Before you start, anchor the thread to a nearby stitch, on the back of the fabric, using the loop method (if you’re stitching with 2 strands of cotton). If you’re stitching with 1 strand only, then stitch a couple of knots around the back of a nearby stitch.
1 I normally like to finish Rhodes stitches with the vertical stitch, as it creates a much nicer finish. For the octagon variation, I think it looks a little odd, and I prefer to have a slanted stitch on top. It’s up to you, really. Either way, to get the starting point for the stitch, we need to rewinding back from the final stitch, whichever one you want that to be… I’ve opted for the following version:
Let’s get started, then: bring the needle out where the first stitch starts (1) and (looking at the full octagon stitch) work out where the first stitch ends (2). There’s our first diagonal stitch. The next step is another diagonal stitch, which lies over the previous one, slightly slanted clockwise:
2 Keep going clockwise, making sure the stitches are as neat as possible, each overlapping the previous one and keeping the tension as even as possible so that none of the stitches are looser than the others. You really want to be using a hoop or a stitching frame for this.
3 Place the last stitch to finish the octagon, and tie the thread at the back of the stitch:
Fancy seeing it stitched in action? Here’s a short video:
Fancy trying out your new skills? Here’s a selection of patterns do to just that:
Shall we recap?