Squashed fractionals may sound a bit like an eighties pop group but they are in fact a wonderfully versatile little stitch which will allow you to add detail and depth to your cross stitching. They’re part of the fractionals group of cross stitches as if you’re stitching on to aiad fabric, they’l involve you “splitting” one of the squares of your aida to form a stitch that takes up half of the square bock (either horizontally or vertically).
You’ll need to stitch a squashed fractional when you see a square on your chart or pattern that is split horizontally or vertically into two symbols. Each stitch is made in exactly the same way as a full cross stitch, but it only uses half the space.
To make squashed fractionals you’ll simply work two fractionals next to each other – one above the other for horizontal fractionals and side by side for vertical fractionals. Here’s how to stitch them step by step…
How to stitch squashed fractionals on Aida fabric
We’ll show you how to stitch a horizontal fractional here in the bottom half of a square of aida, but you can easily adapt the position of this for vertical fractionals by varying where you bring your needle up and down in the square block.
Bring your needle up in the bottom left hole of 1 square of your aida fabric, and bring it across diagonally to the right. Instead of bringing it back down in the top right hole of the block as you would with a normal cross stitch, split the square and bring it down, through the fabric halfway between the two holes on the right edge of the aida square.
This is the first half of your first squashed horizontal fractional on aida.
After step 1, your needle and thread will be behind your fabric on the wrong side. Bring your needle back up, through the bottom right hole of the square block, directly beneath where you brought the needle down.
To finish your horizontal fractional, bring your needle up and left and (as you did in step 1), instead of finishing your cross by bringing it down through the top left hole of the aida square (as you would with a full cross stitch), split the aida again and bring it down halfway between the top and bottom holes of the left side of the square. You should now have a squashed fractional!
How to stitch squashed fractionals on evenweave or linen
This is exactly the same process as we ran through above with aida, but you won’t be splitting whole squares in half as we did with aida. Instead you bring the needle up through one hole – this will be the bottom corner of your fractional (for example bottom left), then move it up and right diagonally – move 2 holes to the right and 1 hole up, then bring it back down. This will form the first stroke of your cross.
To make the second stroke of your cross, repeat the above but in the opposite direction, up and over the first stroke. So you come back up through the aida 1 hole below where you came down in the last step. This will be the bottom right corner of your cross. Move your needle up 1 hole and across to the left 2 holes, then bring it back down to complete your cross.