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Cross Stitch Academy

Mini Cross Stitch Lesson - Fractional stitches (1/4, 1/2, and 3/4 stitches)

Fractional stitches (1/4, 1/2, and 3/4 stitches) are easy to do, but can be a little confusing when you see them for the first time on a pattern or chart.

Quarter, half, and three quarter stitches are used to give extra detail to a design.

This design (from Jeanette Crews Designs "Cattitudes. The Thirteenth Litter" (Yarn Tree item K7022)) uses quarter stitches to add more detail to the eyes and nose.

Fractional stitches are shown on the graph by a small symbol filling just a corner of the box. The stitches in the red circles are fractional stitches.

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Here is what fractional stitches look like stitched.

    Stitched On Aida.
Left to Right: a full cross stitch, a half stitch, a quarter stitch, and a 3/4 stitch. Notice that to do the 1/4 stitch on aida you need to poke the needle through the fabric between the holes.
    Stitched On Linen over two threads.
Left to Right: a full cross stitch, a quarter stitch, a half stitch, and a 3/4 stitch.

1/4, 1/2, and 3/4 stitches are all shown the same way on a chart or pattern (with the smaller than normal symbol). You get to decide which stitch to use. Here are some suggestions:

  • If the area is outlined in backstitch, you probably just need a 1/4 stitch. For the design above just do 1/4 stitches.
  • If the area is not outlined in backstitch, use a 3/4 stitch for the detail color and a 1/4 stitch for the background color.
  • If the stitch is next to an unstitched area, use a 3/4 stitch.

Source: Yarn Tree website.

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