Elizabethan back stitch variation
This filling stitch is a variation of Elizabethan back stitch filling which gathers pairs of ladder rungs into a herringbone pattern. It is often worked around Elizabethan ladder stitch like the example shown here. A coloured passing is used here to show the filling clearly.
We are indebted to Jacqui Carey for her work in identifying this stitch in extant Elizabethan pieces, and diligent documenting of the working method. See the References sections for details of her books which describe this and many other Elizabethan stitches. N.B. the names used are descriptive names assigned by Jacqui Carey as historic records do not give us the names by which they were known.
Bring the needle up at the base of the Elizabethan ladder stitch, just below the centre of the first rung of the ladder.
Slide the needle under the first two rungs, angled towards the left, and pull through.
Throw your thread to the left and bring the needle back over the first two rungs. Slide the needle under the first three rungs angled to the right, and pull through.
Throw your thread to the right and take the needle back over the previous two rungs. Slide it under the next three rungs angled to the left and pull through.
Throw your thread to the left and bring the needle back over the first two rungs. Slide the needle under the next three rungs towards the right and pull through.
Repeat in the same manner to create the back stitch filling, which gathers the pairs of rungs in a herringbone pattern.
To finish, take the needle down through the fabric after the last two rungs have been worked.
Structure of stitch
Jacqui Carey, Elizabethan Stitches - a guide to historic English needlework (2012) , p.130-131