Stitch Tutorials

Rhodes Stitch: Textured Shapes to Embellish Your Cross Stitch

This article is part of a series on Advanced and Specialty Stitches. Check the main article for a full list of stitches. This one is just about the rhodes stitch.

What is a Rhodes Stitch?

The rhodes stitch is a geometric shape made 3D by overlapping strands in a radial pattern. It’s a nice textured stitch to add to cross stitch designs, and often used in borders or in different shapes as embellishments.

For example, this freebie biscornu design by Kincavel Krosses features both the standard square rhodes stitch, and a butterfly stitch!

What does it look like in patterns?

In patterns it can be difficult to tell if the stitches all meet in a central location. But if a pattern mentions the rhodes stitch, you’ll want to avoid the center entirely.
It can be hard to tell where a strand starts and ends, so patterns often include a step by step for each stitch. The main idea is to start at one point and work your way around it, layering across the previous strand in every stitch.
If your pattern doesn’t include a step by step chart, pick one spot to start, and follow that line all the way across.

How to stitch a Rhodes Stitch

For a standard rhodes stitch, determine how large your square will be and stitch a diagonal line across the whole thing. Follow up with a stitch that begins just above your first, and just below your second. Work your way around in this manner until you get back around to the beginning.

Diagram Illustration by Zinthings

Rhodes Heart Alternative

This technique can be used for basically any shape, from diamonds to circles, and even butterflies.

The most common alternative is probably the rhodes heart. It goes much the same as your standard square, but you are following that heart shape as you stitch.

Like before, get an idea of the shape you want to recreate, and start with a diagonal line all the way across it. Then continue rotating around the shape as you go.

Diagram Illustration by Zinthings

Other Shapes/Sizes

You can turn most shapes into a rhodes just working your way around the shape with layered straight stitches. I’m not gonna list all the possibilities here as we’ve already shown three here (square, heart, butterfly). But you can find lots of examples online of different shapes, such as this sampler at A Stitch in Time that includes diamonds, hexagons, and more!