I promised some of my classes that I would provide them with a little more information on the difference between these two stitches that I discovered through some research.
A quick little story first, however. My trip back from CA could not be the star for long. When I returned home, I had tremendous pain in my left leg. I was very suspicious as I have had this condition before. Yep, after going to the doctor and surgical offices, I have a blod clot in my left leg now. We just caught it before it reached the 'deep' stage so I did not have to be hospitalized this time. I did not, however, escape the wonderful injections into the tummy routine. I can happily say that today I am finally starting to feel some relief and the burning is subsiding a bit. The leg is still extremely sensitive and sore and I am trying to make myself be good and not over do (somehow that does not fit with Sandy????). I am very thankful that I was able to get help and that it seems to be working.
Okay, now on to fulfilling my promise about the van dyke stitch.
It has been my observance that many refer to the overlapped oblong cross stitch diagrammed below as a ‘van dyke’ stitch. Heck, I, too, had incorrectly referred to this stitch as a van dyke stitch. My problem with this version was 'what makes it any different than the overlapped oblong cross stitch'?
One of my hobbies is to browse through old books at night before I go to sleep. Here I made the discovery that a stitch does exist that is referred to as the van dyke stitch and it is executed differently.
The traditional van dyke stitch is usually narrow at the top and wider at the bottom. However, variations can make the stitches equidistance in length and width to create interesting effects (ut oh, I hope that's not supposed to be affects or I'll hear it from the English teachers out there - but I think this is the correct one). The traditional execution of the stitch produces a very prominent ridge down the center of the band or border (however you choose to use it).
I am fortunate to have a pretty good sized library of stitching books. Here are some references I pulled quickly (like in 20 minutes) and they are not properly set up the way a bibliography should be, I know, I just wanted to get the info down quickly and move on –
1. Handbook of Stitches – Grete Petersen and Elsie Svennas
Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1959, page16 has a 4 step illustration of this stitch.
2. Embroidery Stitches, Mary Webb, Firefly Books, 2006, page 124, described as “the top stitch picks up a tiny amount of fabric at the center to anchor the whole row. The second and subsequent stitches crosses the line from left to right, passing behind the preceding stitch at the center; no ground fabric is picked up.”
3. Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches, Mary Thomas, Trafalgar Square Publishing, 1998, page 50, similar explanation as given in Mary Webb’s book “the subsequent stitches should cross the row from left to right and pass behind the preceding stitches at the center…without picking up the fabric.”
4. The illustration below is from Samplers and Stitches, a handbook of the embroideer’s art by Mrs. Archibald Christie, London 1920.
I'm sure if I took the time to research I would find many more references in some of my older books but these are some I just grabbed on the go so I could keep my promise.
A search on the internet provides many videos for executing this stitch. Also, when reading the text you learn that the stitch can be broadened at the top and/or bottom to create an entirely different look. This could be something like the oblong cross stitch illustrated above except the thread needs to slide under the intersection of the previous stitch, not pierce the fabric.
Anyway, this is my interpretation of how a van dyke stitch is to be executed. Note that I said 'my'. There are many interpretations of a kazillion stitches and we, as stitchers, will follow what the stitch guides or designers suggest to get the results they obtained no matter what it is called and love it just as dearly.
Stay warm if this is an issue for you today, be happy, and stitch with a smile!