Split stitch is often used to outline an area before filling it with satin stitch, to give a neat edge, but why stop there?
Would it surprise you to learn that I used it for most of this floral design? I added stem stitch for the dark green stems, 3 french knots, and 3 straight stitches.
It works well as a line stitch, but as this project illustrates, it also makes a good filling stitch. Let's look in more detail at how I used it in this design...
For sections 2 and 4, I threaded the needle with two different shades of floss. However, I used a slightly different technique for each. For the outlined leaf I kept the lighter color on the same side for every stitch. When stitching the solid leaf, I let them randomly change sides to give a more variegated effect.
This little acorn also uses split stitch, for the nut itself. Rows of textured coral stitch make up the cup and stalk which adds contrast.
I used 2 strands of floss for the acorn and 3 for the cup.
I prefer to work this stitch with my fabric kept taut in an embroidery hoop. I then work in the stab stitch method, with one hand above and the other below the fabric. This helps to avoid the fabric puckering.
Work from left to right, starting with a short straight stitch. Bring the needle back to the front, halfway between the start and end of that stitch, piercing the thread. If you use two strands, it is easier to slip the needle up between them.
Then take it down again a half stitch length in front of the
When you work adjacent rows, vary the length of your stitches so they start in different places and don't form a visible line.
On close inspection, the stitch gives the illusion of a fine chain. It gives a smooth finish, emphasized when you use a shiny fiber. This makes it a useful alternative for areas that are too large to fill with satin stitch.
Embroiderers from Medieval years used split stitch in their work, and it has stood the test of time.