- Basting stitch
Equally sized straight surface stitches spaced at regular intervals to produce a simple line.
Running stitch has many uses, such as gathering, quilting, outlining, reinforcement for cutwork as well as the base for other stitches.
Basting stitch is a specific type of temporary running stitch used to hold two pieces of fabric together or to indicate an outline. The stitches are normally longer than for running stitch so that they are more easily removed, sometimes the stitches on the surface are longer than those underneath.
Running stitch has been employed as a decorative stitch across the world for centuries: in 5th century Egypt; in Buratto evenweave embroidery in 16th century Europe; Kantha in Bangladesh and eastern Indian (dating from at least the 16th century); Sashiko in Japan (dating from slightly later); Huckaback embroidery in 17th century Europe; and Kashmir embroidery in (probably) 19th century northern India.
Some of these traditions (particularly Sashiko and Kantha) blur the line between embroidery and quilting as they normally use multiple layers of cloth, and the running stitch has a dual purpose of holding the layers together and a decorative function.
N.B. some older embroidery books refer to ‘running a thread’ - this normally means to work a line of running stitch.
Decide on the length of your first stitch then bring your needle up estimating the same stitch length for the gap.
Structure of stitch
Identifying Running stitch
Straight equally sized and spaced stitches.
Mary Thomas, Jan Eaton, Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches (Revised Edition) (1989) , p.12
Jacqui McDonald, RSN Essential Stitch Guides: Crewelwork (2010)
Sarah Homfray, RSN Essential Stitch Guides: Silk Shading (2011)
Various Authors, The Royal School of Needlework Book of Embroidery (2018)
Jennifer Campbell, Ann-Marie Bakewell, Guide to Embroidery Stitches (2004) , p.47
Sarah Whittle, The Needlecraft Stitch Directory (2012) , p.94
Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, 'Deir Abu Metta (Egypt)', TRC Leiden (2017). Available at: https://trcleiden.nl/trc-needles/regional-traditions/middle-east-and-north-africa/ancient-middle-east-and-north-africa/deir-abu-metta-egypt (Accessed: 25 August 2021)
Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, 'Buratto embroidery', TRC Leiden (2017). Available at: https://www.trc-leiden.nl/trc-needles/regional-traditions/europe-and-north-america/embroideries/buratto-embroidery (Accessed: 25 August 2021)
Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, 'Sashiko', TRC Leiden (2017). Available at: https://trcleiden.nl/trc-needles/regional-traditions/east-asia/japan/sashiko (Accessed: 25 August 2021)
John Gillow, Bryan Sentence, World Textiles - a visual guide to traditional techniques (1999) , p.172
Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, 'Kantha work', TRC Leiden (2017). Available at: https://www.trc-leiden.nl/trc-needles/regional-traditions/indian-subcontinent/kantha-work (Accessed: 25 August 2021)
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)
Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, 'Darned huckaback', TRC Leiden (2017). Available at: https://www.trc-leiden.nl/trc-needles/regional-traditions/europe-and-north-america/embroideries/darned-huckaback (Accessed: 25 August 2021)