3 Basic Tent Needlepoint Stitches at a Glance

Althea DeBrule

Whether you’re just getting started with needlepoint or are an accomplished stitcher, almost every needlepoint project you make will include working at least one or all three of the basic tent needlepoint stitches: half-cross, continental, and basketweave. These stitches are fundamental to successfully completing any type of embroidery on canvas.

Why? Because the traditional stitches are slanted and work best on the stiff, loosely woven canvas fabric used in needlepoint. They are part of the tent stitch family, and, when worked for a background or design motif, they make the finished needlepoint strong and durable enough for home furnishings and other items that get a lot of usage.

Although the three tent stitches look alike on the right side of the canvas, each one is unique in its own right and performs a different function when working a needlepoint project. You can learn about each one from the free step-by-step tutorials with detailed stitch diagrams. Where applicable, each tutorial gives instructions for both left-handed and right-handed stitchers.

The Proper Way to Work the Half-Cross Tent Stitch

Stitchers looking for the correct way to fill in tiny areas in and between design motifs as well as the open spaces in needlepoint alphabets will find the half-cross tent needlepoint stitch tutorial the perfect solution to their search. Similar to the stitch by the same name used in working cross-stitch patterns, the simple technique can be just as effective in needlepoint if used sparingly.

The easy tutorial can be easily followed by beginners as well as more experienced stitchers. It contains complete working directions and a colorful stitch diagram that can be downloaded and added to your personal stitch library.

In addition to detailed instructions on how to work the half-cross tent needlepoint stitch, there is a section on when it is appropriate to use the stitch, as well as a few cautions to consider in selecting it for a needlepoint project.

Half-cross needlepoint stitch, front and back
Half-Cross Tent Needlepoint Stitch front (left) and back (right) Althea DeBrule

Stitch It Your Way: Continental Tent Stitch for Right- and Left-Hand

Mastering the basic Continental Tent Stitch should be one of the first goals of any aspiring needlepointer. It gives you a strong foundation on which to build your needlepoint expertise and is a valuable and important skill to have as you continue to stitch new projects.

The continental tent needlepoint stitch tutorial will teach you how to lay the proper groundwork for stitching needlework that will last forever. If you’re left-handed, you will not have to waste time reversing the directions before learning to make the stitch. The instructions are all laid out for you along with diagrams you can follow as you place each stitch.

All needlepointers, no matter their dominant hand, will learn how to work the stitch vertically as well as horizontally, including a well-kept secret for stitching it without having to turn the canvas! Use the free tutorial to learn how to make the basketweave stitch to get a professional look in your completed needlepoint projects.

Even if you are experienced and highly skilled at working the continental tent stitch, you should go through the tutorial anyway because you never know when you’ll turn up something new and useful that you don’t already know.

Continental stitch front and back
Continental Needlepoint Stitch front (left) and back (right) Althea DeBrule

Easy Way to Quickly Learn the Basketweave Tent Needlepoint Stitch

Working the intimidating-looking basketweave tent stitch is a lot simpler than you think. Like the rest of the tent family of stitches, it is quick and easy to do when you know how. This basic stitch will turn your projects into extremely durable works of needlepoint art!

Everything you need to know to make the stitch correctly the first time and every time is in this basketweave tent needlepoint stitch tutorial. The instructions are given so that a beginner can be taught by following the written guidelines alone.

So relax and pull out a piece of scrap canvas and thread. Examine the photos, diagrams, and directions and make a sample for your stitch notebook. Practice the basketweave tent needlepoint stitch until you are confident and skilled enough to work it in your sleep!

Basketweave tent stitch, front-back
Basketweave Tent Needlepoint Stitch front (left) and back (right) Althea DeBrule