Half cross-stitch

The Half Cross Stitch is the simplest and quickest diagonal stitch. The other two diagonal stitches are the continental stitch and the basketweave stitch. All three stitches give the same result on the front side but the reverse side is quite different.  
Half cross-stitch on the front side of the canvas
Half cross-stitch on the back side of the canvas
Half cross-stitch on the back side of the canvas

How to work with the half cross stitch. 

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Half cross stitch is normally stitched in horizontal rows but can also be stitched vertically. Usually you start stitching from the top, left corner and moving downwards. 
1.  Bring needle up through hole 1 and down through hole 2. Bring needle up again through hole 3 and down through hole 4. Continue stitching the first row from left to right. 
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2. The return row is stitched in reverse, from right to left. Come up through hole 1 and down through hole 2. Complete the second row.
half cross stitch step by step

3. Continue to the third row, repeating the stitching sequence. 
half cross stitch

4. Continue stitching until the area in covered with half-cross stitches. 
half cross stitch

How to start and finish without a knot
How to start: 
1. Pull your threaded needle through the first hole to be stitched, leaving a 1-2'' tail of thread. Hold this tail of thread against the back of the canvas in the direction that the stitching will progress 
2. Begin stitching, covering with stitches the thread, underneath. Turn the work over and cut away the remaining thread. 
How to finish without a knot
1. Turn the work over and slide the thread under a few back stitches in horizontal or vertical direction.
How to start with a new thread
Simply run the needle under several stitches on the back to secure the thread and resume stitching.

Advantages of half-cross stitch

  • Does not use as much thread as the other diagonal stitches.

Disadvantages of half-cross stitch
  • Does not cover the reverse side at all and sometimes does not cover the front side well 
  • In comparison to continental stitch and cross stitch, half cross-stitch does not produce a padded canvas. 
  • It is not suitable if strength and durability is required. However, if the project requires a minimum bulk, then half-cross stitch is suitable

Note: If your thread becomes twisted while stitching, drop the needle and allow the needle and the thread to hang freely. The thread will untwist by itself.


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