The Diagonal Stitch Category in Needlepoint (Continental, Basketweave, Byzantine, Mosaic, and More)

This category includes stitches that are diagonal in motion, either left to right or right to left. these stitches cross the intersections of the mesh. Some stitches can severely bias or distort the canvas when working the stitches. They are generally great for large areas and fill up the canvas well. The tent stitch is probably the most basic stitch in Needlepoint.

Here are some of the more well-known Diagonal Stitches.
  • Continental Stitch: This consists of a diagonal stitch covering on intersection and going along a vertical or horizontal path. This stitch can distort the canvas when worked over large areas, and can be hard to block.
  • Basketweave Stitch or Diagonal Tent Stitch: This stitch is worked on the bias of the canvas: working along the diagonal 1-intersection at a time, rather than in a straight line as the Continental Stitch. Because of this, it doesn't have the distortion problem covering larger sections canvas and is easily blocked. After one row is done the return row, or next row, is done in the opposite direction (for example, if after finishing a row going down at an angle, you start the next row going up following the row). This results in it's characteristic basketweave design on the back of the canvas.
  • Byzantine Stitch: this stitch has a staircase design. It generally consists of stitches covering 2 or more intersections, and going up, down and left or right 4 or more mesh stitches giving it characteristic staircase design.
  • Mosaic Stitch or Diagonal Mosaic Stitch: This consists of small diagonal stitches in a pattern forming small 'tiles' going down or in a diagonal. The Mosaic Stitch has three stitches that are continued in row vertically. A 1-intersection stitch for the first, a 2-intersection stitch for the second, and a 1-intersection stitch for the last. This makes a square 'tile' shape that is repeated, getting its name from the look of tiles. The Diagonal Mosaic Stitch is much the same except it is continued in a diagonal instead of a straight line.

Renee Shelton.