Hello class!  It is time for your first stitching lesson.  (Cue evil laugh).  Now sit down and be quiet!!
Hahahaha!  Hi everyone!  Don't ask what has gotten into me, because I have no idea.  :o)  I found this image on the internet and thought it was funny (and kinda scary).  LOL.  

Over the past few months I have received numerous requests to post a tutorial on the basic stitching techniques that I use.  At first I thought it was unnecessary because everyone knows how to stitch, right?  But after many requests, I realized that there is a first time for everything.  So I apologize for taking so long to post this tutorial.  Again, this is a very BASIC tutorial for those who have never stitched paper before.  I am, by no means, an expert or a seamstress.  To be honest, I have no idea how to hem a pair of pants or work a sewing machine.  But I love to stitch paper!  I'm sure there are many ways to do the two types of stitches I will show below, but I will explain how I do it.  It is most likely the wrong way LOL, but it works for me!  So I hope you find this tutorial helpful.  Let's begin!

MY 'I-CANNOT-LIVE-WITHOUT-THESE' STITCHING TOOLS
These are my favorite stitching tools... the EK Success Dots & Lines Edger Punch and the Tim Holtz Design Ruler.  This is how I manage to make my stitching straight and even.

This is a Tim Holtz Craft Pick by Tonic Studios.  This is what I use to poke holes in my paper.












LESSON #1
Let's start with the ruler.  What I love about it (other than the fact that it is made by Tim Holtz LOL) is that it has little holes along the edge of it.  I use these holes as a guide when I want to stitch a straight line.
Using my Craft Pick , I carefully punch holes along the ruler.  (Be sure to place a piercing mat beneath your paper.)  Also, be sure to hold the ruler securely in place so that you do not end up with crooked lines.  If you feel more comfortable marking the holes first and then piercing your paper, that works too!
Nice and straight!  Now for the stitching part.
First, tape the embroidery floss to the back of the paper near the area you will be stitching.  After a little practice, you will realize that you won't need to use tape anymore.
I use a regular needle and embroidery floss when I stitch.  Make sure the eye of the needle is not too large or it will cause your holes to tear.
The stitch I am about to show you is called a Back Stitch.  From beneath the paper, insert the needle through the second hole and pull the floss up.  
Now insert the needle through the first hole and pull the floss down.  You have just completed one stitch.
Now just repeat the process.  Insert the needle (from the underside) into the next hole and pull up.  
Insert the needle into the previous hole and pull down.  
So simple!  :o)
















LESSON #2
This EK Success punch is fantastic for certain stitches.  I use it mostly when I want to create a zig-zag stitch or two parallel lines.  The problem is, since it is an edger punch, what do I do if I want to stitch in the center of my layout?
This is how I solved that problem.  I used a piece of photo paper (because it is strong and durable) and I punched along the edge of it to create a guide.  I use this guide whenever I need to stitch somewhere on my layout that the punch will not reach.
Position the guide where you would like to stitch and poke your holes.
Now for the stitching part.  I will show you how to create a zig-zag stitch.  I have no idea what the real name of this stitch is.  :0)
Again, if you feel more comfortable doing so, tape the end of the floss to the back of the paper.  Beginning with the second hole (counting the holes from up to down instead of left to right), insert the needle from the underside of the paper.  Pull up the floss.
Now cross diagonally to the first hole and thread downwards.  The important tip to remember is that on the top side of the paper, we will be stitching diagonally and on the underside of the paper, we will be stitching consecutive holes.  Read on to see what I mean.
This is a photo of the UNDERSIDE of the paper.  You can see where we pulled the floss down from the previous step.  Now insert the needle into the hole next to the one you just threaded.  This is what I mean by stitching consecutive holes.
Here we are again on the topside of the paper.  You can see where we ended up.  Again, since we are on the topside, stitch diagonally and insert the needle into the previously stitched hole and pull down.  Once your needle is on the underside, stitch through the next consecutive hole (either to the left or right, depending on which side you started on).  Now repeat this process until you are finished.
This is what the top should look like.
And this is what the bottom will look like.


















I hope I was able to explain this process clearly.  It may take a little practice, but soon enough, you will be stitching at a super high speed.  If you have any questions, please ask.  It's not always easy to explain things by photographs.

If you look carefully at some of the punches you have in your stash, you will notice that some of them have tiny decorative holes.  Yes, these holes can be stitched!  It adds a little spunk to your border punching.  :o)

Enjoy!