The Outline Stitch
and the Stem Stitch
are commonly used in smocking for borders or horizontal
lines. The needle should be inserted 1/4 - 1/3 of the
way into the pleat, directly on the stitching line (often
a pleating row). Pull the stitch to the left until the
stitch tension matches that of the other stitches. It
is important that the needle be inserted into the pleat
horizontally; the apparent slant of the stitch comes from
the end of one stitch pushing the center of the previous
stitch up a little, not from any angling of the needle.
This stitch has the advantage over the Cable Stitch in
that it does not bunch the pleats in pairs. However, it
does tend to distort the fabric (stretching your pleated
piece along the diagonal) if pulled too tightly.
Whereas in embroidery, it does not really matter if the
stitch is called Outline
or Stem, SAGA's Stitch
, the guide for its Artisan program, does make
the distinction. If you are smocking your Artisan Sampler,
be careful not to switch the two stitches, or your sampler
will not pass.