Backstitch resembles machine stitching. It can be worked in a any direction over any number of threads. Backstitch forms lines and it is most often used to outline shapes or for a single row coverage. 
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Backstitch over two canvas threads
Backstitch over one canvas thread
It is a versatile and easy to work stitch, ideal for following both smooth and complicated outlines. In appearance backstitch is similar to Holbein stitch, however backstitch is worked in a different way, requiring a single journey to complete a line of stitching. 

Backstitch is most easily worked on an even-weave fabric, where the threads can be counted to ensure regularity. It is generally executed form right to left. The stitches are worked in a "two steps forward" and "one step back" mode, along the line to be filled. 
1) Bring the needle up throught the hole (1) and down through the hole (2).
2) Move two threads forward and bring the needle up through the hole (3).
3) Move one step back and bring the needle down through the hole (4).
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Backstitch over one or two threads

Backstitch can also be used as a hand-sewing stitch to attach two pieces of fabric together. 

Embroidered examples with backstitch:

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