Van Dyke stitch
A row of equally spaced cross stitches is worked, with each woven on to the previous stitch. Once pulled taut, this produces a very attractive pattern that looks like a ladder with a central plaited vein. It is ideal for borders or leaf shapes.
Imagine or faintly draw a single central line the length of your shape. Bring the needle up through the left outer edge of the shape on the top of the marked line, then take the needle down just right and above the centre line.
Draw the thread through to produce a diagonal stitch just over halfway across the design.
Bring the needle up left of the centre line, and take it down on the right edge level with the base of the first stitch. Draw the thread through.
Bring the needle up on the left outer edge of the shape a little way along the marked line, then pass the needle under the cross formed by the last stitch.
Draw through and pull on the thread to create tension before taking the needle down on the right edge level with the base of the left stitch.
As you continue, take the needle only under the cross formed by the stitches made immediately previously, as shown.
At the end, bring the needle up on the left of the central line. Take the needle and thread through the final cross as before.
Structure of stitch
S. F. A. Caulfeild, Blanche C. Saward, The Dictionary of Needlework (1882) , p.195
Mrs Archibald Christie, Samplers and Stitches (1921) , p.32
Lucinda Ganderton, Stitch dictionary (2015) , p.56