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Stitches

Arrowhead Stitch

This stitch looks like a row of consecutive Italian Cross-Stitches but is sewn in a different manner. First sew the bottom half of your Full Cross-Stitch then the bottom vertical Straight Stitch, then the horizontal straight stitch. Do not complete your top cross-stitch; instead do the first diagonal of the second full cross-stitch followed by the two straight stitches. Continue in this manner to the end of your section, and then go back along your row completing the top diagonal of your full cross-stitches.

Backstitch Is used for adding outlines and sometimes lettering to your design. Backstitching is usually done with half the number of floss used in your regular stitches. The backstitches follow the edge of the stitches, square to square, and are sewn just like a running stitch. Backstitching should be left until all other stitching is done.

Bosnia Stitch This stitch looks like a Z lying on its side, which I guess, would make it an N. First stitch a vertical Straight Stitch over two threads, and then stitch a Half Cross-Stitch over two threads. The first vertical stitch of your second Bosnia Stitch touches on the end of your first half cross-stitch, forming a row of connected 'N's.

Bullion Knot This stitch, also known as the Puerto Rico Rose, Grub or Coil Stitch and the Worm Stitch, can be used to add an interesting texture to your design. This stitch is easiest when your fabric is in a hoop or on a scroll, as you will need both hands. Bring your floss up through your fabric then down again, but do not pull the floss all the way through where your needle goes down. Bring the tip of your needle up again where your floss comes up. Loosely wrap your floss around the needle five to six times, then very slowly and carefully pull your needle through the 'coil' of floss. Hold the coil against the fabric with your other hand, and pull the floss through the coil until it lies snugly against your fabric. You can increase the textured look by increasing the number of wraps, but keep it proportionate to the gauge of fabric you are stitching on.

Couching Is sewing a line of stitches, in our case cross-stitches over perhaps a ribbon or string of small beads. To do this, lay the material (for this example, let's use ribbon) to be couched along your stitching line. Bring your ribbon up through the fabric at one end of the stitching line, leaving a long tail. Leave the other end lying lose for now. Bring your floss up through the fabric at the start of your couching line, and make your cross-stitch over the ribbon without piercing it, making each cross-stitch individually as you go. Secure the starting tail of the ribbon under your stitches, trimming the tail once you have it safe and secure. Once you near the end of your couching line, take the lose end of the ribbon through the fabric, and secure the tails under your stitches as you did at the start. If you are couching a length of beads, you will have to strip some of the beads from their string to make a tail-make sure you have them very secure. If you are couching beads, do not add them until after your design has been cleaned and blocked, so you don't have to press over them. Remember to wash your hands before picking up that cleaned design!

Crewel Stitch This stitch is similar to a Backstitch, but has a twisted or spiral appearance. Begin your crewel stitch as you would a backstitch, bringing your floss up from the back of your fabric. For this first stitch, you will go over two squares, then re-insert your needle to go back through your fabric, but coming up in the middle square. Keep your floss under your needle as you draw the needle up through your fabric. This ending of the first stitch becomes the first step of your next stitch. Skip over the next square, push your needle through the fabric to the back, and again bring it up in the skipped square. If you look at the back of your fabric, you'll see that you have a perfect backstitch happening.

Cushion Stitch see Mosaic Stitch

Damask Stitch see Satin Stitch

Double Cross-Stitch This is a nice accent stitch, useful for borders. First stitch a regular full cross-stitch. Over this, work a horizontal straight stitch then a vertical straight stitch. You will end up with a stitch that looks like a + sign overtop of an X. Keeps all of your double cross-stitches uniform, with the top stitch always being either vertical or horizontal throughout your design.

Double Tied Cross-Stitch Make a full cross-stitch over four threads, then top this with a + done over two threads.

Four Quarters Is when you have four quarter stitches of different colours in one square. It is very important to get all four quarters into the same centre hole; otherwise they will look awkward and stand out like a sore thumb. If you have trouble getting your blunt needle to pierce the centre of the square, use either a regular needle or a straight pin to open the weave a little.

Framed Double Cross-Stitch Begin this stitch as you would with a Double Cross-Stitch, then add a Straight Stitch running from point to point on the + part of your stitch, effectively framing your double cross-stitch in a diamond.

French Knot Most commonly used for accents on flowers and eyes. To make a French Knot, bring your thread up through the fabric-usually one thread off the centre of the square, then wrap your floss clockwise around your needle two or three times, holding the 'tail' securely with your other hand. Push your needle down through your fabric-one thread over from where you came up- pull the floss through the wraps. Keep the thread tail taut, but not too tight or you will undo your wraps. In lieu of French knots, you can use small beads.

Frog Stitch Every stitcher is very familiar with this stitch. It's what every stitch becomes when you have to 'rippit, rippit.'

Full Cross-Stitch This is the 'X' stitch used as your main design stitch. To start stitching, pull your needle up from the bottom in one corner of your stitch. Go down through your fabric in the opposite corner, then up again in the next corner. Finish your 'X' by putting your needle down through your fabric. Make sure that all of your bottom and top stitches slant the same way. This will keep your work looking tidy and add sheen to your stitches.

Ghiordes Knot see Turkey Stitch.

Half Cross-Stitch This stitch is exactly what it sounds like, just the bottom half of your 'X' stitch. The half cross-stitch is commonly used to fill in large background areas, such as clouds, snow, or sky. Sometimes it may be necessary for your half stitches to go opposite from the rest of your top stitches, for instance with a feather done in half stitches, one side would have to slant one way, while the other side would have to slant the other.

Herringbone Stitch An easy to sew filler stitch, it consists of one very small diagonal crossed over by a longer diagonal stitch. Bring your floss up one fabric thread over from your corner, and down on the diagonal, again one thread over, almost as if you were doing One Over. Bring your floss up again as if to make a full cross-stitch, so you have an upside down L. Stitching left to right, take your floss to the back again, as for a regular half cross-stitch over two fabric threads. To start your next stitch, bring your floss up one thread to the left of where your last stitch ended. Go diagonally across two fabric threads, then through to the back, again as for a half cross-stitch. Bring your floss up again one thread to the left of where your last stitch ended, and across two threads to the right on the diagonal. Continue in this fashion along your border. To end, simply make the imitation "One Over" stitch as you did at the beginning, but opposite to how you started. For example, if your starting stitch was at the top left corner of your square, your ending stitch will be in the bottom right corner of the your square.

Isolated Stitches often appear as snowflakes, raindrops or twinkling stars. The easiest way to sew these stitches is to use a single strand of floss, and then stitch the bottom half of your cross-stitch either two, three, or four times, depending on the number of strands you are using in the rest of your design. Leave a long tail, about three inches in length, then pass your needle around one way the needed number of times, then do the same for the top half of the cross-stitch. Cut another tail, and then do that most dreaded thing in cross-stitch: tie a knot. Make it the tightest knot you can without breaking the thread, then trim the tails to about inch. There are other ways, but this is the least time consuming and easiest method. Another easy way out is to perhaps substitute a shiny bead or a small button.

Italian Cross-Stitch A border stitch formed by first making a Full Cross-Stitch, then outlining the left vertical and the bottom horizontal with a Straight Stitch.

Long-Armed Cross-Stitch This is a good filler stitch for borders. Bring your floss up from the back of your fabric and make a regular half cross-stitch. For the top half of your stitch, bring your floss up, but run it obliquely over four threads (two squares). It will look like an 'X' that has one longer, slightly off kilter arm. Begin your next stitch as you would if you were sewing regular cross-stitches, two threads up from where your last stitch ended. Make sure that your top stitch matches the top stitches in the rest of your design.

Montenegrin Stitch This is another border stitch, but it can add an interesting effect to your design. Begin this stitch as a half cross-stitch, and then bring your floss up again at your starting point. Go straight up to the top corner, as if you were making a Straight Stitch. Bring your floss up again as you would for the top part of a full cross-stitch through the corner diagonal to where you just drew your floss through. End this diagonal arm in the same hole your vertical stitch ended. Bring your floss to the front again where you began your Montenegrin stitch, then run it obliquely over two squares as you did for the Long-Armed Cross-Stitch. You will end up with a stitch that looks like a combination full cross-stitch with an extra long arm divided by a single straight stitch. Make sure that all of your individual steps remain uniform throughout your design.

Mosaic Stitch Another filler stitch, this is similar to the Straight Stitch but done on the diagonal. All of your mosaic stitches should slant the same way throughout your design unless you want a 'textured' effect.

Over One Is when you stitch with one strand of floss on 28 count and higher linen. This will give you a small design. Each stitch needs to be made individually; otherwise you may have a problem with the stitches looking wobbly, like they are rolling under the linen. Instead of your crosses being made over two threads of the linen, you are stitching over single threads, hence the over one. So instead of # you are using + for each stitch.

Paris Stitch A border stitch which looks like a row of connected 'U's. First make a vertical Straight Stitch over two threads, followed by a horizontal straight stitch again over two threads. Repeat these steps to the end of your section.

Puerto Rico Rose see Bullion Knot

Quarter Cross-Stitch This stitch is generally used as filler, perhaps in eyes or on jewelry. To make a quarter cross-stitch come up in one corner and down in the middle of the square. If you have trouble getting your blunt needle to pierce the centre of the square, use either a regular needle or a straight pin to open the weave a little.

Railroading This is more of a process than a stitch. While it is a bit more time consuming to form your stitches this way, it does help them lay flat with very little twisting. To railroad a stitch, simply pull your thread up from the bottom like normal, laying the thread across your design in the direction you are stitching. Put the needle between the two threads to complete that half of your stitch. Complete the last half of your stitch the same way. It takes some getting used to, but it does make a difference. You don't have to railroad the bottom stitch if you don't want to, it just depends on how 'picky' you are about your designs. Try a few test stitches, unrailroaded, then half-railroaded and then fully railroaded. There is one drawback to railroading. Your thread will still twist; it just doesn't show in your stitches. You will have to let your needle dangle more often. This stitch is also easier to do if you are using a scroll stand.

Satin Stitch A simple straight stitch laying side by side on your fabric. The length of each stitch can vary depending on the pattern you are making.

Slav StitchSlav Stitch see Long-Armed Cross-Stitch

Smyrna Cross see a Double Cross-Stitch

Star Stitch Similar to the a Double Cross-Stitch, the Star Stitch uses a 'plus sign' and an 'X'. You first stitch the + over four threads, topped by the X stitched over two threads, like a regular full cross-stitch. In both parts of this stitch, make sure your top threads remain uniform throughout your design.

Straight Stitch A simple running stitch used for Backstitching and outlining as in the Framed Double Cross-Stitch.

Three-Quarter Cross-Stitch This stitch is often used for 'rounding' a pattern, such as the Moon or Sun. It keeps your design from looking quite so blocky. To make this stitch, as always making sure your stitches all slant the same way, bring your thread up in one corner and then down in the very centre of the square. Finish off your three-quarter stitch with a half cross-stitch in the direction of the rest of your stitches. If you have trouble getting your blunt needle to pierce the centre of the square, use either a regular needle or a straight pin to open the weave a little.

Tied Cross-Stitch Another border stitch or filler stitch. First make a Full Cross-Stitch over four threads, then over your first large X, make a vertical Straight Stitch over two threads across the centre of your X. In your next tied cross-stitch, make the straight stitch horizontal over two threads, and continue alternating them to then end of your section. If you are using them as Isolated Stitches to fill a large background, keep all of your Straight stitches going the same way, either all vertical or all horizontal.

Turkey Stitch Is also known as the Ghiordes Knot Stitch, it is a texture stitch which resembles rug pile. To work this stitch, make a series of loops back and forth over the needed squares. The loops are trimmed and combed. This stitch is very effective for bee bodies or anywhere else you want a bit of fuzzy pile. You can alternate the yellow and black threads to get the striped body of a bee. You could also use a variegated thread to get a shaded effect, or thread your needle with single strands of different colours. As you work the loops, do a backstitch to secure each loop before moving on to the next one. Work your loops one on top of the other until you have the desired thickness. Secure your final loop, then cut the loops and comb lightly. Trim to needed height.

Tweeding Is when you take one strand each of two different colours and blend them together. This can add texture to your design, as well as work as a buffer or gentle 'smudging' from one colour to a next, such as in water or leaves. For designs done on 11 count cloth, you can even blend three colours together if you wish to.






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