Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Stitch of the Week: Hungarian

The Hungarian stitch was a big success. Everyone picked it up quickly and agreed that it was a useful and handsome stitch. It is one of the oldest needlepoint stitches.

The Hungarian stitch consists of three Gobelin stitches (straight up and down) over two horizontal canvas threads, then over four horizontal canvas threads, and finally over two horizontal canvas threads. The result is a diamond-shaped unit (pictured at left, top row). One row of canvas holes is skipped in between units. The long stitches of the second row of diamonds fit halfway up into the spaces left between units of the first row. Just remember -- the long stitches line up underneath the long stitches and the short stitches line up underneath the short stitches.

When the Hungarian stitch is worked in one color, the result is a brocade-like appearance. However, when multiple colors (either related or contrasting) are used the results can be very exciting and/or sophisticated. Other variations include working the stitch horizontally (bottom photo, left hand column) and/or doubling the stitch sequence (so that the pattern then becomes over two, over two, over four, over four, over two, over two, over two rows of empty holes, repeat). One can also add another step to the stitch so that the pattern then becomes: over two, over four, over six, over four, over two, skip a row of holes, repeat. This is called the Hungarian Diamond variation (upper photo, last row) and it is susceptible to snagging so it might not be the best choice for an area the needs to wear well.

Advantages to the Hungarian stitch include the ease with which the stitch can be learned and the speed with which it can be executed. It is a good choice for a background or large design area. It can also be used for paths, fields and clothing. It is an easy stitch and definitely one to have in your repertoire.

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