Needlepoint is a great hobby for those who like to work with their hands. It's also a great way to unwind and get creative — but it can also be frustrating! If you're new to needlepoint, or if you want to learn more about the process, there are some tips and tricks that will help you make smoother stitches.
Below you can watch a video and read the full description of our favorite needlepoint tips and tricks!
1. Make sure your tension is even across the canvas
While stitching, you should pull the entire piece of thread through to the back or front of the canvas, until you feel a bit of resistance. The stitches should be worked firmly, snug but not too tight! Once you find the right tension for you, apply it evenly across all stitches.
To help further, you should also use short thread lengths: 50cm / 19'' long.
2. Avoid threads from frailing / Untwist your thread
Remove the thread from the needle and relieve the twisting every 20 stitches (or so) so that it can unwind. The needle and thread will naturally twist as you stitch and if you don’t untwist it, the thread will wear gradually until it is much thinner than it was originally.
3. Avoid piercing threads
Make sure you don't pierce an already stitched thread, when placing a stitch in a hole that is already occupied. You can avoid this by opening the hole (wiggling out a space) using the needle in the front of the canvas, before you go through.
4. Snip thread tails off close to the canvas
When finishing a piece of thread, snip thread tails off close to the canvas, otherwise you might find that when you stitch next to the tail the needle picks up the scraggly end and brings it through to the front of your canvas.
5. Tape or bind the canvas edges
Our canvases are bind with cotton bias tape, but in case you are working with one without the binding, tape the edges of your canvas using masking or artist tape, as this will prevent the threads from catching on the rough canvas edges.
6. Secure the needle in the blank canvas or in a needle minder
When you have finished stitching for the day, secure the needle into an area of the canvas outside the design so that you don’t stretch or warp any of the canvas area to be stitched.
You can also use a cute needle minder to secure the needle!
7. Use a frame, or your own hands!
Using a needlepoint frame is optional, and if you decide not to use one (many people prefer this), you can easily roll the canvas and create enough tension to stitch comfortably. Read all about needlepoint frames and how to do needlepoint with or without a frame in our blog post.
8. Change your needles every project or so
Flossing your needles or changing your needles altogether can help you find smoother stitching. If you are using a needle that is tarnished, it will affect the smoothness of your thread. Change to a new one, and you'll feel the difference right away!
You should also try different sizes of needles, if you don't feel comfortable with the one you are using. Larger sizes correspond to larger needle eyes, which are more comfortable for threading the needle.
9. Get yourself a good light source for stitching
If you're into needlepoint, you'll know that it requires a lot of detail work if you are working on a complex piece. It's important to be able to see the details clearly and avoid straining your eyes or putting yourself at risk of injury.
Avoid using incandescent light bulbs because they can cause eye strain. Instead, use a good light source like a desk lamp that provides enough light without harsh glare.
10. Give yourself space when stitching by taking off any jewelry on your wrists or hands and by stretching beforehand
- Keep your hands and wrists relaxed when stitching. You don't want to hold them tense, but you also don't want them to be so relaxed that they are falling asleep as you stitch; this can cause cramps later in the session.
- Stretch beforehand. This will help prevent cramping while working on your needlepoint piece.
- Don't hold your arms out too high or too low, as this can cause pain in the shoulder area and make it difficult to stitch smoothly.
- Avoid holding your breath while working, as this will tire out the body faster than normal breathing patterns would do.
- If you're feeling your fingers too sensitive or sore, you can use these needle grabbers to give you need extra comfort while stitching.
Needlepoint requires a bit of trial and error to get right but these tips will help smooth out the process.
Needlepoint is a craft that requires practice to get right. It’s also a relaxing hobby, one that allows you to express yourself while de-stressing. But don’t worry if it doesn’t work out on the first try or two—the process will feel much smoother with these tips in hand!
We hope you’ve found these tips helpful in improving your needlepoint experience.