Inside – Outside
There is something we want to hide most of the time – the reverse side or inside of our works! Many an hour we spend on the surface, we want it to look pretty and neat. What does the inside of our work say about us? Every craftsperson has their own way of finishing off their work. Isn’t the reverse side of an embroidery piece an artists signature, too? Some make knots, some are not, some do draw huge lines by jumping from one end to the other, some finish off their thread every time, some just leave their threads hanging, some knot them together. The back of a handcrafted piece can be as interesting as the front and differs so much from person to person.
Some embroidery stitches create a new kind of stitch on the back side. Chain stitch appears as back stitch, so does stem stitch. The most famous front-back relation in knitting is the knit and purl stitch. While in embroidery we try to keep the reverse side hidden, the nature of knitting back and forth forces us to have an eye on both sides (except with circular knitting).
While it is very common in knitting to use the back side, too, to create a pattern in the front, it is not very common in embroidery. There are techniques like Sashiko, Blackwork, Thread Weaving which can be done reversibly if needed, but how about using the back of embroidery to create a reversible object? As an example: embroider chain stitch lines every other row, then turn the work and work chain stitch between the already stitched ones. Now you have a pattern on both sides with alternating chain and back stitch lines. This is, of course, a very simple pattern, but there are a lot of possibilities to achieve great effects by using the backside as a stitching ground, too.