How many embroidery stitches do you need to know?

How many embroidery stitches do you need to know?

Currently, I’m working on a new part of the 7 days of stitches series. For this purpose, I’m looking for artists and designers who use these particular stitches in their work to show you how it can be used. It wasn’t a problem at all to find embroidery art and patterns for the first 7 stitches (running, back, stem, chain, satin, french knot) with the exception of the herringbone stitch. Finding modern embroidery with the new stitches, however, proved to become a challenge – which came to a surprise to me because they are all basic stitches, no crazy variations and such.

What do embroidery artists and designers use?

Many artists and designers use a range of 3-5 different stitches that everybody uses and 1-2 stitches specific to them. Specific to them means, they use stitches that not everybody uses, but of course, they are not exclusive to them. The variety comes in how the stitches are used, not in how many are used. Also, many artists and designers whip up texture and lines with straight stitches – meaning they use the simple stitch like a pencil and draw straight lines to get the look they want to achieve.

At first, I was baffled to notice this. I love discovering stitches, but to be honest with you: I don’t use much more stitches than the same 5 stitches plus 1-2 favorites of mine either!

So how many stitches do you need?

The big 5 embroidery stitches that appear everywhere are these:

  1. back stitch
  2. chain stitch
  3. satin stitch
  4. french knot or colonial knot
  5. running stitch


the 5 embroidery stitches you need to know

If you are into embroidering flowers and leaves these two stitches are often used, too:

  1. woven spider wheel/woven rose
  2. fishbone stitch

woven flower embroidery tutorial

And that’s it!

So if you are unsure which stitches to learn: learn these 5 embroidery stitches and you can master the majority of modern embroidery patterns! Of course, I encourage you to learn more than 5 later, but as I said before: I rarely use more than these 5 myself.


If you are a cross stitcher, you don’t need any of those embroidery stitches. Your stitch is the cross stitch and although there are many many variations of this stitch, it’s totally enough to use this one stitch.

Do you agree with this list? What stitches are you using most in your embroidery? Leave a comment below.

the 5 embroidery stitches you need to know


  1. Nice Work Keep it Up 🙂 🙂

  2. NICE DESIGN Keep it up 🙂

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