Stitch Along Sampler Week- Day 3

The Hand Embroidery Dictionary/ Fly and Feather Stitches

Everything embroidery bundled into one helpful how-to guide! The book breaks down 500+ stitches from the basics for beginners to more complex designs for advanced stitchers.

  • Learn how to choose tools, threads, and embellishments
  • Basic stitch guides explain accurate placement to help you achieve the perfect stitch
  • Each stitch includes a stitched sample, instructions and in most cases illustrations
  • Learn how to change the position of the stitch and use the distance between points to change the look of the stitch
  • Tips and instructions for left-handed embroiderers

There are 16 groups of stitches which include straight, outline, knotted, woven, and whipped, lazy daisy, chain, barb, blanket and buttonhole, fly, feather, fleet, cretan, cross, herringbone, capped, chevron, and embellishment stitches.

Today we are going to cover fly and feather stitches.

Fly Stitches

These individual stitches can be used as a single stitch, combined to create a border row, or added to another stitch to create a larger component.

The basic stitch is formed by coming up at point A and then, in one motion, going down at point B and coming up at point C, which catches the loop formed by points A and B. The stitch would end with a point D.

Feather Stitches

These continuous stitches can be used for a border row or to create a shape. After the stitch is formed, individual stitches can be added to the tips or around the base to create a larger design.

The basic stitch is formed by coming up at point A and then, in one motion, going down at point B and coming up at point C, which catches the loop formed by points A and B. Point C becomes point A for the following stitch. The stitch is work continuously and would end at point D.

Artists and Samplers

I asked several friends to be involved in the Stitch Along Week posts. I selected 10 stitches and broke them into 5 groups. Each participant chose one group to work with, stitching a sampler or block in any colors or fibers that they wanted to work with.

Susy Boyer, Artist, Teacher

I began creating as a young child. My mother shared her love of embroidery, crocheting, sewing and knitting with me. She put a pre-printed dresser scarf in my hands with needle and floss. All I needed to get going was a Stem stitch, Lazy Daisy and a French Knot. I can spend hours looking at Crazy Quilts and feeling a kinship with the makers. I have a wonderful husband and family, which includes four fabulous grandchildren. Passing on the gift of creating and sharing what I love is a joy of mine.

I used Pearl cotton thread, silk thread, rayon thread with the sparkle in it and wool thread. The wool is the three red roses and the green fly stitch leaves. I also used the alphabet and dragonfly templates from the Embroidery Stencils, Darling Motif Collection.

Nancy Karst, Artist

My Grandma introduced me to embroidery when I was 9. I have been a devoted needlewoman since then.  Though I have dabbled in many textile arts, quilting and embroidery are my favorites. I collect vintage textiles and sometimes incorporate them into my work.

Note: Since I am left-handed, I am thrilled that each the left-hand diagrams get equal space right next to the “righties”. I have tried new (to me) fly and feather variations and will continue to explore more. I also used two stencils from the Darling Motif Collection. The birdhouse used fly and feather stitches, that seemed appropriate. The spiderweb was fun, I know it will make an appearance in my future embroidery work.

Kathy Seaman Shaw, Artist, Author, Teacher

Kathy has six books about crazy quilting techniques available on Amazon. The most recent two, Stunning Stitches and Dazzling Diamonds are also available at C&T Publications. Marking templates to accompany her books are available at Creative She loves teaching…especially to beginner quilters. Free online courses in various techniques used in crazy quilting are offered on her blog at with registration dates throughout the year.

Thank you to each of the participants of the Stitch Along Week! Everyone created a unique piece, that reflects their own style. I am so grateful to each and every one of these artists!

Happy Stitching to you all! ~Christen

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