Parallel running stitch

Parallel running stitch

Parallel running stitch, also known as Fairy lights stitch, is a decorative variation of the Running stitch. This embroidery stitch is made in two steps. First, we embroider two parallel rows of a simple running stitch. The stitches in the rows are placed one under the other. The second step is lacing other threads through the parallel running stitches. Finally, we lace an embroidery floss through the two rows of running stitches to form a decorative motive.

Applications of the Parallel running stitch

The Fairy lights stitch would look great in border designs, as a decorative motive on the seams, or in quilting. You can combine this stitch with other decorative stitches or make a couple of rows of this stitch in different colors.

We can use the same color both for running stitches and for lacing. On the other hand, we can combine up to three different colors in this stitch. Besides that, you can add beads to this stitch and make it even more original.

Embroidery tips:

  • Make all the running stitches the same length so the final ornament is symmetric and fluid.
  • Different sizes of the running stitches will create different patterns – play with them.
  • Use a blunt needle, like a tapestry needle (or the back of the needle), for lacing. Be careful not to snag the running stitch or the fabric under and not to hurt your fingers if you use the eye of a regular embroidery needle.

More variations of the Running stitch:

Video tutorial

If you are a visual learner, watch a video tutorial below or on the Practical Embroidery YouTube channel.

YouTube player

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Looking for some other stitch? Head to this blog’s Stitches and Techniques page and choose the stitch you want to learn!

N.B. Some links may take you to the Easy To Make Designs blog. This is my older hand embroidery blog. While I’m dedicating all of my energy to the Practical Embroidery blog, the previous version still has a lot of great content!