Stem Stitch

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Stem Stitch is an effective way of outlining shapes when you want a stronger line than a back stitch creates, but don’t want the texture of a chain stitch. It can be worked as a nearly straight line by keeping the needle close to parallel with the intended path, or it can be rendered wider by stitching at a steeper angle to the intended path, as shown on the right. You can also gradually vary the width from wide to narrow or vice versa, which is particularly nice when using it to make stems or stitch text in a calligraphic style. This stitch is sometimes called “outline stitch,” particularly when worked in a narrow style.