Dive into the world of decorative stitches: Learn to read a stitch diagram
Decorative stitches. Where to start?

If you've never done a decorative stitch before, we're here to walk you though the process. There's no reason to be intimidated. Although it might seem overwhelming at first, at KC Needlepoint we're here to help get you on the right path!

To do a decorative stitch, the first place to start is learning how to read a "stitch diagram." A stitch diagram is a graphed pattern of lines that explain how to do your stitch. 

Begin by looking at the background of one of the diagrams below. You will see that it is made up of white horizontal and vertical lines on a pale grey background. These represent the canvas mesh. One horizontal line is equivalent to one horizontal canvas thread and vice versa for vertical! 

Examine it again. You will also see a series of diagonal white lines with black outline. These represent where you will place your stitches in the canvas. Follow the direction the line is angling and the number of canvas intersections it spans over. We always recommend counting canvas threads as opposed to holes while you work out you decorative stitches.

Below are a few of our favorite beginner decorative stitches:

A few additional tips to make decorative stitches easier:

1. Try them on 13 count canvas for the first time. You may find it easier to see the canvas threads!

2. If you're nervous about stitching a new stitch in the canvas, practice in the white "selvage"  or area surrounding the design before jumping in!

3. Use a single strand thread that's easy to work with so you don't have to worry about anything else! (Pepper Pot Silk and Vineyard Silk are great choices!)

Ready to explore more decorative stitches?
Check out The Stitch Vault for more inspiration!
January 15, 2022 — KC Needlepoint



Stacy said:

Super helpful! I have saved for future reference. Thank you.


Valerie said:

I’m trying to get in the habit of counting the canvas threads. Sometimes it’s just easier, it seems, to count holes. My canvas margins are often full of practice stitches. Thanks so much for your help


Amanda said:

I did a project with the purpose
Of learning several decorative stitches. I had to start in the middle of the area to be able to “set” the pattern in my head and hand and then I could move to the edges. Does this get easier with practice?


Alice said:

This is the most helpful explanation

Cathie pawlicki

Cathie pawlicki said:

You women are the greatest and most patient!!

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