Straight Knitting Stitch

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    Knitting on Needlepoint Canvas

    Needlepoint Supplies
    Oksana Ariskina / EyeEm/Getty Images

    Most people recognize a knitted garment by the stockinette stitch with its smooth knit stitch on the right side and pebbly purl stitch worked on the wrong side. Using the Straight Knitting Stitch designed exclusively for working on needlepoint canvas, you can make various motifs in your needlepoint project look realistic--as if you knit them by hand.​

    When to Use the Kalem Knit Needlepoint Stitch

    Sometimes referred to as the Kalem Stitch when worked horizontally across the canvas, the easy technique is a very nice filling stitch for needlepoint projects with scarves, sweaters, mittens or other small motifs where you wish to have the object appear to be knitted.

    It can also be used to simulate braiding—especially when working three-dimensional decorative cords or to make hairstyle motifs in a needlepoint design look true-to-life.

    If you are comfortable working with diagonal stitches over multiple canvas threads in vertical rows or the Continental Stitch in horizontal rows, you can teach yourself to make this super easy stitch in just a few minutes.

    Continue to 2 of 2 below.
  • 02 of 02

    Working the Kalem or Straight Knitting Stitch

    Kalem Straight Knit Stitch.jpg
    Kalem Straight Knit Stitch.jpg. Cheryl Fall

    Although commonly made by working up one side and then down the other in vertical rows, the Kalem or Straight Knitting Stitch can also be made by working horizontally in the same manner from right to left across the needlepoint design area. In both cases, the completed stitch sequence forms a series of V's that look as if the area has been knitted.

    6 Steps for Working the Straight Knitting Stitch

    The Kalem Knit Stitch is one of the most clever as well as easy needlepoint stitch techniques you can make. Getting started is quite simple; just follow these instructions.

    1. Decide how long you want the stitch to be before working it. For small areas, you may only want to cross two or three canvas threads; but for larger design areas, consider making the stitch as long as four or more canvas threads for a somewhat elongated shape. 
    2. Use the stitch diagram above. Bring the needle up through the canvas at position (1) and work diagonally up to position (2). You'll notice that the diagonal slant is a bit steep as you are only working over one horizontal canvas mesh but four vertical meshes.
    3. Bring the needle up through the canvas again at position (3), and then again across diagonally to the right over 4 vertical and one horizontal intersection to go down at position (4).
    4. Repeat this part of the stitch until you have reached the top of the area you are filling.
    5. Get ready to start working down the canvas to complete the stitch. Begin at position (9), moving down to position (10), which shares the same space as a stitch in the previous row. This will form a "V".
    6. Continue working downward until you have finished the entire row of stitches. If your needlepoint design area requires a straight edge to finish it off, add a small compensating stitch at the top or bottom of each row as needed so that no canvas shows through.

    Stitching Tips 

    • As when working any needlepoint project, you should pay close attention to stitching tension or your work will look sloppy and the realistic effect you are trying to achieve will be ruined. That is why it is important to work in only one direction at a time when making the stitch.
    • Make sure to keep a proper twist in the needlepoint thread you use while working the downward rows. Use a laying tool or trolley needle, if needed.
    • Follow the steps above as listed to ensure adequate coverage on the back of the needlepoint canvas. Do not skimp on thread when working the Straight Knitting Stitch, or you may have problems when blocking and finishing.
    • Have fun with the stitch by experimenting with different colors for each vertical or horizontal row of "V's".
    • Save all compensating stitches for last--especially if you are working on cords and braids that are rounded or flowing in a circular motion.

    Edited by Althea R. DeBrule