Stab and Sewing Methods of Cross Stitching

How To: The Stab and Sewing Method of Cross Stitching

Woman cross stitching
  Jane Khom / Getty Images

One thing that I love about cross stitch is the names of techniques used. Case in point, the Stab and Sew method. It sounds evil and downright painful but the truth of the matter is, these two methods are the most widely used in cross stitching and embroidery. They are very different stitching techniques but both are very effective. 

The first, the "stab" method, is used by most beginning stitchers. The stab method involves moving the hand back and forth from the front of the fabric to the back of the fabric. The needle is "stabbed" into the front of the fabric, left there, and then pulled through from the other side. This is a very common method as many cross stitchers and embroiderers use hoops and frames. 

Each stitch technique has unique characteristics. The stab method is effective when using a hoop or frame. The stab method of stitching does not distort the fabric. It is easy to make certain that the stitch is placed properly. 

The sewing method is used by stitchers who prefer to hold the fabric in the hand instead of in a hoop. The stitcher's hand and needle stay on top of the fabric, except when securing floss. The needle scoops under the weave of the fabric.

The sewing method is not the best for beginners. It is more difficult to ensure stitch placement, and the fabric can be distorted by the scooping motion. For more experienced stitchers, this stitch technique is preferred for some projects because a hoop is not required. Stitching a project with the sewing method does seem to be a little faster.You have to have good eye sight and hand/eye coordination for this method. It is a very precise method. It is a great way for smaller projects that will not fit into a hoop. 

I choose a stitch technique on a case by case basis when I am stitching. I use the sewing method for smaller projects where the rapidity of completion is more important to me than the perfection of stitches. If I want to achieve a more perfect stitch, I use a hoop or frame and the stab method.