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

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

Posts tagged ‘needlepoint stitches’

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!

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.

 

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 New Bible for Needlepoint

The 3rd edition of Jo Ippolito Christensen’s The Needlepoint Book is out. I hadn’t imagined that this bible of needlepointing could get any better but it has!

Needlepoint Book Cover

Needlepoint Book Cover

The new edition includes expanded discussion of techniques for stitching and design as well as 225 new color plates and over 40 new stitches. I haven’t absorbed even half of the new material, but I have already spotted some new ideas for my next Needlepaint project — open work on belts. (Give me a couple of weeks and I will let you know how it works.)

I have both the print and eBook version and I like them for different reasons. I am a bit of a book snob and I love my paper versions — thus the print. However, I travel a lot and in order to keep my suitcase light, I got the eBook. I am delighted with both. A plus to the eBook is the color plates which can be enlarged on the screen to view details. The plus to the print version is ease of finding and comparing stitches.

And, this is not all that comes with the new edition. There is going to be a stitch app for our mobile devices. It isn’t out yet, but for those who by the print or eBook you need to go to www.needlepointbookapp.com  from your mobile device and enter your  information. Simon & Schuster will notify you with your download code as soon as the app is made available. I can’t wait!

Let It Snow – Needlepoint Stitches

Of course, the penguins on the Isaac and Alexander stockings have to be walking on snow. Should it be soft and fluffy or icy and crunchy? My answer is both.

The large penguin on Issac’s stocking is walking of soft fluffy snow which is a variation of the oblong cross stitch. I have worked it across only one horizontal canvas thread rather than on two canvas threads as shown  in The Needlepoint Book by Joe Ippolito Christensen.

PuffySnow

This diagram shows it done in two different thread colors because it is worked in two separate parts. First worked the light yellow stitches and then the dark yellow stitches, but both with the same slightly off-white thread. I used a slight off-white thread so that the stark white of the penguin would be more pronounced.

LargePenguin
The Santa Penguin looks like he is walking on a cloud. Having worked the stitches over just one canvas thread, I got a thick, dense stitch which added a nice dimension.

And yes, he is not finished! He will get an eye for which I will use a glass bead and maybe a tie around his sack.

When I got to the penguin on the Alexander stocking, I decided that I didn’t like him floating in the blue as printed in my design.  I thought that I would put him on some soft snow like Santa penguin. It didn’t work. So, he was bound to get the icy snow. Using a vertical giant knitting stitch, I put him on ice.

 

Icey Snow

I worked the stitches from left starting at the top of each column of stitches. Since there wasn’t any snow printed on my canvas, I was free to put in an many icy spikes and as irregularly as I wanted. The fact that the printed background was blue, the finish stitches have an even icier feel because a bit of the blue peaks through.

Again I used a slightly off-white thread to contract the little penguins white and he needs an eye, too.

LittlePenguin

 

 

If you look closely at the two penguins, you might notice that the two skies behind the penguins look irregular.  It is not just the lighting, They are! In the next blog, I will explain the stitches and threads I used.

I’ll probably use the same oblong cross stitch for the exhaust of Santa’s plane on Issac’s stocking. What do you think?

Back to Christmas Needlepoint Stockings

(Written by Peggy Bond)  I had a little more time this year than I had with the War and Peace stocking. Time is not the issue but the challenge is two needlepoint stockings for my nephew’s twins Alex and Isaac – same but different designs are the order of the day.

isaac-stocking_final alexander-stocking_14

With plenty of time this season, I decided to experiment with some texture and color variations while stitching.  For example, I dressed up the Christmas present in the heel of Isaac’s with a green and yellow checkerboard pattern.

present-green-and-yellow

And, then I stitched the background in an oblong reversed cashmere box stitch, but in two different shades of yellow.

yellow-background

For the background diagram above, I have accentuated the yellow color differences. The finished stitching is below. Unless you are aware of the slight variation in the yellows, you probably wouldn’t notice it. However, it does give the finished stocking an added dimension. It almost looks like variegated thread.

Close up of Present Needlepoint Stitches

Close up of Present Needlepoint Stitches

 

More information on these stitches can be found in The Needlepoint Book by Joe Ippolito Christensen.

I am now working on the Isaac’s penguin walking along the powdery snow, and will post my progress in a day or so…

The No Tears Needlepoint Pillow

As I mentioned in my earlier post An Elegant Finished Edge, I had come up with a use for the odd-shapped design that we had designed for our first test custom needlepoint canvas. This 6″ x 7″ canvas is now the center piece of a 12′ x 12′  pillow  for my granddaughter’s nursery.

As you can see, this pillow does not have piping — the most difficult and frustrating part of needlepoing pillow finishing. Also, there is no zipper, no turning inside out, and IT IS EASY!  It is a modified pillow sham which fits over a 12″ x 12″ pillow form.

Materials for the pillow are:

  • 12″ x 12″ polyester-filled pillow
  • 1/2 yard 42″-45″ fabric
  • 1/4 yard Velcro (optional)
  • finished needlepoint canvas that is smaller than 12″ x 12″ and whose edges have been bound

Directions:

  1. Cut one 18″ x 18″ front.
  2. Cut two 11″ x 18″ piece for left and right sides of back.
  3. Position finished needlepoint canvas in the center of the front. Stitch in place by machine using zig-zag stitch or by hand using an overcast slip stitch.
  4. Sew 2″ hem on left back side and narrow hem on right back side as shown below. (Optionally sew Velcro as shown.)
  5. Place left back over right back to create a 18″ x 18″ square.
  6. Fold under 1 3/4″ on all four sides of front and back and press with steam iron, mitering each corner.
  7. With wrong sides together, stitch around  1 1/4″ from the edge.
  8. Stuff pillow form into completed pillow sham.

This method works well for a casual cushion and especially well for a child’s pillow because the finished needlepoint can be easily removed and the pillow sham washed.