How to Tent Stitch in Needlepoint

Written by rochelle french
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The history of needlepoint goes back to the Egyptians, according to the National NeedleArts Association. In needlepoint, pictures and designs are worked with fine yarn on open weave canvas. The basics of needlepoint are easily learnt, especially the tent stitch. The tent stitch in needlepoint may be worked three different ways. The variations all look the same on the "good" side of the canvas, but pull the canvas in different ways. Knowing how to work the tent stitch will not only get you started in needlepoint, but can take your work to a higher skill level.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Tapestry needle
  • Open weave canvas
  • Needlepoint yarn

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    Half-Cross Tent Stitch

  1. 1

    Thread needle with a 24-inch length of needlepoint yarn. Start at the far left and lowest row of the colour you will be working on. Insert needle from underside, bringing the needle straight up.

  2. 2

    Insert the needle in the middle of the square immediately up and to the right of the square you started in.

  3. 3

    Repeat, going across the row. At the end of the row, turn canvas 180 degrees and start the next row, repeating the stitching pattern.

    Basketweave Tent Stitch

  1. 1

    Work from the upper right corner to the lower left corner, making a row of diagonal stitches, then work from the lower right corner to the upper left corner, diagonally. Start by inserting the needle from the underside into the middle of the square directly below and across from the first square at the top right of the area you will be working in. Bring needle straight up.

  2. 2

    Insert needle down through the middle of the upper right-hand square. Bring needle up from the underside in the square directly below the first square stitched.

  3. 3

    Insert needle down through the square immediately up and to the right. This completes the first diagonal down and to the right row. Now you will be working on the row going diagonal upward and to the left row.

  4. 4

    Continue this pattern of going down one diagonal row and up the other diagonal row until the section is filled.

    Contintental Tent Stitch

  1. 1

    Insert needle from below in the square below and to the left of the first square to be worked. Insert needle into the square above and to the right.

  2. 2

    Cross the needle diagonally and to the left from behind. Insert needle from behind in the square directly to the left of the first worked square. Insert needle diagonally into the square above and to the right.

  3. 3

    Repeat this process across the row, going across to the right and up one square on the front of the worked piece, then back across and down to the left two squares.

Tips and warnings

  • Use the continental tent stitch for single lines of colour.
  • The half-cross tent stitch uses the least amount of needlepoint yarn.
  • Use the basketweave tent stitch in work that needs strength. This stitch is only worked in one direction, so it is a good choice if you're using a needlepoint frame.
  • The half-cross tent stitch can distort work by pulling on the weave. Use sparingly.

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