Unpacking more stitches and threads...
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Well, hello lovely…

It’s great to see you again. We’re having a super fun-filled summer here at Serendipity Needleworks! And even though we don’t have any more destinations to visit on our 2018 Threadventure, there are still some threads – and stitches – that I’ll be sharing with you for the next few weeks. (We can’t leave out the little guys that didn’t make it into our grand tour, can we? ????)

Don’t have a Threadventure thread kit? That’s okay. You’ll still get some terrific ideas for ways to use lots of new stitches and you’ll get info about some of Rainbow Gallery’s awesome threads.

Want to order a Threadventure thread kit? Click here to send me an email. I’ll be happy to add you to the waitlist. (More kits are coming in September!)

Oh – and if you don’t know what the heck I’m talking about, click here to get the low-down on the 2018 Threadventure.

Now, whaddya’ say we dive right in?

This week’s threads are super sparkly – and I’m in heaven! You know I ❤️that bling.

And the stitches are really fun, too! You can use them – and the threads – for a variety of design components on your needlepoint canvases.

Our first stitch is the Oblong Cross stitch.

There are all kinds of uses for this fun little stitch – oodles of variations, too. (But I’ll save those for another time.)

The oblong cross stitch is a particularly good option for clothing. Your choice of thread definitely impacts the final look the stitch has, too. Use rustic threads like Rainbow Tweed when stitching men’s pants or jackets or thread up some Silk & Cream to create a softly textured sweater. And if you want a regal look for, say, a canvas that features an elegant Santa like the one in the picture below, use a sparkly metallic thread.

Gold Star Santa by Melissa Shirley Designs

The oblong cross stitch is also great for backgrounds. It’s a “neutral” stitch, which means that it doesn’t have distinct directionality. Use a lightweight thread – such as Designer’s Dream – for a delicate lacy look, or choose a more substantial thread – perhaps Rainbow Persian – if you prefer full coverage on your backgrounds.

Pay close attention to the numbers on the diagram when working the oblong cross stitch.  Start on the left side of your canvas (or of the area you’re stitching) and work the bottom legs of the crosses first. Then, make your way back across the row from right to left and add the top legs of the cross stitches.

Oblong cross stitch is a terrific choice if you’re just trying your hand at using decorative stitches – or if you’ve been away from needlepoint for a while.

It’s a relatively small stitch and it doesn’t take a lot of space to establish the pattern, so it’s good for both small design areas and small canvases.


Oblong Cross stitch is a terrific choice for embellishing clothing on your needlepoint canvases.


I’m using Gold Rush 18 to work this stitch.

Gold Rush 18 is a synthetic blend thread – 33% metallic polyester/67% viscose. It comes in 30 glittering colors and each card holds 10 yards.

Rainbow Gallery suggests that it works best on 18 – 22 mesh needlepoint canvas. It can also be used for cross stitch and – hold onto your hat – CROCHET!

You might remember that it’s best to “snap” the Gold Rush threads, rather than cutting them. (I think it helps prevent unraveling a wee bit.) Be sure to have a needle threader on hand, since it’s harder to thread the fuzzy ends you get after snapping the thread apart.

Use the stabbing method when using Gold Rush 18 and use it “as is” off the card. Your pieces should be no longer than 16″ – 18″ since it has a definite tendency to unravel. And you may want to treat the ends with Fray Check or a Thread Zap to help keep fraying at a minimum.

Autumn Topiary by Kelly Clark DesignsMoving right along, our second stitch is the Giant Tied Oblong Cross stitch.

The Giant Tied Oblong Cross stitch is another terrific stitch for embellishing clothing, but you can also use it for trees, shrubs, wheat, hay, fences, brooms, and borders. Again, thread choice plays a big role in the final look of this stitch.

Use Encore! in a lush green to work a hedgerow or thread up a strand of Rainbow Linen to stitch stalks of wheat like those you see on the canvas above.

Giant Tied Oblong Cross stitch is very similar to our first stitch, the oblong cross stitch, but you’ll start on the right side of your canvas instead of the left when executing it.

It’s technically a combination stitch. Work the cross stitches first, by following the numbers on the stitch diagram below. And then, come back and add horizontal Gobelin stitches as the “ties”, using the letters on the diagram as your guide.

Giant Tied Oblong Cross stitch is a medium size stitch, so you’ll need a fair amount of space to establish the pattern. If you’re feeling brave, you might try making it a smallish stitch by working it over three horizontal canvas threads instead of four. 😉


Giant Tied Oblong Cross is a really good option for stitching wheat, hay, hedges, and the tops of trees on your needlepoint projects.


I’m using Coronet Braid 16 to work the Giant Tied Oblong Cross stitch.

Coronet Braid 16 is a synthetic blend metallic thread – 65% rayon/35% metallic polyester. It’s about the same size as Kreinik Medium #16 Braid and it comes in 6 true metal colors + 1 lovely pearly white. Each card holds 7 yards.

Coronet Braid 16 is made by, first, wrapping metallic fibers tightly around a rayon core. Then, the individual plies are braided together to create a unique synthetic thread that looks like real metal thread. It’s a great choice for outlining and it bends well around curved shapes.

Since it’s a thicker thread, it’s best for 13 – 14 mesh needlepoint canvas, but it’s also excellent for couching and for working long stitches.

Use it “as is” directly off the card and cut short pieces (15″) since it has a tendency to unravel. Unfortunately, neither the Thread Zap nor Fray Check will help. You’ll also want to use the stabbing method (i.e., inserting the needle into the canvas from above, pulling it through, and then pushing it back up from the backside of the canvas) when working with Coronet Braid 16.

(Click here to learn more about Coronet Braid #4 and Coronet Braid #8, the baby sisters to Coronet Braid 16.)

If you’re new to using decorative stitches, you’ll definitely want to add this one to your repertoire!

Zig-Zag Variation is super-easy to work and it’s also simple to compensate. It’s a smallish stitch and that means it’ll fit in all sorts of different size spaces on your needlepoint canvases.

It shows a little bit of movement and that makes it extra versatile. Use it to show movement on clothing – like on the canvas below.

How? Slant the stitch to the right (as diagrammed) to work the right top section of the dress bodice, and then reverse the slant of your stitches to work the left top part of the bodice. Splendor would be divine here! You might also try Very Velvet for a rich plush look.

Anne of Cleeves by Labors of Love Needlepoint

Or, use it to show movement in a water design component. It would be especially pretty in Bravo! or Silk Lamé Braid.


Zig-Zag Variation is one of the best stitches to try if you're new to using decorative stitches on your needlepoint projects.

I’m using Gold Rush 14 to work the Zig-Zag Variation

Gold Rush 14 is a synthetic blend thread – 20% metallic polyester/80% viscose. It comes in 64 brilliant colors and each card holds 10 yards.

Rainbow Gallery suggests that it works best on 13 – 16 mesh needlepoint canvas. Again, it’s best to “snap” the Gold Rush threads, rather than cutting them. And be sure that you have a needle threader handy – those fuzzy ends are harder to get through the eye of your needle.

Use the stabbing method when using Gold Rush 14 and use it “as is” off the card. Your pieces should be no longer than 16″ – 18″ since this thread has a definite tendency to unravel. And you may want to treat the ends with Fray Check or a Thread Zap to help keep fraying at a minimum.

Our fourth -and final – stitch, Diagonal Cashmere, is a splendid selection…

for home accessories and clothing.

What kinds of home accessories? Think rich thick rugs, plush draperies, and cozy blankets.

Diagonal Cashmere would be a nifty stitch for that purple afghan draped over the arm of the chair in the canvas below, especially if you use Petite Very Velvet thread. YUM!

And when it comes to using this stitch for clothing embellishment, well, the sky’s the limit! Luxuriously flowing Santa coats and angel dresses are the first things that come to mind when I look at this stitch, though.

Diagonal Cashmere is also a terrific option for backgrounds. It provides full coverage (assuming you use a thread that matches the canvas mesh), it moves along quickly and it’s easy to compensate.

As with all decorative stitches, the thread you choose will definitely affect the way the stitch looks. Use shiny threads to evoke a sense of opulence or use matte threads to convey a softer and more understated feel.

Tea Time by Once in a Blue Moon Designs

Diagonal Cashmere is very similar to the cashmere stitch. What’s the difference? Well, primarily, it’s the fact that the diagonal cashmere stitch units “share” short tent stitches instead of each unit being complete, as they are when you work cashmere stitch in diagonal rows. Just follow the diagram and you’ll be golden! 🙂

Diagonal cashmere is a terrific choice for backgrounds on your needlepoint projects.

I’m using 24 Karats to work the Diagonal Cashmere stitch

24 Karats is a synthetic blend thread – 79% metallic polyester/21% nylon. It comes in 13 sparkly colors and each card holds 10 yards. It’s actually a braid, but it’s very soft and quite nice to work with.

Be very careful when pairing a stitch with 24 Karats because of its extremely high sheen. It reflects the light so much that your stitch definition can easily get lost.

And here’s a little tip for you…

lighter colors will usually show stitch definition better than darker ones.

Rainbow Gallery suggests that 24 Karats works best on 12 – 18 mesh needlepoint canvas. Use your metallic thread cutting scissors to cut this thread, since it’ll dull your good embroidery scissors quickly – and use shorter pieces (16″). I recommend using the stabbing method when working with 24 Karats and you can use it “as is” directly off the card.

Next time…

I’ll share even more stitches that you can use with the threads in the Threadventure thread kit. It’ll be a fun hodgepodge of ideas and a “can’t-miss” opportunity to try some new stitches that you can use on your needlepoint projects!

So – I’ll see you again here, same time. 🙂

(That’s the first thing every Thursday morning, in case you’re new to the Serendipity family.)

But before you go, please tell me which one of these stitches you’re gonna’ try first. You can share it in the comments box below. Don’t be shy… I love, Love, LOVE hearing from you and I read every single one of your notes! ❤️

When you leave your thoughts down below in the comments box, I’ll enter your name into a drawing for a free one-month membership in The Stitcher’s Club. Not sure what The Stitcher’s Club is? Click here to find out more.
Enrollment opens soon!

Until next time, happy stitching!
Stitch with a smile!



PS: I’ll share pictures of my stitched samples over on the Serendipity Needleworks Facebook page, inside the Serendipity Needleworks Facebook group and on Instagram, so be sure and follow me there.


  1. Angela

    August 30, 2018 at 9:21 am

    Hi Ellen,
    I am going to try All of these stitches. They all look like fun and besides it’s good to refresh my memory!

    Thank you,


    • Ellen Johnson

      September 4, 2018 at 10:11 am

      Hi Angela!
      Thank you for taking the time to write. ???? I ❤️ your enthusiasm! Please share pictures of your progress in the Serendipity Facebook group, if it’s not too much trouble. I’d love to see your progress.
      Have a happy day!

  2. Laraine Croall

    August 30, 2018 at 2:38 pm

    I am not sure I can give just one stitch I would try but I think the one I will try will be the diagonal cashmere stitch. I can see using this on the background of Mrs Santa. On her apron might try the giant tied cross stitch but in the white coronet braid

    Going to try to start this within the next couple of days. Life is beginning to get back on an even keel

    • Ellen Johnson

      September 4, 2018 at 10:13 am

      Hi Laraine!
      How nice to hear from you! I’m so glad that things are settling down a bit for you. I’ve been thinking of you. ❤️
      I really like the diagonal cashmere stitch, too. Great choice for a starting place! Please share pictures of your progress with us inside the Serendipity Facebook group, if it’s not too much trouble. I’d love to see what you come up with. ????
      Have a happy day!
      Ellen ❤️


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