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Month 1, Lesson 1

Expanding from Tent Stitch

Starting from a single Tent Stitch today we are going to extend it and teach you some additional stitches.

Let’s start by changing the slant of the stitch. It will still go over one canvas intersection, but this time it will slant from lower right to upper left. That’s a stitch too, called Reverse Tent, below. If you are a lefty like me, you may find this stitch more natural to do. I know I do and have to always watch to keep this from happening. 

You make this stitch exactly the way you make a Tent Stitch, just slant it the opposite way.

Now you know two stitches. With these two stitches, we can make a bunch more small stitches using one or both or them.

Because you know how to reverse the direction of Tent Stitch, you can put one of these reverse stitches on top of a Tent Stitch to make a little X, a Cross Stitch. This is called Needlepoint Cross Stitch or Victorian Cross Stitch, below.

But what if you filled in those open threads in the stripes with TentStitches made in the opposite direction? You’d get something that sort of looks like a knitted sweater. In fact that’s what I call this stitch Tiny Knitting, next page left, andHorizontal Tiny Knitting, next page right.These two stitches are wonderful for stitching sweaters, scarves, and other knitted items.

Knowing that you can change the direction of Tent Stitch means that you can make patterns ofTent and Reverse Tent. Carolyn’s Tiny Stitch, below left, puts columns of three stitches together and changes direction with each column.Darcy’s Tent Check, below right, creates blocks of four stitches, alternating direction after each block.

Similar stitches with areas of alternating stitches are Fuji Tent, below left, with blocks of six Tent Stitches followed by a column of two Reverse Tent Stitches. Swithin Wells, below right, brings NeedlepointCross Stitch into the mix with three columns of Tent followed by a column of crosses.

The next stitch extends the idea of alternating the direction of the stitch even further, not by creating rows, columns, or small areas of stitches that slant opposite directions, but by alternating all the time, like a checkerboard of alternating stitch directions. This stitch is called Four-way Continental, next page. It is a stitch that gives tons of texture, more than you might think.

It can be hard to do; here’s a trick that works easily whenever you stitch on mono canvas.The weave of mono canvas holds the key to Four-way Continental because all intersections of the same type will have stitches that slant in the same direction on them. That means you can look at your canvas and know what to stitch next because your canvas will tell you! It’s so much easier than trying to remember.If you alternate Tent and these small cross stitches, you can make a simple check, Tent-Cross Stripe, below left. Make a check out of it and you get Tent-Cross Check, below right.

Alternating Tent Blocks, below, has blocks of nine stitches. The blocks alternate between Tent and Reverse Tent in a checked pattern.

Dotted Swiss, below, is a combination of Tent and Cross Stitches, Depending on the thread and the light it ca be almost indistinguishable from Tent. Move the needlepoint slightly and the Cross Stitches pop out.

To make Dotted Swiss, stitch Basketweave. Cross every other stitch in every fourth row. If you stitch Continental, cross every fourth stitch in every other row. However the crossed stitches should be offset from the previous Cross Stitches by two threads. Diana, below, is a simple striped pattern with rows or columns ofReverseTent, Tent, and Cross Stitch.