Tent Stitch Difinition

Front Of Canvas

Tent stitch: a needlepoint stitch which travels diagonally over one canvas intersection. Of this group, you have Continental, Half Cross and Basketweave.


Take a look at the picture on the left.  All three have the same appearance on the front.  

Back Of Canvas

The reverse side tells a very different story.  Look at the top stitch.  You will see canvas showing through the thread. This is Half Cross.  It is best to avoid this stitch since it is not hard wearing.  The middle stitch is hard wearing Continental. After working Continental, the square canvas can become distorted if not worked in a frame.  Time and muscle will be needed to return the canvas into its original shape.


Now let’s look at the bottom stitch, Basketweave.  You will notice a weave effect. This is a good choice for two reasons.  One, the stitch will wear like iron and also, it doesn’t distort the canvas as much as the first two.  The basket weave pattern reinforces the canvas grid.  Because you create the stitch by pulling the thread through a clean hole and inserting it into a dirty one, you produce clear, defined stitches.  This is why dining room chairs and other functional items should be worked in Basketweave.

You may ask: Basketweave needs more yarn to stitch than Continental does. Is this a waste of yarn?

No, it is not.  You want a stitch that will give you more durability.  Chair seats get every day wear.  You would not want to worry about your hard work every time someone sits down to eat.   The extra yarn you put into the project today will give you years of pleasure later.



All three stitches can be used in place of one another if you exercise caution.  Half Cross does not cover as well as Continental or Basketweave.  This should be avoided if you are working on upholstery.  Continental and Basketweave uses much more thread than Half Cross.  If a kit tells you to use Half Cross, do so.  You way not have enough thread to finish the project.  Also, you should avoid Half Cross if you are working on mono canvas since some of the stitches will not lie correctly on the canvas.