54 Popular Needlepoint Stitches

Embroidery set. White linen fabric, embroidery hoop, colorful threads and needls. Copy space
Iryna Kaliukina / Getty Images

Of the myriad of needlepoint stitch combinations, this extensive list features basic to trendy needlepoint stitches that will make your work stand out. They will provide you with many opportunities to work background fills or intricate needlepoint design motifs.

The needlepoint stitches are listed alphabetically to make it easy for you to select those that fit your project. Add the ones that you love to your personal needlepoint stitch library.

  • 01 of 54

    Alternating Basketweave Needlepoint Stitch Variation

    When stitched in two colors in an alternating fashion for each row, this diagonal basketweave variation produces a lovely background for a large center design. You can make it super quick and easy by threading two separate tapestry needles—one with each color to use in working the basic basketweave pattern.

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    Basic Mosaic Needlepoint Stitch

    The basic mosaic needlepoint stitch is one of the most decorative stitches you can use to fill in a needlepoint background or design motif. The stitch is easy to make and forms tiny squares as you work across a design area. It only takes a few minutes to create decorative accents with any type of thread—especially textured novelty ones.

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    Basketweave Tent Needlepoint Stitch

    Basketweave Tent Needlepoint Stitch-Front (left) Back (right)
    Althea DeBrule

    The basketweave tent stitch is one of the most often used, and basic needlepoint stitches. It is a member of the tent stitch family and is worked over a single intersection in diagonal rows up and down the needlepoint canvas. It gets its popularity from that fact that the stitch does not pull the canvas out of shape when worked in a project.

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    Brick Needlepoint Stitch

    Brick Needlepoint Stitch

    Cheryl C. Fall

    This exciting thing about the brick needlepoint stitch is that it resembles bricks as it is worked across the canvas. It is quite versatile; it can be made vertically or horizontally to fit a particular design. The brick stitch is often used as a filler or background stitch. It looks great on needlepoint buildings.

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    Brighton Needlepoint Stitch

    If you're looking for an uncommon, highly textured stitch that can be worked in single or multiple colors, look no further. The Brighton stitch makes an absolutely gorgeous and very unique heavy filling or background for a large project including pillows and wall-hangings.

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    Byzantine Needlepoint Stitch

    The Byzantine Needlepoint Stitch
    Cheryl C. Fall

    The versatile Byzantine stitch can be made as narrow or as wide as you desire over a number of canvas threads. Stitched in diagonal rows resembling steps, it really makes a needlepoint design pop.

  • 07 of 54

    Cashmere Needlepoint Stitches

    Traditional Cashmere Stitch Sample

    Cheryl C. Fall

    The basic cashmere needlepoint stitch is a simple but pretty filling stitch worked in diagonal rows. It is a wonderful introduction to quick decorative stitches and is often used to fill a background area. A variation, the straight cashmere variation, is worked in rectangular blocks.

  • 08 of 54

    Checkered Mosaic Needlepoint Stitch

    Mosaic Checkered Needlepoint Stitch
    Cheryl C. Fall

    This needlepoint filling stitch goes by the name of either the checkered mosaic stitch or the mosaic checker stitch and is made from blocks of the basic mosaic stitch alternating with blocks of four tent stitches. It can be worked in one or two colors for a checkerboard effect.

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  • 09 of 54

    Continental Tent Needlepoint Stitch

    continental stitch front and back
    Althea DeBrule

    The continental stitch is one of the basic tent needlepoint stitches that every beginner learns to make, and which all experienced stitchers use in almost every project. There are methods for both left-handed and right-handed stitchers to properly make this important needlepoint stitch.

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    Corduroy Needlepoint Stitch

    Trying new stitches can be frustrating at times but the corduroy needlepoint stitch with its vertical rows of two different widths is well worth the minimal effort you will expend to create it. If you want a striped effect in the background of a needlepoint project, work this technique in a single color for a subtle corduroy effect or in two contrasting colors for additional accent and a wallpaper effect.

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    Crisscross Hungarian Stitch

    The Criss Cross Hungarian Stitch
    Cheryl C. Fall

    The crisscross Hungarian stitch is a textured filling stitched worked in rows of diagonal stitches, with each row facing the opposite direction. The second color of thread is used to fill in the resulting spaces between the rows. This is the perfect area to use a specialty thread such as a metallic or to add a bead.

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    Crossed Gobelin Stitch

    Work a basic upright Gobelin stitch and top it with a cross-stitch for a great stitch combo and stunning variation. Mix and match thread types to create original background fillers with the crossed Gobelin stitch.

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    Cross Stitch for Needlepoint

    Cross Stitch for Needlepoint
    Cheryl C. Fall

    Made exactly like the cross-stitch technique used in other types of embroidery, this stitch provides lots of texture when used in needlepoint designs. It is especially great for working needlepoint rugs and Quickpoint projects. Use it also to make alphabets and lettering stand out from other stitches around them.

  • 14 of 54

    Diagonal Chevron Needlepoint Stitch

    For a defined diagonal braiding effect, use the ciagonal chevron stitch. Worked in diagonal rows in two opposite directions, each row can be stitched in alternating colors or every row can be a different color altogether. The sky's the limit with what you can do with this fantastic needlepoint stitch.

  • 15 of 54

    Diagonal Hexagonal Needlepoint Stitch

    Diagonal Hexagonal Stitch

    Cheryl C. Fall

    This popular filling stitch is often worked in background areas. The technique is similar to the basketweave stitch but is worked in large blocks of diagonal stitches in different lengths to form a repeated pattern that is not quite a block shape.

  • 16 of 54

    Diagonal Mosaic Needlepoint Stitch

    The Diagonal Mosaic Stitch
    Cheryl C. Fall

    Try working the basic mosaic stitch diagonally across the canvas instead of in straight rows and you'll get a whole new look. When stitched with wool needlepoint thread, you get loads of texture.

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    Diamond Hungarian Stitch

    Also known as Hungarian diamonds, it is a needlepoint filling stitch that can be worked singly or in rows to resemble diamond shapes. The stitch can be worked in single or multiple colors with alternating rows for a visually striking effect.

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    Double Parisian Stitch

    This stitch takes the standard Parisian needlepoint technique to a whole new level. It is worked in double groups of stitches to create even more striking effects in needlepoint projects. Because it is so striking, it should be used sparingly as a background filler or it may detract from the central design.

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    Double Straight Cross Needlepoint Stitch

    The Double Straigh Cross Stitch
    Cheryl C. Fall

    Make the reverse of a Smyrna cross stitch using an elongated, upright cross stitch first, topped by a smaller standard cross-stitch, and you will have the double straight cross for needlepoint.

  • 20 of 54

    Double Twill Stitch Variation

    The double twill stitch is a twill stitch with two different lengths. Worked vertically in diagonal rows like its single stitch counterpart, it is most often stitched in two colors to draw attention to its striking design. The creative stitch looks great on its own or as a background fill for a pillow or other home decorating accessory.

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    Double Woven Stitch

    The Double Woven Stitch
    Cheryl C. Fall

    This fun technique is worked just like the basic woven stitch but in alternating lengths that result in a striking effect similar to the twill stitch. When stitched in a single color with silk thread, it makes for a rich background that changes with different angles of light.

  • 22 of 54

    Encroaching or Interlocking Gobelin Stitch

    The Encroaching/Interlocking Gobelin Stitch
    Cheryl C. Fall

    Rows of slanted Gobelin encroach on one another to interlock, forming a dense filling stitch that's perfect for wall-hangings, pillows, and other needlepoint items may that get lots of wear and tear.

  • 23 of 54

    Framed Scotch Needlepoint Stitch

    Scotch stitch blocks are framed by a tent stitch border in this lovely variation. Framed Scotch stitches make a pretty, engineered-looking background. They can stand on their own for a small needlepoint project like a pincushion or trinket box top.

  • 24 of 54

    Half Cross Tent Stitch

    Half Cross Tent Needlepoint Stitch Front (left) and Back (right)
    Althea DeBrule

    Work the half cross tent stitch diagonally over a single intersection of vertical and horizontal canvas mesh. Use it sparingly in small areas because it has a tendency to warp the canvas and does not offer good thread coverage on the back of your project.

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  • 25 of 54

    Hungarian Point Needlepoint Stitch

    Hungarian Stitch in a Single Color
    Cheryl C. Fall

    The Hungarian point stitch is a pretty filling stitch. Small vertical diamonds are worked across the needlepoint canvas in horizontal rows. It is often used with other straight stitches to form creative patterns. It works well as a background filler.

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    Jacquard Needlepoint Stitch

    The Jacquard stitch is a filling stitch worked diagonally in stepped rows of alternating colors. It looks like a combination of tent stitches and slanted Gobelin stitches. Multiple colors give this stitch definition and beauty.

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    Kalem or Knitting Needlepoint Stitch

    Kalem Straight Knit Stitch

    Cheryl C. Fall

    The kalem or straight knitting stitch resembles knitting and is perfect as a filling stitch for needlepoint designs with sweaters, scarves, hats and other knitted clothing.

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    Knotted Gobelin Needlepoint Stitch

    The knotted Gobelin stitch belongs to the Gobelin stitch family of longer needlepoint stitches. It can be used as a pretty filling stitch, or can be worked in borders and rows.

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  • 29 of 54

    Long or Bargello Needlepoint Stitch

    Rose Romance Long Stitch Project
    Cheryl C. Fall

    The long stitch can be used to make shapes and fillings by combining stitches of different lengths. This stitch is commonly used to work Bargello needlepoint designs.

  • 30 of 54

    Milanese Needlepoint Stitch

    Milanese Stitch - Single Color
    Cheryl C. Fall

    This highly textured background or filling stitch worked diagonally gives the illusion of arrows similar to the popular flying geese quilt pattern. It makes a lovely background around a floral center motif in a needlepoint pillow.

  • 31 of 54

    Moorish Needlepoint Stitch

    The Moorish stitch gets its name from a common pattern used in the architecture of Moorish (Arabic) Spain, similar to the style used in the Alhambra. Worked in stepped diagonal rows, it can be stitched in a single color or in multiple colors.

  • 32 of 54

    Nobuko and Double Alternating Nobuko Needlepoint Stitches

    Easy Nobuko Stitch Diagram
    Althea DeBrule

    Alternating long and short stitch lengths make the basic Nobuko a popular filling needlepoint stitch. It works up so quickly that you can learn to make it in 10 minutes or less! One of its variations, The double alternating Nobuko stitch is the perfect textured stitch for working basket designs in one or more colors.

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    Oblique Slav Needlepoint Stitch

    Take the simple slanted Gobelin stitch and make it slant even more to create this dreamy needlepoint stitch. It works up much quicker than the other Gobelin variations.

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    Oblong Cross Stitch

    Worked just like the basic cross-stitch, the oblong variation covers three canvas threads and is worked in rectangular blocks. It is ideal for stitching needlepoint borders and design areas that are rectangular or square.

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    Parisian Needlepoint Stitch

    If you are looking for a very dense cover on both sides of the needlepoint canvas, then try the Parisian needlepoint stitch. It is a vertical straight stitch with alternating lengths that is worked in horizontal rows.

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    Pineapple Stitch

    This highly-textured filling stitch resembles the outer skin of a pineapple. It can be worked in a single color, or in two colors with dazzling results.

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    Reversed Mosaic Needlepoint Stitch

    Each group of stitches is worked just like the basic mosaic stitch. However, each square is stitched in the opposite direction. As each row is completed, the resulting pattern is quite lovely.

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    Reversed Scotch Needlepoint Stitch

    Work blocks of Scotch stitches in alternating directions to create this reversed variation. The effect is similar to the reversed mosaic stitch, only the stitched blocks are larger.

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    Rhodes Needlepoint Stitch

    Rhodes Stitch
    Cheryl C. Fall

    Work the highly decorative Rhodes stitch to accent corners or one or two focal points of a needlepoint design. There are seven variations of this stitch, including Rhodes heart, diamond, star, sheaf, round, pinwheel and more.

  • 40 of 54

    Rice Needlepoint Stitch

    The Rice Stitch - Long Version
    Cheryl C. Fall

    Begin with a large basic cross stitch and anchor each corner with a smaller diagonal stitch to form the rice needlepoint stitch. It really starts to look like grains of rice once you've worked several rows.

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  • 41 of 54

    Satin Stitch

    Satin Stitch Examples
    Cheryl C. Fall

    Like its fabric embroidery counterpart, the satin stitch produces a smooth surface. It can be worked in any direction but should cover no more than six canvas meshes at a time or the stitching thread may snag.

  • 42 of 54

    Scotch Checkerboard Needlepoint Stitch

    Checkered Scotch Stitch
    Cheryl C. Fall

    Scotch stitch blocks alternate with tent stitch blocks for this highly textured filling stitch. It is so beautiful, you could work an entire pillow in this stunning stitch technique.

  • 43 of 54

    Simple Scotch Needlepoint Stitch

    Scotch Stitch
    Cheryl C. Fall

    The Scotch stitch is worked diagonally to form a square. Blocks of squares are then worked across the needlepoint canvas.

  • 44 of 54

    Slanted Gobelin Stitch

    The Slanted Gobelin Stitch
    Cheryl C. Fall

    To make the slanted Gobelin stitch, you work the upright Gobelin stitch at a slant or slight angle. Use it in the same manner—especially when surrounded by other diagonal stitches. 

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    Smyrna Cross Stitch

    Smyrna Cross
    Cheryl C. Fall

    The Smyrna cross stitch starts out as a simple traditional cross-stitch, with an additional upright cross stitch worked on top. It is similar to the leviathan stitch but smaller. Even so, it creates lots of texture and makes a bumpy background filler.

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    Straight Florentine Needlepoint Stitch

    For a light, airy filling made from vertical stitches that are worked in rows, use the straight Florentine stitch. It looks like elongated Hungarian stitches with single straight stitches in between the diamond shapes.

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    Tressed Needlepoint Stitch

    The Tressed Stitch
    Cheryl C. Fall

    The tressed needlepoint stitch produces a fine woven and textured appearance when worked with stranded or fine single ply needlepoint thread. It is ideal for working in needlepoint projects where you would like the canvas to peek through but you need lots of texture for proper coverage.

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    Triangle Needlepoint Stitch

    A triangular, textured filling or background stitch worked in interlocking rows. Consider using this stitch when working Southwestern or ethnic needlepoint designs.

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    The T-stitch is an open, airy needlepoint stitch. It is used as a filler in areas where you would like the canvas to show through. This versatile stitch uses less thread to fill an area than most other filler stitches and looks great worked in specialty threads with glitter or metallic accents; or on needlepoint canvas that has been painted with glitter or metallic paints.

  • 50 of 54

    Twill Needlepoint Stitch

    Use the twill stitch as a textured needlepoint filling stitch that is worked vertically in diagonal rows. It gets its name from twill fabric. Experiment with this stitch using overdyed or variegated needlepoint threads for an even more fabulous look.

  • 51 of 54

    Upright Gobelin Stitch

    The Upright Gobelin Stitch
    Cheryl C. Fall

    Work a long, vertical filling stitch that creates a satin finish with the upright Gobelin technique. Use it to give a professional finish to needlepoint borders. When worked in multiple rows, it resembles horizontal ribbing.

  • 52 of 54

    Wicker Needlepoint Stitch

    The Wicker Stitch
    Cheryl C. Fall

    This stitch is perfect for needlepoint designs with wicker baskets and picket fences. The pretty filling stitch is worked in blocks of alternating vertical and horizontal long stitches.

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    Woven Needlepoint Stitch

    The Woven Stitch
    Cheryl C. Fall

    Make woven fabric in needlepoint with this specialty technique. It is often used as a light filler stitch for backgrounds and borders. It will remind you of the straight stitches used in creating Bargello needlepoint patterns.

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    Woven Plait Needlepoint Stitch

    Similar to the T and tressed needlepoint stitches, this woven technique looks more like braiding. The threads are much closer together for even greater texture. If Persian wool is used, hardly any canvas will show through; but you will still have a lovely effect.