Plastic Canvas Stitches

A Guide to Basic Plastic Canvas Stitches

Stitching on plastic canvas is good for beginners, those who like to stitch with yarn, or those who need or prefer working with a larger needle. But it’s really great for making 3D projects too! We typically use basic surface stitches on plastic canvas. Nothing too fancy. This stitch guide will cover these groups of stitches and their variations:

  • Slanted stitches
  • Straight stitches
  • Outline stitches
  • Edge stitches

The Slanted Stitches

Let’s start here since the tent stitch will be our most commonly used foundation stitch. The tent stitch itself is an umbrella term that refers to a small diagonal stitch. The three following petit point (small) stitches are different from each other because of the effect they produce on the back of the canvas, however each stitch is worked one-over-one and always slants to the right. The direction they are worked and which holes the yarn goes up or down in is important.

Continental: This will be the most used stitch here at Yarn Games. It produces a nice backing which is important for working on 3D projects where the back might show.

Gobelin Slanted: The gobelin is a long stitch. It can be slanted or upright. It is used as a filling stitch and is similar to the satin stitch in embroidery work.

Boxes: These are a series of slanted stitches that make a box shape. There are several variations each with their own pattern.

The Straight Stitches

Straight stitches refer to either horizontal or vertical directions. There are also many variations: alternating, checked, dotted, double, elongated, encroaching, framed, gingham, interlocking, irregular, overlapping, padded, reverse, split, stepped, tied, triple, waves.

Brick: A simple short, horizontal stitch of the same lengths.

Diamond: A pattern of long and short stitches that produces a diamond shape.

Long: Traditionally known as straight or upright gobelin, in the world of needlepoint on plastic canvas we will call it a long stitch. This can be either vertical or horizontal.

Triangles: A pattern of long and short stitches that produces a triangle shape.

The Outline Stitches

For the most part, these are used to soften lines or make greater curves.

Couching: Often used when you want a nicer curve than the squared canvas will allow, couching is done by laying a base thread on top of the canvas then tacking it down with small perpendicular stitches.

Stem: This is another stitch that is great for curves or straight lines, but it is opposite of outline because the working thread is always below the needle. We will use this one over the outline stitch as it gives a more defined stitch.

The Edge Stitches

Last but not least, these stitches are used to complete projects. An exception would be 14 count plastic canvas or even perforated paper where it is common to leave the edges uncovered.

Overcast: This is not really a stitch but simply a method of wrapping the yarn around the raw edge of the canvas in order to cover it.

Whipstitch: This is a method of combining two pieces of plastic canvas together.

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