can be more exciting than that, as I hope to show you in this tutorial.
In pattern darning you are decorating the fabric, not mending it.
You weave the embroidery thread over and under the fabric threads. The stitches that show on the front create a geometric pattern. To create this, you vary the length of your stitches.
It is that simple!
Have you stitched my free blackwork pattern yet? If not, you might like to practice that first. In this lesson you will create a border around a variation of that pattern.
Your first step is to download and print the chart that you will work from. It is in pdf format.
I worked the pattern darning in my sample with space-dyed thread. You may prefer to use 2 strands of embroidery floss.
On the left hand side of the downloaded chart I have added arrows on some of the stitches. This indicates the direction that you will stitch each row. I have also included them on the diagram on this page.
The stitch used for pattern darning is a basic running stitch. The chart shows how many fabric threads to work over if you are using 28 count evenweave. If you are using Aida, two fabric threads equals one block.
Start at point 1 on the chart and work down a vertical row, going over two fabric threads and under 4.
Starting at the bottom, work up the next row going over 6 threads and under 6.
Working from the top down, make your stitches over 10 threads and under 2.
Follow the instructions for row 2.
Repeat row 1.
The green stitches on the diagram represent partial stitches. Make these as long as required to reach the outer edge of the design.
This design uses one arrangement of stitches to produce a diamond pattern. There are many more pattern darning variations possible to give stripes, squares, wavy lines etc. Experiment and have fun!
For other basic embroidery stitches check out the Stitch Index.
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Blackwork for Beginners - learn this fascinating needlework technique with Carol Leather's book