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Algerian Eye Stitch Vs. Eyelet Stitch

Since we are all now experts in cross stitch, partial cross stitches, backstitch and French knots, we're going to continue down the path with a pair of stitches that will add texture and interest to your designs -- the Algerian eye stitch and the eyelet stitch.

So, without further delay, let's take a look at these stitches:

Algerian eye stitch is less full than an eyelet stitch. The "legs" of the stitch radiate from the center of the top, bottom and sides and from the corners toward the center. The center legs are pulled gently to open a hole in the center of the stitch to create a lacy appearance. I prefer to start at the top center and work my way around the stitch clockwise; I feel that it's easier for me to control my tension and to keep track of where I am in a stitch. However, I know some stitchers start in a corner and work around. I am not legalistic at all when it comes to stitches, so I say work the way it works for you. To begin, bring your needle up at No. 1, either securing your thread under existing nearby stitches or by leaving a long tail to weave under later (my method); pass needle through at No. 2. Bring the needle back up at No. 3, gently pulling the Nos. 1-2 thread to start opening the hole in the center. Repeat for each leg, bringing the needle down through the No. 2 center each time and pulling gently as the needle is brought up at the odd numbers around the perimeter. Secure and end thread.

Bring needle up at No. 1 and down at No. 2 (center).

Bring needle back up at No. 3, gently pulling the Nos. 1-2 thread to open hole in center.

Work last stitch, pulling last leg to finish opening stitch. Secure and end thread.

Algerian eye stitch lends texture to the Floral Trio Tulip, from Just CrossStitch April 2014.

The eyelet stitch has a fuller appearance that the Algerian eye stitch. The "legs" of the stitch radiate from every outer-perimeter thread opening to the center. The center legs are pulled gently to open a hole in the center of the stitch to create a lacy appearance. Like the Algerian eye stitch, I prefer to start at the top center and work my way around the stitch clockwise. To begin, bring your needle up at No. 1, either securing your thread under existing nearby stitches or by leaving a long tail to weave under later (my method); pass needle through at No. 2. Bring the needle back up at No. 3, gently pulling the Nos. 1-2 thread to start opening the hole in the center. Repeat for each leg, bringing the needle down through the No. 2 center each time and pulling gently as the needle is brought up at the odd numbers around the perimeter. Secure and end thread.

Bring needle up at No. 1 and down at No. 2 (center).

Bring needle back up at No. 3, gently pulling the Nos. 1-2 thread to open hole in center.

Work last stitch, pulling last leg to finish opening stitch. Secure and end thread.

Eyelet stitches offered sampler makers ample opportunity to practice their skills. Nine-year-old Jane Smith worked an entire alphabet in eyelet stitch in her 1848 sampler, shown in the spring 2014 issue of Sampler & Antique Needlework Quarterly.

Sampler & Antique Needlework Quarterly issue is available here. The website for Sampler & Antique Needlework Quarterly is SANQMagazine.com.