Sunday, April 17, 2016

What's My Dirty Little Secret? Cheater's BackStitch

Now that we've gathered all our stitching tools in our well-chosen on-the-go around town or travel totes (see last week's posts), it's time to pick out a pattern and get stitching.

If you sign up over there on the right, you will receive a free Four Season's Forest embroidery pattern. 

This is a great pattern for a beginner or a child or teen you'd like to teach. But it's also engaging enough for an experienced embroiderer who would like a create a favorite seasonal gift or the whole series of wall art for the year.

Whatever you choose, you're likely to come across a lot of patterns that call for the back stitch. I found the usual method of doing back stitch left my work rather weighty and bulky because there was so much crossing over of threads along the back. The normal method of stitching back stitch uses an awful lot of extra thread and I looked for an easier way.

Hurray! Cheater's back stitch is born!

It's so easy. I simple sew a running stitch going in one direction and then stitch backwards along the same line.

Back of the work.

 I still make one stitch at a time. I have tried just sewing a line of running stitches but it creates a different look. But when I'm in a big old hurry, it can be done.

That's my dirty little secret. Don't tell anyone.

Want more? Embroidery School is on the way! This week I'll be unveiling a series of lessons you can refer to anytime: how to choose and use embroidery supplies, stitch guides, methods of transferring patterns to fabric, washing and caring for embroidered lovelies, displaying your work. It will be a tab at the top of the page and I'll announce it in my newsletter. 

So sign up and get your free pattern and receive up-to-date info about Embroidery School! 

And if you really like this Hippo Birdie Two Ewes birthday embroidery pattern, you can get it here. Or you can order the pre-printed fabric panel ready to pop into the hoop! 

You can practice lots of cheater's back stitch in this pattern.


  1. Yahhh!!! Finally you are doing an embroidery school! Just what I wanted! Can't wait!
    Oh, and I used to do backstitch your cheater way, so if you made it up, that means that I did to totally on my own! ;) Lisa

    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one. We're innovators!

    2. To be totally honest, I did it out of complete ignorance, but hey, I'll take the innovator nametag any day! ;)

  2. Hi! Thought you might like to know that this is already a stitch, called Holbein Stitch - also known as Double Running Stitch among other names - that was originally used to make counted Blackwork embroidery patterns reversible :) I've never thought of using it in place of Back Stitch to save thread though, what a clever idea!

    1. Thank you very much! I had learned Holbein stitch the stair-step way years ago, but didn't know the name and I never thought of it again as I did the double running stitch method. I will definitely start to refer to it as more than a cheater's back stitch so folks can know they are learning a "real" stitch!