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where you can design your own Needlepoint!

Official blog of www.NeedlePaint.com – where you can design your own Needlepoint Kit!

Archive for the ‘How to NeedlePoint’ Category

The Tent Stitch: When, Where, and Why

Written by: Peggy Bond

The Tent Stitch, is the basic diagonal stitch which is the most recognized of needlepoint stitches, and can be stitched in three variations: The Basketweave, the Continental and the Half-Cross. There are pros and cons and a time and place for each of these stitches.

Tent Stitch 

The Basketweave Stitch is stitched on the diagonal as diagramed (see Figure 2) and creates a solid pattern on the back of the canvas (see Figure 1). This is the stitch of choice for chair seats, upholstery items or any piece that will receive wear and tear. It is durable and flexible and the finished piece does not warp as much as those done in the Half-Cross or Continental Stitches. It is truly a background stitch to be done around designs. I didn’t use it anywhere on the yarmulkes I made, but I did use it for the purple border of my Pansy Quilt Rug.

Basketweave diagram

View of the Basketweave Stitch back side (Figure 1) and Basketweave Stitch diagram (Figure 2)

 

The Continental Stitch is also a good backing stitch. It lacks the durability of the Basketweave Stitch but can be worked in small areas, while providing a solid backing (as shown in Figure 3). My hat bands are usually done entirely in Continental Stitches. The No Tears Pillow was also done entirely in Continental Stitch. This is a good example of when you would not want to use the Basketweave Stitch for the background as it would have made the canvas much heavier than the fabric.

Continental Diagram

View of the Continental Stitch back side (Figure 3) and stitching diagram 

 

The Half-Cross Stitch provides no backing and is not recommended for backgrounds. It does not cover the canvas well and should only be used on printed canvases where the thread color matches the color of the print. It does, however, use less thread than the Basketweave and Continental stitches. I have used it as the final row around a headband which is going to be turned under when I sew on the backing fabric.

Half-cross Diagram

View of the Half-Cross stitch back side and stitching diagram

 

One thing to bear in mind with the Tent Stitch, and indeed all stitching, is that thread and canvas need to match. Too fine a thread will not cover adequately, and too heavy a thread will be difficult with which to work and will usually create uneven stitches. Below is a chart matching the threads
(6-strand DMC Cotton Floss and 3-strand Waverly Wool) and the canvases that NeedlePaint offers.

Canvas Mesh DMC Cotton Floss Wavely Wool  Notes
10 Not Recommended 3 Strands
12 Not Recommended 3 Strands For rugs and heavy use items
2 Strands For lighter-weight projects: soft pillows, purses
14 6 Strands 2 Strands
1 Strand Use only on printed canvas where thread matches color
18 6 Strands 1 Strand  Great to use for belts, wallets, flasks

 

Now having explained the how, when, where, and why of the Tent Stitch, I have to admit that I use it sparingly.

Coming soon My Favorite Background Stitches!

Needlepoint Pillow Finishing Stockings and Key Fobs

If you’ve purchased needlepoint kits from NeedlePaint in the past, you may know that we offer many types of finishing services.  We have some very talented employees here, and I’d love to take a minute to show you what we can do!

Needlepoint Pillow Finishing – offering finishing on all sizes  (Prices Ranges from $100 – $150)

Once you are done with your needlepoint, we’d love to help.  We offer a solid back with a hidden zipper (or no zipper on 8 inches or smaller), and can do piping or no piping.  We include a removable pillow form on pillows that have a zipper.  For the backing and piping, we have 20 colors of velvet to choose from.

Needlepoint Pillow Finishing

Needlepoint Pillow Finishing

Needlepoint Stocking Finishing – (Ranges from $125 to $155)

We finish stockings with a velvet back, piping, and hanging loop.  Inside we put a white liner or coordination cotton liner.

Needlepoint Stocking Blocking and Finishing

Needlepoint Stocking Blocking and Finishing

Needlepoint Tallis Bag Finishing (Ranges from $100 to $150)

We will include a hidden zipper on the back, piping is optional on the front, and the inside is lined with a white liner to protect the tallis.

Key Fob Finishing$23.00

Leather backed “loop” with leather tabs at the end, and circular key ring included.

Needlepoint Key Fob Finishing

Needlepoint Key Fob Finishing

Flask Finishing$60

We offer a 5 oz stainless steel flask, with leather wrap on top and bottom, and 1 side (outside edges of needlepoint)  Dimensions: 4.5″h x 4″w x 1.25″deep

Needlepoint Flask Finishing

Needlepoint Flask Finishing

Card Wallet Finishing – $60

Card wallets made with full grain leather, and include three card slots, and an opening in the top to fold and store money and/or more cards.

Needlepoint Card Wallet Finishing

Needlepoint Card Wallet Finishing

Needlepoint Slippers and Loafers in Style

People love to wear their needlepoint!  It is the biggest trend I’ve seen over the last 7 years, more and more needlepoint is being turned into products that can be used, especially amongst the younger generations.

The most eye popping project we’ve worked on recently are needlepoint slippers and needlepoint loafers.  Check these out!

Needlepoint Slippers

Needlepoint Slippers and Needlepoint Loafers

This project came to us from a customer in New Orleans.  We designed two new custom needlepoint slipper canvases for him.  (The link actually shows another project we did for a pair of womens needlepoint slippers, but pricing and template are the same)

As far as needlepointing a project like this goes, it is pretty simple.  There are two needlepoint kits that come with thread, which you needlepoint the design area like most projects (in a tent stitch).  Once you are done with the needlepoint, you send them off to be turned into slippers or loafers.  Our customer recommended using: George Cleverly in London.  Another finisher in the UK is Bowhill and Elliot.

Below you can see a needlepointed canvas before and fully finished needlepoint loafers after, enjoy!

Needlepoint Slippers Template Stitched

Needlepoint Slippers Template Stitched

Seven Swans Swimming and Eight Maids Milking Christmas Needlepoint

By: Peggy Bond

We’re continuing our 12 days of Christmas Needlepoint Projects!  (See other posts for all 12 projects!)

Day 7, Seven Swans a-Swimming

The swan is the last of the birds. The only fancy feathering here is on the wings.

Seven Swans o-Laying Christmas Needlepoint Kit

Seven Swans a-Laying Christmas Needlepoint Kit

Seven Swans Swimming Stitch Chart

L Wing Stitch Detail

The pink “L”s in the wing are done with two Cashmere 2×4 stitches – one worked horizontally and the other vertically. The “L”s are surrounded by brown “L”s where space permits and then the remainder of the wing is done in Continental as shown below.

 

 

 

 

Wave Stitch DetailThe main portion of the wave is the Double Parisian with the peaks done with left and right slanting Continental.

Slanted Straight Stitch NeedlepointAnd, the background Slanted Straight stitch is done over three canvas threads working right to left. It is quick and easy.

Day 8, Eight Maids a-Milking

Our Maid is done with her work and is carrying her milk home from a job well done.

Eight Maids a-Milking Christmas Needlepoint

Eight Maids a-Milking Christmas Needlepoint

Eight Maids Christmas Stitch Chart

Eight Maids Christmas Stitch Chart

Needlepoint Vest DetailHer vest and pocket of flowers require some explanation.

The center of the vest of worked in Slanted Gobelin 3×3 working left to right and right to left to form the lower points of the vest. The edges are Continental and button French knots.

 

 

 

 

Pocket Stitch DetailThe pocket is done in a manner similar to the heart of the Day 2 and the flowers are a satin stitch.

The Milanese stitch, like the Medieval Mosaic stitch, is quick and easy to do after getting it established.

Now on to Dancing Ladies and Leaping Lads…

12 Days of Christmas Days 5 and 6 Needlepoint Kits

We’re back!  I’ve been short on time because our lead designer is away on Maternity Leave.  Also note, our other designer is going away for 3 weeks in August to help her mom move, so we’re taking a break on custom work from Aug.1 – 22.  We can still do simple custom projects and Karen is here to do production on photo designs and stock designs, so feel free to email and check if you are in a rush.

And onto Peggy’s next two stitch guides!!!

DAY 5, Five Golden Rings

Five Golden Rings Needlepoint

Five Golden Rings Needlepoint

The Five Golden Rings needlepoint kit is a diversion from all the feathers, and also a challenge to get the correct placement of stitches for the interlocking of the rings. The center of each ring is done in Continental and each ring is done in a different stitch as noted on the diagram.

Five Golden Rings Needlepoint Stitches

The interlockings of the rings are number and a detail below shows how the stitches overlap. I am not a fan of metallic threads, but if I were, this block would be an ideal one for them. (Using different stiches for each ring does complicate the block but it gives the finished block more depth. Some depth can be achieved by using the Mosaic or Brick stitch for all the rings.)

5 Golden Rings Stitch Details

Medieval Mosaic Needlepoint Stitch

The Medieval Mosaic background stitch is a pattern found in mosaic ancient floors. Once the first rows are done, working top to bottom, and the patterns established, the stitch is easy and it covers canvas quickly.

 

 

 

 

Day 6, Six Geese A-Laying

Six Geese A Laying Needlepoint

Six Geese A-Laying Needlepoint

It’s back to the birds with one of the Laying Geese. I doubt that the geese of the original song were Canadian geese, but I couldn’t resist making make one for Day 6.  The Six laying geese needlepoint kit is on our website here.Six Geese a laying needlepoint guide

Nor could I resist giving my goose colored eggs. The blue and pink eggs are done in standard stitches as shown above, but the lavender egg has horizontally symmetric stitching as shown in the detail below.Lavender Egg Slanted Needlepoint Stitch Detail

The center is a vertical straight stitch over 3 canvas threads and the top and bottom are Continental and Slanted Gobelin 2×2, done left to right for the top and right to left for the bottom.

The Shingle stitch for the background is my favorite of the background stitches used in this project and is the only one that I repeated. It will be seen again on Day 11.

This is the half way mark… only one more feathered friend to go!

Four Calling Birds and Three French Hens Needlepoint Guides

Stitched and written By:  Peggy Bond

Day 3, Three French Hens Needlepoint Kit

French Hen Needlepoint Kit with Stitch Chart

The French hens were just too plump to put all three on the block so we only have one, sitting fat and happy on her flowering nest. No eggs in view!

All but one of the stitches for this and the next block can be found in The Needlepoint Book by Jo Ippolito Christensen. However, some are worked in different directions than shown in the book.

The head of our lonesome hen is stitched in Continental as are her comb and beak. Her eye is a French Knot. Her breast and tail are Kennan and the wing tips are alternation rows of Slanted Gobelin 2 x 2 and Continetal worked slanted from top left to right.

Flowers are Continental with their centers done is varying numbers of French Knots to fill the canvas. The branches are Continental as well, and the leaves are done in variations of the leaf stitch.

French Hen Needlepoint Stitch Guide

French Hen Needlepoint Stitch Guide

Victoria and Albert Herringbone

V and A Herringbone

The hen’s wing is done in Victoria and Albert Herringbone, show below. It is a variation of the standard Herringbone was adapted from a Victory and Albert Museum Handbook of embroidery stitches by Sherlee Lanz.

Background is Woven Plait which is similar to and simpler than the Victoria Albert Herringbone. The Woven Plait is a quick background stitch that has texture.

 

 

 

 

Day 4, Four Calling Birds Needlepoint

Four Calling Birds Needlepoint Canvas fully Stitched

Four Calling Birds Needlepoint Kit

The Four Calling Birds block is the other symmetrically designed block.

The yellow of the birds is done in Lazy Knitting, worked left to right on the left half and right to left on the right. The same is true for the Slanted Gobelin 2×2 of the tails and the green Slanted Gobelin 2×2 of the wing. Lazy Knitting is one of the more tedious stitches, but contrasting texture to the Slanted Gobelin makes it worth the effort.

Four Calling Birds Needlepoint Guide

Four Calling Birds Needlepoint Guide

The flower is done with 4 Scotch squares on each petal. It is edged in Satin to round out each petal. The flower center can be stitched in white Continental, or yellow French Knots or maybe some beads? There are possibilities on all or the blocks to add some flare with beads and/or sequins. Flower centers and eyes are obvious choices for these types of embellishments.

The leaves are variations of the Leaf stitch and branches are vertical or horizontal Gobelin. (The traditional Gobelin is a straight stitch over 2 threads of the canvas. It can be stitched horizontally or vertically. And, as used for the birds, it can be stitch on diagonally, i.e. over 2 strands horizontally and vertically making it twice the size one of the Tent stitches – Continental, Half Cross, or Basketweave.)

The background is the Diagonal Mosaic, not to be confused with the Mosaic stitched diagonally. Unlike the background of the Two Turtle symmetrical block, this background is worked continuously across the entire block. That is not stitched in opposite directions on each half.

Coming up a break from birds…. Five Golden Rings, the most complex of the 12 blocks!

Celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas in Needlepoint

Needlepaint’s 12 Days of Christmas needlepoint canvases were inspired a quilt my mother made 25 years ago. Use the 3-inch circular, 18-point ornaments to decorate a tree or the 6 x 6-inch 18-point blocks to hang as a bunting (8 x 8 inch on 14 mesh). They are an ideal size to be  done while traveling, waiting in a doctor’s office, or babysitting a sleeping grandchild.  Or, in the tradition of a quilting bee, canvases can be done by several different needle-pointers.

I stitched and finished the bunting…….

12 Days of Christmas Needlepoint Kits

12 Days of Christmas Needlepoint Kits

The blocks can be stitched with the continental stitch However, I used a variety of stitches using DMC 6-strand floss.Quick-cover stitches for the backgrounds sped up completion and others I chose to provide texture. (Stitches will be described in subsequent blogs.) Beads, sequins, and/or ribbons could also be added for textures and highlights.

Finishing and display options are numerous…  If one has a large wall space or fireplace, a 12-block bunting would be cool, but it is easier to find a place for a shorter 4-block 3 string display. Also, consider a 2-block 6-string or 3 strings of 3 blocks, 4 blocks, and 5 blocks.

In the photo above, the blocks are framed and backed with red felt, hand-stitched together with 3 strands of red DMC floss to match, and strung on a ¾-inch strip of felt. If you are not into buntings, the blocks could be used to decorate a table or sewn together for wall hanging or table runner. Each could be framed in the Mill Hill Wooden 6 x 6-inch frames which are designed for needlework and available online from several vendors, including  JoAnn or Amazon.

Detailed directions and alternatives for finishing will be addressed in a later blog.

 

More Mosaic Needlepoint Projects

By Peggy Bond

Geometric designs occur frequently in Pompeii as well was throughout ancient civilizations. Most often they are used as floors and many are black and white. In Pompeii are several polychrome mosaic floor treatments. One was found at the House of Publius Fannius Synistor where it was a threshold in the summer dining area. The mosaic stones were red, green, yellow, and gray on a white and black background. Discovered when the villa was excavated by Vincenzo de Prisco in 1894-5, the mosaic was removed to the excavator’s residence where is resided until acquired by the Archaeological Commission of Pompeii. The NeedlePaint recreation of this mosaic is a 22 x 40 inch 10 point canvas to be worked in Waverly wool and suitable for a rug or wall hanging.

Threshold from the House of Publius Fannius Synistor

Threshold from the House of Publius Fannius Synistor

Pompeii Mosaic Needlepoint Rug Kit

Pompeii Mosaic Needlepoint Rug Kit

Another distinctive geometric polychrome mosaic treatment is found on the columns in the appropriately name House of the Mosaic Columns. The columns are on display in the National Archeological Museum of Naples. The Needlepaint mosaic design is the section of the base of a column and is a 16 x 16 inch 14-point canvas to be worked in DMC threads or 2 stands of Waverly wool, ideal for a colorful pillow.

Column section from the House of the Mosaic Columns

Column section from the House of the Mosaic Columns

Polychrome Mosaic Needlepoint Pillow

Mosaic Column Needlepoint Pillow

These canvases are designed to be stitched using the mosaic stitch and thus much quicker to stitch than using the traditional continental for tent stitches.

Bringing Ancient Mosaics to Needlepaint

By Peggy Bond:

While I walked through ancient Rome and Pompeii, the mosaics on floors, walls, and columns were transformed in my mind to needlepoint pillows, wall hangings, rugs and a myriad of new projects..

Transferring a mosaic design to a canvas had several advantages over the same task for a photo. The number of colors is limited, the design or subject is not too complex, and the background is uniform, except for the grout lines.

Throwing caution to the wind, I attacked the Pompeii guard dog mosaics from the House of Orpheus – 4 colors and a simple image.

Guard dog from the House of Orpheus

Guard dog from the House of Orpheus

The challenge was not creating canvas, but giving the stitched canvas the feel of the mosaic. An individual continental or tent stitch was too small to approximate a mosaic tile, but the mosaic stitch is just as its name suggest. A perfect stitch for the mosaic guard dog!

Mosaic Stitch

Mosaic Stitch

Additionally, the cashmere stitch (a rectangular mosaic) which can be stitched vertically or horizontally could be used to outline the dog as done by the ancient artisans with stone.

Horizontal and Vertical Cashmere Stitch

Horizontal and Vertical Cashmere Stitch

The canvas was designed on a 2 x 2 pixel grid (the size of 1 mosaic) instead of the usual 1 x 1 pixel. Then the number of colors on the image were reduced to 4 – black, off-white, dark brown, and red. There was editing to do to fill most of each grid square with only one color. In some cases, this was not possible and when stitching these areas were filled with the continental stitch.

Close-up of canvas image design

Close-up of canvas image design

As scene in the finished canvas below, I used the cashmere stitch to outline the dog and the leash.

Guard dog from the House of Orpheus Needlepoint Pillow - Finished!

Guard dog from the House of Orpheus Needlepoint Pillow – Finished!

The canvas was 12 point and is worked in Brown Sheep Waverly wool for a16 x 16 inch pillow.

Canvases for three other Pompeii dogs are also available.

Cave Canem Needlepoint Canvas

Cavae Canem from the House of the Tragic Poet

Guard Dog from House of Paquius Proculus

Guard Dog from House of Paquius Proculus

Sleeping Dog from the House of Lucius Caecilius Lucundus

Sleeping Dog from the House of Lucius Caecilius Lucundus

A Very Needlepoint Christmas to All

Christmas and Hanukkah are almost here!  Our little workshop has shipped over a hundred belts this past week and almost as many needlepoint kits.  We hope they all arrive and bring smiles to families across the country.

We have a lot to be thankful for this year, and are looking forwards to 2017.  We’ll be offering some new services for our needlepointers and for our customers who are looking for fully stitched products.

Those of you thinking of taking up a new hobby, please check out what an art needlepoint really is.  You’re in for a treat, we have a Customer Spotlight at the bottom of this post.

Needlepoint Christmas Belt

Our first Big announcement for 2017 is that we’re now selling fully stitched custom needlepoint stocking!  We’ve sold some over the years, but finally have put a listing online in our Etsy shop.  Our designers are here to work with you, whether you’re trying to match an heirloom needlepoint stocking, or looking for an updated needlepoint design, needlepoint stockings truly are timeless.

Personalized Nutcracker Needlepoint Christmas Stocking

Our Fully Stitched Nutcracker Needlepoint Stockings in wool with velvet backing.

What better to give than a gift of personal memories!  These custom needlepoint pillows are going to a fishing lodge, but I had to sneak some pictures under the tree.

Needlepoint Fishing Pillows

Needlepoint Fishing Pillows

And those of you who made it this far are in for a treat.  Lisa, in New York just finished her second project ever.  She stitched this amazing Clara Nutcracker Stocking!  It is the same design as above (we did customize the background a bit), but you can see her talent in selecting her own colors and especially choosing fun stitches and embellishments that add even more depth and texture to the stocking.  Nice work Lisa!

Needlepoint is Fun and amazing. I hope you share these images with your friends and help inspire them to learn to needlepoint in 2017!

Fun Stitch Needlepoint Christmas Stocking

Fun Stitch Needlepoint Christmas Stocking