This year I want to take some time and explore some stitches more slowly than was possible for me while participating in SharonB‘s TSTC. One of them is the back stitch. If you’re not familiar with it by that name, perhaps you know it as the point de sable. It is a stitch that I often use in black work. I use it for making borders and for finishing work on small items. It is a principle stitch in pulled work that I want to begin this year. Although I’ve used the back stitch for years, I’ve never put it to the test to see what it could do.
I’m sure that most of you will be familiar with this stitch. If you’d like a step by step SharonB’s Stitch dictionary has the back stitch along with beautiful samples. Actually, I think that they are worth looking at even if you know how to do the stitch. Rissa at Pretty Impressive Stuff has stitch diagrams on the beaded double back stitch. And as Rissa mentions the double back stitch used in shadow work.
Here are some of my beginning samples. One of my favorite things about this stitch is the mark it makes on the back of the fabric. This is a plus when making table napkins, bookmarks or other items where the back will frequently be in view.
The simplest straight back stitch line and its corner front is pictured below. Bsside them, to the right, the back stitch sample is whipped. I think this smooths and thickens the line. As Sharon mentions in her stitch dictionary says this stitch stands off the fabric more than a double running stitch. There are advantages and disadvantages to every stitch. The back stitch can eat up a lot of thread. However, I like it when using a over-dyed thread with a significant contrast level.
A straight double back stitch. A herringbone pattern will form on the back of the fabric. My photograph today turned out blurry. I’ll retake it tomorrow and put it in my post tomorrow. To the right, is a threaded sample.
When the double back stitch is done close together and whipped it may function as one line rather than two.
You many notice in this sample above the double back stitch is staggered and that leaves a nice braided look on the back. See the samples below.
The sample above is double, whipped but not staggered.