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How-To: Filling with Long and Short Stitches

by Jenny Hart


Want to fill in an area with stitches? This looks extremely fancy and difficult, but it's so easy any beginner can do it!

(Think I had to keep changing colors a million times? Nope! I'm using a variegated floss that changes from light to dark and back again along the strand.)

Here's everything I'm using: Butterfly Garden Embroidery PatternsPink Embroidery HoopMy Favorite NeedlesTaffy Pull Variegated Floss • Most Awesome Tea Towels
Let's start! Your first row will be alternating long and short stitches. Just like you see here:

Only the first row will be both long and short stitches. When you move to the next row, you'll only make long stitches to interlock with with each open space (making more open notches for your next row after that). Get it? Keep on building rows of stitches until you've filled up the whole area!

It's like a brick pattern -but don't worry about it being perfectly perfect. Let it wander a bit, and you might even find that you need two stitches to fill in a notch. That's okay. We're not worried about it being absolutely perfect. You can worry about refining your technique after you get the hang of it first. Here's how mine looks all stitched up:

This is totally 1978 denim jacket chic! But not so fast! I have some tips for working with the variegated floss.

First, you can stitch however your heart desires, and you should play around and experiment! But here is how I got the consistent rainbow effect:

THE FLAMING EFFECT • So, if you think about it, the end of your floss (the tail farthest away from the needle) will be the first stitches to appear on your fabric. Right? You'll pull your needle all the way through until you reach the end of the length and then begin stitching. And as you stitch and stitch and use up the length, the floss nearest your needle will become your final stitches.

Because we're using variegated floss, I cut the length where the color was darkest and then cut where it was lightest. Then, I loaded my needle with the darkest section at the tail end, so that each section of color would go from dark to light. If you want to make the light section of a color go on longer, but you need a new length of floss, just be sure to cut the floss where it is lightest, and begin stitching with that at the tail end.

Make sense? This way, each color faded as I stitched with it, and I got this nice "flaming" rainbow effect!
It can also look like this without any planning at all:

Like these patterns? You can find them right here: Moominland Embroidery Patterns.

Show me your stitching! Post work you do with Sublime Stitching patterns to me on instagram @sublimestitching and tag it #sublimestitching


 Text, photos, diagrams and instructions by Jenny Hart ♥ © 2002 - 2015 Sublime Stitching ®. 
No part of this tutorial may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from its author. 
Man, I hate having to say that.