Backstitching Embroidery Tutorial

About a year and a half ago, I figured out how to do hand embroidery and I have been selling "framed stitcheries" in my etsy shop.  A friend of mine asked me to teach her, so I snapped some pictures of a piece I am working on that will look the the one above when I am all done.  (If you find that my pictures are not phenomenal, I am blaming most of it on the dreary weather.  The rest I blame on rushing through it to get back to a cranky, teething baby.)
~embroidery hoop
~warm'n'natural batting
~DMC floss
~embroidery needle
Step 1:
I always trace my design by holding my paper and fabric up against a (clean) window so that I can see through the fabric to the design on the paper underneath.  You can also tape them on if it is something more detailed or you can't hold it still.
I use batting underneath my fabric when I can to give it more stability and so that you can't see the threads behind it.  Then I put them together and place it in an embroidery hoop.
For the floss, I separate out 2 strands (it comes in 6 strands twisted together if you but the little 35-cent DMC floss at your local craft store).  Then I just thread it through the needle and knot the end. 
Now you are ready to go!

Step 2:
This one was already started, so ignore the "bel" there. 
Poke your needle up through where you want to start.

Step 3:
To begin... JUST this time... take a regular stitch.

Step 4:
Pull that through all the way and then comes the tricky part.  Poke the needle back up through about the same distance ahead as your first stitch.  You want to keep them as even and as close in size as possible.  There will be a little gap between where you are pulling the thread back up and the first stitch.

Step 5:
Now, put the needle back in at the end of the first stitch you took.EXACTLY at the end of that stitch or else you will have gaps and it won't look as nice.

Step 6:
Pull the thread all the way through, and then come back up again a stitch-width in front of the one you just did.  Just keep going backwards like this, keep the stitches as close in size as you can, and don't leave gaps between your stitches.  Pretty easy once you get the hang of it!

I have also been using this technique to hand embroider Easter basket liners.  I love the way this one turned out (she chose great colors). 

I hope you found this tutorial at least a little helpful.  Now I have to get back to weaving.  Hippity hoppity, Easter's on its way!

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