This week’s block is to the left of Sawtooth, the textured stitches block. It uses Victorian Cross Stitch (cross stitch on needlepoint canvas), in a delightful block known as Winged Square. Victorian Cross Stitch is a remarkably flexible technique. It can be used to make hard-wearing fabric for rugs and chair covers because there are two layers of stitching. It can also be used to work with thinner threads (like tapestry wool) on larger sizes of canvas (10 mesh). Finally, it imparts a subtle raised texture when combined with areas of tent stitch.
It is called Victorian Cross Stitch because it was the stitch most commonly used for Berlinwork, which was very popular in the nineteenth century. If a piece is done entirely in Victorian Cross Stitch, it will look almost indistinguishable from the same piece done in Tent Stitch (at least from the front), but it will wear better. This stitch is used in Elizabeth Bradley kits.
This block takes advantage of the textural quality of cross stitch to make the design areas higher than the background.
The following threads are used in this block:
- DMC floss 776 (background)
- Kreinik Tapestry (#12) braid – 026V (center square)
- Felicity’s Garden #37 – Cosmos (wings)
Victorian Cross Stitch is made over a single intersection. Complete each cross as you go. On needlepoint canvas, this locks the stitches much better than doing a row of Half Crosses and then going back to complete the crosses, as you might do in Counted Cross Stitch. This is because needlepoint canvas has a looser weave than cross stitch fabric and stitches will be “lost” under the threads of the canvas with half cross stitches.
Work the entire pattern in Cross Stitches. Fill in each of the small background triangles with Tent Stitch done using 3 strands of the DMC floss.
The chart for the block is below.
The two square corner blocks are done with the same floss (three strands only) in a variation of Basketweave called Dotted Swiss. Done in threads with a directional sheen (like floss or pearl cotton), it causes the light to shine differently on the crossed stitches, adding texture. Often it looks like basketweave, just more interesting. Work the squares as you would Basketweave, making diagonal rows. The trick to creating the pattern is to make every other stitch in every fourth row a cross stitch. A diagram of the stitch is below. That’s it!
Don’t forget to add the border above this block. Because this block is in a corner, the other sides will have the wider outside border.
Follow the entire project on-line:
- Materials List
- Choosing Colors and Stitching Sashing
- Spool Block
- Dolley Madison Star
- Winged Square
- Morning Star
- Air Castle
- Star Cross
- Greek Cross
- Borders and Corners
About Janet M Perry
Janet Perry is the Internet's leading authority on needlepoint. She designs, teaches and writes, getting raves from her fans for her innovative techniques, extensive knowledge and generous teaching style. A leading writer of stitch guides, she blogs here and lives on an island in the northeast corner of the SF Bay with her family
What do you mean by “small background triangles” and “square corner blocks?”
Janet M Perry says
If you look at the picture of the square you will see that in the upper right and lower left there are squares in a single color. Where the hot pink triangles are in the block there are also triangles in the background color between those triangles. That’s what this is referring to.