Embroidery has been around as long as people have been able to make fabric. The earliest example of embroidery was discovered in an archaeological site that was dated to 30,000 BC during the Cro-Magnon era. The fossilized remains were of heavily hand-stitched and decorated clothing, boots and a hat. Even early man recognized the ability to embellish and brand.

Embroidery is a specialized handicraft and complex to simple way to decorate fabric, leather, canvas. It is applied by the use of needle or serious of needles manipulating various kinds of materials like yarn or thread are used. Yarn and thread are the most common, but pearls shells and gems have also been used. The thread can have a matte quality or a shiny, and shimmery quality.

Intricate Chinese silk thread embroidery originated in 3500 B.C. and incorporated the ability to create pictures depicting animal like dragons and horses and objects like towers and clouds. This kind embroidery of clothing incorporated with silk thread as well as other elements like gems and pearls.

There are many different kinds of embroidery stitches that can be employed to create these embellishments.

There are a number of different kinds and techniques of embroidery and within those dynamics individual and unique stitches. Whether the stitches are counted and structured or the more loose and delicate free these basic embroidery stitches are the building blocks of all needlework. Freestyle embroidery is stabilized with a hoop or frame.

There are many different structures of embroidery that include:

  • Surface Embroidery
  • Cross Stitches
  • Knotted
  • Straight
  • Pulled work
  • Needlepoint
  • Hardanger
  • Needlelace

A few specific examples of surface embroidery are:

  • Blanket stitch is one of the most basic stitches. Originally used to bind off blankets, it has become a staple in decorative stitching and gives flowers a delightful look
  • Cable chain stitch appears to resemble a length of chain links. This is one of those stitches that looks complicated, but is fairly easy and gives a solid look or sometimes an airy feel to the decoration.
  • Chain stitch is one of the earliest stitches dating back thousands of years. It is one of the basic embroidery stitches and has many subtle variations and has been used all over the globe.
  • Chevron stitch is another basic stuck that creates a fishnet look by linking many stitches together in a pattern.
  • Satin stitch is the standard for filling a large area, it’s raised look gives a sheen to even the most matte of thread, and it is smooth and lovely in its grace of color.
  • Coral Knot stitch is worked in rows rather than individual stitches. It gives a textured and intriguing look to the surface and can fill an area with contrast not only in the texture but how the light glints and gives a subtle color variation. Giving a contrast to the smoother satin stitch.

Embroidery can embellish and in the case of some of the hardanger stitches link various kinds of fabric. The art of embellishment can be simple, or quite ornate and complex.