TYPES OF NEEDLEPOINT PROJECTS:
There are different types of needlepoint projects to choose from.
1: You may purchase a kit with pre-painted canvas. A kit will have the design already painted on the canvas and will instruct the user as to which stitches to use. Beginners will find kits an easy way to learn the basics of needlepoint, while learning individual stitches. There are many exciting kits available today (look to the right side of the web page - the advertisement section - for some interesting kits).
2: Another option is to work a design from a chart. With charted designs, the chart will be a graph with each graph square marked by symbols or colors. Each symbol or color will represent a stitch or thread/yarn color. Charts are very handy for florentine projects.
3: Designing your own piece is another exciting choice, although not recommended for beginners. It is best to draw the design on paper or graph paper and then transfer it to the canvas. To transfer a design from paper to canvas, simply lay the canvas over the paper design and trace the design onto the canvas. There are also computer software programs available for designing needlepoint projects. Helpful Hint: Be sure to leave approximately 3 inches around the edges of your design on the canvas. This will be needed to finish the piece and frame it.
PREPARING THE CANVAS:
If you are working from a needlepoint kit, the canvas should already be prepared and ready to mount on a frame (see Frames).
If you are working from your own design, you will need to protect the edges of the canvas. This is done to prevent the canvas from fraying. There are two ways in which to protect the canvas edges:
1: Bind the edges with tape. You will need to use an adhesive binding tape. Simply pull the tape across the edge of the canvas and then proceed to wrap the tape over the canvas edge.
2: Baste the folded edges. This method is more time-consuming. You will need to fold the edges of the canvas and then proceed to sew the folded edges.
A FEW RANDOM HINTS:
When loading the yarn or thread, the yarn/thread should be no longer than 18 inches. This will prevent wear to the thread and also hinder tangles.
It is recommended that you separate the multiple ply yarns to create a fuller look that will completely cover the canvas. When working needlepoint, you will most likely be using 3-ply persian yarn. Rule of thumb - if you are able to separate the thread/yarn, then do so. If you find the yarn is too difficult to separate, then it is probably not required. (An exception to this rule would be if you are using cheap yarn.)
Always tie off your yarn/thread. Leave a small amount of yarn at the back of the piece to tie to the next length of yarn. When you have finished one 18 inch length of yarn and need to continue in the same - or different - color, tie the new length of yarn to the last length of yarn.
Try to work light colors first. When you tie off a dark color and then continue to work a light color over it, a "shadow" effect may occur. You may be able to see a shadow of the dark color through the light color.