Back stitch and pulled fabric work

Today post shows some more pulled fabric (pulled thread) work using the back stitch. However, I’ve had interesting comments about this type of embroidery. I want to do two things in response. First, explain some of my reasons for wishing to learn pulled thread work more thoroughly this year. Second provide some on-line resources for those interested.

I decided to look into pulled thread work this year due to a couple of factors. First, it is one way to provide wonderful texture in embroidery. It also figures heavily in work for table linens. I have done some work in this area but nothing extensive. I wanted to explore the back stitch this year and it is a stitch used in pulled thread and shadow work. Next week I’m hoping to have time to do work with the double back stitch. Once I am more familiar with the basics, I plan to be taking things off grid and have a lot of fun exploring there and adding color to the mix.

Update: I just noticed a great comment from MargB at Maggie’s Textiles in regard to pulled work and texture. She says in part, I have been trying out various pulled thread stitches as they can give such effective backgrounds for emphasising negative space. So true. Many thanks to MargB for this comment!

The following on-line resources are from a quick search today and some work I did in October and November when thinking about goals for 2008. I’m not affiliated with any of the commercial sites that I point to nor am I able to endorse them not having not personally purchased anything from them.

Beth Gardner did an brief article on Pulled Thread for the Greater Pacific region of the Embroiderers’ Guild of America.

Jean Farish Heart & Home provides a nice primer on pulled thread work. She includes stitch diagrams of some of the common stitches involved in this type of work.

Introductory material and a free lesson is available at Carol’s Needlework Tips and Techniques. As I was working down the google list I found a post SharonB did in October of last year pointing to this same resource and going into a little more detail on some other techniques also on the site. Some of you might wish to swing by to see what Sharon said there.

While the work at this exhibit at Lacis Museum is not exclusively pulled work it has a wonderful display of many whitework techniques including pulled work. The slide show may be a place to spend a couple of hours or just browse through just a few of the many pieces they have. If you’re interested in the wider field of white work, the exhibit catalogue opens up in to a wonderful 12 page pdf explaining various areas and providing detailed samples. If you aren’t familiar with these techniques it will help you identify the various types of works in the exhibit itself. If you are familiar with this lace museum you might wish to check around for other things that may be of interest to you.

Samples:One thing I admire so much about the back stitch is its range of motion. This is what can be done with an over two threads stitch. Going to over three increases the range may still make a useful stitch depending on the fabric count.


The first pulled work is based on this pattern. However to make everything come out as it should be for the pulled work the diagonal stitches are repeated while stitching. On the journey back the vertical stitches are done for the second time. On the repeated rows the horizontal stitches are done the second time. For any vertical or horizontal stitch along the perimeter of the filling area, repeat while stitching.


This is the ringed back filling


The small ring back


And a small stitch pattern that I decide to try myself. It may have a name, I just don’t happen to know, unfortunately.



2 Responses to Back stitch and pulled fabric work

  1. paulahewitt says:

    Thanks for the great links. I really like your samples.

  2. madyh says:

    Hi – your exampled of pulled stitches are very timely for me. I’m incorporating some into my TIF piece for Jan. Thanks for the link to the Lacis Museum exhibit. Some of those pieces are exquisite.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: