Tent Stitches

Tent stitches are the smallest needlepoint stitch and the most versatile and widely used. A simple diagonal stitch, it can be used for complex designs but is also commonly used to work background areas as well. There are three variations Half Cross Stitch, Continental Tent Stitch and Basketweave Stitch all of which look identical on the front of the worked piece but have advantages and disadvantages which are explained below.

Stick to one type of tent stitch when filling in large areas of one colour so that the finished effect is uniform. If different types are used there will be slight ridges and discrepancies in the work that will detract from the effect, even after stretching.

Always make sure the stitches lie in the same direction. It doesn't actually matter which direction the stitches slant so long as you don't mix them, although, top right to bottom left is most usual for right handed stitchers.

Half Cross Stitch

Half Cross Stitch uses less yarn than other forms of tent stitch but is not as robust and is prone to distort the canvas.

Work in rows alternately from left to right and then right to left, making short vertical stitches through the canvas.

Make each stitch as follows. Bring the needle out at 1 and take it over one intersection of the canvas. Insert it again at 2 under one horizontal (weft) thread of the canvas and out again at 3. Repeat for the next stitch.


View from the front of the piece

View from the reverse of the piece

Continental Tent Stitch

Continental Tent Stitch uses much more yarn than Half Cross Stitch but is more robust but again is prone to distort the canvas.

Work in rows alternately from left to right and then right to left, making long diagonal stitches through the canvas. The front and back of the piece look very different.


View from the front of the piece

View from the reverse of the piece

Basketweave Stitch

Basketweave Stitch uses a similar amount of yarn to Continental Tent Stitch. It is good for covering large background areas as it is less prone to distorting the canvas than other forms of tent stitch.

Basket weave stitch is worked in diagonal lines of stitches. When working a line of stitches down the canvas make vertical stitches through the canvas under two threads. When coming back up the canvas on the next line make horizontal stitches under two threads.


View from the front of the piece

View from the front of the piece - showing direction of stitching of alternate rows

View from the reverse of the piece

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