Join us for Open Needlepoint!
Wednesday mornings 10 a.m. until noon. Staff is always available to help on minor problems, and join in on the conversation and fun. No charge -- no need to sign up!
New to needlepoint or need a refresher course? Take our Intro to needlepoint class
Needlepoint like the Pros
Think your needlepoint could be better? These tips will make stitching more pleasurable for you and give a more professional result. Also, don’t forget that Open Needlepoint (Wednesdays 10 am until noon) is a perfect time to drop in for help.
How can I keep my canvas from getting so grimy by the time I’m done with it?
The canvas gets distorted because of the way that each stitch squeezes it. This is a normal occurrence which is usually resolved with blocking. Canvases which have been worked in continental stitch or half-cross are much harder to square-up than those worked in basketweave. Continental and half-cross are both worked going across the canvas in horizontal rows, where basketweave is worked in diagonal rows beginning in the upper right-hand corner with the rows running from upper left to lower right and back up the same direction. Basketweave also gives better coverage on the back of the canvas, which gives a fuller look from the front and adds to the durability of the piece. It is worth taking the time to learn to do basketweave.
Sometimes the thread you’re currently stitching with can pick up some very small fibers from adjacent threads you’ve already worked. Then the stray fibers get worked in with the current thread. You can imagine that navy or red fibers worked in with a white background would not be desirable. For that reason, we would recommend working white and lighter colors first, then moving on to medium and dark colors.
In either one of these cases, it sounds like the right thread has not been chosen for the canvas. In the first case, the thread is too thin to for the stitches to meet each other. In the second case, the thread is too thick to fit through the holes. We commonly have canvases with 10, 13, or 18 holes per inch. We can recommend what fibers are good to use on each type. You can also see recommendations on the fibers page.
Certainly not. First, you’ll want to stitch under good light—either sunlight or a task light that emits full-spectrum light like the sun. You may also find that you need some magnification. We have reading glasses, magnifying attachments to the Ott lights, and magnifying headbands (the most popular). Come see which would work for you.
The possibilities are endless! An easy way to begin jazzing up your canvas is to try a new fiber. In addition to classic wools and cottons, we also have silks, real and synthetic furs, ribbons, metallics, and even patent leather! Ask us for a few suggestions. Most of these fibers can be worked in basketweave, though some will look better in longer stitches.