Worked vertically or horizontally, each stitch goes over two canvas intersections.

By Alexandra Churchill
October 02, 2020
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Wendy Hollender

In needlepoint, the brick stitch is one that you will learn as a novice. It's considered one of the basic stitches—the basketweave stitch and French knot, included—and is often used in the background of a needlepoint project. In brick stitch, each row is laid down—either vertically or horizontally—in stitches that cross two or more intersections of the canvas. The stitches themselves are staggered, offset by a single stitch from the stitch on the previous row—this is in resemblance to a stacked wall of brick, hence its name.

Brick stitch works best for the background or design motif on a stiff, loosely woven canvas; think—a grassy lawn in a landscape, linear shapes, or simply smooth color work.

Start with your canvas, needle and thread. Aida fabric (otherwise known as canvas) has a precise square-patterned weave with visible stitching holes that allow the needle to easily glide through them. This is important for any needlepoint technique, but precision is key in the brick stitch. For brick stitch, you will be counting holes in two or three depending on the desired density.

Beginning at the top lefthand corner of the color area, pull your threaded needle up through a hole in the canvas three holes across (if working horizontally) or three holes down (if working vertically). Make the first stitch and skip the next canvas thread. Repeat the process until you have reached the end of the row. When you have come to the end of your stitches, return to the other side by repeating the process. It is even scalable; the only caveat is to go over an even number of rows in order to keep the stitches evenly centered on each other.

Once you've mastered the basics of it, try experimenting: there's more than one way to use the brick stitch. Shading can be done in an ombre effect by using a different colored thread for different layers of the stitches or zig-zag stripes can be done using two different colored threads in alternating stitched rows and working to the opposite wise. Skip rows if you would like to show painting on the canvas or to make the stitching a little less dense. You can also double up on the stitches, skips rows, or even add a small accent between them for all kinds of detailed pattern work.

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