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Embroidery designs number in the thousands. Some of the more common designs include animals, such as birds, bees, butterflies, dragonflies, and ladybugs or flowers and plants like roses, ferns, ivy and leaves. Baskets of flowers are popular, along with bouquets and wreaths. Individual letters can be embroidered to monogram pillowcases, sheets or clothing. An embroidery design can be as simple as a single rose or as complex as a landscape of mountains, trees and a sunset. Other embroidery design categories include holidays, farm animals, cultural designs, patriotic, seasonal and fantasy or cartoon characters. Popular embroidery design embellishments are borders, crests, scrolls, swirls, paisley and Fleur De Lis.

There are more than one hundred different embroidery stitches that are used to create these designs. They include (but are not limited to) arrowhead stitch, backstitch, Antwerp edging, Armenian edging, basket stitch, basic cross stitch, cable chain stitch, dot stitch, double back stitch, eye stitch, feather stitch, Herringbone, loop stitch, twisted stitch, Van Dyke stitch, whipped stitch and on and on. Ribbon embroidery is a special type of embroidery done with ribbon rather than standard six-thread string. Silk ribbon or a silk/organza blend ribbon are commonly used for this type of work. There are many different designs of ribbon embroidery, such as woven rose, French knot, feather stitch, fly stitch, fly stitch fern, couching stitch, lazy daisy, looped petal flower, Japanese ribbon stitch, stem stitch rose, split stitch, and straight stitch. Ribbon embroidery is most commonly used to create floral motifs and it has a romantic or “antique” look.

There are certain special techniques used to create some embroidery designs. These include 3D Puff, appliqué, cutwork, fringe, quilting, redwork and trapunto. In addition, there are many, many “sub-categories” of embroidery, such as bargello, which is a type of counted stitch embroidery, and blackwork, which is a simple form of embroidery done on white fabric with black thread. Traditional black work is silk thread on white or off-white linen or cotton. Scarletwork is like black work, only sewn with red thread. To recap, while there are certain techniques and styles to learn, embroidery designs are virtually endless and limited only by your imagination.


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