Learn How to Needlepoint Tutorial

This how to needlepoint video and tutorial is perfect if you are new to needlepoint, a needlepoint beginner, or maybe you just need a refresher.

Download the How to Needlepoint printable PDF if you don't have time to read or watch the video now, or to keep as a guide.


How to Needlepoint 


Cut a strand from the skein of thread and thread your needle. We suggest cutting your thread so that it is the length of your finger to your elbow -  or no longer than 18".



To thread your needle, fold the thread over the needle in between your thumb and index finger. Pinch the end of your thread so that it is folded over onto itself. Remove the needle from between the thread. Take the folded thread and push it through the eye of the needle.

How to Needlepoint, Step 2 - Thread Your Needle

Another option is to push the end of the thread through the eye of the needle.
If the end of the thread has frayed, twist it to make it tighter and eliminate the fray (or trim the end with scissors) before pushing it into the eye of the needle.

How to Needlepoint, Step 2 - Threading Your Needle Option



Tie a knot in the end of the thread farthest from the eye of the needle. This is called a “waste knot.” Place the waste knot on top of the canvas by sinking your needle down into the canvas from front to back, roughly an inch away from where you plan to start stitching within the same color area.

Starting your thread is the only time you will place a knot on the front of the canvas. As you begin stitching, you will stitch over the “tail” of the waste knot (the thread on the back of the canvas) and this will lock your thread to the canvas.

Once you have stitched up to the waste knot, cut the knot off the front of the canvas. Be careful not to cut the canvas itself!

How to Needlepoint, Step 3 - Start Your Thread in the Needlepoint Canvas



Once you have finished stitching a particular area, or your thread has become too short, you will need to end your thread.

Flip your canvas over so that you are looking at the back. With the needle and thread on the back of the canvas, run your needle through the previously placed stitches. Trim off the excess thread with embroidery scissors.

How to Needlepoint, Step 4 - Ending Your Thread in the Needlepoint Canvas




Once you have a substantial area of canvas stitched, there is no need to do a waste knot. You can start your thread by running it under four or five of your previously placed stitches in the same way that you learned to end your thread.

Repeat this action a second time in order to really lock the thread in before you begin stitching.

How to Needlepoint, Step 5 - Starting a Another Thread on your Needlepoint Canvas

What Are Types of Needlepoint Stitches 


Continental Stitch is a basic needlepoint stitch. It is worked in horizontal rows of Tent Stitches*. Pay attention to the numbering on the stitch diagram below.

Continental Stitch in Needlepoint

*Tent Stitches refers to any stitch that looks like the above diagram. It is a simple stitch that can be used anywhere on your canvas.

Continental is a great stitch to use when you are just starting out as it follows logical horizontal lines so it's easy to learn. You will also use Continental Stitch to fill in small areas or single lines of stitches. You can stitch your entire project in Continental Stitch, but once you have mastered this stitch and have become more familiar with needlepoint, we recommend you learn the Basketweave Stitch and use this as much as possible.



Basketweave Stitch is also made up of Tent Stitches - it looks the same as Continental Stitch on the front of the canvas. The difference is the pattern in which you work the stitches forms a basketweave pattern on the back of the canvas (and provides good canvas coverage with minimal distortion).

Begin by closely looking at your canvas. You should see that the threads making up the canvas weave over and under each other. We call these "Poles" when the vertical thread sits on top of the underlying horizontal thread (in red below) and "Steps" when the horizontal thread sits on top of the underlying vertical thread (in blue below). 

In Basketweave Stitch you want to “slide down the poles and step up the steps.” In other words, work down in a diagonal line on the “pole” intersections of the canvas, and work up a diagonal line on the “step” intersections of the canvas.

Basketweave Stitch used for Needlepoint

 Here is a diagram for how to work the Basketweave Stitch, remembering to work a down row when it's a pole and an up row when its a step.

how to basketweave stitch diagram for needlepoint

Stitch in all the color areas using either the Continental or the Basketweave stitch. It doesn't really matter where on your canvas you start, but beginners often find it easier to stitch in the smallest color areas first.

You will find more in-depth instructions with our How to Needlepoint Online Class.

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