Thursday, February 14, 2013

Stitch Compensation - The Elongated Cross Stitch

Let’s look at the Elongated Cross Stitch.  I was actually stitching the Van Dyke Stitch, which is a column of overlapping Elongated Cross Stitches when I had to compensate the stitch at the bottom of the column.  The Van Dyke Stitch looks like this:

Van Dyke Stitch
You may wonder about my unorthodox numbering system for each of the Elongated Cross Stitches - well I want to create a backing that is easy to start and stop threads in.  As long as I am consistent in my execution, it does not matter how the cross stitch is executed.

Anyway, let’s say the next stitch in the sequence is compensated, just how do I do that?  Have you heard someone say that you just place something, like a piece of paper, over the stitch diagram where the stitch ends and that will show you how to place the compensating stitch?

OK, let’s try that:
Compensated Van Dyke #1

I’ve indicated the compensated stitch with blue color.  But what if I placed my piece of paper in the middle of the last row of the diagram and not at the end of the row?  Well, then the compensation would look like this:

Compensated Van Dyke #2

Which one is correct?  

You know what?  I don’t know off the top of my head, I have to stitch both to see which one looks better.  Does that surprise you?

Comparison of Compensated Van Dyke Stitches
#1                                                       #2   

The above picture shows both types of compensation, #1 on the left and #2 on the right.  To determine which is the best way to compensate the stitch I have placed an arrow at the top stitch of the compensated stitch.  I am going to compare the slant of this stitch with the slant of the same stitch above it, which was not compensated.  It looks to me that #1 has a better slant to it than #2.

I am not done though.  There is one more stitch to compensate.  Again let’s look at the diagram:

Comparison of Second Stitch Compensation
#1                                                      #2

The second compensated stitch is in green.  Again, I am going to look at a sample of the stitched compensation to make my choice.

Comparison of Second Stitch Compensation
#1                                                              #2

Look at the slant of the stitch where the arrow is pointing, and compare it to the slant of the stitch above it.  In this instance, #2 looks better with respect to the stitch slant.

Many people would have liked #1 because it closes up the bottom of the column of stitches.  I understand that issue, but once you have all the other stitching done around the Van Dyke stitch, and you thought the bottom needed to be closed up more for example #2, then you could backstitch across the bottom with a strand or two of cotton floss in the same color as the thread for the Van Dyke stitches.  

However, remember that a cross stitch, even an elongated cross stitch, it not completely closed at the top or the bottom.

So my advice about compensating any stitch, when it doubt, stitch it each way and look at how the compensated stitch lies compared to a whole stitch.  Non-symmetrical stitches can be a little tricky to compensate because the canvas grid is a square while the stitch is not.


  1. Would you also compensate at the top (as you started the column)?

  2. Yes, I'll add a diagram to the blog for the beginning compensation.