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Tutorial: Pinhead Stitch on Aida

Anchoring at the Beginning of Stitching

The pinhead stitch is a method of anchoring a stitch using only the space occupied by that stitch! It's great for isolated stitches. The pinhead stitch is also helpful in areas where you have many color changes, so that if you anchor your floss by running it under 2 or 3 stitches the back of your work can become very thick and crowded. It is essentially a figure 8 which will be covered by the cross. It's best suited for stitching on linen or evenweave fabric (stitching over 2), but can also be used on aida cloth, stitching over 1. When used on aida cloth, you must pierce the fabric with the needle, and the stitch will not completely cover the pinhead stitch. Here's how to begin stitching with a pinhead stitch as anchor on aida cloth (stitching over 1).
Pinhead stitch: stitching diagram
1. Follow this diagram for making a pinhead stitch on aida (over 1). This assumes you make crosses by coming up at 1, down at 2, up at 3, and down at 4. A, B, and C are the points where the pinhead stitch will be worked. The following steps refer to these locations.

If you want to begin the cross somewhere other than the lower left corner, rotate this diagram so that 1 is where you want to begin the cross.
Pinhead stitch: first stitch
2. Begin the pinhead stitch by coming up at A and going down at B. Hold the tail of the floss on the underside.
Pinhead stitch: second stitch
3. Continue by coming up at C and down again at B, through the same hole.

On linen/evenweave, you next pull the second stitch tight so that it gets very small. This isn't possible on aida, so make A and C as close to B as possible to keep the pinhead stitch unobtrusive.
Pinhead stitch: finished stitch covered by cross
4. The completed cross covers the pinhead stitch. With 2 strands of floss the pinhead stitch mostly does not show. Snip off the tail on the underside.
Finished pinhead and cross on aida
This is a completed pinhead stitch and cross on 18-count aida with 2 strands of floss. Note that the tips of the pinhead stitch show a bit.

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