Satin stitch is great for adding big splashes of color to your embroideries... filling in letters and shapes and all kinds of things!
Satin stitch can be done in many ways. You can outline a shape with backstitching and then fill it in. You can do satin stitch on its own with no outline. You can also backstitch an outline and then satin stitch completely over it to get a slightly raised area.
To practice satin stitch, first draw a simple shape on your fabric. Then use a backstitch to outline it. Then you'll simply go back and forth across the shape (I always like to start in the middle, but it's personal preference.) until it's filled in. Try it again using the other two methods!
The two most important things about satin stitch are:
- getting as close as possible to the outlines so that your satin stitch looks nice and full - you can always go back and fill in those bald spots with seed and straight stitches, but it's easier to get it right the first time!
- don't continue your satin stitch on the back of your work. It'll waste your embroidery thread and make your work bulky! To avoid this, bring you thread to the front for the first time right next to the outline on the left. Then, bring it across, and down next to the right outline. Instead of crossing over to the left side of the outline on the back of the fabric, just bring the needle right back up next to where you just pushed it through. That way you're saving thread and time. :)
You can also do satin stitch without an outline, and it looks fantastic that way! For some folks that makes it easier - just keep practicing and figure out what works best for you. :)
(I've included a photo of Nicolas Cage's eyebrow to give you an idea of what you can do without outlines!)