- Plaited stitch
- Catch stitch
- Russian cross stitch
- Russian stitch
- Barred witch stitch
- Witch stitch
- Mossoul stitch
This stitch consists of a two rows of slanted, parallel stitches which cross each other near their ends.
The reverse of the stitch produces two parallel rows of what looks like running stitch. Also see the entry for closed herringbone stitch which produces two parallel rows of backstitch on the reverse. These reversible traits mean these stitches lend themselves well to shadow work.
Herringbone is much in evidence from the Elizabethan era through to the Jacobean where it was frequently used in curling foliage stems.
Across the world, it is used in Assisi embroidery, a counted thread technique from Italy; in Chefchaouen embroidery from Morocco; in Telli a metal thread embroidery from Egypt, Lebanon and Syria; by the Bedouin of Jordan, Syria, Palestine Israel, and women in the oases of western Egypt; in Rabari embroidery from northwest India and in Kashmir embroidery from Pakistan.
Draw two parallel design lines.
Bring the needle up at the left edge of the bottom design line, and take it down on the opposite line to create a diagonal stitch.
Bring the needle up a little way behind where you took it down, staying on the design line.
Take the needle diagonally across the initial stitch, as shown, then down. Your stitch should be a similar length to your first diagonal stitch.
Pull the thread through, then bring the needle up behind where you took it down. Form another diagonal stitch, as before.
Structure of stitch
Traditionally used to secure one fabric to another, if stitched evenly and neatly this stitch can provide an attractive embroidery border of filling stitch.
Identifying Herringbone stitch
Horizontal and vertical rows of stitches that run diagonally over each other, crossing each other near to the end of each stitch.
S. F. A. Caulfield, Blanche C. Saward, The Dictionary of Needlework (1882) , p.184
S. F. A. Caulfield, Blanche C. Saward, The Dictionary of Needlework (1882) , p.177
S. F. A. Caulfield, Blanche C. Saward, The Dictionary of Needlework (1882) , p.195
Mary Thomas, Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches (1934) , p.117
Kate Haxell, The Stitch Bible (2012)
Jennifer Campbell, Ann-Marie Bakewell, Guide to Embroidery Stitches (2004)
Lisa M. Klein. (2001) 'Early modern English embroideries: contexts and techniques', Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts pp.38-41. Available at: https://www.jstor.org/stable/23182820
Ada Wentworth Fitzwilliam, A. F. Morris Hands, Jacobean Embroidery: Its Forms and Fillings Including Late Tudor (1912) , p.6, p10, p12, p14, p20, p22, p26
Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, 'Assisi Embroidery', TRC Leiden (2017). Available at: https://www.trc-leiden.nl/trc-needles/regional-traditions/europe-and-north-america/embroideries/assisi-embroidery (Accessed: 25 August 2021)
Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, 'Chefchaouen Embroidery (Morocco)', TRC Leiden (2017). Available at: https://www.trc-leiden.nl/trc-needles/regional-traditions/middle-east-and-north-africa/pre-modern-middle-east-and-north-africa/chefchaouen-embroidery-morocco (Accessed: 02 September 2021)
Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, 'Telli embroidery', TRC Leiden (2017). Available at: https://www.trc-leiden.nl/trc-needles/regional-traditions/europe-and-north-america/embroideries/guimar-es-embroidery (Accessed: 02 September 2021)
John Gillow, Bryan Sentence, World Textiles - a visual guide to traditional techniques (1999) , p.182
Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, 'Rabari embroidery', TRC Leiden (2017). Available at: https://www.trc-leiden.nl/trc-needles/regional-traditions/indian-subcontinent/rabari-embroidery-india (Accessed: 20 August 2012)
Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, 'Kashmir embroidery', TRC Leiden (2017). Available at: https://trcleiden.nl/trc-needles/regional-traditions/indian-subcontinent/kashmir-embroidery (Accessed: 20 August 2012)