Gay Ann Rogers Needlework

Lessons for Beginners






My World of Needlework


Lessons for Beginners


Four years ago I wrote a series of Lessons for Beginners; now I find I've changed my mind a bit and in my lead-up to Catherine the Great, I'm rewriting the lessons a bit.


The most current lesson is on Queendom Website's Home Page and on this page.


You will find links to the former lessons below.

'Continental' and 'Basketweave' Stitch

(aka Tent Stitch and Diagonal Tent Stitch)



If you were my generation, Continental and Basketweave were the first stitches you learned to do. Continental was the 'easy' one, and after you were seesawing back and forth across a design with Continental for a while, you lealrned to do Basketweave because it didn't distort the canvas. This was in the days when you hand-held scrunched up canvases and the blocking board was an absolute necessity.'


In fact, there are distinct uses for both variations of what is essentially the same stitch.

The rule of thumb: use Continental Stitch for a single row.

Use Basketweave for a cluster of stitches.


Continental Stitch (aka Tent Stitch)

The graphs illustrate a 'single row' of Continental Stitch,

The stitch can be worked in horizontal rows, as illustrated below and also in vertical rows.


From Left to Right:

Up at 1, down at 2, up at 3, down at 4, etc.


From Right to Left:

Up at 1, down at 2, up at 3, down at 4, etc.



This variation doesn't work on the sort of canvas we use most commonly today (called 'mono' canvas because the stitches will fall behind the canvas meshes from 2-3 and 4-5 etc.



Basketweave Stitch (aka Diagonal Tent Stitch)

Basketweave Stitch is worked in descending and ascending diagonal rows.


The Traditional Way

Many of us learned to do Basketweave using a graph similar to the one below, and more than a few of us had a difficult time mastering the transition from one row to another, and more than a few of us said the stitch is too difficult for a beginning person. That's because this traditional graph makes it difficult.






















Try the graph below instead. MUCH easier to see the movement of the stitch because you work a long row of ascending stitches and then a long row of descending stitches.






















More Comments on Continental and Basketweave

This is meant only to introduce the very useful stitch. For a long while I dodged extensive use of the stitches in favor of more decorative and layered patterns. In the last few years, as I have been stitching portraits and have been in need of fine smooth stitches with a delicate look, I have returned to using Continental and Basketweave extensively. In these years I have used it in a way novel to me: as an undercoat beneath more decorative stitches. I've discovered some distinct advantages of using the stitch in this way. Later on, as we get to the more advanced lessons, I will write about my discoveries. For now, it is sufficient to practice the stitch, either learning it for the first time or as a refresher course.



For Beginning Needlepoint Students, here is a reworking of my series from the past.

Lesson #6 The Most Common Needlepoint Stitch

If you learned to do needlepoint when I did, the very first stitch you learned was this stitch.