needlepoint tips and tricks

Tapestry frame with webbing
Tapestry frame with webbing
Stitch canvas to webbing at top and bottom
Stitch canvas to webbing top & bottom
Attach side bars and roll up canvas

Some handy hints on needlepoint....

  • Don’t get too hung up about whether you are stitching the “right” way – just relax and enjoy it. No-one will know that there are a bunch of messy threads on the back of your canvas!
  • This also applies to the issue of where on the canvas to start and which colours to do first (“do I start with darker or lighter shades first?”) There are differing opinions on this but here at thestitchsmith.co.nz, we just like to thread up and jump in wherever and with whichever colour we feel like!
  • Even though the design is printed onto the canvas, some decision making will be required on your part as to which colour to use on a particular intersection. A hole might contain two different coloured threads, but an intersection can only be one colour. When it appears that an intersection has been printed “half and half” just make a call as to which colour to use. Don’t be too concerned about this though as once the project is completed you won’t notice individual stitches.
  • Using an embroidery frame will greatly reduce stretching and distorting the canvas.
  • Try to keep your tension even to create a smoother-looking finished product.
  • When you have finished stitching for the day, secure the needle into an area of the canvas outside the design so that you don’t stretch or warp any of the area to be stitched.
  • If you are finding that the thread catches on the rough edges of the canvas, secure some masking tape over them.

Attaching the canvas to your tapestry frame:

  • Your canvas should be the same width as the webbing. It might be a bit wider so trim it down so that it is the same width.
  • Place one dowel piece at the top of your canvas, and the other piece at the bottom – lining up the edges.
  • Use a strand of wool from your kit and thread up your needle. Use a simple running stitch to stitch the canvas to the top webbing securely. Do the same for the bottom of your canvas.
  • So by now you should have a flat piece of canvas with a piece of dowel stitched to the top and one to the bottom.
  • Place your side bars on either side of your canvas.
  • Insert the dowel into the holes, top and bottom. Tighten up the screws at the top. They should be nice and tight so the dowel doesn’t move around.
  • Roll up your canvas from the bottom forming a scroll, then tighten up the screws. So you should have a nice, taut working surface and away you go!
  • I suggest you roll up your canvas so that the back of it is on the outside of the rollers. This means that the front of your stitching will be on the inside and protected from bangs and knocks.
  • When you have finished stitching the canvas that is showing, loosen the screws and roll up your canvas so that a new piece is showing and off you go again.

Tent/Continental Stitch:

  • My kits are mostly stitched using Tent Stitch. This is a very easy stitch to master - it is similar to a half cross stitch but done diagonally on the back as well as the front. This gives you a thicker, more durable finish to your piece.
  • Download instructions for tent stitch here.

I hope this helps with your stitching project - happy stitching!

Tapestry frame with webbing
Tapestry frame with webbing
Stitch canvas to webbing at top and bottom
Stitch canvas to webbing top & bottom
Attach side bars and roll up canvas