clear navigate_before


Also known as Needlepoint, Petit point, Tapestry

Canvaswork is a form of counted thread embroidery in which thread is stitched into an even-weave fabric.  It is frequently stitched in wool, either crewel or tapestry, but is often also worked in silk or stranded cotton.  The traditional stitch for canvaswork is the diagonal tent stitch, but there are a huge number of more elaborate stitches, some of which are used to form repeating patterns.  Current canvaswork normally uses a rigid, cotton canvas which is completely covered by the stitching, but linen fabric was used in the 17th century.

Canvas is normally an even-weave fabric which means that there are the same number of warp and weft threads across a given measurement.  The size of the canvas is governed by the number of holes across a given length: measurements are normally either tpi (threads per inch) or hpi (holes per inch), both of these are often referred to as the ‘count’ e.g. 18 count canvas.  (Some manufacturers use metric, in which case they normally indicate the number of threads per 10cm.)

An alternative type of canvas became available in the mid 19th1 century which is called double, duo or Penelope canvas.  The gaps between threads are alternately large and then small to allow for both gros point (large stitches) and petit point (small stitches) to be worked.  Standard canvas is sometimes called ‘single’ or ‘mono’ canvas to differentiate it.

Some canvaswork stitches can be worked as counted thread stitches, i.e. on an evenweave fabric such as linen in which case the fabric would be visible between the stitches.

N.B. canvaswork is frequently referred to as ‘tapestry’.  This is strictly incorrect as a tapestry is woven on a loom, rather than stitched onto fabric using a needle and thread.  The misconception is believed to have arisen as early canvaswork pieces from the 17th century emulated the style of tapestries in palaces and large country houses.

Canvaswork Stitches

Algerian eye stitch Algerian eye stitch variation Alternating cross stitch Back stitch Barred square stitch Basket filling stitch Basketweave tent stitch Bokhara couching Brick stitch Broad cross stitch Byzantine stitch Cashmere stitch Chain stitch (canvaswork) Chequer stitch Condensed cashmere stitch Condensed mosaic stitch Condensed Scotch stitch Continental tent stitch Cross stitch Crossed cushion stitch Cushion stitch Darning stitch Diagonal leaf stitch Diagonal stitch Double cross stitch Double linked cross stitch Double straight cross stitch Dutch stitch Encroaching oblique Gobelin stitch Encroaching straight Gobelin stitch Fan stitch Fern stitch (canvaswork) Florentine stitch Flying cross stitch French stitch Greek stitch Half cross tent stitch Half Rhodes stitch Hungarian grounding stitch Hungarian stitch Jacquard stitch Jessica Stitch John stitch Leaf stitch (canvaswork) Long-armed cross stitch Maltese cross stitch Milanese stitch Montenegrin stitch Moorish stitch Mosaic stitch Norwich stitch Oatmeal stitch Oblique Gobelin stitch Oblong cross stitch Oblong double-tied cross stitch Parisian stitch Perspective stitch Perspective stitch variation Pineapple half drop stitch Plait stitch Plaited Gobelin stitch Raised spot stitch Reversed cross stitch Reversed cushion stitch Rhodes stitch Rice stitch (canvaswork) Rococo stitch Romanian couching Scottish squares Shell stitch Shell stitch (variation) Sorbello stitch Staggered cashmere stitch Stepped fishbone stitch Straight Gobelin stitch Tent stitch Tied Gobelin stitch Tied pavilion stitch Turkey rug knot Twill stitch (canvaswork) Two-sided Italian cross stitch Upright cross stitch Victorian step stitch Web stitch Wild goose chase stitch