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Greek stitch icon
Greek stitch

This canvas stitch produces a plaited pattern in horizontal bands. The movement of working this stitch is similar to herringbone stitch, but the stitches are spaced asymmetrically.

This stitch can be used as a filling stitch or alternatively as a wide border which accentuates its interwoven appearance.

Greek stitch is generously sponsored by Diana Maxwell



Work the first row from left to right. Bring the needle up and make a diagonal stitch from bottom left to top right over two threads.


Come up to the left over two threads and make a long-arm of the cross slanting down as shown in the picture (two threads down and four stitches across).


Come up to two threads to the left and take your needle down two threads to the right and two threads up to make a diagonal stitch.  Your diagonal stitch should be at the same angle as your first stitch.


Come up to the left over two threads where the first diagonal stitch went in, and make a long-arm cross slanting down.


Repeat the process and fill the first row.


Work the second row from right to left.

First, bring your needle up two threads down from the bottom right point of your previous row.  Count two threads up and two left to make a diagonal stitch.


Come up two threads to the right, and make a long-arm cross slanting down in the opposite direction (two threads down and four threads across).


Continue towards left until you fill the shape. Repeat these two rows until the area is filled and the look of a plaited surface is achieved.

Greek stitch

Structure of stitch

Embroidery Techniques

Identifying Greek stitch

Greek stitch consists of long diagonal stitches, sloping from the top left to bottom right.  Each long stitch is crossed by two short stitches, the first below and the second above.  On the reverse, it forms two parallel lines of back stitch.


  • Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches (1934) , p.110
  • Jennifer Campbell, Ann-Marie Bakewell, Guide to Embroidery Stitches (2004)