Hungarian Needlepoint Stitch

A Hungarian stitch is characterized by the diamond shaped pattern it forms. However, if it's worked all in one color this doesn't actually look very diamond-like - it looks like a textured filler stitch with no distinct pattern.

It's a useful stitch for backgrounds and filling in spaces - best in medium-large sized areas as the pattern does need room to get established.

Here's what the Hungarian stitch looks like when it's stitched.

hungarian needlepoint stitch

We placed it on the background of this Poppy Trellis canvas by Kirk and Bradley. The black trellis was stitched in basketweave, and by adding a single contrasting stitch like the Hungarian, it made the trellis pattern really "pop". We're fans of pairing basketweave with a textured stitch when stitching geometric patterns like this.

Here's how you work the Hungarian stitch.

Hungarian needlepoint stitch

Work the Hungarian stitch in horizontal rows. The stitch is just three brick stitches - an over 2, an over 4, an over 2. You then skip a space and repeat along the line.

It might take a bit of getting used to before you "get" the pattern. It looks simple, and it is when you get going, but because the diamonds don't line up one under the other, when you go to change rows it can be confusing. It's a stitch you might have to relearn every time you use it - but that's OK!

It might be helpful to keep in mind that all the 'over 2' stitches line up one on top of the other and all the 'over 4' stitches line up one on top of the other. So, you can always check that you're doing it right by making sure this is happening.

Here's Some Useful Info

  • The Hungarian stitch uses straight stitches so you won't get the same canvas coverage as you do with an oblique stitch. Therefore, either thicken your thread or expect some of the canvas to show through.
  • If you're working a mono canvas (almost all handpainted canvases will be on mono) the canvas intersections move. So, watch your thread tension with this stitch as if you pull too tightly to get the stitches to lie flat you'll skew the canvas and your stitches won't be straight. Apply just enough tension so that you're not moving the canvas weave.
  • We find it easier to compensate as we go with this stitch i.e. sometimes you'll need to do shorter stitches to fit the edges of the space you're filling. This is called compensating and it can be done at the end, but as mentioned, we like to add these shorter stitches as we go.