How to Needlepoint: Tent Stitches

Tent Stitches

Tent Stitches are the most basic needlepoint stitch. You're probably familiar with how tent stitches look when stitched on a canvas. While there are different types of tent stitches, the way the stitch looks on the front of the canvas is the same - the way the back looks (and the amount of coverage there) is what changes.  My favorite tent stitches are Continental and Basketweave, which I've broken down a bit further below.


Worked in horizontal rows, Continental Stitch is ideal for smaller areas and offers medium coverage compared to the other tent stitches. This stitch is worked from right to left and snakes back and forth row by row. 

stitch diagram depicting the continental needlepoint stitch



Worked in diagonal rows, Basketweave is ideal for large areas of canvas and offers full coverage compared to the other tent stitches. 

stitch diagram depicting the basketweave needlepoint stitch


When stitching Basketweave, make sure you are going up the "steps" and down the "poles." This refers to the canvas intersection crossings. The horizontal crossings are called "steps" and the vertical crossings are called "poles." Stitching this way will help preserve the integrity of the canvas and will make for a more even finished product.

stitch diagram depicting the "steps" and "poles" within a needlepoint canvas


Do you have any follow up questions? I'd love to hear from you! Reach Amanda by email at or on Instagram @goodpointneedlepoint.