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Needlepoint for Beginners

Needlepoint for Beginners

This time of year, we get an influx of new customers who want to learn how to stitch, and often their first question is, “where are your beginner pieces?” Answering that is a process because every person has different taste. Here are a few things to consider if you’re taking up needlepoint in the new year.
 
What will you enjoy looking at every time you pick it up? Depending on the size of your project, you’ll spend days or weeks working on it, so make sure to choose a design you’ll love seeing again and again. 
 
Pick something you’ll use after you’re finished stitching. Christmas ornaments are fun, but you only use them for a few weeks of the year, then they are stashed away for months. For your first project, consider something you can keep out, or use, all the time. Seeing your finished piece will help motivate you as you work through your next project. 
 
Needlepoint fruit coasters
 
If you do choose a holiday piece, consider one you can enjoy all winter long- rather than just the few weeks around Christmas. 
Reindeer on blue stitched needlepoint ornament
 
Look for a project that doesn’t have too many colors or a lot of shading. You can keep your thread cost down by selecting a canvas that has five or six colors versus one that has every color of the rainbow and lots of shading. Those projects will be fun for you later as you build up your thread stash. Your first project will be more enjoyable if you can work with one color across a large swath of canvas without stopping to change threads. This way you can get a hang of the stitch you are learning. 
 
Greek Key Frame needlepoint kit canvas & threads
 
If you pick a canvas that doesn’t have a background painted on it, you will need to stitch a few extra rows of background around it for finishing purposes. This is particularly important on canvases that have sharp corners or extraneous features. This way you can ensure you won’t lose any of the design in the finishing process. It’s always a good idea to double check with your finisher to find out if they want you to add extra rows your canvas for finishing purposes. 
Black graduation cap needlepoint canvas
 
It’s important to take canvas count into consideration for your first piece. Canvas count is determined by the number of canvas intersections per linear inch. You may want to select a canvas with larger holes if you’re new to needlepoint. Generally speaking, the higher the number, the smaller the holes and the more stitches needed to cover the canvas.  If you have trouble seeing, there are ways around it, so if you cannot find a perfect piece painted on 13 count canvas, don’t shrug off a favorite on 18 count. Grab a pair of reading glasses and buy a clip-on light so your canvas is easier to see.  That might be enough, but if you need extra magnification, you can also find fairly inexpensive lights with magnifiers attached.
 
Clip on light with needlepoint scissor fob & scissors
 
Now to choose your threads. The combinations seem endless, but for your first venture, it might be good to stick with threads you don’t need to ply or lay. Look for single strand silks (like Pepper Pot or Vineyard Silk), wools (like Planet Earth Wool) or cottons (like DMC Perle) so you can simply thread your needle and stitch. Add something fun to the mix like a Kreinik metallic or sparkly Silk Lamé Braid for a little bit of glitz and glamor. You may want to ask for help when selecting threads to make sure you pick a fiber that will work with the count of your canvas.
 
Be sure to add a set of stretcher bars to hold your canvas taughtly in place. Your stitches will be more even and your canvas won’t become distorted by the repetitive motion of your stitching. You might also want to consider a magnet for keeping your needle and scissors in place when you’re not stitching. 
 
New York Travel Round canvas with clip on light & thread
 
Be sure to browse our Resources page for tips on getting started, learning new stitches and having your completed piece professionally finished. We also have a wide selection of Online Classes that can help you explore new stitches and techniques as you progress. Several of them would make a fantastic first project. They come fully kitted and include stitch guides and access to online instruction that never expires. 
 
The most important part of stitching is the fun and gratification you will experience with each new project. Happy Stitching!

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