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Beginning Needlepoint

Needlepoint is basically a form of canvas work embroidery, in which yarn is stitched through a canvas ground fabric. Unlike surface embroidery, needlepoint uses the canvas or ground fabric to create a new fabric. The finished works may be made into pillows or upholstery or may be displayed on the wall, framed or unframed or even made into holiday ornaments, purses, stuffed stand-up figures or rugs.

It is always helpful to have an expert advice before trying your hand into something new. There are a few useful tips that can help the beginners with needlepoint. The first and foremost requirement is that always wash your hands before handling either the canvas or the fibers, or else, dirt from your hands will easily and quickly accumulate on everything you touch. The other tips include:

• Needle Choice: The choice of needle depends on the particular mesh of the canvas to be used for each project. An improper needle will cause the canvas holes to displace, disturbing the weave of the canvas.

• Thread Length: Usually thread lengths should be 18 to 20 inches i.e. approximately from the tip of your middle finger to the bend of your elbow. Extra long threads wear the nap off and get too thin as a result of passing through canvas holes too many times, except when Bargello or Florentine stitches are to be used.

• Threading: The short length of the fiber that goes through the eye of the needle should not be any longer than two inches. Most threads wear and get frizzy at the needle’s eye from pulling through the rough canvas.

• Stitching: It is always advisable to stitch small design areas first and then go in for larger areas. White wools should be stitched first so that the hairs of fiber from darker colors don’t become tangled in with the white.

• Marking on canvas: Whenever marking on canvas, use waterproof markers and avoid using pencils or ball point pens as these will bleed through and ruin the work.

• Finishing: Cut canvas edges should always be finished by taping, turning under on a sewing machine or attaching a binding tape. This keeps the canvas from raveling.

• Tools: As far as possible, use a frame to hold the canvas while you are stitching. Use either stretcher bars or a scroll frame. Always rest the needle when you are finished with stitching in some place outside the design area of the canvas.
 
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