You may have been using the half cross stitch in your cross stitches for a while now. But did you ever have doubts whether you are stitching your half stitches in the right direction?
Half cross stitches have different purposes for different designs and projects. Whether your half cross stitches should be slanted towards the right or left depends on what your pattern calls for.
You can make rows and rows of half cross stitches, or you can also stitch them individually. You use half cross stitches to create a sense of depth in a pattern. You can also use them as outlines for designs and create specific shapes.
Their purpose in a specific pattern dictates the direction in which half cross stitches should go.
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How do you do half cross stitch?
A half cross stitch is one half of a cross stitch. A diagonal line indicates half cross stitches in a pattern.
To make a half cross stitch, you bring the needle with floss from the canvas’s backside to the front. Then, make a diagonal stitch across an intersection. Lastly, push your needle down at the upper corner, then pull the floss entirely through the back. That is how you make a half cross stitch.
The half cross stitch is a variation of the tent stitch, which is the most basic needlepoint stitch. A tent stitch is made of a single diagonal stitch across one canvas intersection. The tent stitch has three variations; the half cross stitch, the continental stitch, and the basketweave stitch.
These three stitches look the same on the top of the canvas, but they look very different on the reverse side. When you stitch half cross stitches in a horizontal row, the canvas’s back will show straight and parallel stitches. The stitches at the back will not totally cover the back of the canvas.
On the other hand, the continental stitch totally covers both the front and back of the canvas. On the reverse side of the continental stitch, you will see long, slanted stitches. The drawback in using the continental stitch is that you need to turn the canvas back and forth to see if you placed your stitches correctly. Using this method also uses more thread or yarn.
The basketweave stitch also creates a diagonal stitch on the front of the canvas. It is worked with staggered alternating diagonal rows. The basketweave method creates a woven basket pattern at the back of the canvas. This type of stitch is ideal when working on large background fill areas on your cross stitch.
When do you use half cross stitch?
You can technically finish a cross stitch pattern using only full cross stitches. But sometimes, a design would call for a half stitch because a full cross stitch would be too much. Half stitches are sometimes used to give that extra detail to a design.
Some patterns need large areas worked in half cross stitches to serve as background. You can use half stitches using single-strand floss to show sky, mountains, or trees as backgrounds of cross stitch designs.
Using half stitches creates a softer look on the background as compared to making full cross stitches.
Some cross stitch designs use half cross stitches as shading to create some depth on a cross stitch image. Half cross stitches are also used to add precise details such as eyes. They can also help make rounded edges, circles, or corners if the design calls for it. Half cross stitches also make great borders or outlines on cross stitch designs.
What are partial stitches?
The half cross stitch belongs to a group of simple stitches used in cross stitch to create shading, curves and add detail to patterns. They can also add depth and dimension to make cross stitch patterns look more vibrant and exciting.
If you have been making patterns with mostly full cross stitches, partial or fractional stitches may confuse you. Cross stitch patterns or charts can be full of different symbols that you need to familiarize yourself with. The symbols tell you if you need a cross stitch or a partial stitch. Note that charts can be in color or black and white.
When cross stitching, as with any needlecraft, everything done with practice is sure to make your work look better than ever.
Here are some tidbits of information on partial stitches that you may encounter on your next cross stitch patterns.
- Half Cross Stitch
- 1/4 Cross Stitch
- ¾ Cross Stitch
In a color chart, the half cross stitch can be shown as a half of a square. While in a black and white chart, it is represented by a diagonal slash going from one edge to the opposite edge.
The half cross stitch commonly slants in from the lower left to the upper right. But some patterns specifically instruct stitchers to slant the half cross stitch according to the pattern. It is important to follow the instructions on the pattern to achieve the desired effect.
A quarter cross stitch is a half of a half cross stitch. It is shown as a diagonal line coming halfway to the square’s center on a color chart. The quarter cross stitch is represented as a miniature symbol coming to the square’s center in a black and white pattern. Two small symbols in one square mean you need two quarter stitches in two different colors in that square.
As with any partial stitch, you need to look at the pattern very closely when stitching to know which corner of the square you will poke your needle into.
The three-quarter cross stitch is composed of a quarter cross stitch and a half cross stitch. The slant depends on what part of the pattern needs the three-quarter stitch.
In a color chart, the three-quarter cross stitch is represented by a triangle. In a black and white chart, a miniature symbol of a 3/4 cross stitch is used.
The three-quarter cross stitch offers a fuller coverage on a square of a canvas. It can create better shading and depth on a design than a quarter cross stitch or a half cross stitch.
Does it matter which direction half stitches go?
Stitchers generally make rows of cross stitches from left to right. But you can always refer to your pattern for specific instructions on how to go about your stitching.
To start a row of half cross stitches:
- Bring your needle up through a hole toward the front and leave about one inch of thread at the back.
- Pass your needle through a hole diagonally across from where you started to make a diagonal half cross stitch. Hold on to your thread tail at the back, so it does not slip through to the front.
- Begin your next half cross stitch by bringing the needle back up through the hole directly below the one you last used. Look at the back of your canvas and make sure that the stitches cover your thread tail at the back.
- Continue making your half cross stitches as your pattern requires.
It would be best if you start with the full cross stitches first on your pattern. This way, you can visualize the overall effect of the half cross stitches on your pattern’s design. The direction of the half cross stitches should be based on the impact that you want for your design. After all, you use half cross stitches in a cross stitch pattern to add shade or depth to your design.
Most of the time, cross stitch patterns show the direction of half cross stitches on the charts. But some stitchers prefer an orientation that they follow, which works for them. The key to making it work is to keep the direction consistent when stitching half cross stitches. Ensure that your half cross stitches slant in the same direction for your finished piece to look good.
The half stitch is commonly done in horizontal rows, especially on large areas. Stitching your half cross stitches consistently in one direction will make your work look smooth and refined. But it would be best to study the pattern thoroughly first before you begin with stitching. It may have a specific purpose that your half cross stitches’ orientation is done in a certain way.
It would be best if you stitched your half cross stitches in a way that gives you the effect you want, whichever direction it may be. Better to look at your pattern closely first than instinctively follow the pattern. Because when you think about it, doing what makes you happy when making art, there is no right or wrong.