How to Work the Mosaic Needlepoint Stitch

'Red seam on white cloth, close-up'
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  • 01 of 02

    What Is The Mosaic Needlepoint Stitch?

    The Mosaic Stitch is a textured diagonal needlepoint stitch technique worked in small blocks of three stitches--a Continental tent stitch, a Slanted Gobelin Stitch followed by another tent stitch. The Mosaic Stitch makes the perfect filler when used in a blocked or squared area, or in straight lines.

    Needlepoint Supplies for Working the Mosaic Stitch

    Any type of needlepoint yarn or thread can be used to make the Mosaic Stitch. For example, it looks like a beautiful quilted pattern when worked in a single color with stranded cotton or silk. 

    For really unique decorative patterns, work the stitch in overdyed or variegated threads. You can even alternate the colors to add greater accent and interest to a needlepoint design.

    Use the Mosaic Stitch on single or double-thread needlepoint canvas. Although it might work on other types of specialty canvas, it is not as beautiful as when worked on traditional needlepoint canvas.

    Tips for Using the Mosaic Needlepoint Stitch

    • If you feel very comfortable working diagonal tent stitches, you’ll find the Mosaic Stitch easy to master.
    • For best results, mount your needlepoint canvas on stretcher bars or in a frame for quick and easy Mosaic needlepoint stitches.
    • For a smooth and professional look to your needlework, make sure to carefully place the Mosaic units so that they line up both horizontally and vertically across the design area as desired.
    • Watch your stitching tension to avoid pulling the canvas out of shape as each unit of diagonal Mosaic stitches is worked.
    • Make sure to unwind the thread frequently for proper canvas coverage. When working diagonal stitches, there is a tendency to over-twist the thread, causing it to appear thin and allowing blank canvas to peek through.

    Learn how to work this simple filler stitch with these step by step directions.

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  • 02 of 02

    Working the Mosaic Stitch

    The Mosaic Stitch will add some serious oomph to any needlepoint design; and the easy-to-make needlepoint stitch is a lovely way to introduce a touch of individuality to your needlepoint projects.

    Use the diagram in the above image and follow these steps to work the quick and easy stitch. You'll be making rows of interesting Mosaic stitches to decorate your needlepoint design in no time at all.

    How-To Instructions

    1. Bring your needle up at position (1) to form a tent stitch across one diagonal thread of the canvas. Go down at position (2).
    2. Come up at position (3) and work diagonally across two threads of the canvas to go down at position (4). You will have made a Slanted Gobelin Stitch.
    3. Repeat Step 1 above for the next stitch beginning at position (5) and ending at (6).
    4. Continue horizontally across the row at positions (7) through (12), completing each Mosaic unit in its entirety before moving to the next one in the row. Each new Mosaic unit begins in the top left corner and is worked diagonally to the bottom right corner.
    5. Work groups of Mosaic stitches until the entire row has been completed. When working a sequence of Mosaic stitches in this manner, you will get absolute coverage on the back of the canvas.
    6. Begin a new row with the stitches falling directly under the previous row's stitches. Eventually as you work across subsequent rows, you will notice that small stitches of each row touch the same ones of the previous rows, and long stitches touch long ones as well. This lets you know that you are working the stitch properly.
    7. Work as many full three-stitch Mosaic units as possible; and then fill in with Tent or Continental compensating stitches to complete a design area.
    8. As you become familiar with working the stitch, experiment with color combinations to form interesting designs like checkerboard patterns and patchwork quilt squares.

    ​Although the above directions and stitch diagram show the Mosaic stitch being worked in horizontal rows, it can also be worked in vertical rows. Once you've mastered the sequence of the three-stitch units, it will be easy to change direction.

    Edited by Althea R. DeBrule