Twinchies Stitch Along 2021

Twinchies - Stitch Along for 2021 - TAKE ONE STITCH

Farewell to the TWINCHIES

We’ve really enjoyed working on and sharing Twinchies for the past six months, successfully

exploring variations of several stitches.

As lockdown comes to an end, it’s time to move on and prepare for our September project,

details of which will be published in August’s newsletter. But it will involve using the six

twitchie stitches we’ve looked at.

We would like to thank those you who were kind enough to share your Twinchies which

helped inspire others as well as demonstrate what a versatile group we are. Also special

thanks to Jenny for organising and Pam and Margery for the informative demonstrations.

Please continue sending in pictures of your examples for Janet to put in our newsletter and

maybe carry on doing some more of your own.

To recap, these are the six stitches and their variations which we have been exploring:

  1. February: Herringbone

  2. March: French knots

  3. April: chain stitch

  4. May: fly stitch

  5. June: straight stitch

  6. July: Blanket and Buttonhole stitches

A New stitch was released on the 1st of each Month (up to and including July 2021)

Many of us are getting less exercise than usual; others are out walking every day. Well this

is a different sort of exercise, but still good for us. It would be nice if we could have a challenge every month, to stretch (a good exercise word) our thoughts on a variety of stitches. The idea is not to be too ambitious but to explore a stitch, making a twinchie (a 2” square of fabric). Send your pictures to Janet, they will be included in the Newsletter and to be published on this page. You can do as many as you like.

Jenny mentions Mary Thomas’ Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches as a good source of stitch instructions, most people will have their favourites but if you need help there are many books that provide excellent guidance including: - The Left / Right Handed Embroiderers’ Companion - Yvette Stanton The Embroidery Stitch Bible – Betty Barndon Embroidery Stitches – Mary Webb Also there are many demonstration videos online including – the Embroiderers’ Guild website Cathy Reavy’s Stitch Wheel .

Just Google the stitch you want to practice.



Blanket stitch (pictures coming soon)

Summer has arrived. It’s lovely to sit in the garden sewing, or pack some sewing, knitting, crochet or other small craft to do whilst away on a break or a long-awaited holiday.

What better time to enjoy making a twinchie, it won’t take up much space in your suitcase.

Blanket Stitch isn't just for blankets, this stitch was traditionally used for reinforcing the edge of thick materials. It’s also seen in patchwork, darning and for decoration, such as figurative borders and I’ve used blanket stitch for attaching appliqué.

Blanket stitch can be large or small, or any size in between, often at the same time, producing a wave effect. Stitches can be worked close together, far apart, they can be crossed over, worked on a slant. They’re attractive made into groups of flower stems, with a French knot or three at the top of each one.

Semi-circular shapes opposite each other can make circles, and if elongated may make fine leaves. Rows opposite each other can look like ladders.

Buttonhole stitch, on the other hand, produces a sturdier stitch, incorporating a knot in each stitch.

These examples below were kindly provided by Margery.


Running Stitch

Our fist piece of needlework at school, when I was eight, was a tray cloth with double rows of running stitch going across each way, colours of our choice, and in the squares made in each corner we placed a penny, drew around it, and sewed a back stitch circle. Did you make something similar?

The second piece of needlework I remember making at school, aged about nine, was a needlework bag. It comprised a long piece of blue evenweave fabric, folded into three. On it we practised several stitches, including cross stitch, whipped straight stitch, some hardanger, with overcast (or whip stitch) stitch holding the sides together. See photo the below.

Straight stitch is where the needle is inserted vertically whereas in Running Stitch the needle is used horizontally. But the effect is pretty similar.

There are so many variations of this simple stitch:

In rows, like in the technique of Boro.

Vertically, like pillars. Three of these can be gathered, forming Sheaf Stitch.

Randomly, as in Seed Stitch, which can be very effective as a filling stitch, scattering the stitches and varying the density of the stitch or the thread used.

Whipped, as in the needlework bag above.

Rhodes Stitch is another variation.

Please send in your Twinchies so we can see the variety which can be made using similar stitches.


The challenge for May will be FLY STITCH

The idea is not to be too ambitious but make a twinchie (2” square of fabric) to

explore the possibilities. Along with Herringbone Stitch, Fly Stitch is one of my favourites, although I’m sure more

favourites will be discovered during the course of making these Twinchies.

Fly Stitch is also knows as Open Loop Stitch, and (understandably) Y-Stitch, due to its shape. It can be thought of as a sort of

open Detached Chain Stitch, so follows on logically from last month’s Twinchie suggestion.

This stitch can have short tails, long tails, the stitches can be superimposed on each other to give a 3D effect. Horizontal rows of Fly Stitch can make a beautiful trellis pattern, whereas vertical rows, Flowing Fly Stitch, can look like some sort of greenery.

This month I’ve been looking at The Complete Stitch Encyclopedia by Jan Eaton.

Here are a few variations:-

  • Closed

  • Crossed

  • Double

  • Filling

  • Flowing

  • Plaited

  • Reversed

  • Whipped

  • Whipped attached

Here are some examples created by Margery to inspire you.


The challenge for APRIL will be CHAIN STITCH

April’s Twinchie (2” x 2”) challenge is to explore the many facets of Chain Stitch. There seem to be more variations of this stitch than you could shake a stick at; in fact we could probably spend the whole year of Twinchies having a go at these.

Many years ago, on a trip up to Derby, in Normanton I bought a man’s outfit for a function down in Cornwall. This picture illustrates some of the tambour work decoration which is seen on the edges of the garments. The outfit consists of a pair of rather large cream trousers, or salwar, with a 96” waist (one size fits all) with a string waist tie, very long cream shirt (kurta), with a long black waistcoat over, and a black scarf (dupatta).

There are some fascinating videos and websites showing highly skilled workers applying beads using a tambour, demonstrations and information on the technique online.

Below: detail from one of the man's garment Jenny mentioned above showing chain stitch used as an outline for other stitching.

Some of the many types of chain stitch:-

  • Broad CS (aka reverse CS),

  • Bullion CS,

  • Chequered CS (aka magic CS), Crested CS,

  • Detached CS (aka Lazy Daisy),

  • Tail CS,

  • Double CS,

  • Feathered CS,

  • Heavy CS,

  • Knotted CS,

  • Open CS (aka Square CS and Ladder CS),

  • Petal CS,

  • Raised Chain Band

  • Rosette CS

  • aka Bead Edging Stitch), Sinhalese CS,

  • Threaded CS,

  • Twisted C (aka Snail Trail),

  • Vandyke CS (aka Zigzag CS,)

  • Whipped CS.

And, there are even more.

Pam will be talking about some of these variations after our speaker at the April monthly meeting on Saturday 10 April.

Click here for an interesting site giving many types of chain stitch.

See a video by Anne Brooks, last month’s speaker, called Anne’s Favourite Stitches click here.



The stitch for us to explore this month is French Knots, on a twinchie (a 2” square of fabric).

I hope you enjoyed the February exercise of herringbone stitch and were able to send in your masterpieces (as I call the granddaughter’s paintings).

French Knots are also known as French Dot, Knotted Stitch or Twisted Knot Stitch. These have many purposes, often being used to add texture to a piece of work.

They can be sewn in groups to give shading, or scattered for a lighter effect. They can be used for flower middles, or anywhere a single dot is required. They can even be sewn in rows for an unusual border or to make lettering.

The secret to this stitch is a fine needle and good tension – and, from my experience, lots of practice. You can make interesting effects by threading more than one colour onto the needle, or using space dyed thread.

You can use any fabric and any thread(s) to explore the possibilities. It’s probably easier to mark out a 2” square on a larger piece of fabric, and then cut out your twinchie when you’ve finished, as it’ll be easier to work with.

A short demonstration by Pam Keeling is planned for shortly before lunch at the March (Zoom) monthly meeting.Pam will talk and demonstrate the hows, why’s and wherefores of achieving a ‘good’ French Knot with or without a frame. If time allows she might even cover Colonial Knots, Pekin Knots and BullionKnots!

Some people get tied up in French knots, others have no trouble at all. I hope that you fall into the latter category and will enjoy this exercise. But if you don’t, and struggle with these, or any other stitches, then please ask as I have found that, with Derbyshire Embroiderers Guild, there’s always someone happy to help.

Here are some examples of French Knots and variations.


Herringbone stitch has always interested me as there can be so much variety. I have in my possession Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches, given by my Aunt (now 90) to my Granma, in 1950. In this book, Mary Thomas gives examples of seven types of Herringbone Stitch, and that’s only the conventional methods of sewing this stitch, but let your imagination run riot.

Try making your stitches longer, shorter, wider, tinier, work using different threads; stitch rows, circles, wavy lines, even put one group of stitches nearly on top of the other, This could give the impression of grass/trees, show perspective. Herringbone stitch is also often used to attach appliqué.

Here are some examples submitted by Eve and Jenny B