Sunday, July 17, 2022

The Laced Back Stitch: an ideal stitch for lettering

I recently studied laced stitches in a workshop with Susan Brandeis: the laced running stitch, laced chain stitch, and (my new favorite hand embroidery stitch) the laced backstitch. 

Circle Sampler: laced running stitch circle surrounded with French knots.

Stitched Typography

The laced back stitch came in very handy for documenting a day range on each of the stitched scrolls from my 100 Days of Slow Stitching with Found Objects project.

Documenting the day range on each scroll with the laced back stitch.

The letters and numbers were stitched on each scroll using the back stitch. Then, a second thread was woven or laced through those stitches. The laced thread lays on the surface of the work and is kept in place by the initial back stitches.  

My "stitched typography" was perfected by this lacing (weaving) technique. The photo below shows “before” and “after” lacing. See how the letters are smoother, more cohesive, and more readable? They are also slightly bolder because of the additional thread. The letters now appear more "finished."

Back stitch (top) and laced back stitch (below).

Even as an afterthought, if you decide you want a laced stitch, you can easily go back and do it on existing work.

Vintage Stitch Dictionaries

Two of my vintage stitch dictionaries provide variations on laced stitches. These stitches are also referred to as "threaded" stitches and "whipped" stitches. Whatever the terminology, they are fun and easy stitches to accomplish.

From Needlework Stitches by Barbara Snook.

From Handbook of Stitches by Grete Petersen and Elsie Svennås.

Laced stitch variations

The lacing technique has all kinds of exciting options! Experiment with lacing a contrasting color of thread, multiple threads, decorative yarns, silk ribbon, fabric slivers, weaving in different directions, or incorporate other embellishments.

A running stitch laced with a stand of sock yarn. 
The tension of the laced yarn varies to provide dimension and interest.

Try them all!

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