Indian Edging Stitch: Distortion

This is the follow up to the earlier post last week about the Indian Edging stitch that Anne Gailhbaud taught me. In SharonB‘s TSTC we have been encouraged to take a stitch and experiment with it. In Sharon’s words, “push it a little and see what possibilities it holds”.

I first began to explore the stitch without any distortion. There are a number of things that are ideal to do with it. I made a line of stitches and then off-set and layered another line over it. I mirrored a line. All of that didn’t distort the stitch or push its structural limits. And, for me, that is an important process in learning about a stitch and seeing its patterns.

I thought I might take the distortion process with the Indian edging stitch into this post and sort of talk aloud about what I think as I begin experimenting with a stitch. The Indian edging stitch seemed like an ideal stitch for this process because it has a number interesting areas that are easy to adjust.


The way I learned the stitch, it was as many threads long as high. Just varying the proportions can make a big difference in the appearance of the stitch. And affect how it will work as an edging on a piece. The negative space is as important as the positive.

tstc49ie1b1.png tstc49ie1c.png

Now simply looking at the first part of stitch…


…there are major things I could think of doing to that movement. I could make one end higher than the other. I could bring the needle up at some point other than the midpoint of its width. And does that have to be a straight line? I play the “what if…” game. I’m not sure if it’s because I like to daydream or because I like to investigate. Perhaps both.


The photo above shows moving the mid point. The first move wasn’t extreme enough for me. I liked the second move better. It is one thread from the end right edge of the first stitch. Please don’t think you have to be working on a counted thread fabric to experiment. Once some of Sharon’s classes and example helped me move into some “off grid” work many of my experiments are on a non-counted fabric.

I see a million more options the more I look at this. Sometimes I think I could write a book. But I promised myself not to make this post too long. I’ll try to say everything in photos more than words.

tstc49ie3mid.png Moving away from a straight line.

The next photos show combining some of these thoughts together. Note that I’ve used a mirror image in most of these ideas. For me, it added symmetry, but it is not necessary at all. There are nice edgings made without going to a mirror image.





What kind of edgings are now available from this one stitch? There are so many more possibilities. If you experiment with this stitch, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment and let me know. I’d love to see your work and I’m sure others would as well.

Now I’ve gone back to the original stitch and applied only one of the distortions the length and direction of the last stitch.


Thank you so much, Anne! In tomorrow’s post I will let you see some of Anne’s beautiful work where the Indian edging stitch is used in a piece rather than just in all these samples. And I will also be posting some other work she does.


4 Responses to Indian Edging Stitch: Distortion

  1. Paula says:

    I am enjoying watching your experiments – I can’t believe how different you can make one stitch look! I was wondering what type/brand of thread you use? The varigated threads are beautiful – are they perle or stranded silk/cotton? I didnt get around to commenting but I also liked your little pistil stitch world – a miniature garden !

  2. You are an adventurer in an unknown country.
    Exciting, isn’t?
    I like your urge to try and transform a stitch when we content of only doing without imagination.
    Wonderful,Elizabeth, and a good way (for our pleasure!)

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Anne, thank you so much for teaching me the Indian edging stitch. It was seeing your work that gave me a desire to learn about the stitch.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Paula, thank you for this question. I’m posting the question and my reply to to blog since others may be interested about the use of threads with this stitch. Thank you for your patience in waiting for the complete answer.

    The thread in these samples is a three ply pima cotton. It is made here by Caron. I used only one strand in these samples. It has worked well for me in this stitch. I have also used Perle 8 and 5 successfully. I haven’t experimented with smaller size threads due to the fabric I’ve been using.

    I’ve now done some tests as follows:
    I tried 100/3 silk and one strand of floss on a 40 count fabric. Both held up fine. I’m not sure but you could probably get away with a 35 count especially if the weave is fairly close. I tried four strands of cotton floss on a 28 count fabric. It looked very well. I didn’t have too much trouble keeping all the strands together and smooth although there is a lot of looped thread involved in the stitch. I can’t see any reason why these threads wouldn’t do ok with the variations as long as you adjust the fabric and size of the stitch accordingly, but I can’t guarantee.

    I hope this information helps. Please don’t hesitate to ask any follow up question. If any one is reading this who has tried some other fabric or thread combinations, please leave a comment. Thanks!

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