This quick and easy  embroidery stitch is a variation of chain stitch.  It gives a ladder-like effect, it is also known as Roman chain or square chain stitch, ladder stitch, small writing (when the stitches are narrow) and big writing (when the stitches are wide).

Open chain stitch can be worked to give either an open or closed effect, to do it you can simply adjusting the spacing between parallel lines to make a heavy outline and can couch down cards, narrow embroidery thread or ribbons. This stitch is also suitable for filling narrow shapes of graduated widths, or it can be worked solidly row upon row to fill a larger area. It is essential that the line should be of an even width and guidelines may need to be marked in a straight line if the fabric threads cannot be counted.

When this stitch is spaced so that the ground fabric shows through, the space in the centre of each chain stitch can be decorated with an isolated stitch, such as a Chinese knot. Running stitch or chain stitch can be worked down the centre of each row in a contrasting colour or a different weight of embroidery thread.

Opern chain stitch worked closely together to make a solid line with no gound fabric showing through is characteristic of both Indian and Eastern European embroidery, particularly that of Hungary and Yugoslavia.

This stitch is shown worked on two parallel lines, but it may be used for shapes which vary in width.

  1. Bring the thread through at (A) and, holding the thread through at (C), the required depth of the stitch.
  2. Leave the loop thus formed slightly loose. Insert the needle at (D) and, with the thread under the needle point, bring it through in readiness for the next stitch.
  3. Secure the last loop with a small stitch at each side.

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