Finger Step Designs, 2016 $18
Just like the man in the Moliere play who was surprised he had been speaking prose, you may be surprised that you have been making Running Stitch patterns all your stitching life. We usually call them something else though — Blackwork and Pattern Darning.
This project pack covers them both with nearly 200 patterns. These can easily be done on canvas or fabric or they can be made over other stitching. The patterns has plenty to fuel your creativity with patterns of all kinds and several projects using them.
More than other Finger Step packs, this book has flaws. The projects were not as well defined as in the other Finger Step publications. Often I felt as if the instructions were not complete.
A bigger problem is the lack of definition in talking about Running Stitch. This stitch is one where the needle goes over an area and then under an area. In order for a stitch to be Running Stitch there must be space between the stitches, even if it is only a tiny bit. That is the only way you can “run” the thread in a straight shot through a line of stitches.
I also found the diagrams to be difficult to read; they were a bit small. This could be because the straight lines in these graphs do not show up as well as the thicker lines for stitches in the other Finger Step packs. But it may make this more challenging to use.
In needlepoint when we do Running Stitch we make darning patterns. These are the only stitches in needlepoint that are always Running Stitch (over-under). Some Blackwork patterns can be done this way but only if lines do not touch. Many Blackwork patterns can be done in Double Running Stitch, which skips every other stitch in the pattern, completing the pattern in two passes. The other way of stitching Blackwork uses Backstitch. This is shown in the project pack but the method to stitch it is not covered. Backstitch is not Running Stitch.
This is a serious problem for the pack. If a stitcher is familiar with these techniques this is not a problem. But if these ideas and techniques are new, this lack of precision will lead to confusion.
I finally came to the conclusion that by “Running Stitch” what was meant was patterns that are made up of straight lines that are, mostly, on the surface of the ground canvas or cloth. If that is the case, it would have been good if a different term had been used. If you are willing to put up with the flaws, this is another useful publication from Finger Step.