Needlepoint is one of many types of crafts that you can do revolving around some type of fabric. Typically it is done with a stiffer open weave canvas that you stitch yarn or embroidery thread through to make your design. Although needlepoint uses embroidery thread and a fabric to create designs on it differs from embroidery in one way because embroidery is usually done on a softer cloth that is held taut by a hoop and needlepoint uses a scroll frame or it can be tacked onto a wooden frame to keep it taut. I did a little research concerning needlepoint and found out that there was some samples of it found in a Cave of a Pharaoh who lived 1500 years before Christ so I guess we can say it’s been around a long time. I have seen pictures of Queen Elizabeth and Marie Antoinette sitting and working on a needlepoint project but I didn’t know that the football player “Rosey” Grier enjoyed it as well. He even published a book on needlepoint for men and also Loretta Swit has published a book on it.
The materials used in needlepoint can vary starting with the different kinds of thread that you can use. Wool, silk, cotton, thread blends and even ribbon. There are basically three types of needlepoint thread: flat, stranded or round. Flat threads are like ribbons, usually wider then they are thicker and do not consist of strands that can be divided easily. If you have need of a longer stitch in your design flat thread will work nicely for that. A good example of stranded threads would be embroidery floss. They are strands that are flexible and can easily be divided and used in either smaller or larger groups. Stranded threads work well with almost any size of canvas that you want to use. The last type of needlepoint thread is classified as a round thread. An example of round thread would be all types of pearl cotton thread, tapestry or crewel wool. This type of thread can be separated but not as easily as the stranded threads.
Another variety when it comes to needlepoint is the canvas. One type is the rug canvas which is a mesh of strong cotton threads which is a series of twisted threads that are locked by lengthwise strands connecting with crosswise threads. Plastic canvas is a stiffer canvas and is usually sold in pre-cut pieces for smaller needlepoint projects. The canvas with the most variety of colors is the Mono Canvas and mono means plain woven with only one welt thread weaving over and under one warp thread. There is also a Interlock Mono Canvas that is typically more expensive because the lengthwise thread consists of two threads twisted together and then locked into a single crosswise thread.
There are a wide variety of patterns available for needlepoint. There are commercial designs that can be purchased on hand painted canvas, printed or trammed canvas which is a canvas that has the designed stitched onto it to act as a guide for the correct color and number of stitches. Whatever style of pattern you choose you will have hours of enjoyment creating your needlepoint design.
Lanette Herrmann is co-founder of Something and More Hand Crafted Gifts, http://www.somethingandmore.com, and has enjoyed woodcrafting and other types of crafts for many years. She started out learning how to braid rugs with her grandmother. She got her love of hand stitching and weaving rugs from her mother. She also enjoys quilting, using the scroll saw and many other woodworking tools. When she isn’t working at her full time job, Lynn’s favorite pastime is spending time with her family.
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Photo: Julia Freeman-Woolpert