Cross stitch is extremely quick and easy to work usually done on even weave fabrics. Since it is one of the oldest stitches in the history of textiles and used world wide for creating patterns and embroidered images it is a familiar and favourite stitch of many hand embroiderers. As a stitch, it is simple to work making it ideal as a beginners stitch. However an advanced stitcher should not dismiss it, as this stitch has not survived thousands (literally) of years of textile history without reason. Cross stitch is easily adapted and you can easily mix threads or change the scale of the stitch to create interest.
In the sample above I have used a metallic thread along side wool, cotton, silk yarns and donut beads on hand painted Aida cloth. It is still cross stitch on Aida but with a contemporary twist. The same applies to the sample below. This is still Aida cloth but the surface has been hand painted.
Also a tip to remember if you are interested in designing your own pieces, cross stitch is worked on a grid which means you can incorporate many of the cross stitch family of stitches to produce a rich and varied surface. You don’t have to limit yourself to the cross stitch family as the fact that cross stitch has such an even structure most Canvas stitches, or needlepoint if you are old school, can be combined with cross stitch.
How to work Cross stitch
Work cross stitch by first working a row of diagonal straight stitches pointing in one direction and then work a return journey of top diagonals laid in the opposite direction, as illustrated.
Although the construction of cross stitch is the same there are different ways of working. For instance cross stitch can be worked individually completing each cross before moving on to the next. This is a method if you are using a hand dyed multicoloured thread.
No matter the method used to create the stitch one rule remains constant, and that is, that the top diagonals should always lie in the same direction. Although this rule is sometimes broken by some contemporary embroidery.
Half and Quarter cross stitch
Half and quarter cross stitch is just that. Half the stitch or a quarter of the stitch worked to smooth out the jagged edges of a design.
Cross stitch, which is also known as sampler stitch, Berlin stitch and point de marque.
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This tutorial offers a step by step illustration of Rice Stitch and explores some of its variations including a stitch called Boss Stitch.
Rice stitch is also known as Crossed Corners and William and Mary stitch. This is thought of as a canvas stitch, but as you can see it can be worked on aida or linen too.
At first glance it looks a little boring but it is tremendously versatile. It is known as a canvas stitch background because it can be easily worked and covers the ground quickly. To be honest I am a little addicted to it as I love mixing my threads in the different layers or parts of the stitch.
Don’t let the fact that it is and canvas stitch put you off however because many of the canvas stitches can be worked on Aida (like the samples illustrated) or any even weave fabric with great effect. If you want to work it on other fabric or over an area of crazy patchwork use waste canvas.
How to work Rice Stitch
This is an illustrated step by step on how you work Rice stitch. As you can see it is very simple consisting of a cross stitch foundation with a second layer of diagonal stitches added to each arm of the cross.
How to work Variety 1 and 2 of Rice Stitch
I want to share 2 varieties (there are a lot more) As you can see they all have the same structure
The first variety is a cross worked over more threads so that the diagonal stitches sit apart slightly.
The next variety has 3 diagonal stitches worked across each bar.
You can really have fun with this stitch particularly if you change threads. You can use one thread or colour for the large cross and another thread of colour for the corner tie downs. Swap between thick and thin, metallic and dull or explore colour combinations. Change the size of your stitches and you can always add beads or French knots to really give the stitch a contrast of texture. It is one of those simple stitches that can produce interesting results.
How to work Square Boss Stitch
Square Boss stitch is also known as Raised Knot Stitch. Don’t ask me why as I don’t know. However it is so similar to Rice stitch I have decided to group these two stitches together as many of the experiments you can do with Rice stitch you can also do with Square Boss.
Square boss starts with a larger cross stitch and the tie stitches are tucked further to the crossed threads in the middle. This means that the pattern established varies from Rice stitch but it is really a variety.
I hope you enjoy experimenting with both these stitches.
Stitching Sample 597 is found on part 42 of The for Love of Stitching Band Sampler. It is a section of freeform embroidery in which I also added beads to a mix of hand embroidery stitches. Stitches Used: Straight stitch, Satin stitch, French knots, Cross stitch, Rice stitch, Square Boss, Bullion knots and I added bugle and seed beads.
Thread: Hand dyed perle #5 cotton and hand dyed wool, silk, crochet cotton, and also I used 1 stand of Caron watercolours thread
Fabric: Linda 27 count evenweave
Date: This section of the sampler was worked mid 2009.
Size: The For Love of Stitching Band Sampler is 15 cm (6 inches) wide and consists of different strips of fabric which are stitched together to form one long strip. It currently measures 96 feet 5 inches (2,938.78 centimetres), or 32.138 yards which is 29.3878 meters. It is still growing… For the full back story on this piece visit the Sampler FAQ page.