White work sampler part 1

If you're new to the world of whitework embroidery, this sampler is the perfect place to start.

Originally released as a stitch-a-long exclusively for my newsletter subscribers, I've now made it available to everyone on my website. With detailed instructions and diagrams for each band, you'll be guided through the process step-by-step.

The sampler is specifically designed with beginners in mind, so don't be intimidated - give it a try and discover the beauty of whitework embroidery!

You will need:

  • 12 x 12 inch 28 count evenweave fabric (the original model was stitched on Brittney) 
  • Perle no 8 thread in white - 1 ball
  • Size 24 tapestry needle
  • Embroidery hoop
  • Sharp pointed embroidery scissors

The first stitch pattern

To begin the pulled work technique, start by measuring 4 inches down on your fabric to locate the top of the first band. Then, fold the fabric in half lengthwise to find the center and count 36 threads to the left. This will mark the starting point for stitch 1 on the diagram provided below.

To make stitching easier, it's recommended to use an embroidery hoop - a 7 or 8 inch hoop is ideal for this project

The stitch diagram

To begin stitching the first band, refer to the chart above. Locate the fourth "square" in the top row and look for a small green dot inside it. This dot marks the starting point for your stitching, which corresponds to stitch 1 in the diagram provided below

This particular band is worked over four fabric threads and requires diagonal rows.

To make it easier to follow, I've colored each of the first four rows differently. It's important to note that you'll be using white thread throughout, not colored.

Additionally, I've included a visual guide for the direction of the thread on the back of the fabric, indicated by similarly colored lines for the first two rows.

As you work, remember to pull firmly on the thread to "scrunch up" the fabric threads and create small holes at the beginning and end of each stitch.

To begin the first row start with the stitches coloured blue on the diagram.

By following these instructions carefully, you can ensure that your project turns out just as intended.

Starting to do the pulled thread work - rows 1 to 3

Begin by bringing your needle up on the left side of stitch 1, then move across four fabric threads in the direction of the arrow. From there, bring your needle back up four threads lower and to the left to start stitch 2. To complete this stitch, reuse the first hole you made.

As you work, you'll notice that the thread carried behind creates diagonal lines as mentioned earlier.

To continue your stitching, bring the needle back up in position for stitch 3, following the direction of the arrows and pulling firmly. Take the thread back down in the same hole that stitch 2 came out of.

Repeat this process until you reach stitch 8, ensuring that pull firmly after each stitch.

To start the second row of your stitching project, you'll need to carry the thread diagonally from stitch 8 to stitch 9 (which is highlighted in pink on the diagram). From there, you'll continue working up the row with vertical and horizontal stitches on the front of your work and diagonal ones on the back as before.

When it's time to move on to row 3, simply follow the numbered stitches on the diagram and begin again in the same way as before.

Row 4

As you begin row 4 of your stitching project, there's a small but important difference to note.

After completing stitch 25, take a moment to turn your work over and slip your needle through the back of stitch 24. This simple step helps prevent any thread carried across the back from showing behind the hole at the end of stitch 25, ensuring a clean and neat finish.

Once you've done this, bring your needle back up in position for stitch 26 and continue on with your project as before. By taking care with these small details, you can elevate the quality of your stitching and create a truly impressive final product.

As you approach the end of the band on the right-hand side, it's important to follow the chart to ensure a clean and straight edge. By carefully following the instructions, you can achieve a polished finish that will enhance the overall look of your project. So take your time and pay close attention to the details - it will be well worth the effort in the end!

The final steps for this band

To complete the first band of your white work sampler, there's one final step: turning your work upside down and rejoining your thread behind existing stitches. This will allow you to fill in any missing stitches and square up the end of the block.

Once you've completed this step, take a moment to admire your stitching - it should look similar to the photograph below (minus any mistakes you may have made along the way). Can you spot where you went wrong?

Congratulations on completing this portion of your sampler!

The next part of your white work sampler

In our next session, we will be exploring the art of drawn thread work and simple hemstitching.

For those who may be unfamiliar with these techniques, it's important to note that they are often confused with pulled thread work. However, by completing a straightforward band using drawn thread work, you'll gain a better understanding of the differences between these methods.

So join us for our next lesson and expand your embroidery skills with this beautiful and intricate technique.

Return to top of white work embroidery sampler

Go to band 2 - drawn thread work

Go to band 3 - satin stitch border and pulled double back stitch

Go to band 4 - diamond eyelet stitch

Go to band 5 - honeycomb stitch

Go to band 6 - three sided stitch

Move on to band 7 - diagonal 4 sided stitch

Learn more about whitework embroidery

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