Zen Stitching – Cross stitching over 2

As I progressed as a stitcher, I became aware that there was this technique called “stitching over 2”. I knew absolutely nothing about it, but I wanted to do a project I saw in a magazine that was “over 2”, so i bought the supplies at the local needlework shop and dug in. I was almost immediately frustrated by the technique – my stitches did not stay where I put them, I had difficulty seeing where to put them, and I frequently lost the count. It wasn’t until much later, and many more “over 2” projects later, that I learned how to properly stitch “over 2”.

Take a look at the grid below:


This is a good representation of how fabric intersections look up close in evenweaves and linen. You can see that there are places where the lines have the vertical line on top of the intersection, and places where the horizontal line is on top of the intersection. If you begin to stitch at a vertical intersection, the stitching will not slip behind the threads, it is easier to keep your count and it is easier to see where the stitches need to go.

cross stitch over 2

Here’s why: the intersections in Aida fabric are tighter, with smaller holes, making it more difficult for the stitches to slip around (not impossible, but more difficult). However, with most evenweaves and linens, the warp and weft threads lay on top of each other, and it’s easier for the stitching threads to slip between the intersections. The next diagram will show the carry threads (on the back of the fabric), and may illustrate why it’s easier to lose the stitch.

cross stitch over 2 start over horizontal thread

If you are stitching in rows, as in this diagram, you can see where it would be easy for the stitch to slip between the horizontal thread and the vertical thread.

But, if you start over a vertical thread, as in the diagram below, it is much more difficult to lose the stitch:

Cross Stitch over 2 starting over a vertical thread

The vertical thread helps to “lock” the stitch into place, and it becomes much less frustrating to stitch. Also, if you always start over a vertical thread, when you are counting you begin to “see” the vertical thread more easily and it becomes easier to count.

Next time – stitching cross stitch singles and over 1 stitching

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