Hungarian stitch is a canvaswork stitch which produces a pattern of small diamond-shaped blocks. It consists of three vertical stitches, worked over two, four, and two canvas threads. It can be worked in one colour or in rows of different colours.
Hungarian stitch is very similar to Mosaic stitch but it is worked vertically, rather than on the diagonal.
Hungarian stitch certainly dates to the late medieval period as there is evidence it was used in German ecclesiastical embroidery from this time.
It was still being used in the 17th century as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has a stitched portrait of Charles II which unusually includes Hungarian stitch alongside petit point.
Work from right to left. Bring up the needle at a starting point and take the needle down over two horizontal canvas threads.
Work the next stitch to the left over four horizontal canvas threads as shown in the picture.
The third stitch is again over two horizontal canvas threads. This makes a small diamond shape.
The second row is worked from left to right. Work the first stitch over two horizontal canvas threads just under the first row as shown in the picture.
The second stitch over four horizontal canvas threads is worked to fit into the spaces left in the first row.
The third stitch over two horizontal canvas threads is worked to complete the small diamond-shaped block.
The third row is worked from right to left. Work the small diamond-shaped blocks and make sure that the long stitches are worked into spaces between the two blocks in the previous row.
Structure of stitch
Mrs Archibald Christie, Samplers and Stitches (1921) , p.90
Mary Thomas, Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches (1934) , p.125–6
Christa C. Mayer. (1971) 'An Early German Needlework Fragment', Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies pp.66-76. Available at: https://www.jstor.org/stable/4104352
Frances Little. (1939) 'English Embroideries of the Stuart Period', The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin pp.177-182. Available at: https://www.jstor.org/stable/3256544