Tips for Over-One Stitching

Over-one stitching is a technique in which you work cross-stitches on evenweave or linen over one fabric thread instead of the usual two. This results in small designs that are big on detail. Typically stitched on anywhere from 28-ct. fabric to 40-ct. and higher, over-one stitching can be challenging, but these tips will help you tackle the technique.
Tip 1: A good magnifier is indispensable. Even if you have sharp vision, a strong magnifier (preferably a lighted one) reduces eyestrain and allows you to see each stitch much larger than life. Take frequent breaks to relax your eyes.
Tip 2: Use a hoop or working frame. This allows the fabric to be held squarely and firmly for easier stitching.
Tip 3: When you are just beginning, try using evenweave fabric rather than linen. The irregular threads in linen can be more difficult to work with until you get the hang of stitching over one.
Tip 4: When stitching over one, the floss can often slip behind the threads if careful attention is not given to how the cross-stitches are formed. There are two common methods of stitching over one. The first is to form each cross-stitch singly based on how the threads of the fabric weave intersect at the point of the stitch. If the horizontal thread of fabric goes over the vertical thread, work the stitch as shown in Diagram A. If the horizontal thread of fabric goes under the vertical thread, work the stitch as shown in Diagram B. The second method of stitching over one is to work a row of continental-style half stitches, then work back and complete the second half of each stitch as shown in Diagram C.
Tip 5: Most cross-stitch designs can be worked over one thread of fabric with a few adjustments. Because quarter stitches are not possible with over-one stitching, either omit them from the design or convert them to full cross-stitches. Adjust the number of strands used based on the fabric size—most over-one stitching is done using one strand of floss, but work a few test stitches to find the look you want. To determine the final size of the piece, divide the stitch count by the fabric count. For example, if a chart is 100 stitches x 70 stitches and you are working on 28-ct. fabric, the final size will be 3½" x 2½".
Tip 6: When stitching over one with one strand of cotton embroidery floss, try using a single strand of colored sewing thread to work the backstitches.