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Needlepoint is a form of counted thread embroidery, which is stitched on an open weave canvas. Most of the Needlepoint designs use a simple tent stitch and depend on the colour changes in order to construct patterns. This is another main type under needlework.

Needlepoint has a long history, which goes back to the ancient Egyptians, who used stitches to sew up their canvas tents. This method is not similar to all types of embroidery because it is not stitched on a fabric.

Needlepoint worked on a stiff canvas. This can be used to make eyeglass cases, pillows, purses, upholstery, wall hangings and holiday ornaments as well. 

Needlepoint stitches

Needlepoint stitching is simply an embroidery way of stitching which is worked on a canvas by using different threads.

Tent stitch is known as ‘needlepoint stitch’ and is one of the most basic and versatile stitches used in canvas embroidery. This is a small, diagonal needlepoint stitch that crosses over the intersection of one horizontal and one vertical thread of needle canvas forming a slanted stitch at a 45-degree angle.

Needlepoint stitches
Needlepoint stitches

There are three types of tent stitch, which produce the same appearance on the front but each one has a particular different characteristics, benefits and drawbacks. These variants of tent stitch are known as Basket weave, Continental, and Half cross tent stitches.

Basket weave tent stitch is the best stitch to cover large area of canvas as it distorts the canvas least and gives the firmest backing to the work. This can be a solution for strong woven needlepoint which does not stretch out. 

Continental tent stitch is worked horizontally or vertically across the canvas. This method uses more yarn than half cross tent stitch but is more hard wearing.

Half cross tent stitch uses less yarn than other stitches but is not very durable. 

Most commercial needlework kits recommend one of the variants of tent stitch, but Victorian cross stitch and random long stitch are also used. 

Needlepoint techniques

There are several contemporary techniques in needlepoint.

Material is one of the major technique that we can see in needlepoint work. The thread used for stitching may be wool, silk, cotton or wool-silk blend. Variety fibers may also be used, such as metallic cord, metallic braid, ribbon, or raffia.

Pattern is another technique in needlepoint which can be found in different forms, such as hand-painted canvas, printed canvas, trammed canvas and charted canvas. In hand-painted canvas, the design is painted on the canvas by the designer. When the design is printed by silk screening called printed canvas. On a trammed canvas, the design is professionally stitched onto the canvas by hand using several colors. Though the charted canvas designs are available in books or leaflet forms.

Frames and hoops in needlepoint canvas are stretched on a scroll frame to keep the work taut during stitching. 

Needlepoint canvas

The type and size of the canvas used will depend on the amount of detail in the design of the project. Obviously, the more detailed the design, the finer the gauge of canvas. There are few different types of canvas to choose from. They consist of Single Canvas, Double Canvas, Rug Canvas and Plastic Canvas.

All canvas is measured by the number of threads or the number of holes to the inch. This is referred to as Canvas Gauge. But Single Canvas has commonly been made of hemp or linen thread. There are two types of Single Canvas and they are Plain Mono Canvas and Interlock Mono Canvas. These two types of Mono Canvas differ in the each is constructed.   

Double Canvas is composed of a mesh of double vertical and double horizontal thread. This makes it a very durable canvas to work with.

Rug Canvas is a mesh of strong cotton threads, twisting two threads around each other. But Plastic canvas is a stiff canvas which is an excellent choice for beginners who want to practice different stitches.

Mono Needlepoint Canvas
Mono Needlepoint Canvas
Intro to Needlepoint

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