- Seed stitch
- Speckling stitch
- Isolated back stitch
Small straight stitches are worked in random directions for this stitch, giving the appearance of scattered seeds.
Varying the density of stitches you work over the area can produce effective shading - the more stitches, the darker the area. Working in parallel pairs makes the stitches easier to see from a distance which is perfect for larger scale embroideries.
Seeding stitch was one of those used by the ancient Egyptians and has featured in many embroidery traditions since then: a 16th century sampler, a mid 17th century embroidery picture of Charles I and Charles II (both pieces held by the Victoria and Albert Museum); 18th century crewel New England bed curtains all feature seeding stitch.
Seeding also features in Rabat embroidery, a technique dating back to 17th century Morocco, and Guimaraes embroidery, a 19th century technique from northern Portugal, and Rice embroidery a whitework tradition popular in north America and western Europe.
Working stitches in random directions, fill the area by making tiny straight stitches, each approximately 1 to 2mm long.
Pack the stitches closely together for a dense appearance.
Spread the stitches further away from each other to create lighter shading.
Identifying Seeding stitch
Small, single isolated stitches either found in parallel pairs or randomly stitched in different directions within a shape to form a detached but effective shading and filling effect.
Mary Thomas, Jan Eaton, Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches (Revised Edition) (1989) , p.89
Jacqui McDonald, RSN Essential Stitch Guides: Crewelwork (2010)
Kate Haxell, The Stitch Bible (2012) , p.101
Anchor Embroidery, 100 Embroidery Stitches
'Jane Bostocke sampler', Victoria and Albert Museum (2000). Available at: https://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O46183/sampler-jane-bostocke/ (Accessed: 26 August 2021)
Willem Vogelsang, 'Charles I and Charles II embroidered picture', TRC Leiden (2017). Available at: https://www.trc-leiden.nl/trc-needles/individual-textiles-and-textile-types/secular-representations/charles-i-and-charles-ii (Accessed: 07 September 2021)
Gertrude Townsend. (1942) 'A Set of Eighteenth Century Embroidered Bed Curtains', Bulletin of the Museum of Fine Arts pp.111-115. Available at: https://www.jstor.org/stable/4170862
Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, 'Rabat 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/rabat-embroidery-morocco (Accessed: 20 August 2012)
Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, 'Guimarães Embroidery', (2016). Available at: https://www.trc-leiden.nl/trc-needles/regional-traditions/europe-and-north-america/embroideries/guimar-es-embroidery (Accessed: 12 August 2021)
Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, 'Rice embroidery', JSTOR (2017). Available at: https://www.trc-leiden.nl/trc-needles/regional-traditions/europe-and-north-america/embroideries/rice-embroidery (Accessed: 07 September 2021)