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Queen Stitch, Hints and Tips and More

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23 June 2010

Queen Stitch, Hints and Tips and More

Alternative Names for Queen Stitch
Renaissance stitch is also known as Queen stitch and is a variation on Roumanian stitch which creates a beautiful regular pattern.
The back is worked in rococo stitch, known as queen stitch in the 16th and 17th centuries. - 22 Nov 2006 21:42 GMT
……the Queen Stitch which was known in the American
Revolution era as the Rococo Stitch since the Americans did not want anything to sound Royal.
Note : Renaissance stitch diagrams look quite different : and
so I’m not worrying about investigating that further, since it’s Queen stitch we’re concerning ourselves with.
Why Can Queen Stitch be a hard stitch to do?
Brenda Lewis - 15 Dec 2005 18:49 GMT
It seems like a number of people find Queen Stitch ornery. What is it about the stitch that is challenging?
It is a time-consuming, detail-oriented stitch. It takes so long to do a single queen stitch some people never find a rhythm for them.
Most of us could fill in a solid color area with cross-stitch or tent stitch when half-asleep but queen stitch requires a LOT more attention.
(Needleworker not in paradise)
Part of my problem is just the fiddly nature of this stitch. You are taking four vertical stitches and anchoring them down with a single stitch over one vertical thread. It's just tiny stuff.
I believe with proper lighting and most importantly good tension, I can conquer this. And maybe even come to love this stitch as some of my friends have.
Hints and Tips
Boohoo1971 - 07 Jan 2004 16:02 GMT
The trick in working a queen stitch is adjusting the tension a bit looser on the two outside threads than on the two center threads.
When you work it, you will see that a number of threads go
into the same hole. Don't worry about that hole getting bigger...that makes an interesting design in a bunch of worked queen stitches.
This stitch was one I struggled with for years, until I took a class with Eileen Bennett.
I found that, contrary to my brain's logic, they really do work best if stitched left to right and all tacking stitches are taken right to left (or vise versa - tied down stitches right to left, tacking stitches left to right).
They don't turn out the same if you do the two outside (or inside) tied down stitches first and take the tacking stitches always from the inside out. I don't know why. They also have to be stitched fairly tightly.
as opposed to :
PaulaB - 10 Jan 2004 01:59 GMT
My experience and that of my students has been to work the queen stitch symmetrically - choose whether you prefer to work the outer stitches first or the inner ones first.
I prefer the outer ones. So I work the outer left, then the inner left, then the outer right, and last the inner right.
If you go straight across from left to right 1-2-3-4, then the stitch tends to have a non-symmetrical, windblown look to it.
Just try it in every possible configuration (number or label them somehow so you remember which is which!) and
find the one you like best!
I also prefer to start at the top of the stitch, but starting at the bottom is also perfectly accceptable, *as long as you are consistent.*
Some prefer to pull the holes open at the tops and bottoms and some prefer to leave it more of a diamond shape (I prefer the holey look - if you look at old samplers, they
often pulled holes open with this stitch, especially when they're in groups) - and again, either is correct, as long as it is consistent.
as opposed to : 

Martha of, in an email to me, 25th July 2010 
I personally work all the long stitches in order either from left to right or right to left (more on this below), but my small tie down stitches are always from the center of the stitch to the outside (tie downs of 2 right long stitches go from left to right, those of left long stitches go from right to left). This is the best way I've found to make sure the two outside legs make a nice diamond shape. I work the stitch in such a direction that my last stitch (for me an outside tie down), goes in the OPPOSITE direction of where my thread will go to begin the NEXT stitch. This way, all parts of the stitch have tension maintained on them. So if I am doing a stitch <<>> and want to do the next stitch to the RIGHT of that, I work this stitch from right to left, with the last stitch being the tie down of the far left long leg. I do a similar thing when determining whether to work the long legs top to bottom or bottom to top. I start the long leg where it will be under tension from the previous stitch. For me, it's easier to get even tension working the stitch on a diagonal. A friend of mine SWEARS by a totally different working technique. She stitches the tie down stitch (probably doesn't pull it tight), then threads the long leg under it. I believe this technique is taught by designer/teacher Eileen Bennett. (Note the second mention of Eileen Bennett, with a different stitching technique! - Elmsley Rose)

Ellice - 11 Jan 2004 06:06 GMT
Personally, I find using little needles helps a bit (it may be in my head) when it's getting crowded!
I use 26 petites, instead of the normal 26s or 28s if on some really fine count
PaulaB - 11 Jan 2004 13:52 GMT
The more I have clumped together, the easier it is for me if I do pull them tight - it just gives me that much more room.
…… I tried doing queen stitch with a group of separated strands and it worked quite well. The original tightly twisted thread was too round to spread out sufficiently to cover the area of the stitch, but when untwisted, it did this quite nicely.
Comment on In_Which_We_Explain_Queen_Stitch post from the blog NeedleWorker Not In Paradise:-
The Chilly Hollow Needlepoint Adventure said...
I can see why it might drive you nuts, particularly on a small count.
When I diagram stitches, I use 10 count plastic canvas. It enables me to see just how a stitch is constructed and how the thread path twists and turns. Helps me get the smoothest look.
It might help you figure out the best way to do this, which might not be the way it is diagrammed.
Jane, trying to be helpful from CH
Comment on this post, copied here because of it's value, from Yvette Stanton :
"I was doing some queen stitch in hand on the train the other morning. It was turning out to be a mess, with stitches in wrong places and therefore not aligning.

When I got to my destination, I found my hoop (which wasn't with me on the train) and used that. I also decreased the number of strands I was using which made it less full, but enabled me to see what was going on better.

With fewer strands and a hoop, the queen stitch turned out beautifully."
Stitch Diagrams
  • Step by Step Photos with explanations :

(4th reference, keep hitting “Next”)

  • Stitch Diagrams :

    and says "The best illustration I've seen is in this book:
    The Proper Stitch
    by Darlene O'Steen
    ISBN: 0932437036
    Symbol of Excellence Publishers, Inc.
    405 Riverhills Business Park
    Birmingham, AL 35242
    • Stitch Animation :
    (click on Queen Stitch in the left hand column)
    For Left Handers
    Yvette Stanton's new book ""The Left-Handed Embroiderer's Companion: A step-by-step stitch dictionary"" is the only one I know that diagrams Queen Stitch for Left Handers. It also diagrams
    all of the other silk stitches we use in this project, and the first two gold thread
    It is available from her site, from Nordic Needle, or ask your local Needlework shop if it has it, or can get it in if not.

    Mary Corbet of NeedleNThread reviews the book at

    Pulled Queen Stitch
    Scroll down to "Rococo Stitch"
    Accompanying Stitch Diagram (click on the tiny diagram next to the stitch description to get your own enlarged copy)

    On the page mentioned in Step by Step Diagrams,, there is the sentence :

    "Some designers like to open the space at 1 and 2 with an awl. It adds to the details of this stitch and makes very uniform stitches in your design. Remember to lock your stitching by always pulling when the thread is on top of the fabric. You just need to give the thread a slight tug to lock it."

    Since the name "Eileen Bennett" came up twice, I had a look and found she'd done a couple of relevant books :
       From : The West Kingdom Needleworkers' Guild Annotated Booklist - General Embroidery Book List
    A Notebook of Sampler Stitches

    Bennett, Eileen
    self-published, Grandville MI, 1990

    50 of the most common stitches as seen in early 17th C. samplers.
    Quite useful to a solid understanding of the stitches and how they were
    used. SB Intermediate)
    The Evolution of Samplers

    by Eileen J Bennett of the Sampler House

    An embroidery and sampler time line, covering a four hundred year history of sampler making

    Buy from
    There are more books by her that may be of interest, if you google her name, including one on the Bostocke Sampler.
    Posts on Queen Stitch yet to come :
    • A look at whether the stitches were pulled tight or not (in quick summary, all the historical extant pieces I’ve seen have the holes pulled tight. A few modern pieces and one stitch diagram shows the stitch unpulled.
    • Tracing Queen Stitch through History
    • Variations on Queen Stitch (just for interest)

    Labels: ,


    Blogger Sarah Ketley said...

    oh, never heard of this stitch. Thanks for such a great collection of links. will have to have a browse through.


    Wednesday, June 23, 2010  
    Blogger MeganH said...

    It's a 17thC stitch we're using in the Golden Threads Masterclass from Thistle Threads.

    Wednesday, June 23, 2010  
    Blogger Jeanne said...

    It's cool that you found somebody completely contradicting my statement! It just goes to show you that there are many ways to approach it, and that it's what works for you that's best.

    That said, I'm still planning to do a video on my method - just as soon as I figure out how to mount the camera so it's focused while I stitch!

    Wednesday, June 23, 2010  
    Blogger Susan Elliott said...

    I really enjoyed this post and reading all the different approaches to the Queen!!!

    Wednesday, June 23, 2010  
    Blogger MeganH said...


    I don't know how to do the stitch, so offer no opinion. We'll see what works out best - maybe it's an individualistic thing?

    Wednesday, June 23, 2010  
    Blogger Juels said...

    You have been busy, Megan! I did a little research on Queen Stitch, but nothing near to the amount of work you have done. I am impressed.

    Wednesday, June 23, 2010  
    Anonymous Rachel said...

    Thanks for this, Megan. It's a fantastic resource for us all, not merely those of us working on the Masterclass.

    Wednesday, June 23, 2010  
    Blogger coral-seas said...

    Thanks, Megan. That's going to save me a lot of search time when I get to start on my sampler.

    Thursday, June 24, 2010  
    Blogger MeganH said...

    No worries - it's a pleasure doing the research :-)

    Thursday, June 24, 2010  
    Anonymous Yvette Stanton said...

    I was doing some queen stitch in hand on the train the other morning. It was turning out to be a mess, with stitches in wrong places and therefore not aligning.

    When I got to my destination, I found my hoop (which wasn't with me on the train) and used that. I also decreased the number of strands I was using which made it less full, but enabled me to see what was going on better.

    With fewer strands and a hoop, the queen stitch turned out beautifully.

    Such a lovely stitch! I was introduced to it by Kirsten Edwards of The Gift of Stitching, when she asked me if I had included it in my left-handed stitch dictionary that I was writing at the time. It wasn't at the time, but now is!

    Thursday, June 24, 2010  
    Blogger MeganH said...

    And I'm very glad that you put it in!
    I've mentioned to the class that it's in the book, along with the other silk stitches we'll be using.

    Thursday, June 24, 2010  
    Anonymous dining tables said...

    I don't stitch because I know that it is hard. But if you have a very easy to understand instruction and pictures. I think stitching is going to be very easy. Thank you sharing these simple steps.

    Monday, June 28, 2010  
    Blogger Juels said...

    Great update Megan! Thanks for doing so much research on the queen stitch.

    Monday, June 28, 2010  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hi Megan
    Thanks so much for your excellent research!! It help me a lot.
    I'll start to doing some tests about with Queen Stitch because my sampler kit has arrived

    Thursday, September 08, 2011  
    Anonymous V5 Tablet PC said...

    Wednesday, December 21, 2011  

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