Updated August 2, 2019.
When faced with a stitch such as Four-way Continental (diagram above), I don’t do well. Call me a dummy, but keeping on track with this stitch has been close to an impossibility in needlepoint for me.
And the problem is that so many canvases have little spaces where small patterns that give texture can really shine. But I had a revelation that makes needlepoint with stitches like these, with a checked pattern of some sort, so easy it has changed my life, making me confidently use stitches that always messed me up.
This technique will work with ANY stitch that alternates and goes over only one intersection. That means T Stitch, Four-way Continental, Skip Tent, David’s Stucco Stitch, Tent-cross Check, and more I can’t think of at the moment. If the stitches go over one intersection and alternate, it will work.
Look at the weave of mono needlepoint canvas. The thread goes over and under so that a horizontal thread is on top for one intersection, then the vertical thread is on top. The same thing happens on each row, but the thread of the intersection alternates in the columns as well, that creates a fabric. Weavers call this “plain weave” or “tabby weave.”
You can use this to your advantage as a cheat in making all of these kinds of stitches. Pick one direction of intersection and make the stitch on all of that type of intersection. If I’m doing Tent-Cross Check and I want the crosses to show, I do them on the vertical intersections.
Stitching on the vertical intersections makes the stitches ever so slightly higher. Stitching on the horizontal intersections makes the stitches melt into the fabric more. As an example, think of T Stitch. If I want to use T Stitch to change the color of my canvas slightly, I should stitch on the horizontal threads, but if I want to use this stitch as a background, stitch on the vertical threads.
This method makes doing these kinds of stitches so simple, you’ll be so glad you learned this trick. Try it, you’ll love it!