Updated January 12, 2021
You probably know how to turn diagonal stitches by reversing the direction of the slant. These reversed stitches are used often in stitches like Scotch or Gobelin. Reversing the slant of stitches is great when stitching clothing, hands, pretty much anything which has right and left sides.
So far, so good.
A second, less used, technique is to change your direction of stitching. For example, if you normally make a stitch in horizontal lines, make it in vertical lines. This doesn’t work with all diagonal stitches. In order to work well, the rows need to encroach on each other (like the Triple Diagonal Brick in the Prince Remembers, below), or they need to be asymmetrical (such as Bath Stitch in the teacher, above).
I used this technique to show the different direction in the wood grains in the teacher’s desk on the Sandy Grossman-Morris design. The grain on the top is horizontal while the grain on the front is vertical.
This subtle change makes the desk more interesting and realistic.
I particularly like the effect of reversing Triple Diagonal Brick on the chair on the Prince Remembers (below). I wanted the chair to look like a big cushy chenille chair. If you look at real chairs, you see that the fabric on the sides of the cushions and on the arms is perpendicular to the fabric on the back and top of the cushions. This is how you get patterns which seem to run in perfect lines on the whole surface of the chair. So I reversed the direction of the stitches on these areas.
You can barely notice the difference, but if I didn’t do that the chair would look too uniform.
So how do you do this?
Simple, turn your canvas 90 degrees and stitch away.
Knowing how to do this also allows you to miter corners with diagonal stitches, a completely magical trick. I’m doing this on my current Sunday Stitching project, and I’d show it to you, but it’s black and can’t be seen very well.
Try it, you’ll love it!