Category Archives: Stitches

How to do various pattern stitches

Rose Pillow



Earlier today, Lynda Richardson, needlepoint designer, avid stitcher, and owner of Dream House Ventures, sent me some pics via email.

She also included the following remarks:

These pics are of a Dard Hunter Rose Pillow (DH3667) canvas I recently finished. It’s stitched with Gumnuts silk floss and embellished with A B hex beads.

I butterfly stitched it and used a T-stitch in the center so it didn’t have a line down the middle.

The finished size is 12 x 12″ on 18m. It’s getting ready to go and get framed.

Hope you like it!

By the way, Lynda’s “butterfly” stitch may have a slightly different meaning than the one you may be used to.

What Lynda is referring to is a technique that ensures that the tent stitches on each side of the canvas are mirror images of one another. To accomplish this, she stitches one side of the canvas first, say, the right half, then the other.

Depending on the design, sometimes, Lynda will even divide a canvas into quarters.

In addition to the T-stitch and butterfly technique, Lynda also used diagonal mosaic in alternating directions throughout the design and the encroaching gobelin in the leaves.

The roses are satin stitched with Gumnuts silk, which is a softly shaded thread that provides subtle gradations of one color. In fact, the entire piece is stitched with Gumnuts.

Each bead in the background of the piece is centered within elongated cross stitches. I can tell you from experience this takes a great deal of time and patience.

Thank you, Lynda, for sharing with us this gorgeous piece!

 © Erin McGrath and, 2012 – 2016


Knot One, Stitch Too


I enjoy reading other needlepoint blogs.

Like most stitchers, I do it to keep up with needlepoint trends, or simply just to admire the beautiful work done by other needlepoint stitchers.  There are loads of super-talented stitchers out there!

French Stitch

Illo by Wiki

Yesterday, I was admiring a beautiful Maggie canvas, where the trees were done in French Knots with Bouclé thread.  I found this in a recent post  in Ruth Schmuff’s blog.

They reminded me of three ornaments, where I also used French Knots.  (I hung the trio on a guitar, to give you a sense of scale.)

French Knots, which come from the world of embroidery, are good for all kinds of effects: curly hair, a field of flowers, smoke from a chimney, or holiday garlands. It’s an effective stitch for creating dimension in a stitched canvas.

I use a variety of threads for French Knots:  metallics, overdyes, perle cotton and wool.  So, in that field of flowers, one or several different colored overdyed threads might create a realistic-looking garden.

One more thing:  I usually wrap the thread around two times.  If I want to create a denser looking knot, I can try three.  So in that field of flowers, I might vary between the two and three wraps.

That’s it on what I want to say about this stitch.

There are many other places on the net that discuss or show in great detail how to stitch the French Knot, so I’m not going to reinvent the wheel.

Just let your fingers do the googling!


© Erin McGrath and, 2012 – 2016.

Animated Milanese Stitch


needlepoint animation milanese stitch

The Milanese Stitch is a diagonal needlepoint pattern stitch.

It looks like a series of stacked triangles.  The Milanese stitch is useful for backgrounds and larger design areas in needlepoint canvases.  For smaller design areas, I suggest that you first become quite comfortable working the Milanese stitch.

As you can see from the animated graphic, start your first section (green) at the bottom lower right corner and work your way up.  Essentially you bring the needle across 4 intersections of the canvas, then 3, then 2, then 1.


For the alternating row, the long stitch (over 4 intersections) is paired up with (and diagonally adjacent to) the shortest (1) stitch.  Then you continue, 3, 2, 1.  The descending (red) section is the opposite of what you just stitched (green).

Next you continue with the next ascending row in your needlepoint canvas.

Like most needlepoint pattern stitches, the Milanese is a counting stitch.  It’s also one where you’re going to have to compensate more carefully than usual.  You’re going to have to pay close attention to the design pattern, since you can’t fudge as much with this stitch.

I may put up a separate post, at some point in the future, to cover the normally hard-to-explain topic of needlepoint compensating.

Hope you have fun with the Milanese!

© Erin McGrath and, 2012 – 2016.

Welcome to the world of Paternayan


Paternayan Bros.

For your entertainment, I’ve added a gallery of images in the How to Do menu of my prized copy of a vintage Paternayan kit insert, which was once owned by the Texas Star Embroidery Guild.  There is no date of publication, but it has to be the 60s or 70s, if not earlier.  The booklet shows the original address in Manhattan of the Paternayan Bros., and has a little blurb on p.3 about Harry and Karnig.  Enjoy.

© Erin McGrath and, 2012 – 2016.

The Skinny on the Basketweave Stitch


Today’s entry is a page that describes how to do the Basketweave Stitch. I’ve added it to the How to Do drop down menu.  Once you get the hang of it, the stitch is not difficult at all — if you just follow the diagram provided, you should be well on your way.

One thing to keep in mind about this stitch is that it works with the weave of the canvas better than the Continental, creating far, far less distortion.  Distortion is when a canvas becomes skewed.  The Continental can end up requiring a great deal of blocking by finishers to re-shape the canvas.  So, for needlepointers who don’t want the hassle of learning pattern stitches, this is the one you really want to try to learn.

A useful tip is that the best type of needlepoint canvas is interwoven. For some reason, this is called mono canvas.  Often, manufacturers of needlepoint kits use a cheaper canvas called interlock, and you will not see the “stairs” and “poles” (as I’ve described them on the Basketweave page) in this type of canvas.  But, you can still use the same basic principles, and pretend that they are there.

© Erin McGrath and, 2012 – 2016.

Keep Calm and Stitch On

Contemporary rendering of a poster from the Un...
Image via Wikipedia


There have been a few mysterious things to learn these last few days, to get the site up and running.

I think the most challenging was tweaking those indecipherable commands that were needed to get my email (which is hosted somewhere else) to work.

But that part is over, and now I can focus on the blogging instead of bizarre things like DNS records.  Whatever they may be.

This is my first blog site, but I must say it’s straightforward learning how to do things.

It has already become a bit frustrating dealing with some of the design limitations of, but, heck, it’s free, and they do all the heavy lifting on the back-end.  It’s (almost) true that you can put one of these up with no coding.

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