Cretan stitch is kind of like a blanket stitch but it’s done up and down. Depending on how long the stems are you can get angled bars between the up and down portions or straight ones. In the above example the stitch is almost entirely horizontal because the up and down stitches both end in the same position and it is used over the join between two pieces of felt.
The bars in the Cretan stitch above (the red thread) are very angled – this is a very traditional version of the stitch and it is done by making the up and down stitches shortish so they don’t end up in the same place. The more the ends of the stitch are offset the more the stitch is angled.
In this example, again sewn in red the Cretan Stitch is straighter:
Here’s how to do the Cretan stitch with very straight bars – imagine three horizontal lines. The first stitch should be from under the fabric coming out at the middle line. Then make a stitch down on the top line and up on the middle line keeping the thread under the needle as it comes out of the fabric.
Then make a stitch going in at the bottom-most of the three lines and again out at the middle line – keep the thread under the needle as it comes out of the fabric. Continue going from top to middle and bottom to middle across the join or across the fabric if you are using it as a decorative stitch.