Cross stitch, Needlecraft and Embroidery Glossary: Tailor's buttonhole stitch to Two sided insertion stitch

A comprehensive illustrated needlecraft dictionary with clear definitions and working diagrams. Includes 766 terms used in cross stitch, embroidery, tapestry, blackwork, and goldwork. (Click thumbnails to enlarge.)

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T
A stitch used in Drawn thread work. Tailor's buttonhole stitch

An alternative to the basic buttonhole stitch and worked in the same way except that the thread is wrapped around the needle before it is pulled through as shown. It can be padded or raised.Tailors buttonhole free

A counted thread stitch. Tall cross stitch

This is similar to upright cross stitch where the rows interlock but with the vertical stitch worked over four fabric threads and the horizontal stitch worked over two threads. Rows are worked alternately from left to right and right to left.

A free embroidery stitch used to shade large areas in silk and crewel embroidery . Tapestry shading stitch

The first row of stitches are alternately long and short stitches and the following rows are stitches of an even length until the last row of the area where stitch length is varied to finish the filling. Photo long and short
This can be used with fine shading colours. A version called surface long and short stitch is more economical with floss. Other names for this stitch are long and short stitch, shading stitch, embroidery stitch, plumage stitch, feather work and opus plumarium.

A twisted 4 ply wool, specially prepared for needlepoint on canvas, but can also be used for cross stitch on 7 count canvas or for freehand stitching.
A large eyed needle with a blunt end.

The eyes are large enough to take six-stranded cotton or wool. Nos. #24 and #26 are most commonly used for cross stitch The larger needles are used for needlepoint on canvas

A counted thread stitch which gives a tufted carpet effect. Tassel stitch

Work a stitch diagonally across two intersections, make a second stitch in the same place but leave a loop of thread. A knitting needle can be used to gauge the length of the loop. Then complete the cross and bring needle out again down and to the right across two intersections ready to start the next stitch. After all the rows are complete, cut loops and trim evenly.
Also known as astrakhan stitch, rug stitch, velvet stitch, raised stitch and plush stitch.
It can also be worked using two different threads, one for the crosses and one for the loops as illustrated.Velvet 2.

A free embroidery stitch. TAȘte de Boeuf

Work a single detached chain stitch coming up and A and inserting the needle at A again, looping thread around the needle and drawing it through at B. Make a small stitch outside the loop at C to hold it flat. Make a pair of slanting stitches on either side of the detached chain from E to F and from G to H.

A method of transferring designs to the fabric.

Trace the design onto good quality tracing paper and cut it out. Pin the paper shape to the fabric and using small stitches tack all the way round close to the edge. Remove the paper.

A counted thread stitch used extensively in needlepoint.Tent stitch

Work left to right bringing thread out at top of first stitch, insert needle diagonally down over crossed threads to bottom of stitch, then bring out to the right of the first stitch. Continue in this way to the end of row. The second row is worked from right to left inserting the needle at top of stitch. Continue working rows backwards and forwards until the area is filled making sure all the stitches slope in the same direction.
However, if working large blocks this method also known as continental tent stitch has a tendency to distort the canvas and the alternative stitching method of basketweave or diagonal tent stitch is more effective.

Tex is a standard for measuring thread, yarn or floss and works the same way as Denier. It has now been adopted as an international standard.

The Tex count is the weight in grams of 1000 meters of the the thread.

In the Tex system the number of strands in the yarn is ignored (as for Denier).

For example, 60 grams of a T-30 thread would have 2000 meters.

The lower the Tex number, the finer the thread.

Fine threads are T-9 to T-20; Medium threads are T-21 to T-70 and heavy threads are T-71 and higher.

See also Cotton Count, Denier
A free embroidery stitch Thorn Stitch

One thread is used for the spine and the stitch which ties it down and either the same or a second thread can be used for the crosses as in the diagram.

A couching stitch used for spaced lines of thread. Thorn stitch couching

Thorn stitches are used to hold down the couching thread at regular intervals as illustrated.

See also , Couching
Thread Weight specifies the gauge of thread, yarn or floss.

The Thread Weight is simply the length in meters of thread that weighs 1 gram.

The number of strands is ignored so, for example, 10 grams of a 40 Wt thread will contain 400 meters; 50 grams of a 30 Wt thread will contain 1500 meters.

The lower the Thread Weight the finer the thread.

See also Cotton Count
A free embroidery stitch which can be worked in two colours or two weights of threadThreaded backstitch

Having worked a row of backstitch, bring needle through centre of one stitch, then weave thread under stitches first from left to right and then right to left and so on without the needle entering the fabric.

See also Backstitch
A free embroidery stitch. Threaded herringbone stitch

Work a row of herringbone stitch Then lace through it making small horizontal stitches over the crossed part of the herringbone with another colour of thread Also known as interlaced herringbone stitch.

A counted thread stitch used where more detail and precise colour changes are required.

It is made up of a quarter and a half cross stitch.

A counted thread stitch used in drawn fabric work. Three sided stitch

Work from right to left. Begin four threads in from end of stitch line and work two horizontal stitches from this point to the end of line. Bring needle up at starting point and make two stitches to point four threads up and two threads to the right. Bring needle through four threads to left of point and work two stitches back to point, bring needle through again four threads to left. Make two stitches to starting point and then bring needle through four stitches to the left ready to start next stitch. Continue in this way. Also known as point turc, lace stitch, turkish stitch and Bermuda faggoting

A free embroidery.Tied coral stitch

Work from left to right. Bring needle through at A then make a small stitch at right angles to stitch line and pull through. Pass thread over and then under the stitch on surface without needle entering the fabric. then hold thread down with left thumb and pass the needle again over and under the stitch on surface. Pull thread through to make a knot. Space knots evenly and fairly close for best effect. Also known as double knot stitch, old english knot stitch, smyrna stitch and palestrina stitch.

A counted thread stitch used in drawn thread work or hardanger. Tied hemstitch

Draw out dome threads from the fabric. Fasten thread at left and then pass thread from right to left under an even number of the border threads bring needle out turning the needle to face horizontally and then make a second stitch over the same number of threads at right angles to the first. A second row of stitches is worked at the other edge of the border by taking half the threads from one group and half from the next as shown and as in ladder hemstitch.
Then take a needle and thread over a group of four or more threads and knotting as shown. Care must be taken to make the tying thread as straight as possible. See also somersault stitch and beaded somersault stitch.

A free embroidery stitch.Tied Herringbone stitch

First work a row of herringbone stitch. Using a blunt (tapestry) needle and contrasting thread, slide the needle under the herringbone cross, pointing the needle towards the centre of the line. While needle is held in position, twist thread over and under the needle as shown. Draw tight to knot it. Work a coral knot on each cross along the line always pointing the needle towards the centre of the herringbone band.

A free embroidery stitch, one of the most basic and useful for white on white embroidery.Trailing stitch

It is done by taking fine whipping stitches over a bundle of three or more loose threads to form the effect of a smooth raised cord. Trailing can be used independently for linear designs, an edging around other stitches and when used in double lines it makes a firm framework for openwork filling stitches. Come up at A, go over the bunch of threads and insert the needle at B very close to A, continue along the line keeping the stitches very close. This is best done when the fabric is held very tightly in a frame.

A method of stitching used in needlepoint to back tent stitch in order to bulk the work and make it more hardwearing. Tramming

Tramming is done on a double canvas in various ways. For single stitch tramming where the area is not wider than 6 inches, work running stitches across the canvas bringing needle through back to front between small square of the double threads. When working large areas of tramming for a carpet or rug, then the split stitch method can be used where the stitches can be up to five stitches long and the second stitch is worked into the first by splitting the yarn. Vertical tramming is sometimes needed to outline areas. This method is the same as above except that it is worked vertically from top to bottom down the narrow pairs of threads and making the next stitch in the following horizontal intersection of canvas. The tent stitch is then worked over the tramming as shown in diagram C.

A couching stitch where threads are laid in squares and different fatterns can be overlaid. Trellis couching

Two finished pattersn are illustrated.

See also Couching
A counted thread stitch used in pulled thread embroidery. Trellis Stitch

Small upright crosses are worked as illustrated. Variations are open trellis stitch and enlarged trellis stitch

A free embroidery stitch or counted thread stitch. As a free embroidery stitch, it used in stump work either as a covering or to back a raised area. Trellis Stitch (free)

Start with a row of backstitch. Then using a blunt (tapestry) needle come out on the right at A immediately below the first backstitch. Slide the needle vertically under the backstitch and then fold the working thread first over and then under the needle as shown. Draw gently through and pull up to form a knot. Continue, repeating this stitch to the end of the line. Insert the needle at C and take a vertical stitch, the same length as a knot coming out at E. Then work from left to right repeat the knots along the row but this time slipping the needle under the bars between the knots instead of the backstitch. When the required number of rows are complete, the other end from the backstitch is anchored by taking a small stitch over each bar between knots into the fabric

Also a pattern stitch used in smocking. Smocking trellis stitch. A combination of outline stitch and cable stitch which is worked over the space between two pleating threads. Three stitches are worked in each diagonal with a downward cable worked at the top and an upward cable worked at the bottom.

As a counted thread stitch, this can be used pulled or unpulled depending on the effect required.Counted trellis

Work five diagonal stitches over two thread intersections from bottom left to top right. Then sharing the same starting hole of the fifth stitch, work five diagonal stitches from top left to bottom right. Repeat these ten stitches making a zigzag line across the fabric. Work the second row from right to left as shown. When one trellis is complete, either finish off the thread or run it through the back of the last five stitches to start the next row. Counted trellis diamond eyelet

A variation fills the centre with diamond eyelet stitch. Work the trellis stitch unpulled, then work a diamond eyelet stitch with 8 stitches down into the central hole of the fabric. Work these stitches clockwise, pulling them as you go.

A counted thread stitch.Triangle stitch

Each stitch unit consists of four triangles placed point to point to produce straight outer edges. Cross stitches at the corners finish off the squares. Work the triangles by straight stitches over 2,3,4,5,4,3,2 fabric threads as shown.

A free embroidery stitch Triple backstitch

Backstitches are worked in rows of three with each row half way along the stitch of the previous row as illustrated.

See also Backstitch
A counted thread stitch Triple Cross stitch

This gives the effect of a raised star and the gaps are filled with tent stitch. The first horizontal stitch is worked across eight threads with an oblong cross on top over six horizontal threads and two vertical ones. A vertical stitch is made over eight threads followed by an oblong cross over two horizontal threads and six vertical. The stitch is completed by a central cross over two threads.

See also Tent stitch
A counted thread stitch Triple Leviathan stitch

A decorative stitch best used singly. First work stitches radiating from the centre in the order shown 1 -12 and then add five upright cross stitches. See also Leviathan stitch and double Leviathan stitch.

A counted thread stitch. Triple rice stitch

This is a variation of rice stitch where the foundation cross stitch is worked over six horizontal and six vertical threads and then each arm is crossed three times by diagonal stitches over two, three and two intersections.
Multiple rice stitch is a further variation where the base stitch is worked over 8, 10 or more threads and crossed at each corner with more short stitches.

A counted thread stitch. Troupe stitch

Working from bottom to top and right to left, form a long stitch from over four vertical and two horizontal fabric threads and cross that thread three times following the numbering as shown. The next complete stitch is then worked two vertical fabric threads to the left of the first.

Embroidery on even open netting. Tuille embroidery

Like blackwork it is made up of bold outlines and then filled with geometric patterns. The outlines are worked in running stitch, The pattern can be drawn on a dark stiff paper and the net pinned to it. The running stitches in thick thread, six strands of embroidery thread, can then be added before removing the paper and working the patterns in finer threads. Care has to be taken over the starting and ending threads since they will all be visible in the finished work. The diagram shows some pattern examples.
Also known as darning on net.

A free embroidery stitch used to make a series of loops cut to form a pile like a Turkey rug. Turkey work

Insert the needle at A and come out at B. Do not knot the thread but leave about an inch hanging. With the thread below the needle on a line with A and B insert the needle at C and come out again at A drawing this stitch tight. With the thread above the needle insert at D and come out again at C, do not draw tight but leave a loop. Make the next stitch with the thread below the needle from E to D and draw tight. Continue along the row making first a loop and then a tight stitch and work in a straight line with the needle always horizontal. Working closely together fill shapes with rows and then cut all the loops at once. Counted turkey

There is also a counted thread version of turkey worked similarly as shown in the diagram.

A couching stitch similar to roumanian couching with the couching threads worked in diamond shapes Turkish couching

A counted thread stitch used in drawn fabric work. Turkish stitch

Work from right to left. Begin four threads in from end of stitch line and work two horizontal stitches from this point to the end of line. Bring needle up at starting point and make two stitches to point four threads up and two threads to the right. Bring needle through four threads to left of point and work two stitches back to point, bring needle through again four threads to left. Make two stitches to starting point and then bring needle through four stitches to the left ready to start next stitch. Continue in this way. Also known as point turc, lace stitch, three sided stitch and Bermuda faggoting

A free embroidery stitch. Turkmen stitch

Work from top to bottom. Bring needle out at left side, hold thread down with left thumb and insert needle at right side a little above the starting point. Bringing needle out on right side, a little below the starting point and with thread below needle. then hold thread down again, insert needle at left side immediately below starting point and bring it out on the left side, the stitch being the same length as before, with thread below needle. Repeat
Also known as closed feather stitch and double chain stitch

A counted thread stitch. Tweed stitch

Cover the area to be worked with large upright crosses over six horizontal and six vertical threads spacing as shown. Oversew each upright with a cross stitch over two diagonal fabric threads in the centre and in the spaces add tiny cross stitches over one fabric thread alternating the top cross as shown.

A counted thread stitch. Twill stitch

It is worked in diagonal rows from top left to bottom right and consists of vertical straight stitches worked over three or four threads.

Double twill Double twill stitch is a variation where vertical straight stitches over four threads alternate with stitches over two threads.

A free embroidery stitch variation of chain stitch. Twisted chain stitch

Work as for chain stitch but instead of needle entering fabric in the same place as it emerged insert it to the left across the thread.

See also Chain stitch
A free embroidery stitch Twisted daisy border stitch

This is a looped stitch with a twist. It is also known as basque stitch.

See also Basque stitch
A free embroidery stitch Twisted fly stitch

Work as for ordinary fly stitch but twist the thread over the needle at the base. To overlap bring the needle up through to the middle of each stitch.

See also Fly stitch
A free embroidery stitch used in faggoting or insertion of two pieces of material. Twisted insertion stitch

Work from left to right. Insert needle from below a little way in from edge. Then insert needle into top edge from below, a little to the right. Twist needle under and then over thread lying between the two edges then insert needle into bottom edge from below a little to the right. Continue working into each edge alternately twisting needle each time.
Also known as faggoting stitch.

A free embroidery filling stitch.Twisted lattice stitch

Using a tapestry make a ground work of parallel diagonal lines. Then weave under and over at a 90° angle to make diamonds. Weave a series of identical horizontal lines across the lattice as shown, alternating the needle direction between up and down as show. When the first rows are complete add a second series of horizontal lines to fill in between the previous thus making double stitches.

A free embroidery stitch. Twisted zigzag chain stitch

This is quite a difficult stitch until the rhythm has been discovered. Make sure that the needle points well outwards to leave sufficient room to work comfortably. Start at top of stitch line. Bring thread through and hold down to the left with your left thumb. Make a slanting stitch from left to right as shown in the diagram, bring needle out above working thread. Hold down to right, then take a slanting stitch from left to right and pull through with needle over working thread as shown in the diagram. Make another stitch to the left, then another to the right and so on, holding last loop with a tiny stitch.
Also known as Spanish knotted feather stitch.

A counted thread stitch, this makes a cross on both sides of the work. Two sided cross stitch

Four journeys on each row are necessary. Work first row from right to left, starting at bottom right corner of first cross. Insert needle four threads up and four threads to the left and bring out again eight threads from the starting point to the left. Continue along row so both sides have one diagonal stroke worked. On second row work same way but from left to right. At end of second row make a half cross stitch back to centre of cross then another up to top right corner, then work along row as before. Work fourth row as before from left to right to complete all crosses on both sides.

A counted thread stitch. Two sided insertion stitch

Each long arm is crossed twice following the numbers as shown.

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