How to read a needlepoint chat pattern

How to read a Needlepoint Chart Pattern

Needlepoint charts are one of the many ways possible to create a needlepoint project, like using a printed canvas or a hand painted canvas. We recommend you this book of Graphic Monograms for Needlepoint and Cross Stitch.


What is a needlepoint chart?

With a needlepoint chart you have to use a blank canvas, and the design is depicted on a chart, that you can then print and follow. The design is made using squares on a grid, and they are color-coded, so you know what color thread to use in each area.


How does a needlepoint chart work?

  • Find the center: It is important to find the center of your canvas, as well as the center of your chart, so you have a point of reference between the two. To find it you can either fold them in 4, or you can use a ruler to cross out the center, by tracing the diagonals. 


Find the center of a needlepoint chart

Find the center of a needlepoint chart



  • Start in the middle, or count to the area where you want to start: Starting in the center is the easiest way to begin stitching with a needlepoint chart, because it's your strongest point of reference, but in case your pattern does not start in the center, simply count your way to where you wish to start in the chart, and then count it in the canvas.


  • Learn how to count your chart/canvas: An easy way to get the hang of counting your chart/canvas, is to always think of the squares as intersections in your needlepoint canvas, instead of the actual holes of the canvas. This is really important so you don't get confused when counting your design.


  • Understand the color map: Now that we have already established that each square in the chart equals an intersection in the canvas, let's think about the colors. This may differ from chart to chart, but most of them have a color map with symbols (these can be shapes, letters, or numbers), so you can match each square with the labeled color.


  • Start stitching, and just follow the pattern: This part is pretty easy if you already understood the basics of working with charts, so go get your counting goggles on, and stitch away!

 How to stitch with a needlepoint chart

Things to consider when using needlepoint charts

Like any other method, there are always pros and cons, and it totally depends on what you are comfortable with and your preference.


  • Although printed or painted canvases might be easier to follow because you already have the design sketched out, needlepoint charts can be a more affordable alternative if you are starting your needlepoint journey and want to stay on a budget.


  • It can also be a more immediate way to buy a pattern, if you choose to buy a digital downloadable pattern so that you don't have to wait for it to ship to you.


  • However when following needlepoint charts, you can't really explore different stitches, because they only allow you to use stitches that go over one single intersection of the canvas.


These are just a few things to consider when choosing to work with charts, that can be pros or cons, depending on your stitching preferences!

Happy Stitching

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