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Condensed Scotch stitch icon
Condensed Scotch stitch

  • Condensed cushion stitch
  • Diagonal Scotch stitch

This canvaswork filling stitching is a variation of scotch stitch.  It consists of squares made up of five diagonal stiches; these squares are condensed by one stitch to form a diagonal pattern.

N.B. historically, some of the names of Scotch stitch and its variations have been used interchangeably with those of cushion stitch.

Condensed Scotch stitch is generously sponsored by Corinna, Lady Hamilton of Dalzell


The size of the square in the stitch can be increased or reduced.


Make a tent stitch across one canvas intersection.


Below it make a stitch across two canvas intersections.


Make further stitches across three, two and one canvas intersections. This completes the first square.


Repeat the sequence diagonally: across one, two, three, two, one, two, three, two etc. Continue in diagonal rows.


The shortest stitch of the next row will sit next to the longest stitch of the previous row and vice versa, so the second row should interlock with the spaces of the first.

Condensed Scotch stitch

Common uses

This is a flat medium-sized stitch that fills in quite quickly.

Embroidery Techniques


  • Various Authors, The Royal School of Needlework Book of Embroidery (2018) , p.123
  • Kate Haxell, The Stitch Bible (2012)
  • Jennifer Campbell, Ann-Marie Bakewell, Guide to Embroidery Stitches (2004)
  • Sarah Whittle, The Needlecraft Stitch Directory (2012)