Stab & Sewing Method for Needlepoint

Stab or Stick Method

Stab, also known stick method, creates stitches which are smoother and more even since the canvas is placed on a frame. Yes, the stitching is much slower but when you are using frames or stretcher bars, you will not need to wet or steam block your work when you are finished.


To do stitch stab method, you would place your dominant hand on the underside of the canvas and your non-dominant hand on the top. As you are stitching, you will pass the needle from one hand to the other while making your stitches. Practice stitching this technique for a while and see if the stab method becomes much easier for you.

Sewing Method

Sewing method is working the needle in your dominant hand while the other is holding the canvas. This method is like sewing on a button or stitching a hem.  The needle is poked on the underside of the canvas and catches the canvas thread and then back on the top of the canvas again.


This method is quicker but the canvas will distort and you will need to do the blocking process to correct the canvas grid.  Sewing method is best when you are working Basketweave or Continental stitch.

Using a Rod

A method which is not used much today is stitching with a rod.  If you are working Continental or Half Cross stitch and you wish to use the sewing method, you may wish to use a rod to hold the canvas straight.  The canvas will not retain its original shape but the distortion is lesser when using one.


To use a rod, you will roll your canvas over a long wooden rod or dowel and stitch long rows of Continental or Half Cross on your canvas.  (Basketweave is impossible to stitch with a rod.)  This method is great for items such as upholstered items.