Couched herringbone stitch
- Tied herringbone stitch
- Tacked herringbone stitch
This version of herringbone stitch has small horizontal couching stitches where the herringbone stitches cross. Its alternative name of tacked herringbone stitch is sometimes used for a version where the couching stitches are vertical rather than horizontal. It is also sometimes known as tied herringbone stitch, although the sources we have used indicate that this name is used for a subtly different version (the second thread in tied herringbone covers more of the original stitching).
Couched herringbone stitch was evidently in use during the 17th century as it features on an English embroidered biblical picture of the creation currently held by the Art Institute of Chicago. The couching stitches on this piece are horizontal, rather than the vertical direction which is currently accepted as standard.
Work a row of ordinary herringbone stitch.
Use a different colour for the second thread. Come up just below the intersection of the herringbone stitch, and go down just above the intersection.
Bring the needle up at the next intersection of the herringbone stitch, and take the needle down just above the intersection.
Continue couching down the intersections of herringbone stitch.
A complete couched herringbone stitch.
Structure of stitch
Betty Barnden, The Embroidery Stitch Bible (2003) , p.75
Sarah Whittle, The Needlecraft Stitch Directory (2012) , p.126
'17th century Creation picture', Art Institute of Chicago. Available at: https://www.artic.edu/artworks/109312/picture-depicting-the-creation (Accessed: 19 July 2022)