The Portuguese stem stitch, a heavily textured line stitch, also is known as Portuguese knotted stem, Portuguese knot, and wrapped stem stitch. Although little history is known about this particular stitch, we assume that, because of its name, it either originated in or was a popular stitch in Portugal at some time. On the other […]

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A Stitch in Time: The Basque Stitch

The Basque stitch, also known as the twisted daisy border stitch, has its origins in the Basque country, located in the western Pyrenees that span the Franco- Spanish border. According to Jacqueline Enthoven in her book The Stitches of Creative Embroidery (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1964), the Basque stitch most likely dates to the […]

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A Stitch in Time: The Cretan Stitch

The Cretan stitch derives its name from Crete, the largest Greek island in the Mediterranean Sea, home to one of the oldest civilizations (dating from at least the time of Homer’s Odyssey, around the eleventh century b.c.) and a rich legacy of embroidery. The fresco designs from the ancient Minoan palace at Knossus on Crete, […]

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A Stitch in Time: The Feather Stitch

The feather stitch and its countless variations create feathery straight or undulating lines and fall in the category of looped stitches. The feather stitch is actually a variation of the blanket stitch, but it alternates from one side to the other. The Cretan stitch is considered by some embroiderers to be simply another variation of […]

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Surprisingly, the upright cross-stitch, which resembles the common plus sign, has been either ignored or overlooked in many reference books on needlework stitches. Little information other than the traditional how-to-stitch diagrams is available. The stitch is also called the straight stitch and St. George’s cross-stitch (the banner of St. George is a red cross of […]

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A Stitch in Time: The Velvet Stitch

The velvet stitch, consisting of a cross-stitch and a loop, is a counted-thread stitch most often used in canvas work. Known by a variety of names—Astrakhan, Astrakhan velvet, Berlin plush, plush, raised, rug, and tassel—velvet stitches produce a raised surface of loops that may be left intact or cut; if cut, the stitches resemble velvet […]

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A Stitch in Time: Sienese Stitch

Named for the lovely Italian city of Siena, the Sienese (Siennese) stitch is an easy, wide-line stitch in the generic looped-stitch family. The first examples of this stitch and the resulting distinctive Sienese embroidery were shown at the Siena Samples Fair in 1921. At the same time, Maria Martini Mari, then president of the National […]

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The versatile Vandyke or Van Dyke stitch is a variable-width stitch with a distinctive, centrally raised plait or braid. It is rather unique among embroidery stitches because it does not have multiple names. It does have, however, a number of variations that deal with leg length and spacing of the stitches. The Vandyke stitch (which […]

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A Stitch in Time: The Knitting Stitch

The knitting stitch, a double row of straight stitches slanting in opposite directions, forms a solidly stitched, braidlike pattern on a canvas or fabric surface, and resembles true knitting. Other names for the knitting stitch include kalem, kelim, kilim, knit, knitting gobelin, and tapestry. Kelim is the Turkish word for “prayer rug,” and kalem and […]

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