Indian Edging Stitch: Variation

Just before I get started with the Indian edging stitch I wanted to alert those who may be interested to a great post by Kay Susan at S’mockery. It is an article concerning Constance Howard and featuring two of her books. Kay Susan kindly undertook writing this and doing some helpful photographs in part because of my question in yesterday’s post about Constance Howard. Naturally, my question about her arose after reading the wonderful introduction to her work that SharonB had done earlier this week.

I know that many may have seen Kay Susan’s post at her blog yesterday, but if not, may have also missed the update to my post yesterday because of the time differences. Many thanks to Kay Susan for doing that post. And while there, please do look at her own exciting needlework, if you are not already familiar with it.

Now on to the Indian edging stitch that Anne Gailhbaud taught me. I though you might like to see Anne’s embroidery where I saw first saw this stitch in use. It runs along the lower edge of this piece. Isn’t it a cheerful border? No wonder I began to ask Anne more about it. Many thanks Anne, for sending this embroidery and teaching me.


I may mean something different by that word the word “variation” than commonly defined. In one of the previous posts in the series, I used the word “distortion” to mean exaggeration of some part of the stitch. In this post I am using “variation” to mean a change to the stitch pattern itself.

A variation might include leaving out none essential steps, putting a twist in the loop of a stitch or adding a new step and so forth. These are not something I’ve come to think of as distortion but variation. However, as in distortion, I may have used a change in normal placement of some part of the stitch. Just as a quick reference for what follows here is a formal Indian edging row.


In one of samples from an earlier post, Pattern and Embellishment, I did add and extra stitch fly stitch to the steps of the Indian edging stitch to make this variation below. So to me this is distortion and variation combined.


But yesterday and some days prior, I was thinking much more along the lines of minimization. In the sample below on the left, I was thinking about making a twist in the top stitch and eliminating step two and making step three do the work of both. Not too, attractive, but the idea caught my eye. The right stitch shows the second step in variation or perhaps modification is a better word. I’ll pick up what happened to the variation on the left a bit later.


This second variation looked familiar to me and I thought I’ve gone too far in reducing the stitch to its essence. Indeed, later research showed that in simplifying the stitch I wandered over into another called tete de Boeuf or Bull’s head stitch. Rissa of Rissa’s Pieces Pretty Impressive Stuff documents the stitch in a diagram here. However, if you look at this version of that stitch from Classic Stitches there is a decided difference. As Rissa mentions she has seen various versions of this stitch.

I went back to the stitch on the left in the tan sample and came up with this variation using the twist at the top and the curved bottom from the right sample. Then with detached chain stitches added into the stitch pattern, I was happier with this variation.


I was feeling both excited and puzzled about these experiments. I kept right on stitching and playing.

I started doing these mirror images of the tete de Boeuf stitch not knowing what it was called at the time, of course. But I began working them vertically instead of horizontally. And by this means, back right into another stitch with this variation below.


This looked like a modified queen stitch also know as the rococo stitch. I tried a queen stitch using a detached chain stitch instead of a straight stitch to catch it. Here’s the sample with a couple of other variations on the theme.

iesvarqueenstitch.png iesvarqueen2sm.png iesvarmodifqueen.png
That’s not the end of my attempts to work with the Indian edging stitch. I went back to the beginning and tried some more variations. I hope to post at least two more of those within a few days.


One Response to Indian Edging Stitch: Variation

  1. Very , very interesting!!!!
    I shall go again to study these variations and sttiches.Ii Like the detached chain stitch added in blue. Wonderful!!thanks to experiment , opening our eyes and minds, and giving ideas!!!

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