Stitch Along Sampler Week- Day 4

The Hand Embroidery Dictionary/ Fleet and Cretan 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 fleet and cretan stitches.

Fleet 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.

Cretan 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.

Patti Culea, Artist, Author, Teacher,

Being raised on a farm in central Illinois where we had long, cold winters helped me learn many fiber art techniques.  My great grandmothers were my teachers as my grandmothers and my mother were busy in the kitchen, or the barn, or the chicken coops. 

My dad’s grandmother was born and raised in England and she was a master at embroidery, knitting, quilting.  Grandma Davies taught me hand embroidery.  I first started with dish towels embroidering Monday, Wash Day, Tuesday, Ironing, etc.  I moved from those to pillowcases and eventually more detailed items – handkerchiefs and clothing.  My other great grandmother – Grandma Dunnigan – was a wonderful bead artist and she taught me both loom and off loom beading, plus some bead embroidery.

Fast forward to the 1990’s where I first met Christen at a quilt shop in Poway, California.  I took all of her classes on fabric collage and embroidery.  Christen’s embroidery was bright, colorful, more innovative than what I had learned growing up. Being a cloth doll designer and teacher I use a lot of embroidery on my dolls.  After learning the Fleet Stitch from Christen’s book I can’t wait to create a new doll using this stitch.  Thank you Christen for introducing me to this fabulous stitch. 

  • Front: The embroidery stitches were worked in the fleet stitch and cretan stitch overlayed. I also used the Embroidery Stencils, Darling Motif Collection, the dress, scissors, and hanger which are outlined in the fleet stitch. The hexis are outlined in fleet stitch, with a six-petal flower in the center with French knot details.
  • Back from left to right: reverse fleet stitch, cretan stitch overlaid, reverse fleet stitch, cretan stitch with fleet stitch, fleet stitch. The hexi’s were attached with Fleet stitch.

Lynn Woll, Artist, Founder and CEO Create Whimsy

I am a creator. I grew up with our mother always stitching, sewing, knitting, crocheting — or finding projects to keep her hands and her girls busy. Our father was a wood worker and engineer — always tinkering with something. Their influence has led me to a life of stitching, making and building my life in both tangible and intangible ways.

I used the fleet stitch, fleet stitch long arm, fleet stitch offset, snowflake stitch, cretan stitch 4-row, cretan stitch 3-row, and French knot stitches in my sampler.

Christen Brown, Artist, Author, Teacher

I used a variety of fleet and cretan stitches with French knot and straight stitch details. The stitches are worked in perle cotton #8, #12, and #70 tatting cotton. The threads were from Fiber on a Whim, Caron Collection, Presencia, Anchor, and DMC.

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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