Today I’m starting a bit of a primer on needlepoint. I’ll discuss materials and stitches, as well as provide some fun, free patterns for you to try over the next week or two.
Needlepoint is one of my favorite needlecrafts. It’s portable, pretty and forgiving – if I don’t like what I am seeing as a project is worked, I can rip out the stitches and try something different!
Needlepoint is worked on a canvas ground in either mono, interlock, congress cloth (a stiffened evenweave fabric) or a 2-thread canvas called penelope. Mono canvas is woven similarly to an evenweave fabric, with separate warp and wft threads. Interlock has the warl and weft threads twisted or interlocked together. Penelope and congress cloth are noth a type of mono canvas, as the warp and weft threads are separated in these as well.
I prefer to stitch on mono canvas because it comes in a wide range of mesh counts and is easy to find at my local needlework store.
One stitch is worked over each intersection of canvas if using tent stitches, while other stitches are worked over number intersections or threads in the canvas an varying directions and lengths, creating textures and patterns in thread.
Canvas is selected based on the mesh count – the number of holes per inch of canvas – and the threads selected for a needlepoint project are based on the mesh count.
Thicker threads such as tapestry wool or Pearl Cotton are used for canvases with lower mesh counts (fewer holes) and finer threads such as #5 Pearl Cotton, embroidery floss, floche or other thinner threads are used for canvases with higher mesh counts (more holes per inch).
Threads for needlepoint can be wool, cotton, or specialty fibers like our Light Effects or Satin Floss. The thread chosen depends entirely on the look you are trying to achieve, and surface threads like Memory Thread can be stitched to the surface of a finished canvas for added dimensional effects!
A needlepoint project can be counted – worked from a graph similarly to cross stitch – or worked on a painted canvas.
Canvas should be mounted in stretcher bars or a scroll frame before stitching. This prevents warping and keeps the canvas from getting limp as its handled.
This helps avoid snagging your thread as you stitch. The tape is removed once the stitching has been completed.