How to obtain a perfect Needlepoint Basketweave Stitch

The Basketweave stitch is a very popular stitch in the world of needlepoint. In this post, we'll delve into:

  • the reasons why it's such a popular stitch
  • offer key considerations for perfecting your Basketweave stitch, with a Video Tutorial on how to do it
  • and provide tips to avoid common pitfalls when doing basketweave.

For those new to needlepoint or looking to refine their skills, check out our detailed guide on the Tent Stitch to complement your learning journey. 

Why is the Basketweave Stitch so popular?

The basketweave is always stitched in a diagonal, starting from the top right of your design/area to stitch. This stitch gets its name from the basketweave pattern that is formed on the back of the canvas, like you see on the picture below:



Below you'll find the reasons why is such a popular stitch:

Excellent Coverage

The Basketweave stitch creates a durable and dense stitch that provides excellent coverage with minimal canvas distortion. This is an ideal choice for projects that will get a lot of use and most likely suffer from a stitch with less coverage like cushions, sunglasses cases, pouches, etc. A strong stitch is key to maintaining your project!

Reduced Canvas Distortion
The Basketweave stitch also helps in reducing distortion of the canvas. With its superior coverage, when compared to other similar stitches, there is less need for blocking your piece. Plus, f you use a stretcher bar or stretcher frame, then you don't have to worry at all! 

Check out our article on stretcher frames to find out what will work best for your project.

Prevents Stitch Piercing

In Basketweave stitching, the needle always emerges through an empty hole in the canvas, minimizing the risk of piercing an existing stitch and damaging the thread. This technique results in cleaner, more uniform stitches, enhancing the overall appearance of the work.


How to Achieve the Perfect Needlepoint Basketweave Stitch - Video Tutorial

We've made a video tutorial for you to better understand how to make the Basketweave Stitch:


Key Considerations for a Perfect Basketweave Stitch, and how to avoid common issues:

The type of needlepoint canvas you are stitching on makes a difference to how you stitch with basketweave.

When using Mono / Royal canvas, you should stitch a diagonal up row (going up the steps) or a diagonal down row (sliding down the poles). See the image below, to see how this works:

This is because mono/royal canvases have their warp (poles or vertical lines) and weft (steps or horizontal lines) weaving together at the intersections, as you see in the picture above.

While you are stitching, you might slide a warp or a weft over each other, making the canvas to distort, if the stitching is not done in the right direction.

When using an Interlock canvas, then you don't need to worry about poles and steps. This type of canvas have their warp and weft fibers intersected and connected, so it doesn’t matter which way you start the diagonal basketweave rows.

Secure your threads horizontally or vertically

In order to avoid ridges in the front of your stitching, when finishing off a thread you should secure it on the back in a horizontal or vertical direction, and avoid doing it in a diagonal direction. We explain this in more detail below!

Don't use a long thread lengths

This advice applies to any needlepoint stitch but is particularly relevant for the Basketweave stitch. Using long thread lengths can lead to issues like tangling, fraying, and uneven tension. When threads are too long, they are more likely to wear out and lose their sheen, resulting in a less polished final piece.

To maintain consistency and a clean look, opt for shorter thread lengths, typically no longer than 18-20 inches. This ensures easier handling and a smoother, more professional finish.

Why your back pattern does not look like a perfect basketweave pattern?

If the front of the stitching looks perfect, but the back of the canvas does not look like the basketweave pattern that we have on the image above, then you probably stitched from the bottom left corner, instead of starting from the top right corner.

See the example in the dark brown area (wrong back pattern) vs the light brown area (correct back pattern) in the image below:

If you prefer to stitch from the bottom left corner, then use the diagram below to obtain a perfect basketweave pattern in the back of your project:

How to avoid getting lines and ridges in basketweave

When you finish off a thread, the new piece of thread needs to start in the same position of the previous one. So, if you finish a thread at the bottom of a diagonal row, you need to start the next piece of thread also at the bottom of the row. If you stitch two lines in the same direction, you will see that a small line will be formed in the front of the canvas.

One great tip to cue you when you are resuming your stitching to make sure you'll start in the correct place, is to leave the last piece of thread unsecured. 


Having lines/small raises in the front of the canvas also happens when you rotate your canvas, and your stitching is now done from the bottom left corner, like the image below, instead of the right end corner:


Also, to prevent ridges and raised textures on the front of the canvas, when you run the tread through the back at the end of a thread, run it through horizontally or vertically, and never on a diagonal.

See the images below, where you can see how these small errors being made in the back of the canvas, impact the smoothness of the front of the canvas:



Mastering the Basketweave stitch can transform your needlepoint projects, providing strength, coverage, and a flawless appearance. By understanding its unique characteristics and adhering to key techniques, you can achieve a perfect Basketweave pattern every time.

With practice and attention to detail, your needlepoint creations will not only be durable but also showcase the intricate beauty of the Basketweave stitch.

Happy stitching!

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Decorative Stitches for Needlepoint Booklet by Unwind Studio
Decorative Stitches for Needlepoint Booklet by Unwind Studio
Decorative Stitches for Needlepoint Booklet by Unwind Studio

Points décoratifs pour livret à l'aiguille

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